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Dealing With Your Sikh Child's Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by nyspunjabi, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. nyspunjabi

    nyspunjabi
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    Sat Sri Akal,

    I belong to a very religious Sikh family, and I am a mother of an 18 year old son who has been abusing alcohol & drugs for the past 3 years. My husband and I have tried to help him but unfortunately we have had no success in our efforts to stop him from using drugs & alcohol.

    Some of the approaches we have tried are :
    • Grounded him or taking away privleges
    • Talking to him about harmful effects of his drug use.
    • Family intervention through our elders, his siblings and cousins.
    • Offered and started professional counseling.
    • Offered rewards for stopping etc....
    I am hoping to talk with other sikh parents who are facing similar situation and how they dealt with something similar. I am also interested to hear from past drug users for any suggestions on how to help him break from this addiction.
     
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  3. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Bhain ji one has to look at things perhaps holistically even though every moment for parents is painful. One has to assume that either he supported this habit with parents money or did it through friends, theft or other illegal means. You had control over your money and if you did not one has to think forward.

    You say he is 18. That is the age of maturity so try to treat him like an adult and have him earn for his habits.

    One can take a horse to water but we cannot get such to drink. All other methods perhaps are pretty worthless as it will simply create reaction back from someone who has been clever enough to find ways to support reasonably expensive habit.

    So treat him like an adult and let him find his way. You may want to for the future not be party to his alcohol and drug expenses.

    If he is studying, provide support for essentials and no more. If he seeks help regarding the issues do support but don't be overactive and scared.

    I am no expert so these are just thoughts that come to mind in case it triggers ideas that could prove helpful.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
  4. nyspunjabi

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    Thanks so much for your response...

    My son has been supporting his drug & alcohol habits through the money he earns from his part time job after school & on weekends.

    We cut him off for any money support from the the moment we found out about his bad habits, back when he was in 10th grade and was 15 years old.

    We continued to provide him with all basic necessities as clothing, food & shelter, as you know that untill age 18, he was a minor and we could not throw him out of our home....or we would have been held responsible for his well being legally.

    Hoping that he was just going through a "phase" and will stop his bad habits soon....we now have realized that his habits are actually worsening & not getting better at all.

    Now , at age 18, as he is considered an "adult" .... we are considering throwing him out of our home if he doesn't stop all drugs & alcohol abuse....not sure if this is the right choice.... what do you feel... please do share....thanks.
     
  5. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    nyspunjabi ji you touch a very sensitive aspect of my personal life.

    I just cannot see anyone throwing their child out of their home. However perhaps you need to enforce some basic rules as in a way at this age he is a non paying guest of the house. You can state that certain things have bothered you and that you have as much right to live peacefully in your house that you upkeep versus him as a functionally non- paying guest but still loved member of the family. Start building on this and hopefully it will provide you strength of righteousness in what you suggest and a tinge of wisdom to him to right his ways. Let there be mutual respect always and love. I never had personal experience dealing with such so these may be just no more than some strawman thoughts.
    Good luck and Sat Sri Akal.
     
    #4 Ambarsaria, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Nyspunjabiji,

    No one is a drug addict per se.. or an alcholic, or a gambler, or a womaniser, these are all states of minds that We hide to when our real life is either objectionable to us, repulses us. These are all forms of escapism and your son is addicted to these feelings of escapism. The key here is to find out why he feels the need to escape from his life, there are many reasons for this, some that I can think of

    Frustration with religion, you say you are a very religious Sikh family, this is not quite the same as a very enlightened family, would you say the primary focus is on tradition and rituals, rather than understanding and enlightenment? If so, your son may be frustrated at being made to do things he does not understand, in my opinion, some education about his background might be an idea, a family day out at an exhibition of Sikh art, or getting a film on Sikh history, awaken in him his background, give him some Sikh hereos to admire, maybe encourage him to read books, all for no other reason than to get him to realise that the men and women that died before him, died for a reason, they had a purpose in life that was bigger than getting stoned or drunk, I can guarantee that he his not enjoying what he is doing, his mind is lost, but very slowly use our history, the meaning of why we are here to at least try and open his mind a bit.

