10 Steps To Successfully Help You and Your Child Misusing Drugs or Alcohol, with Brenda Zane

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
10 Steps To Successfully Help You and Your Child Misusing Drugs or Alcohol, with Brenda Zane

If you’ve started the process of looking for options to help your son or daughter with substance use issues, you know it can be overwhelming, intimidating, and exhausting. If you’re just starting out and thinking about making that first call or sending the first email, you may soon find yourself wading through website after website, at 2 in the morning, wondering how you know you’re even doing the right thing.

This episode is a practical guide for parents when you’re embarking on the arduous journey of finding resources, programs, therapists, treatment centers, or any type of help for your child who’s misusing substances. As a mom who’s been through the process several times, I share with you 10 critical things I wish I had known and done when I was searching for help for my son. These are tips that would have saved me time, energy and sanity and may have resulted in finding more and better resources. I went into  (and through) the process blind, but there’s no reason you need to. 

In this 48 minutes you’ll hear; 

  • ways to make the research process smoother
  • things to do for your physical and mental health
  • what you need to know and do about your finances and insurance coverage
  • how and when to bring in outside help
  • how to manage the relationship with your child during this time
  • why getting real with your son or daughter is critical and why you may need to play detective
  • the importance of developing an organization system
  • what a JIC plan is and why it’s important to have
  • and much more

Be sure to save this episode to your phone, iPad or computer so you can listen offline as you work through the various tips and steps. 


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Hello, welcome. Today’s episode is especially geared for parents who are either just embarking on their journey with a child who’s either experimenting with drugs or alcohol, or one who you believe has been using pretty regularly. And now you are worried about dependency or addiction. But it’s also going to be really helpful if you have been in this process for a while and you’re feeling overwhelmed, you feel like you are sort of just running in circles and not getting the traction that you need in finding help for your son or daughter. And I wanted to create this episode because when I think back seven or so years ago, I would have given anything to have this information and foresight. As I launched into the process of making phone calls, reaching out digging for information, I really was going into it blind, just what I think back, I’m just sort of horrified now at the state of mind and the level of information that I had going into this process, and there is no reason for you to do the same thing. 
So I’ve been wanting to create this for a long time, it is a lot of information. So you may want to hit the little download icon on your podcast player, wherever you’re listening, I know most of you are listening and Apple, there’s a little download this episode button, you may want to do that not that this is going to go anywhere. But that way you have it offline so that you can listen in small chunks, because we are going to go through a lot of information, you’re not going to need to do all of it all at once. And honestly, if you do half of this, you are going to be 1000 times further ahead in the game than I was in this process. So just a little tip there. If you want, you can go ahead and download it. 
This is really such a scary and nerve wracking experience to have to reach out to people that you don’t know, for help with your own child. And it’s likely a world that you’re not familiar with. A lot of us don’t even know that this entire world of addiction treatment and recovery. And all of these options even existed. I know I didn’t until I got into it. And I was just completely shocked that there was a whole world that I was not even aware of. And you know, you’re not familiar with the options you don’t know the language you don’t understand the best practices, the science based evidence you don’t know necessarily even know what to look for. You don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t know what to avoid. So you kind of are starting out by looking into this big black hole that you hope hold some answers. And I remember staring into that big hole and I really this is my attempt to help make it a little bit less scary for you. So today I am going to share some thoughts and some tips for you at this stage because there are definitely things that you can do. And some things that you shouldn’t do. That might make your efforts a little less painful. I’m hoping and maybe more fruitful in the end.
