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Choosing Sobriety After Childhood Exposure to Substance Abuse

Choosing Sobriety After Childhood Exposure to Substance Abuse

With an estimated 27 million people over the age of 12 admitting to illicit drug use in 2014, believing your child is somehow immune to exposure to drugs or alcohol is simply no longer realistic in today’s society. While we would like to believe parents, teachers, and other authority figures in a child’s life are focused on protecting their charges from the harmful parts of life, sometimes this simply isn’t true. Sometimes children become intimately aware of drugs and alcohol within their own homes or the homes of their family members and friends.

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    For me, it was through my extended family – my ‘grandmother’, a cousin, aunts, and uncles. My mother was adamantly against drinking and drug use; for good reason, as her childhood was hellish as a direct side effect of her mother’s addictions and compounded mental illness. I have always been an observant person, so even with her attempts to guard me I noticed things.

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    I can recall the exact way the room smelled the first time I walked in on my cousin smoking marijuana. I can remember thinking it was strange that my aunt had so many needles, and the startling reality of just how thin and emaciated she grew toward the end of her life. I remember watching from my window as another cousin was arrested in front of his mother’s house for selling the small baggies of cocaine he always had on hand for his “friends.” I also remember walking pass drug dealers on my corner waiting for customers on my way to school.

    The 90s was a rough time in my old neighborhood. Admittedly, it is still on the rougher side of things.

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      Some say when children are exposed to drugs and alcohol at a young age they are more likely to indulge in illicit substances later in life. The statistics certainly seem to prove that, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Choosing sobriety after childhood exposure to substance abuse is entirely possible if you learn the lessons such exposure can teach you.

      Most addiction specialists believe that a genetic predisposition increases one’s risk of developing substance abuse disorders during their lifetime. It explains why some people do not develop addictions to drugs or alcohol while others are hooked after only one time using these substances. Having familial ties to addiction increases a child’s likelihood of forming addictive tendencies through exposure and “normalization” of drug and alcohol abuse. However, when a child recognizes the damage caused by substance abuse they can lead a life of sobriety.

      Just as I recall the details of my own second-hand experiences with addiction, remembering the consequences one witnesses in association with drugs or alcohol helps cement negative ties to illicit substances, discouraging experimentation.

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      Beyond the benefits in one’s own life, growing up to lead a sober lifestyle can inspire the next generation of children in similar situations to follow your lead. By advocating for sobriety and reaching out to at-risk children, you can be an integral part of ending addiction through prevention. Additionally, by speaking up, you can help other adult children of substance abusers struggling with their own versions of recovery.

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        When going through difficult times, people seek a reason to hope. You could be that reason. By showing that it is possible to experience a childhood of exposure to illicit substances and other childhood traumas, you can be what they aspire to be. One’s childhood does not have to be the blueprint for the remainder of one’s life.

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        Choosing sobriety after childhood exposure to substance abuse can open up a myriad of opportunities throughout life. When one is controlled by addiction, feeding cravings and avoiding withdrawal symptoms becomes an all-consuming obsession which leaves little room for other pursuits such as furthering education or career goals. By abstaining from drugs and alcohol, you are giving yourself the best foundation possible for pursuing your dreams. Let your success inspire others; let your story inspire the next generation.

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        Last Updated on February 11, 2021

        The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

        The 20 Most Creative Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You

        Instagram allows you to see exactly what inspires people and how creativity is drawn from their everyday life. We use Instagram to capture what makes us smile, what brings joy to our life, and what we are passionate about, and the accounts listed below are sure to inspire you in turn.

        Here are our 20 top creative Instagram accounts that you should be following today.

        1. Humans Of New York

        Brandon Stanton walks the streets of New York City taking street photography, and he gets his subjects to open up about life details that even many family members may not know about them. It makes you smile and connect with the images at a new level.

         2.  Paris in Four Months

        Carin Olsson moved to Paris and is documenting every part of her experience, from the macaroons to the Eiffel Tower with all of its shimmering lights. If you want to go to Paris but can’t get there today, Carin will take you.

        3. Civilized Caveman Cooking

        George Bryant offers up more than his love for cooking Paleo cuisine as he shares more about life, joy, and happiness. His coined hashtag is #hugsandbacon.

        4. Andrew Knapp

        Andrew has taken the world by storm with his adorable version of Where’s Waldo? His version is Find Momo, and stars his border collie.

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        5. Idafrosk

        Ida Skivenes has developed a knack for food art. From the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Strawberry Fields Forever, she has recreated it all with food.

        6. GrandmaBetty33

        Grandma Betty is fighting cancer and is inspiring others to smile and be happy in life. She brings a smile to your face instantly and is like having your grandma right beside you.

        7. Maya_on_the_Move

        Tania Ahsan captures the world of her cute bulldog, Maya, on her adventures in New York. Maya makes appearances that will make you smile, laugh, and inspire you to go out and create something special.

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        8. Leoleoparis

        Leo captures the life on the streets of Paris. Most of his work is done in black and white, offering that iconic Parisian look.

        9. Jacob Santiago

        Jacob Santiago creates stunning, vibrant images around New York City, showcasing the architecture and streets. I’m sure you haven’t seen the streets of NYC like this before.

        10. Julie’s Kitchen

        Julie Lee showcases how everyday produce can create colorful art designs. At first glance, you think it is just a design; then, a second take illustrates that it is really fruits and vegetables.

        11. iloveplaymo

        iloveplaymo brings together photography and Playmobil toys in action. The images are up to date with current world events and everyday life.

        12. “Red” Hong Yi

        Red Hong Yi loves to paint without a paintbrush. Her style uses daily items to create lovely images.

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        13. Alexis Diaz

        A breathtaking artist from Puerto Rico who loves to paint murals. Alexis’s work is featured all over the world.

        14. Murad Osmann

        Murad Osmann is a music video producer, but his claim to fame on Instagram has been his photographs with his girlfriend leading him by her hand.

        15. Simone Bramate

        Simone Bramate is a storyteller who just so happens to take delightful photos as well.

        16. Willie Kessel

        Willie Kessel brings beach life right to your smartphone. Amazing surf and lifestyle images that take your mind off of all of the work and stress in your life.

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        17. Nick Ulivieri

        Nick Ulivieri is a talented photographer who loves to capture the windy city of Chicago and skies, especially during storms. His images are gorgeous and make you realize how wonderful life really is.

        18. Jo Jerry

        Jo Jerry’s landscape photos around Santorini, Greece, make you want to book a flight immediately. The bright colors and simplicity in the images make his photos stand out from the rest.

        19. GoPro

        GoPro uses fan-sourced images on their account that are all captured with a GoPro. Creativity to the max is used in these images and range from the grocery store to incredible surf.

        20. Vin Farrell

        Vin Farrell is a creative who works on the agency side for large clients and has a knack for photography. His iPhone captures amazing aerial images around NYC and the world.

        Featured photo credit: Andy via flickr.com

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