Spring – the beginning of the end

Spring marks renewal and newness. All that lay dormant during the winter begins to spring back to life. It is a lovely time. For our older teens it marks the beginning of a new life season—the ending of a school year—prom—graduations. For some it marks the beginning of what they believe is full independence from family and parents. “When I am 18 I can do anything I want,” is taken literally. For young adults living with prenatal exposure to alcohol, “I can drink at 21,” can become a command.

It is a break away time. And in the final countdown, the breakaway seems to feel better to the young person by pushing family away—family is not needed any longer—especially caregivers.

Prom and spring marked my first drinking experiences, a lovely dinner date across the river in a state that at that time allowed for drinking at age 18. If I remember right, Tom Collins was his name, the drink, not the young man. Actually the cherry on top was probably my favorite beside tasting the forbidden alcohol and trying and believing I was very grown up and feeling beautiful at the ripe age of 16. As a renegade teen I was filled with ideals and strong standards—non-smoking, civil rights, save the earth, exercise, education—make a difference with your life.

It interests me, “Why did I choose drinking alcohol that night?” Alcohol was the very thing that had tumbled my family into turmoil, my friends into addictions that sometimes resulted in disability or in death.”I did not say no” when offered. Even when I had reason to excuse myself from drinking. I did not have alternatives in my mind, my upbringing did not train me to abstain.

Luckily for me, even raised under the guise of addiction, I did not succumb—yet—to Alcohol Use Disorders. Many others did. Many still do and will continue to do so. Alcohol Use Disorder recognizes no boundaries. It is an equal opportunity killer of mind, body, and spirit, It does not discriminate based on age or gender.

With retirement on the horizon, what did not capture me as a teen – could reach out its tentacles and capture me as an older (but hopefully wiser) adult. As I enter this new season I want to be prepared. Perhaps by looking at this issue from the sunset instead of the sunrise we can discover strategies to help the choices made by our younger women.

In this series RealMindz—Free Spirit Living, I will explore strategies for sober fun with Sarah Lockwood, founder of ThePreventionCoalition.org.

Introducing Sarah Lockwood – Sarah Lockwood watched her daughter struggle with addiction for years. Despite being a former social worker, Sarah found that it wasn’t always easy to find the resources she needed in order to help her daughter treat her addiction. Sarah created ThePreventionCoalition.org to offer resources on substance abuse and addiction treatment and also to provide an online forum where loved ones of people dealing with substance abuse can meet and get the support they need.

Prevalence of Drinking: According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 70.1 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 56.0 percent reported that they drank in the past month.1

Sources:

NIAAA.NIH.GOV – https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

Alcoholism and Older Women – https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/alcoholism/alcoholism-in-older-women/

 

 

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