And for a lot of parents, it takes an event to happen a bad event to finally bring you to the realization that you aren’t going to be able to parent your child out of the situation that they’ve gotten themselves into. And for us, it took my son driving to another state and buying drugs to bring home and sell at the age of 16, to really kick me into gear and to really sort of make it a reality to me that I had to do something. And it doesn’t always take an event. Sometimes it’s just the accumulation of enough school absences, or enough running away incidents, or enough times of him or her coming home high or drunk, or having police cars at your house, that kind of pushes you over the edge to get the help that you know you need. And you know, in your gut that your son or daughter isn’t going to self correct out of this. And that everything that you’ve tried so far hasn’t worked, and probably isn’t likely to. So now, you’re sort of in a new space. And again, it’s a scary space, sort of looking out into the vastness of the internet, or of you know, family or other friends who might have opinions or resources for you. And it’s a scary place to be. 
And before we get into some of the actionable steps that you can take, I just want to say that I recognize how scared and frustrated and probably helpless that you might feel right now. You are probably a very intelligent, savvy loving mom or dad, who usually knows how to solve problems, and then you solve them. And this is a situation with your child that can be so infuriating, and exasperating, because there isn’t one right answer, there’s not a blanket, solve or fix for this. And the person that you’re trying to help your son or daughter is probably fighting against you in this effort. So whereas with any other disease, or illness or anything like that your child would be, you know, just begging you for help and thanking you for all the resources that you might be giving them, or at least going along with it. In most cases, in the world of substance use and addiction, your child’s probably not doing that. So you kind of have an uphill battle against an uphill battle. 
And I get it and I just want to recognize how hard it is and how, you know, brave you are for reaching out and for getting help. And for even for listening to this – for listening to this podcast. And you might be wondering how things got where they are, like, how did we get here? You’re wondering, like, why is your son or daughter doing what they’re doing? Why haven’t you been able to stop them. And it’s just a horrible feeling. But it’s one that we almost all share when our kids are struggling. And even if we don’t say it out loud, or if we don’t overtly think it, subconsciously, we can kind of drag our feet on this process on making a move to help them because we feel like somehow we have failed at parenting. Or that we should at least be happy, be able to handle this ourselves. And it can be really agonizing. And it can take months sometimes because of this mindset to kind of you know, finally reach out, pick up the phone, send an email. 
And so if you’re feeling that burden of guilt or shame, failure, I just want you to think about shifting your mindset as you move into this even more concentrated sort of concerted phase of supporting your child. And I want you to imagine that your child’s doctor just gave you the horrible news that he or she has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. So kind of close your eyes. Unless you’re driving, don’t do that. But Close your eyes and just sort of imagine sitting in that room. The doctor comes in and says it could be you know, this could be cancer. It could be a brain tumor, it might be a heart defect. Whatever it is, the news from your doctor is that it could kill your child, and it could kill them in a relatively short amount of time. What would your next move be? Would you go back quietly to work and try not to think about it. Would you go and open an incognito browser window in the middle of the night and research the symptoms and the possibilities treatment options, would you avoid your family and friends because you are ashamed of the diagnosis? I’m guessing not. So do your best to set aside the tendency to isolate and go inward and approach this problem, just like you would any other deadly disease. And that mindset might help you move a little faster, and maybe in a more deliberate and assertive and confident way than either you have been, or in a way that I see a lot of parents go. 
Okay, so here we go, we have 10 very important things that you can do to set yourself up for success when you are in research and planning mode for helping your child. And you may just be sitting there going, where in the world do I start with this. And so I want to break these down. I know 10 sounds like a lot. And again, if you did half of these, you will be way, way ahead. And if you do all 10 you’re a rockstar, I’d love for you to send me an email or something because that would be amazing. So I know that this might seem overwhelming. Just take what you can do what you can start wherever you are, you may even have some of these already done. So don’t worry about it. Just listen, take some notes, and and attack it as you can. 
