Tag Archive: Love

  1. How Can I Tell My Teen I Love Them So They Hear Me?

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    How Can I Tell My Teen I Love Them So They Hear Me?

    As a parent or guardian, you may assume that your child knows that you love them. After all, they live with you, and you provide their food, clothing, phone, hobbies and activities, transportation, and more. Providing for them should be a physical manifestation that they understand, right? Many parents even say “I love you” on a daily basis. Yet too many teens do not feel loved or do not understand the degree to which you love them. How can you tell your teen that you love them so they hear you?

    When Words Are Not Enough

    Whether you are a parent who communicates your love to your teen or one who takes for granted your child knows you love them, sometimes words are just not enough. In the screen-driven, social media-filled, self-absorbed world that adolescents are often sucked into today, they may not even hear your words. Their lives are filled with pressure to excel academically from well-meaning adults; they feel pressure from social media to look a certain way or from peers to participate in activities that are potentially dangerous, including using substances. Your words can get lost when they are trying to find themselves amongst all of this noise.

    While it is important to express your love verbally, sometimes the words become empty after being said repeatedly over time. For example, if saying “I love you” is a habit when they leave the house or go to bed, they may presume that it is merely a habit and that you don’t actually mean it. Sometimes, words are simply not enough.

    Why Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Your demonstrations of love will be infinitely more powerful than all of the words you say. When you say that you love your child but do not back those words up with your actions, they will sense the duplicity and may not believe you.

    As teens grow and change, the way you express your love for them should change as well. They likely will not want public displays of affection; in fact, they may not want to be seen in public with you at all. This does not mean that they do not return your love. As they are maturing and breaking away from you to become an adult in their own right, respecting their boundaries is important. Yet they still need to know that you love them. They may even still let you hug them, but only at home.

    Daily Ideas to Say ‘I Love You’ Effectively

    Teens need to have love expressed daily through actions, usually in different ways from how you expressed your love when they were younger. There are many ways you can actively demonstrate your love to your teen, including:

    • Make time for them
    • Turn off your phone
    • Offer choices rather than make decisions for them
    • Show up for their sports, hobbies, or interests
    • Prioritize their needs
    • Set aside your stress to be present for them
    • Offer consistency and structure
    • Listen to them

    Learn Their Love Language

    Another way for your teen to feel your love for them is to learn their love language. What is it they enjoy doing? What activities or interests are important to them? What can you do that will be meaningful to them because they know it is unique to their needs, and you are not just pretending to care? Do they like to go for ice cream? Play video games? Listen to music? Go for walks? Cook (or eat) new foods? You do not have to infringe on the activities they share with their friends, but you can find something that is important to them that you can share together.

    Saying ‘I Love You’ by Not Saying Anything at All

    The best way to allow your teen to truly hear you is actually by not saying anything at all. Listening to them lets them know you love them more than all of the words you can say. Truly taking the time, being there for them, and being present whenever they need to talk is the ultimate demonstration that you truly care about them.

    As parents, you may be brimming with wisdom and life experiences. Your child, though, wants to be heard. They are more likely to benefit from your wisdom when they ask for it than when it is unsolicited advice. Knowing when to listen and when to speak can be one of the biggest challenges of raising a teenager, but when in doubt, listening is going to be the best choice a majority of the time.

    How can I tell my teen that I love them, so they hear me? Actions speak louder than words, so making time for them and being present will show you care. Learning what is important to them and taking time to actually listen to them can also help them to understand how deeply you love them. At Sustain Recovery, we know the value of respecting and listening to your teen. We also know that providing consistency and structure for them helps them to feel safe and always know what to expect, even when they do not always like it. Our extended residential treatment program for teens with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health diagnoses offers the opportunity for them to return to their life with support from both our program and their community. Contact us today at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is right for your family.