    Maturity, at this age, he wants to be treated like a man, he wants to be a man, but it is an 18 year olds vision of what is a man, and at that age, men do what they want to do, and they rebel, so how much of this is natural rebellion, and what can you do about it, it depends on how you treat him, treat him like a loser, he will get worse, he will try and be the best loser he can be, so this is a dangerous road, remember, the objective is to try and get your son back on an even keel, not get him to what you want him to do, I would praise everything he does that is good, and try overlook the bad, in the hope that the bad lessens and lessens, there is no magic button to press to get rid of the bad, you just have to work on the good, sure he will let you down, sure he will mess up, but if you can be patient with him, and if he can be gracious, and realise that your love for him is allowing you to overlook certain facets of his life while he 'sorts himself out', then keep pushing our Culture, our history, praise him, give him lowly responsibilities, and very very slowly give him back his soul, ask him to read and understand and even try and live Mool Mantra, explain to him that fear is bourne out of wrong, and if one does no wrong, then one will not feel fear, in time he will come to peace with drink and drugs, maybe he will loose interest all together, but more than anything he now needs you and your husband as his best friends, two people he can be completely honest with, and you have to be strong and slowly wean him off this lifestyle by trying to fill his life with alternatives, but you cannot afford the luxury of a big shouting session if he fails, more than anything his success cannot be motivated by fear anymore than his addiction can,

    If you encourage him to leave, than you risk encouraging him in this lifestyle, my advice would be to attempt to treat him as an adult with a serious problem with living, and to try and encourage that living again, educate him, love him, and if you can keep it up for a year or so, hopefully he will see what wonderful parents you are, and his love and respect for that may swing him round,

    I was all the things and worse that your son is, I also left home, in hindsight, at the time, I did it because I was fed up being treated like a child, (even though I acted as one most of the time), I ended up going quite far down the road, but my parents were fantastic throughout, even though I know I hurt and upset them sometimes, as they get older now, I feel a huge desire to ensure their older years are as peaceful and happy as possible, for they gave up a lot, and suffered ridicule, for always sticking by me and my brother, even when we were vile people,

    I would also say, please recognise the difference between a normal teenager doing (what is today) normal teenage things that just need reigning in a bit, and possible long term addictive behaviour, please do not try and crack a small nut with a sledgehammer, make deals, set rules, allow setbacks, concentrate and push forward the concept of your family and what it means to all of you, be forgiving, be firm, try and stay clear of theatricals, set your objectives as a family, enlist his help,

    Hope that helps
     
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  7. lionsingh

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    The first thing to realise that addiction is an ILLNESS. I should know, I spent this September in rehab. Knowledge is one thing but WAS a Pharmacist until my problems. I am an alcoholic..always will be so I dont drink. Its a disease that will always be there.

    Some places to contact first of all www.addaction.org.uk www.direct.gov.uk/en/YoungPeople/.../DG_10030639, www.hazelden.org/web/public/alcohol_drug_rehab_youth.page
    www.uk-rehab.com
    www.nhs.uk/Livewell/addiction
    www.swanswell

    I have to bear in mind that many many young people drink and experiment with dope and drugs etc...most grow out of it...but for some it becomes a never ending addiction.

    As an addiction, nothing else will matter to him apart from his drug of choice. If he can be persuaded to take a drug/alcohol test...It will show the extent and damage if any...have a word and his GP can arrange that. If he denies he is an addict..this is the chance for him to prove it.

    I share your concern and have worked with many addicts before as a Pharmacist. What is important is to get the facts. Moralising wont do much good to a teenage addict..its something they have to realise for themselves. As you mentioned you are from quite a devout family, so perhaps it is a case of several pints and occasional joint he feels is nothing ? according to him.... If not then help is out there. Punishments wont work with an addict. If you can persuade him to have a confidential meeting and testing with a drug worker, they will show him the reality.

    Rewards and Sanctions do not matter to an addict unless he/she will get their drug of choice.

    A lot of addicts will take drugs to escape from reality. Addictive behaviour is also not only drugs but to other things. Does he steal ££ to satisfy his urge ?

    I wish you the best so DONT WASTE £££ on private councillors...there are many well trained professionals out there....Get him to agree to a blood and liver enzyme test. He cant hide anything and you will know if any damage or addiction is there. TALK WITH HIM TOGETHER WITH HIS GP is the most basic start.

    REMEMBER IT IS AN ILLNESS NOT MORAL DECAY ;-(
     
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  8. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Lionji,

    thank you for an honest and helpful post, glad your not drinking.

    Nyspunjabiji, I think Lionji is correct, and I think you need to be sure as to whether this is addictive behaviour doing serious damage, or just a 'phase' of light indulgence, but you need to be sure, as each scenario requires different solutions,

    I have different experiences to Lionji, but I am glad that someone who has been in rehab is also able to assist in your question, as I have limited experience of AA and rehab.

    I am sure between the two of us, we can fill in any missing blanks as to your sons behaviour
     
  9. nyspunjabi

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    Dear Harry Haller,
    Thanx 4 ur reply...I sincerely appreciated ur input..the reason I began this thread was 2 get suggestions..I am gratefull to all who have done so far...