So the first one is to start out with yourself and with your health. Because you are embarking on a journey. And you want to approach this phase in life, like you would if you were going on a long hike in an unknown area. And I’m going to use this hiking analogy throughout because I think it’s really relevant. It also just makes a pretty simple to understand. And it takes out some of the emotion. So just get ready. I’m not even a hiker, I don’t know I’m using hiking. But anyway, it works. So you can assume that as you embark on this hike, it’s going to be a while before you might find an outhouse, or a convenience store. So you want to be prepared for the long haul. And this means preparing yourself mentally and physically. So having been on this journey, I can tell you that ignoring your supply levels, and just hoping that you’re going to have enough energy and stamina and trail mix to make it through is not a great plan of action. I really wish that I would have had somebody to tell me to prioritize myself. Because I was the number one champion and advocate for my son, no one else would have gone to the extent that I went to for him. Well, his dad did also. But in terms of just outside of our family, I was it his family was it. And I didn’t know that I needed to really fortify myself for the journey. Again, I was his number one champion, I was his number one advocate. And he really deserved more than what I was giving him he deserved more than having me be broken and stressed out and exhausted and sick. He deserved more than that. And so think about it in terms of if you were hiring somebody to take on this challenge for you to go on this hike for you, you would want them at their peak health, you would want them to have a ton of support, you would want them to be in the best possible mental capacity. And that is you, you are the one in that role. 
So before you do anything else, create a plan for yourself to get healthy food. Keep a water bottle with you all the time so that you’re hydrated. And just make a little bit of daily movement and a little bit of daily mindfulness. Maybe that’s meditation for you make those things non negotiable. Think of those things as the number one best thing that you can do for your son or daughter right now. They’re really basic, but they are really, really vital as you move through this process. So that’s number one. 
Number two is to try and get a handle on what your son or daughter is actually doing and using. So at this point, you need to get really real with what’s going on. Your son or daughter might be telling you that they’re only smoking pot and drinking, and maybe they are. But it’s really critical for you to find out if that’s the case. And the reason that this is so important is because the resources that you find moving forward are going to need to know this information. And the choice of help that you decide to go with will need to be in alignment with whatever they’re currently doing. Now, reality You’re probably not going to find out everything, but try your best to get a better look at what it is.
Because kids most often, more often than not they underreport their substance use, because they don’t want you to know. And they also don’t want to stress you out, there is something in them that really doesn’t want to stress you out. So this is the time when you might have to play detective. And you might have to have a heart to heart conversation with them. If this isn’t information that you already know, some kids are a little bit more open, they’ll just lay it on the line and tell you what they’re doing. But some won’t. And this really can’t be done during a screaming match can’t be done in anger, it really needs to be you getting genuinely curious about your son or daughter’s health and well being. So if you can find a time when you’re both calm, and especially make sure that your child isn’t under the influence of anything, and have a heart to heart, let them know that you’ve heard about some recent, maybe there’s some local events that have happened with, you know, drug dealers, or overdoses. Or you could just talk about how there’s been an increase in overdose deaths and substance use in general during COVID. If, if this is still relevant whenever it depends on when you’re listening. But find something kind of timely and relevant to open that dialogue. And it really should be a dialogue. This isn’t a you know, you talking at them. This is a dialog that you want to open up so that you can can continue to have it. And you know, you could just say Hey, have you tried XYZ you know, are your friends trying things like oxy or Percocet or Xanax and trying to remain as calm and unemotional as possible is super, super important. If you’re going to get them to open up again, it’s a dialogue, it’s not a one way talking at them. 
And you might also just need to do some sleuthing in their room or their car or their backpack to find out and that’s hard to do. I know it’s hard a you don’t, you don’t really want to know what you’re gonna find. And be it’s it feels a little intrusive. But if your child under 18, and they’re living in your home, this is your responsibility for their health and well being. And so you need to be able to do that. And then that’s going to get you to your best sort of indicator of what their actual use is. 
