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Teen Addiction Recovery and Families

Colette Kimball, Drug Use April 18th, 2012
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~ By Colette

“Throughout my journey I have been motivated to stay in recovery because of my family… My family’s love for me is my rock. Without them I wouldn’t be in recovery.”

“It has been difficult for me to keep from getting overwhelmed with my responsibilities, such as… maintaining boundaries with my family… Even though I have had to make a tough decision of being in foster care, I know that I have the skills and motivation to work my recovery.”

Both of these quotes come from “In My Own Words…. Celebrating Students’ Stories of Recoverya compilation of essays from a 2009 essay contest designed specifically for students enrolled in high school or collegiate recovery schools. I chose these quotes because they highlight the range of family experiences for youth in recovery – from being motivated to stay in recovery because of your family to having to distance yourself from your family in order to maintain recovery.

For most youth, family support and positive involvement during the treatment and recovery process is vital. However, many parents and families need support and guidance in how to be optimally effective. This guidance and support can come from service providers as well as other families.

Our upcoming Resource Issue will be devoted to the topic of supporting teens in addiction recovery. This issue will feature a Q&A with Steve Hornberger about working with and supporting families whose teenager is in recovery. Steve has an extensive background working with youth and families around addiction and recovery issues, including work at the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, at the Child Welfare League of America, and for the CSAT Statewide Adolescent Coordination grants.

This Q&A will focus on what professionals need to know when working with families whose teen is in recovery.  While Steve is providing the answers, we would like you to provide the questions. To get your thoughts started, I’ve outlined some possible topics below:

  • What do you want to know about the needs of families with a teen in recovery?
  • Do you have questions about best strategies?
  • What about identifying the best resources for families?
  • What is your role in supporting the families of youth in recovery?

Please type your questions in the comments below or email them to Our editorial staff will choose 7 to 10 questions for Steve to answer. Additionally, one person will be chosen at random to receive a free copy of the book Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts by Beverly Conyers, donated by the Hazelden Foundation.

[The Fine Print: Your name will not appear in print along with your question. Questions may be edited by our staff for clarity.]

3 Responses to “Teen Addiction Recovery and Families”

  1. Crystal Collier Says:

    Should a parent of a teen in recovery be in their own recovery program? If so, what types of activities constitute a parent’s recovery work?

  2. Allison George Says:

    What can school personnel do to support the student upon their return to school? Should schools be involved with the discharge planning?

  3. Eddie Says:

    Thanks for the post. I appreciate the information and the goal to help families that are in need. My son suffered from drug addiction as a young kid and it had a tremendous affect on him and the rest of our family. Luckily, we got him to a sober living and he has been sober ever since (the last 8 years). New Life House really saved my son’s life and helped me and my wife in a serious way. Check out their site if you are looking for help. Assistance is provided for families (excellent staff and weekly ‘family’ groups) as well as the individual teens.

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