  2. When Valentine’s Day Isn’t a Hallmark Movie For You

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    Every year when Valentine’s Day lurks around the corner, we are pummelled with advertisements and sappy movies about the importance of the day. No other holiday pushes the idea that everyone should have a date or be in the midst of a wildly romantic relationship on one specific day of the year more than St. Valentine’s Day. Mass marketing spends millions on the message that not only should everyone be in love but they must demonstrate their love by emptying their wallets or going into debt. We are told that purchasing flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and a host of other items in all price ranges will prove our emotions are true. This sentiment can be exhausting financially and in other ways. 

    The Negative Messaging About Being Single

    Valentine’s Day can present difficult situations for those who are in recovery. If the person does not have a spouse or significant other, being single around a holiday so focused on being part of a couple can cause feelings of loneliness or inadequacy. In turn, these emotions can cause a temptation to engage in negative self-talk and increase the potential for relapse. It’s important to be aware of the danger of getting trapped in the web of unfair marketing and predictable televised entertainment that comes with Valentine’s Day. 

    Millions of people are single on any given day, and even those who are dating or purportedly happily married one year may find themselves single the next year. Remember that your self-worth has nothing to do with having a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. February 14 is just one day of the year, and you are entitled to spend it with friends or family or ignore it completely and enjoy a night in with pizza delivery and a streaming movie. 

    Even Couples Feel Valentine’s Day Pressure

    Even those who have a partner or spouse can find the annual onslaught of Valentine’s Day messaging to be tiresome. The expectations to provide the perfect evening out or the most romantic present pile up. They often leave a person feeling like if they don’t whisk their sweetie away for a romantic night on the town or slip them an expensive gift like jewelry, they have somehow failed at love. If you feel prone to caving to this pressure, discuss what expectations the two of you have for the holiday before it arrives. During a time of continued lockdowns and social distancing, dining out and shopping are often limited. You may find that just sharing a pleasant dinner at home and exchanging inexpensive, silly gifts from the heart is all you need. It’s also just fine to refuse to participate in the holiday at all, choosing instead to let daily expressions of love suffice.

    Staying Single When You Are New to Recovery

    If you are new to recovery, being in a romantic relationship may prove difficult at first. Many treatment centers and 12-Step programs recommend individuals new in recovery should avoid dating for the first year. This can be difficult advice to heed, particularly for teenagers and young adults who might be used to dating a lot or feel pressure to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. Keep in mind that your mental health and sobriety are your top goals and that a good relationship will come along and flourish when you are better prepared to deal with it. 

    Despite the pressure from advertisements, rom-com movies, and well-meaning family and friends saying that everyone must couple up, you can learn to give yourself a break. Love doesn’t have to be limited to an exchange of feelings with another person. Self-love is vital too. Look for realistic ways to express love for yourself and you will be better prepared to be in a romantic relationship down the line. Take note of your own internal dialogue and challenge negative misperceptions such as how you should be dating someone or that having a significant other validates your worth or attractiveness. 

    Expand Your Definition of How to Express Love

    Do not let corporate America limit how you express love, particularly on one specific day every February. Buying expensive items for romantic partners is just one option, and not even necessarily the best one. Look around you and think about who holds a place in your heart, like a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a mentor. Be creative about gift ideas for them that are inexpensive or even free, such as one of the following:

    • Write a note expressing your feelings for someone important to you and give it to them 
    • Pick some wildflowers for someone who appreciates the beauty of nature
    • Create a playlist you know a person would enjoy and share it with them
    • Go to a discount store and pick out a whimsical desk toy 
    • Visit a used bookstore to find inexpensive books, DVDs, and music
    • Offer to do a chore your loved one doesn’t enjoy doing as a gesture of your love

    Every year we are subjected to an onslaught of ads telling us that we have to celebrate Valentine’s Day and prove our love with expensive trinkets and dinners out. For people who are single, this can be a difficult message to navigate. Even people who have a significant other can tire from the pressure. Rebel against the idea that Valentine’s Day is a one-size-fits-all concept and learn to express your feelings in different ways. Sustain Recovery has a staff of skilled professionals who teach our clients that learning to love yourself is the first step. We offer long-term, proven methods of treatment that allow an adolescent or young adult to flourish under our care. We treat mental health issues and addiction, teaching our clients how to deal with their day-to-day struggles, rewire their thinking, and return home prepared for a life of improved mental health and sobriety. Call our Southern California location today at (949) 407-9052 to get started on loving yourself, others, and life!