The third thing is to keep the connection with your child – do not let them disconnect. It’s so important to keep communication going between you and your child even when they are experimenting, or even if they’re regularly using drugs or alcohol. And as parents, when we get scared and angry and we feel like we’re losing control, it can be our tendency to either pull back and kind of put our head in the sand and hope it’s all going to get better on its own. Or we can tend to lash out with anger. And neither of those is going to keep the relationship intact when it is absolutely the most needed. And it’s really important to learn how to stay connected and engaged with your son or daughter. And understand that you can actually move and motivate them towards changing versus having them shut down. So this idea of detaching completely from them and letting them hit rock bottom is old and outdated. And today, the science and the research that has been done backs up a model of connection and reinforcement. This is not enablement, there’s big difference there. The connection and reinforcement is really the gold standard for parents. And the best way to learn this and to implement it and to actually have it be effective is by studying craft. And that stands for community reinforcement and family training, C-R-A-F-T. There are a ton of free resources for parents to learn these skills. So I’m not going to go into them here. But it’s basically the idea of reinforcing behavior that you do want to see and encourage and not reinforcing behavior that you don’t. So that’s the gist of it. And it’s obviously a lot more than that. So in the show notes, you’ll find links to resources. But it’s it’s really a way of learning how to communicate and behave with our kids that actually makes them reconsider their choices. And it’s done without shouting and screaming and blaming and negotiating. And so go to the shownotes for resources there. You can grab the book beyond addiction is probably one of the absolute best resources that you can get. And there’s also a 20-Minute Parent Guide that you can download that goes along with that book. That’s it. You can get it at www.drugfree.org but again, go to the show notes and I’ll have have everything there for you. 
Number four, is to get yourself a coach and a therapist. So just like preparing yourself, mentally and physically for the hike that you’re going on in this unknown territory, you also want and need a guide. and preferably, if you’re embarking on this, you want a guide who has already been on this hike before, right? So my highest recommendation is to build a support team for yourself, and start with a therapist, and a parent coach. So a therapist can be for you, or it can be for you and your spouse or partner, if they’re if you have that person involved. Because you really do and we’ve talked about this in the past, you’ve really got to get on the same page with this if at all possible. And if you have insurance through your employer, you may have what’s called an EAP program, it’s an employee assistance program. So dig into your insurance information, find that number, and you can call them and explain what’s going on. And they’re going to be able to connect you with a therapist or counselor who has experience with or has expertise in counseling families with substance use issues, you can obviously, you can also get a referral, you know, from a friend or family member. But I found that people sort of dragged their feet on that because it’s an awkward conversation to have. And if you don’t have a close family member or friend who has had a child with substance use issues, you’re more likely to get referred to maybe a marriage counselor, or somebody that isn’t necessarily super dialed in, in the world of substance use. So the EAP program might be able to save you some time, they’re really, really helpful resource to be able to plug you in very quickly into resource locally, where you can get in and get some help. 
The very next call, or text or email that I would love to have you make is to the Partnership to End Addiction. And this used to be called the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. And they offer what I think is the absolute best kept secret in the world of resources. And that is a offer of five free coaching calls with a trained parent coach. And this is going to be a parent who has been through what you’re going through. So they know the realities of your life right now. And they have been trained to help you. So think of them as the guide who’s already been on the hike. And they probably got lost a few times. And they might have run out of water. And then they found the path again. And so they have been there. And now they’re willing to help other hikers as they are on the path and it is 100% free. And you can just call or text or message them and they will get you set up with a coach. So all that information will be in the show notes. Or you can go to drugfree.org. And you will see all the links to that parent coaching program. And seriously, if you only do one thing out of this list today, make this one of them, it is so important, it’s going to just be a game changer for you to have that person alongside of you. 
The fifth thing that is really going to help set you up for success is to get organized. Okay, so this might sound weird or obvious. But I’m including it because if you’re not naturally one of those sort of buttoned up organized people who, like me has files all over the place on your computer, printed somewhere on the back of a napkin or an envelope in your car on your phone, this process is going to be a lot more difficult if that’s the way that you’re in that you’re operating. And there’s really good chance that you are already totally stressed out. You may have brain fog setting in where you’re really not able to focus on things or you’re forgetting things. And it’s just a natural result of chronic stress. So don’t be alarmed by that. It’s pretty common. But this is why getting organized at the beginning of your hike is so important. So I’m a very tactical person. So I actually had a physical notebook that I wrote in and I also created a binder where I could print things out and sort of file them because it never ever failed that when I needed to find something on my computer, I couldn’t find it again. 
