For as long as I can remember, summer time has been a season of fun, sun, BBQ’s, and lots of idle time. Summer time also means school is out and kids are home from school. The “it” I am referring to is prescription drugs and alcohol. Parents want to protect their children and make sure their children are successful in life. Navigating through high school and college is difficult enough. Why not remove some of the potential road blocks? This is not to say that every child home for the summer will go looking through your medicine and liquor cabinet, but maybe your child’s friends will go wandering around your inventory. Stop kidding yourself if you think that people don’t go through other people’s medicine cabinets. Here are a few tips for the summer to protect your children, their friends, and others who may be struggling with addiction.
First, get rid of medication that is no longer needed or being used in your house. Any controlled medication that is not needed any more can be taken to your local pharmacy and given back to them to dispose of properly. my local pharmacy offers a special program once a year for residents to come and turn in medication that is not needed. So, check your local pharmacy to see if they offer such a program. If all else fails, just flush it down the toilet; better to be safe than sorry.
Second, lock up the medication and alcohol in your house. Make sure if you are going to use a lock box or safe that it’s one that is not easy to break into. Trust me when I say, there are so many videos on the internet on how to break into safes. Even if you do lock everything up, take an inventory, and check it periodically. This is about safety, not about not trusting your children or company you have in your house.
Third, have an honest conversation with your children about the dangers of addiction to medication and alcohol. Loving your children means having those difficult conversations, saying I love you enough to not let you go down that road. Let your children know that if they find themselves struggling with an addiction that its ok and safe to tell you.
Going into other people’s homes is still an area in my life that causes anxiety for me. I still get triggered when I see a pill bottle. I begin to wonder what’s in that bottle? People who know me and are part of my accountability team respect my sobriety enough to lock anything up that maybe a stumbling block to me. When I go over to someone’s home who doesn’t know my struggle I make sure to take someone with me that will keep me honest and on the right track. So, for example, I usually will have my fiancé go into the bathroom first to make sure there is nothing sitting out that could trigger me. This is where people stop me when I talk about this and tell me, “well you shouldn’t be going through their cabinets in the first place.” I say, “you’re absolutely right and I’m working through that compulsion.” People who make these statements don’t have any understanding of how powerful addiction is to the individual struggling to overcome it. I say all that to say this; you can overcome this, and you are not alone in this fight! Yes the struggle is real, but the struggle does get better with time, a great support group, and determination to not be defined by your addiction.
In Loving Arms