    In response to ur post :
    No we are not crazy , religious freaky parents to our children...yes I do have Guru Granth Sahib ji's prakash @ home & my husband & myself do daily sewa...but we have never enforced any crazy demands on our kids because we feel that relgious & spiritual beliefs should be introduced by parents & Gurdwara but it's up to each child/individual how they want to carry out or practice these beliefs...

    Pls.don't take this as a personal attack....

    I came to NY from India when I was 13..did my my education & grew up here...I know how tough it was to not to be able to "hang out" or "chill" with friends...or have no phone or going out previliges as a teen...

    So I took a vow that when I become a parent I will allow my kids freedom & a sense of "normal" teen social life for my kids....We allowed my daughter who is 20 & my son same freedom as teens..allowed 2 hang out @ malls...got 2 movies..bowling...visit friend's home & have their friends over (both desi & non -desi)...Our daughter fortunately chose the "right" crowd & has turned out an honor student & on deans list in college, BUT our dear son....misused all his freedom...chose only "junkies" as his friends as a teen & continues 2 do so even 2day in college !!!

    So it's obviously not our religious background or lack of freedom that thas contributed 2 our son's downfall..

    As far as reasons behind his drug & alcohol use..

    He is handsome..has plenty of "girlfriends"...has always had name brand clothes provided by us...no less..has every electronic system/cell phone/laptop..all any teen wishes to have..all provided by us ...even despite his bad habits...we did & gave all ...so he has no reason 2 say "you guys never did any thing for me"!!

    He grew up in a lovely & strong family life...never subject to rude or disrespectfull behavior from myself or his dad....loved by his sister,gramps & huge family of loved uncles,aunts,cousins...no probs there either Harry ji!!

    yet he chose a path of destruction... he merely began drinking & pot as "chilling-out" experience from ages of 15-16.....began cutting classes...moed on to vicodins & oxycons..by age 17 & got left back from high school graduation with his class...

    Went to summer school by our help ... as he would never want to go or get up in mornings..any way got cleared got his diploma & we agreed to pay for his college tuition...even despite all he had already done....we still hoped he is done now...and will start a new ...fresh chapter of his life by going to college..

    He insisted on dorming because he wanted to "get the hell out" of home...as we could not afford doming costs..he took out a student loan on his name ...used all the proceeds for dorms because we had already paid for his tuition!!

    Within 2 months @ dorm..began smoking blints before every class..moved on to cocaine/ecstasy and more heavy oxycontins...has been caught/suspended from college...kicked out of dorm...and still feels that he is not addicted & accepts no counseling or professional help!!!

    Pls tell me what I am supposed 2 with this child...
     
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  10. nyspunjabi

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    Dear Lion Singh ji,

    Thanx 4 ur reply as well...loved ur idea of getting him into rehab & counseling services...

    Each time we have offered it.. his replies have been:

    " I am not an addict... I don't need any help"
    " If you force me 2 go 2 rehab... I will either run away from there...or come back & do even more drugs"
    "I can stop any time I want... but I choose not 2 cuz it's relaxing to do pot & helps me do better in school"

    You have no idea how much I applaud you for acceptin you needed help...going 2 rehab...and recovering Lion Ji...wish u all the more success..

    But how can I help my son through thsese resources... if he refuses them???

    Thus this final attempt 2 let him live on his own...without all the luxuries & comforts of our home... is a desperate attempt 2 make him realize how tought life can be out on ur own...
     
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  11. Archived_Member16

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    Please review & consider the following professional option in your area:

    Drug rehab and alcoholism rehabilitation center

    Link: http://www.mountainside.com/
     
  12. nyspunjabi

    nyspunjabi
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    Dear Ambarsariya ji,

    Thanks for your feedback.. really appreciate it..

    You are absoloutely correct.. it is very difficult to have had to reach the decision to kick out our son from home if he does not accept professional help or our help for his drug & alcohol use...

    It only has come this far because his life & his behavior with us has only gone downhill over the past 3 years...

    He has repeatedly been caught with various drugs & alcohol in his bedroom...cursed at me & his sister left & right especially when we confront him about any of his bad habits...has even raised his hand at my daughter...thrown objects at me across a room while "under the influence"....has lost 2 of his last jobs...due to no shows or calling out...

    We still kept him home...tried our level best to offer him help ...both professional & form us....he feels that he has no problem !!

    The amount of sleepless nights...when he didn't come home till 2 in the morning...or came home with throw up on his clothes or simply so "high" that he passed out the moment got home....I cant't tell you what a nightmare we have been living....but still kept him home...hoping he will stop...hoping he will change....
     