Now if you’re a digital person, you know, you might do something like create a bookmark in your browser called resources or maybe have a special code name, whatever it is that you want to call it. And then just organize some folders inside of there to keep track of things like finances, insurance, programs, therapists, all the things that you’re going to end up with and also have these different buckets, because what you don’t want is to need something and not be able to find it. So if you’re spending all this time, make sure that you can actually find those things when you need them. So again, while this step might kind of seem silly or less important than some of the others, I would really encourage you to take just 10 or 15 minutes, treat it like a work project, like you are going to get graded on this or get, you know, reviewed on it. And just get yourself as organized as possible so that there’s a place for everything and you know where things are, because when you need them, you’re going to want to be able to find them. 
Number six is to do a deep dive on your finances. One thing that I can say, universally, is that parents underestimate the cost of treatment for substance use disorder. Even if you have amazing insurance, it does not cover everything. And there is nothing worse than to need to make a decision on a program or an option for your child. And then you are delayed, because you have to figure out the financial part of it. This is the time to round up a summary of your cash, any investments that you could liquidate, you’re going to want to check into your 401k balances, any IRAs that you have floating around out there. Check your stocks, if you have them, even look at your life insurance policies. And the reason you need to do this and get a really holistic picture of your financial sort of portfolio is that when you go to apply for programs, or if you are likely to need scholarships, or financial aid, this is all the information that you’re going to need to have at your fingertips to pull numbers from. Especially in the case of scholarships, or grants or financial aid, they are going to request this information from you. So make sure that you’ve got it in a in a super accessible place. 
And then also make a list of any physical assets that you own. Like maybe you own a boat, or you have an extra car or two, or you’ve got some toys like jet skis, or motorcycles or ATVs, anything like that you want to get an idea of the value of and especially if you own a second home or an investment property. Those are things that you’re going to want to have a really good grasp on. And it sounds like a lot of work. And it can be a lot of work. But I’ll promise you going through this step, when you are in a semi stable state of mind is going to be way easier than doing it at three o’clock in the morning before you’re trying to get your child transported to a program. So do this step when you’re in the best possible state of mind. 
And if you’re past that point, if you are already deep into brain fog, and you can kind of emotionally muster the strength to do this. This is the time to call in a close friend or a relative or even maybe it’s a CPA who works for you who can be your financial Sherpa, let’s call them and and help you put this together. Obviously, this person’s got to be somebody who you can trust with your financial data and who you’re comfortable with knowing really the ins and outs of your money. But it is a really, really vital part of this hike that you’re on. And if you’re not able to do it, you really need to get somebody on your team who can help you with this.
Number seven, become best friends with your insurance company. Okay, so maybe I should have put this one second right after taking care of yourself. But regardless, this is so important. And I find really surprisingly, that a lot of parents are just not dialed into what they can get from their insurance plan. kind of think of this as a little pot of gold that is just sitting out there somewhere and never Neverland, and you are going to reach in and grab every single coin that you can. And if you have insurance through your employer, you can start on their website. But honestly, I would skip that step and I would go straight to the phone and I would pick up the phone and ask to speak with somebody who can help you with either behavioral health or even better asks asked for somebody who specializes in substance use and addiction. 
So some insurance companies are now getting a lot more savvy, and they have teams that they have built around addiction because of the opioid crisis and it is costing them so much money in treatment, that they’re actually being a little teeny tiny bit proactive and having special teams like within their customer support. nervous to help people with this. The other reason that I recommend getting on the phone is that sometimes you can get connected with one person who can become your advocate there. Now, I know it is easy to think of your insurance company as the enemy. But the individual person who is working on the phone who’s sitting there in Topeka, Kansas, or Albuquerque, New Mexico, that person is very often an empathetic ear, they are a resource that you can tap into. And they truly want to connect you with the right resources and providers. That is their role, whether or not specific services are covered, or how claims get paid. And all of that is obviously not up to them. But they can be a really great advocate for you. So just remember to be persistent, and be nice to those people. And you can really garner a lot of information and value from them. And and that can take you a long way. 
