March 21, 2017
Dealing With Addiction Truly is a Family Affair
By Christopher Knippers
Special to the Desert Sun
There is an epidemic of addiction, especially among teens and young adults, and a high percentage of those sufferers are in the Coachella Valley.
No, these people are not just in the more rundown neighborhoods, but also are a present in our wealthier areas. These are not just people from families affected by divorce, crime, and mental illness. They also can be found in loving, stable families that attend church every Sunday and have positions of respect.
I spoke with one such mother today.
Valerie’s daughter was very recently shot to death in a drug-related crime in the Coachella Valley. Her daughter had already been shot, but not killed, years earlier in another drug-related crime in another city and state. That shooting, along with all of the love and support that was showered on her by her upper middle-class family to help her overcome her addiction was not enough. Valerie’s daughter continued to use drugs.
Valerie, a very outgoing, charming, gregarious woman was secretly falling apart on the inside. Riddled with guilt and shame, believing that if a child goes astray it has to be the parents’ fault, she came to a crossroads in her life: Either she had to somehow pull herself together, or risk losing her son also.
There is major collateral damage to families of addicts. A snowball effect can take over. If Mom falls apart, everyone in the family suffers and then everyone close to the family suffers. Valerie realized that this can happen and was determined not to let it become the case for her family.
Valerie, while very outgoing, was always extremely private about her inner emotions. But, what helped her start to heal from the emotional devastation that was happening within her was to open up about what was going on with her daughter and within herself. The more she shared, the more healing and insight came to her.
Valerie ended up writing an award-winning book: Still Standing After All These Tears (available on Amazon).
She realized that there was what she called “The Beast” inside her that was keeping her emotionally hooked into the drama of something over which she had absolutely no control. She came up with Nine Actions to Battle Your Beast: Decide to stand up and fight; Put on your spiritual armor; Put on your oxygen mask; Build your circle of strength; Change your focus; Adjust your attitude; Stop being a control freak; Stand on your story; Make meaning from the madness.
Valerie will be sharing the details of how to Battle Your Beast (everybody has one of some sort) in a March 31 presentation at Michael’s House Outpatient Center, 151 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. There is a 5:30 PM dinner with Valerie Silveira’s presentation to follow. Go online to http://bit.ly/2mqdOrx for reservations.
Christopher Knippers is a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology who is a writer (CopingWithChronicDisease.com) and lecturer and also a consultant to Michael’s House. Email him at email@example.com.