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  13. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Nyspunjabi,

    All we can do here is use our collective experiences to try and help, Ambersariaji and Lionji are both parents, I am not, however, do you think your sons problems are personality related or drug related, ie, when he is not on drugs, does it make a difference?

    The problem with rehab is tackling the addiction of drugs when there is a bigger underlying problem, but Lionji would know more about that than me,

    I can relate in some way to your sons behaviour, I will ponder my teen years tonight, and if I have anything else constructive to add, I will do so later,

    I feel like apologising to you....... maybe later I think I will call my Dad, sometimes as children we have no idea what we put our parents through,
     
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  14. lionsingh

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    I am 45...took me 3 years of hard drinking just to get to the point where I said I may have a problem......45 years old !!!!! Okay the divorce and bankrupcy and pain...hey..Always thought I didnt have a problem.....Until 6 months ago.

    He is young and thinks he is indestructible and that he chills out etc...

    one thing he has said " I am not an addict... I don't need any help" ... try to say okay...then get a TEST !!!! You will never reach him by telling him what may be obvious to others around him...

    He refuses because you are his MOTHER...He is trying to get independence and will rebel against almost anything. Be strong.... speak to your own Doctor as well.

    God bless and may the Gurus give you wisdom.

    A prayer I learnt in REHAB

    "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
    but the courage to change the things I can
    and the wisdom to know the difference"


    He says "I can stop any time I want... but I choose not 2 cuz it's relaxing to do pot & helps me do better in school"

    Every addict in the world can stop when they want but because I feel in control (as always) I choose to do it attitude.

    Best NEVER to use the word addict to him, whether he is or not...just a blood test and say its okay at the moment..FIND OUT whether it is really a damaging addiction or a teenage rebellion. I smoked dope for years as a kid and got 2 degrees...and a black belt in Aikido.

    As to "If you force me 2 go 2 rehab.." I stayed where Robbie Williams did at Clouds...He wrote the song Angels there and sang it for the first time there. I met Amy Winehouses parents sadly after she had died from alcohol.... and people will RUN...I walked out after 6 days !!!! but got 1 mile down the road when a car asked me if I would like a lift back ;'-0

    To deny him is to make him run to his drugs faster...TRUST ME....PLEASE DO NOT FORSAKE HIM

    as you say is a desperate attempt 2 make him realize how tought life can be out on ur own...

    It is more your desperate attempt. Look at the people and junkies on the street...they dont care but for the addiction..and he will blame everything on you.

    Get him to a GP and a blood test...no blame...It is an illness and we shouldnt hurt those that are ill. A NORMAL Dr first as a drug Dr he will rebel again...

    BUT the question REALLY remains...does he smoke pot and drink in moderation in his peer group and cultural environment and you are against that or IS HE REALLY addicted and in need of help...

    "God/Guru grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
    but the courage to change the things I can
    and the wisdom to know the difference"
     
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  15. lionsingh

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    I am back at home with my parents at 45..Guru bless them for their support
     
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  16. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Nyspunjabi ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Just to say that I feel your pain would be an insult to all you are going through. Lion Singh ji has expressed it best. I would like to ask you about his dad. What is his relationship with him. How is he tackling this situation with his 18 year old son?

    Is there drinking at home or do you allow that during parties etc? What I mean by that is that can he blame the household for drinking?

    Kicking him out will not solve any problem and it will be heart breaking for all the family. Love, understanding and the most important, accepting that it is an illness which has a cure is the best solution.

    Good luck.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
  17. Raj_singh94

    Raj_singh94 United States
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    Sat Sri akal Aunty ji,
    I am so sorry hearing about this, and let me tell you what I've been going through hoping that it will help you in some way...
    First off every parents approach is to punish the child if they find them doing something wrong and to me that's not the way to go, I too was battling drug and alcohol abuse, and the harder you try to control it or prevent it the harder it's gonna get for him to stop. Communication is key... alot of people don't understand this, since we grew up in America our mentality is a little different than the traditional Indian mentality. He already knows what he is doing is wrong reminding him constantly won't do anything for him... just remeber when you guys talk to him don't be judgmental but understanding.. it's a tough place to get out of but just show him you guys are supporting him without judging him it will help alot, I don't know if you agree with me on this but I would appreciate a response with your opinions so I can use that to help my situation.
    Thank you
     
  18. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I don't think anyone has a problem with drink or drugs, personally, it is the situations that drive you to drink and drugs that need addressing, rather than the 'addiction'per se.

    Its the need to address oblivion that will change this, cessation merely creates a vacuum.
     
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  19. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove United Kingdom
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    Sending him to rehab would be the best option. We live in the west, make the most of facilities like that at hand.

    Meditation may help him on top of that.
     

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