When you’re talking to them, I would encourage you to be very specific about information like the deductible that you’re responsible for what is considered in an out of network, because just just because if you have called a treatment center, and they say they are in network with your insurance company, that does not mean that they’re in network for your specific plan. And this gets even more complicated when you’re talking out of state programs. So be sure that you’re getting very specific about that, find out how claims are to be filed, find out what the rules are for pre authorization. Again, just be incredibly persistent with with this and just know that this is the vital information that you’ve got to have to help your kiddo. And always get the name and direct number of anyone that you are talking with about coverage. And you can do this politely, you don’t have to be, you know, argumentative about it. But you can just politely ask for their name and their direct phone number. And in your organization method, however, you’re doing that, you’re going to log that phone call the information that you talked about the person’s name and their phone number. Because if you ever need to go back, maybe you get a denial of coverage or or anything goes wrong, you’re going to be so glad that you have that information and that you’ve got it organized. Maybe it’s in a spreadsheet, maybe it’s just in a Google Doc. But wherever it is, you’ve got that information logged. And I’m really not kidding, this is so important when you’re dealing with insurance companies, because sadly, there is a lot of negotiation that goes on and claims that do get denied. And specific elements of a program will be covered or not covered. And so just doing your due diligence here is going to pay off a lot in the end.
And similarly to your financial audit, this might be a place where you need to recruit a friend or family member to be your insurance assistant. If you have somebody who asks you how can I help you let me know what I can do, is there anything I can do during this time. And if you trust them to be thorough and competent and confidential, you can assign them to be your insurance assistant. And that can be a huge help to you. And because of HIPAA and privacy rules, they may not be able to talk directly to your insurance company. But what they can do is keep track of things like your deductible, they can call treatment programs and get all the information from them. So give this person if you’re going with that strategy, give them your policy, your group and your employer number, give them your deductible information. And then they can do the heavy lifting for you on making and returning all these phone calls that will totally exhausted you. 
So it can be also a huge help to have somebody in this role because they are not going to be as emotionally attached to the process and to the outcome as you are and so if you’re if you find a treatment program, or if you’re looking for a program and you’re so emotionally invested in in, you’re really desperate to get your son or daughter into a program. It can be tempting to sort of over see details or just sort of rush through the process. And so to have somebody who is more emotionally neutral in this role talking about it, they can be much more objective. They’re probably going to be a little bit more thorough, might ask the questions that you didn’t think about asking so if you’ve got this person in your life who you think, wow, that they would be really, really good at that. One thing it does is it gives them something to do because people genuinely want to help you. And they don’t know how to help. And so this is a great place where you can say, actually, if you could make a few phone calls for me, it would be great. So be extra nice to this person, if you bring them onto your team, because they are worth their weight in gold, I cannot recommend this enough. 
Alright, number eight, is to learn about the range of therapeutic options and go local first. So you know, when you start a new job, and there’s jargon and acronyms that you’ve never heard, I remember, when I started working at Microsoft, I literally thought everybody around me was speaking a foreign language, I had no idea what anybody was saying it was completely overwhelming. It was very intimidating. I found myself not speaking up, because I didn’t know how to speak the language. And the world of addiction treatment can feel a lot like that.
So don’t feel bad, don’t feel intimidated if you need to ask a lot of questions. When you’re doing your research, ask the questions, the people that you’re talking to speak this language and deal with this day in and day out. And many of them have done it for decades. So they may forget that this is your very first toe in the water in this new world that you didn’t even know existed. And so they’re usually extremely understanding and patient, if you just say, hey, that didn’t make sense to me, can you explain what that is, they will absolutely help you. But you may need to just speak up and let them know that. 
