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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Girls with childhoods like mine don’t live long and they don’t grow up to become doctors. They die young and if they happen to stay alive, they end up in prison or living on the streets forever. I grew up in a family infected with incest that can be traced as far back as my genealogy extends. I was not protected or safe in my own home. Like thousands of young girls before me, I turned to drugs and alcohol to escape.

By 14, I was hooked on meth. I didn’t have the luxury of wealthy parents which meant I had to commit crimes and offer my body to men more than twice my age to stay high. I spent my adolescence immersed in the child welfare system, living in and out of foster homes, juvenile facilities, treatment centers, and the streets. Every junkie has a story and I have mine. Suffice it to say that I have paid my dues in that world and paid heavily. After a violent rape that nearly killed me, I vowed in the hospital that nobody would ever look at me with the disgust and revulsion that the doctors and police officers did that day. I have remained committed and true to my promise.

Today, I stand as a woman who’s risen above the darkness. I live free of chemicals and the obsession to use them. I can’t remember the last time I committed a crime or considered killing myself. I put in years of hard work to earn the privilege of being called Dr. Garrison and have dedicated my last ten years to helping others.

I’ve lived my life one step away from becoming a statistic. The question I get asked most frequently is “What advice do you have for others in your situation?” Here’s what I know about beating the odds.

1. Your labels don’t define you

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Illicit drug use in America has been increasing. In 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older—or 9.2 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication (such as a pain reliever, stimulant, or tranquilizer) in the past month."

Ouch, right? Those numbers make an even more painful impact when the alcohol or drug user they are talking about is your very own sweet baby girl or boy. As our children enter the teen years and adulthood they are faced with more access to alcohol and drugs than ever before. I was recently driving with my 60 year old friend through the small town he grew up in he told me stories of his teen years. "I was too drunk to be driving one night," he said, "so the cop just carried me in the house and had my friend drive my car home." Not exactly the world we live in now.

 

So what do you do when you find out your teen has regularly been using alcohol or marijuana?

  • Do not over react.

Parents tend to believe they have to make a big stand to scare teens. Teens are not easily scared, not away from drugs. Especially not marijuana or alcohol. Remember Dare to Keep Kids Off Drugs? It is not around anymore. Why? Because scare tactics (the programs primary focus) does not work; teens are invincible, right? Therefore, keep it simple. Explain your family rules, your expectations and a consequence such as staying in a weekend and a shorter curfew for a few weeks. A giant punishment loses the intended effect and alienates you from your teen.

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