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How can you explain addiction to your children?
Avoid lecturing and using technical language. You can simply tell them that addiction is a disease that causes changes in the brain that can drive a person to use despite negative consequences. Many people can take a drink or two and stop with no problem. But other people can't stop drinking alcohol once they start. These people have the disease of addiction.
The disease of addiction requires treatment and ongoing recovery practices, just as diabetes requires ongoing insulin and heart disease requires major lifestyle changes. We don't blame people for having diabetes. You can't blame yourself for having the disease of addiction, but you are responsible for your own recovery.
How can you explain treatment to your children?
You can tell your children that you began your recovery in treatment with "detox" from alcohol or chemical use. You learned to avoid triggers and sticky situations that could lead to a relapse. While you were in treatment you met and learned from others suffering from addiction just like you. You listened to lectures by doctors and counsellors who helped you understand the disease and what you could do to recover.
Treatment prepared you to transform out of your old addictive behaviours by teaching you that:
Things your children might say:
Tell your children that:
Children today are faced with a world of choices. They're bombarded daily by information from a variety of sources; peers, family, school, and the media. They need tools to help them interpret these messages as they make decisions and navigate an increasingly complex world.
Children ages 5 to 8 should know:
Children ages 9 to 11 should know:
Teens should know:
In addition to the great risk of physical injury, the consequences to young people for underage drinking can be severe. Consequences of teen alcohol or other drug use include:
Seven Steps to Keep Children Off Alcohol and Other Drugs
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