And be sure to take some time to research all of your options, kind of with a priority being to exhaust your local options before considering sending your child away to a program outside of your local area. And this is important for a couple of reasons. One is that just keeping the family connection together can be really healthy. There might also be times that that might not be healthy, or you may have a child who’s in actual physical danger. And so staying local is not an option. But if that’s not the case, if you are in a situation where it’s safe to have your child in the city, where you are located, and you can keep the family connection, start there. And then the only other reason really that you want to try and stay local, if possible is the realities of finances. getting treatment and another state could end up being considerably more expensive. Not always. But often it is and often your insurance may not cover to the same extent. Or even if they do, there’s the there’s the logistics of flights or travel to get your child either there get getting home getting you there for visits. So it’s just another factor to consider. But really try to exhaust your local resources, whether that’s from your child’s school, local therapist, a local outpatient program, whatever it is, those are things to look into before you start looking externallyt, you know, outside of your state. 
And there are some great resources available other than Google, where you can get a little bit of a more streamlined list of options. Once you dive into the world of Google, you will find that you’re going to be retargeted, you may start getting phone calls, if you enter your phone number in any of these sites. treatment centers are in many cases, a for profit business. And so just like many other businesses, they will be following up. They will be you know, tracking you online and following you with 1-800 numbers. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, it just may add to the level of pressure and anxiety that you get when you’re in this mode. 
So I will list resources in the show notes for you how to streamline that process, but to that you can start with immediately are AllKindsofTherapy.com. And PsychologyToday.com. They both have filtering features where you can search for programs. And you can search by whether or not they’re in covered by insurance by the location of the program, the gender of your child, or maybe they have a special needs. There could be you know, a diagnosis of autism or they may have having anxiety issues. You may have transgender issues. There’s all kinds of specialty programs out there. So when you’re doing your research, don’t think that you’re you’re kind of stuck with a vanilla program. There are all kinds of special programs out there. And again, this is where your organization system is going to help because you’ll have a place to find file or store options that range from, you know, let’s say a local mentoring program all the way to an out of state wilderness therapy option, or even out of country, there are lots of programs and other countries. Right now we’re in the middle of COVID. So I’m not sure that those aren’t necessarily an option right now. But in general, there are just tons and tons of options. So this is where your organization system is going to come in handy. And they’re going to be very, very different in all of the services that they offer the costs that they include. So taking the time to do this, when you are in a frame of mind, that is not complete panic mode is going to be really helpful. 
Okay, number nine, have a back pocket emergency plan. So I call this the JIC plan, the just-in-case plan. And you want to create it as soon as possible. And that just like it sounds, it’s for just in case you need it. And as you’re well aware, if you’re having issues with your teen or a young adult child related to substance use issues, things are never predictable. So think of your JIC plan as if you’re kind of walking along on your hike, and you’re suddenly met with a torrential downpour, and you have to switch gears quickly to stay dry. You don’t have to have every single detail worked out, but at least know how you’re going to pivot. And who’s going to be involved in this plan. 
So an example of this might be your daughter has been using marijuana and alcohol off and on for a year or so ish. And you have recently found some pills in her backpack. And you know, the kids that she’s hanging out with are probably doing more than pot and alcohol. And today, you got a call from the hospital emergency room where your daughter was because she overdosed on a pill that she thought and was told was Xanax. But it was laced with fentanyl. She was given our can and she responded quickly. So she’s okay to go home from the hospital. And you’re now on your way there to get her. 
