Throughout school, my oldest daughter “Suzy” was an A student, on the honor roll and participating in student council. She was the type of kid who wanted to get her homework completed in study hall. She turned her book reports in before they were due, and went to bed early every night. She tended to be a bit of a worrier and a perfectionist but that never seemed to be too much of a problem.
My youngest daughter was more of a tomboy. She did not do as well in school and absolutely hated homework. It was a nightly battle to get her to complete her assignments. As a single mom with two girls, I worried more about her than I did my older daughter.
Unhappiness Spawns the Beginnings of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Yet, something happened halfway through high school. Suzy was unhappy with some of her teachers and said she wanted to make a change to a more “creative” environment. After a lot of soul searching and a few heated discussions, I reluctantly agreed to allow her to switch schools. She said, “If I really loved her, I would trust her to make the right choices.” Suzy went from a very structured environment with a lot of honors classes to an open campus concept (almost like a small college) which allowed the students a tremendous amount of freedom.
The beginning of her junior year went ok, but I noticed her grades were beginning to slip. Suzy started to fall behind in her classes, which was something that had never happened before. On a few occasions, she would oversleep and tell me she wasn’t feeling well and needed to stay home from school.
“Since she had always been the perfect child, I justified in my mind that she was just having a hard time adjusting to her new school.”
A Death in the Family Fuels Addiction
Midway through her junior year, Suzy’s grandfather died after a long battle with cancer. He had always enjoyed a special relationship with Suzy, and I know she counted on him after my husband and I divorced when Suzy was nine. You never really plan for someone to die, but dad had been ill for such a long time, I thought we were more or less prepared for his passing.
“Boy was I wrong.”
At the reception after the funeral, I had the feeling that Suzy and a few of her new friends might be sneaking drinks. However, there was so much happening, I just didn’t have time to keep track of her. That is until my sister came up to me and whispered loudly, “You need to go out to the front yard RIGHT NOW!”
I walked outside and there was my Suzy, doubled over on the lawn vomiting. I thought to myself, this doesn’t happen from sneaking just one or two beers. I wanted to throttle her and hold her all at the same time. I knew she missed her grandfather terribly, but seeing my Suzy like that was a sight so shocking I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was crying, babbling and making no sense at all. Her dress was completely ruined, and the guests were coming to see what all the commotion was about. I immediately wrapped Suzy up in my coat, walked her to my car and left my father’s reception as fast as I could.
“…unfortunately, it was only the beginning…”
I wish I could tell you that the funeral scene was an aberration brought on by emotional stress, and it never happened again, but unfortunately, it was only the beginning. When she woke up the next day, she didn’t remember anything. I later learned that these are called blackouts. It turns out her new friends gave her some pills to help her deal with the anxiety of losing her grandfather. When she mixed those pills with alcohol, she was in way over her head.
The next two years proved to be a daily nightmare. Suzy’s drinking and drug use went from non-existent to an everyday occurrence in a matter of months. Her school work suffered terribly. She skipped classes and barely managed to pass her classes. I tried to get her father involved, but he had started a new family with his second wife. I wasn’t sure if he just didn’t have time to address the issue, or if he simply didn’t care.
It Was Time to Get Addiction Treatment
No longer could I manage the situation on my own. I was overwhelmed, and Suzy was sinking fast. After many lies and broken promises, I got tough and knew I needed to get her professional help. We sought an outpatient teen rehab program that provided her with a personalized treatment program. This was her start to sobriety. Today, she has the foundation for long-term recovery and is focused on her future without drugs and alcohol. I am forever grateful for the program and for getting my daughter back.
Do You Have a Teen Who Is Struggling With Addiction?
Serenity at Summit offers a comprehensive outpatient teen rehab program that will work with you and your child. We will focus on your teen’s needs and goals to create a customized treatment plan that will work best for them.
With a professional treatment program, your child can overcome their addiction and regain their future.