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Recognizing The More Physical Signs of AbuseSo now that we know how drug abuse can happen, that it can happen TO ANYONE, that addicts are not bad people, and that in order to lessen the possibilities of addiction we MUST KNOW our loved ones, lets get into the signs of addiction. These are the more specific things that will cause you to wonder "whats going on"; the things that make you think "he/she doesnít seem right lately".
Again, we have the gift of intuition for a reason. While most dismiss their intuition as being overly paranoid, you cannot and should not, do this! Trust me, following your intuition will save your life and assuredly has saved your life many times over.
Your loved ones will start to change. It may be very subtle initially, but this is the time when you will start to notice that something is different about them. They may start to become just slightly withdrawn, more tired than normal, they are not as excited about doing things that used to excite them. They may not be home as much or at different times (like dinner time). They may start to talk or act just slightly disrespectfully towards you and other figures of authority and family members. They may have a problem or two with the police. The problem is that there are so many different signs that it would be impossible to list them all. You may find that they have been consuming alcohol or smoking (gateway drugs?), things that you never thought they would do. Even if it what they explain to be a "one time" or "first time"occurrence, treat it very seriously! Again, you will know what I am talking about. The key is that you cannot dismiss it as paranoia or "thats just what kids do".
At this point talk with your loved ones! Confront them and tell them that they have not seemed right. Get them to answer to your concerns directly and continue to confront them as long as the signs persist. Ask them flat out if they are doing something that they know that they should not be doing. Again, more than likely there will be an explanation that will pacify you because the last thing that you would want to hear is the truth if they were using illegal or addictive substances. Do not let this happen. You can accept their answer however only with complete caution! And follow-up! Watch them! And let them know that you are concerned and watching them.
Try and determine what changes there may have been that may have had an impact on your loved ones life. Like what? Anything thats different. There is one thing, however, that can have a major negative impact on your childís life:
Do they have any new friends
I am telling you, meeting one wrong friend can change a life from what one might consider "perfect" to complete devastation! I have experienced it and seen it happen in countless families. You assuredly have as well.
Watch their friends and make certain that you know who they are hanging-out with! If you are not comfortable, do something to change the situation. Remember, you have all the power as a parent and your child has ZERO! I see so many parents allowing themselves to be "rolled-over" by their kids! Be a leader and keep control of your kids regardless of how you have to do it. You cannot worry about things like respecting privacy, allowing them to make adult decisions when they are acting like children, giving them space, etc. The second that they violate your trust, IN ANY WAY, deal with it harshly!
And again, you must be there for your kids! You must know them, pay attention to them, be involved in their lives, and care about what they are doing AT ALL TIMES! Although its difficult, you must be a true example rather than a "do as I say, not what I do" parent! In other words, if you smoke, telling them that smoking is bad is probably not going to have much impact on them. That, however, doesnít mean that you have to allow them to smoke!!! Nor should you!
Again, there are so many things that should be considered major cause for concern that its difficult to list them all. Here are some others however:
Are they as dedicated to school, to whatever their normal established level may be, as they always have been? Are their grades consistent with the past, or have they fallen? Do you even know?
Let me ask you this:
Do you attend parent teacher conferences? Most of you who are reading this may think this to be an insulting question. But again, you would be appalled by how many parents DO NOT attend parent teacher conferences. How are you going to know about changes in your child in school if you donít pay attention? Know the intimate details of your kids school life!
Are you loved ones eating normally? Many times drug abuse will cause abnormalities in diets. Things like a major increase or even craving for sugar; rarely hungry, overly hungry!
Has their overall hygiene changed? Do they no longer care about cleanliness the way they typically have? Are they showering in the same frequencies as is normal? Is their bedroom suddenly not as clean and orderly as it normally is?
Are they spending inordinate time in the bathroom? How about being in the bathroom more frequently? Many drug addicts use the bathroom as their "place of business". Be mindful of this!
Are you finding pieces of cotton or Q-Tip heads? Are you finding hypodermic needles or caps? How about bottle caps separated from their bottles? Razor blades? Brillo? Small pieces of plastic baggies? Many drugs are sold by placing the substance in the corner of small plastic baggies, tying the corner off and then tearing of the finished corner for distribution. If you are finding anything that resembles this, you more than likely have a serious problem! If you are finding the complete baggie, less the corners, you likely have a child who is actually dealing illegal drugs. Scales? Grinders? Pipes, bong or rolling papers?
There is little or no reason for your kids to have any of this stuff. Again, if they do, be very, very concerned.
To Emphasize This Again:
I am probably not getting complete agreement on this but it is a must if you truly want to protect your kids:
Monitor and control their social media accounts, diaries, journals, cell phones, etc. Check their text messages directly on their cell phones. Did you know that you have a right to a report from your cell phone company for a print-out of text messages that were sent/received from your own phone? You would likely not need to go to this extent unless your child knows that youíre checking the messages and begins to erase them. This act alone should be a huge red flag! If your childís phone is in your name, its your phone! And either demand to know their phone "passcode" or do not allow them to have one. Heck, my business is far more worthy of privacy than a childís and I donít even use a phone passcode. Nor does anyone I know.
And remember this:
If your child is a juvenile, most likely their cell phone and/or automobile or computer are yours! If you do not get satisfactory results from your kids, who are required to do exactly what you tell them to do, how you tell them to do it and when you tell them to do it, take away the things that enable them! Their automobiles, computers and/or cell phones! Their means of communication!
You may think that this is obvious and most of you probably do these things with little thought. But again, youíd be very appalled by how many parents just canít figure this stuff out! If you could see it for yourself, youíd have no wonder about why things are so difficult in this current age!
And finally, donít expect the Police to discipline your kids!
We must take responsibility. Everyone must work to better the world! Drugs are truly out-of-control and getting worse every single day in every town in this country! The Police cannot fight this war on their own. Every parent, teacher, neighbor, family member, etc must get involved and start with controlling what happens within their own circles. Do not allow it!
Next I will be talking about how to recognize signs of drug distribution. This is critical because if everyone not only recognized the signs, but reported them, and did not allow dealers to function in their neighborhoods, we would take a huge chunk out of this problem.
Published Feb 09, 2014
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