This is when you’re just in case plan might kick in. And it may be that you have found an intensive outpatient program, or a 30 day residential program with a detox option. Or maybe you’ve teamed up with a family member in another city who’s agreed to take her in for three or four days. While you can come up with the next step. Whatever it is, it’s been researched. You know whether or not your insurance will cover it, the financials are worked out. And the travel has been thought through. And you can execute this without having to frantically make a million phone calls in the middle of your workday or in the middle of the night, when you can’t even see straight. And you’re emotionally freaking out because your daughter just overdosed. Right? That is not when you want to be starting this process. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate. It doesn’t have to be 100% buttoned down. But you know what your options are. And you can act quickly if you need to. So what this does, besides get your son or daughter into a safer place quickly is that it saves you from being in a highly vulnerable position. When you’re trying to make a decision about your child’s well being. You do not want to be in the position of starting your treatment option research, calling your insurance company scouring the finances, recruiting friends and family to help when you are in freakout mode. And you’re panicking because something just happened. 
Trust me on this, you do not do your best work, and you can become highly vulnerable during these times when all you should be doing is executing, not thinking so you don’t want to be coming from a highly emotional state right now. And this is when your just-in-case plan can kick in. And it can just save you a lot of energy, a lot of emotional energy, and also a lot of money because you’ve already got something worked out. 
Number 10. Get yourself a buddy because this might be a long hike. I don’t know where you are on this adventure that is kids and substance use. But I will tell you that it can be long. And it might not be, but it can be, and having a buddy along on your hike will make it so much easier. It’s not going to solve the problem for you. But you know, at least you can share some trail mix and swap stories about the best gear and you can commiserate when you get lost or when there’s a storm. So it truly makes a world of difference to share this path with somebody that you can relate to and who can can relate to you. 
And this might be a girlfriend, it might be a group like al-anon, or nar-anon. Or you can hook up with me and the beautiful ladies that are in The Stream. We’re all on this hike together. And we’d love to have you join us. But you definitely, if you have the option, and I think in these times, finally people have the option, don’t go this alone. It’s isolating enough to have to be going through this process and this experience in life. And you really can learn and pull resources from other people, and emotional support, it can just make a world of difference in your experience. 
And so if you want to check out our beautiful community, it’s called The Stream. It is online, but it is not on Facebook. And I created it because just like creating this episode of this podcast and podcast in general, I did not have a group of people around me that understood what I was going through. I had a wonderful family wonderful friends, but not a group that I could turn to to say, Did that did this just happened to you as well? or What did you do when that happened. And so we focus on our physical, mental and spiritual and emotional health. And we do that so that we are at our absolute best for our kids. If you think back to point number one, which is take care of yourself, your child deserves an ally and an advocate, and a champion who is as healthy and whole as possible. So that is what we focus on. We do things like we have a weekly chat, we do bi monthly phone calls, zoom calls, we just started a free monthly yoga class for stress and anxiety, which everybody’s very excited about. It’s all good, it’s all positive. And if you want to check it out, you can do free for two weeks, and then you pay whenever you can. So if you need the support, if you want the support you can get it doesn’t matter what your budget looks like, we’re there for you. 
So I hope that you’ll save this to your phone or save it to your computer so that you can go back and listen to it. The 10 things that are so so important as you’re on this journey, whether you’re just starting out, or if you’re somewhere along the way, and maybe you’ve you’ve run into a big tree that fell down in on your path, maybe you did encounter one of those big rainstorms, whatever it is, you’ve hit some obstacles. And I’m so glad that you found this and I hope that you will use this as a resource to sort of make your path a little bit easier. So very quickly, again, the 10 things: 
start with yourself and your health. 
Try to get a handle on what your son or daughter’s actually doing and using. 
Keep the connection with your child – do not think that you need to disconnect from them and let them hit rock bottom. 
Get yourself a coach and a therapist. 
Get yourself organized. 
Do that deep dive on your finances. 
Become best friends with your insurance company. 
Learn about the range of therapeutic options and start local. 
Have a backup emergency plan, your just-in-case plan and 
Get yourself a hiking buddy so that you can do this with someone else. 
Alright, I hope that this was helpful leave me some comments on the show notes page if you want, again, all the resources will be there at BrendaZane.com forward/podcast and thank you so much for listening today, I will meet you back here next week.

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