Last week I had the privilege of interviewing a gentleman named Kiley San Martin, a recovering addict and alcoholic who recently opened up a recovery program for teens ages in San Diego called True Teen Recovery (TTR). Kiley, who went through several recovery programs himself as a teenager, and has worked for years at various recovery facilities, saw a niche for kids 12-18 that was not being filled within the local community. He wanted to develop a center for teens and their parents where they could receive intensive outpatient counseling, and truly learn how to “experience life on life’s terms.”
At TTR, there are a few levels of outpatient care, ranging from a few counseling sessions a week, including one weekly family session, to a 12-week Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). In all of the counseling programs, the kids work on life lessons such as coping skills for a life without drugs, taking accountability, building self-esteem and goal setting. Family sessions are integral to TTR and are a major contributing factor to the consistent success of the program.
I asked Kiley what is one of his biggest pieces of advice for parents and he said, “don’t be blind.” Stay in tune with your child, their behaviors and their friends. Drinking and drugs are rampant with kids ages 12-18, so it’s best not to turn a blind eye and assume that your child would never participate in such actions. Chances are, they have and they do, at least “dabble” which is how addiction begins.
Warning signs that your child may have an alcohol or substance abuse problem are also some of the normal side effects of just being a teen, but he said to watch for any combination of the following:
- Mood swings
- Drastic change in behavior
- Bad grades
- Change in circle of friends
- Lots of sleeping or just a change in sleeping pattern
- Money missing or blowing through allowance
- Depression and anxiety
Though my kids are only five and three years old, I definitely worry about these kinds of life issues on our road ahead. It’s a delicate, yet volatile and potentially life threatening issue and I am happy to know that there are facilities like TTR that help parents tread these treacherous waters with our children.
To find out more about TTR, go to their website at trueteenrecovery.com or call them at 619.339.9932.