  3. Motivating Kids Into Recovery

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    Motivating Kids Into RecoveryDealing with children in addiction recovery can be tricky. Their motivations may lie in the wrong places, or they may have no motivation whatsoever. Many youths do not see their drug use as an issue and may be in denial about their addiction. It is essential to motivate children to be mindful of their health and seek treatment for substance abuse if and when it’s needed. One way to do this is Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), a treatment model that focuses on the addict’s family as well as community engagement.

    How Does CRAFT Work?

    CRAFT teaches family and friends successful strategies for helping their child change their behavior and feel better about themselves. CRAFT works to affect a child’s behavior by changing how their family interacts with them, and vice versa. This treatment model is designed to help by:

    • Assisting families in motivating their child to seek treatment
    • Reducing alcohol and drug use, whether or not your child has sought treatment yet
    • Improving the lives of family and friends.

    CRAFT helps families foster a non-judgmental attitude towards their loved ones struggling with addiction. It teaches that detachment and confrontation are unhealthy to both the family and the child. CRAFT has been proven to be more effective than interventions or leveraging.

    Another aspect of CRAFT is community reinforcement. The therapeutic practices of CRAFT are adapted from the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA). CRA is a psychosocial intervention for individuals with alcohol and other drug use disorders. It has been adapted for several populations, including adolescents and family members of individuals who are resistant or reluctant to enter treatment. The focus is to help children find healthier ways to deal with their social or emotional needs without using drugs or alcohol.

    In CRAFT, children are asked to invite a person who may be affected by their drug use, usually a parent or sibling. This is helpful for providers to understand triggers a child may have that influence their drug use. During treatment, children and families learn useful skills to meet their recovery goals, including communication, problem-solving, and self-care. These skills remain helpful in the long term for both families and children struggling with addiction.

    Evidence in Support of CRAFT

    The first studies on CRAFT were completed in 1986. These studies showed that six out of seven family members using the CRAFT model could get their loved ones to enter treatment. Typically, it took them about seven sessions to achieve this. Loved ones also cut their number of drinking days in half during the time their family members were training in CRAFT.

    Since then, other studies have been done to analyze the success of CRAFT in teen addiction recovery. When compared to programs such as AL-ANON and the Johnson Institute Intervention, CRAFT was substantially more effective. It produced three times as much engagement as the other conventional approaches, and two-thirds of resistant patients attended treatment. These results were able to be replicated in at least two more studies concerning the success of CRAFT compared to traditional treatment models.

    Overall, the studies show that a family’s engagement rate in CRAFT is significantly higher than other treatment models. CRAFT teaches families invaluable skills to cope with the psychological issues that stem from a family member’s substance abuse. For parents, this model shows more engagement partly because the family is encouraged to join the child in treatment. This method applies to all cultural, ethnic, and religious groups, making it more universally successful than other models.

    Why Is CRAFT More Successful?

    Theories on why CRAFT is so successful are plentiful. First, it is believed that teaching social-learning skills helps children reconnect with their peers and families in a healthy way. Unlike traditional interventions, CRAFT is non-confrontational. Families do not confront their loved ones to break through their denial – instead, they learn how to set appropriate boundaries. In CRAFT, families also learn practical skills that can be used to disengage themselves from the pattern of their loved one’s use. They are able to invite changes in their loved ones while changing their own lives at the same time.

    CRAFT also teaches important communication skills. Families are taught how to take advantage of windows of opportunity for having difficult conversations and how to talk about treatment in a way that makes it more appealing and interesting to their loved ones. The high rate of addicted children who seek treatment after participating in CRAFT indicates that these methods are indeed successful.

    To learn more about CRAFT and how it can help families struggling with substance abuse, contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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