Learn how to say no

Friday, February 29, 2008

ScienceDaily (Feb. 29, 2008) — Teens who can recognize and resist the persuasive tactics used in alcohol ads are less likely to succumb to alcohol advertising and peer pressure to drink.

The results of a three-year study of inner-city middle school students by Weill Cornell Medical College researchers appears online in the journal Addictive Behaviors (April print edition). Previous research has shown the connection between advertising and adolescent alcohol, use as well as the influence of peers in promoting adolescent alcohol use.

"There are many pressures on teens to drink. One very powerful influence is advertising — from television to billboards, it's everywhere. Our study found their ability to be critically aware of advertising as well as their ability to resist peer pressure are both key skills for avoiding alcohol," says Dr. Jennifer A. Epstein, lead author and assistant professor of public health in the Division of Prevention and Health Behavior at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Results were taken from surveys of over 2,000 predominantly African-American adolescents from 13 inner-city junior high schools in New York City over three years. The study found that seventh graders better able to be critically aware of advertising — something the study terms "media resistance skills" — were significantly less likely to drink alcohol as ninth graders.

These same seventh graders were more likely to have developed better skills for resisting peer pressure by the eighth grade, further reducing their likelihood of drinking. Armed with media resistance and peer refusal skills (saying "no"), these students were less likely to succumb to advertising and peer pressure to drink alcohol subsequently in the ninth grade.

Alcohol is the number one drug of choice in this country and among our nation's youth. A recent report by the Surgeon General found that despite laws against it, underage drinking is deeply embedded in American culture, viewed as a rite of passage and facilitated by adults.

"Our findings point to the need for prevention programs that teach adolescents media resistance skills and peer refusal skills to reduce the likelihood that they will succumb to the powerful dual influences of alcohol advertising and peer pressure," says Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, the senior author; professor of psychology in public health and professor of psychology in psychiatry; and chief of the Public Health Department's Division of Prevention and Health Behavior.

Dr. Botvin, who developed the award-winning Life Skills Training (LST) substance-abuse prevention program for junior high and middle school students more than 25 years ago, continuously works with his colleagues to refine and disseminate the program through research and teaching. (Dr. Botvin has a financial interest in LST, and his consulting company provides training and technical assistance for the program.)

This study was supported by a grant to Dr. Epstein from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and to a grant to Dr. Botvin from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Adapted from materials provided by Weill Cornell Medical College.

Video Game Addiction

Monday, February 25, 2008

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
June 8, 2007

While it has long been suspected that video games can cause problems in a person’s life if they play them for too long, too often, more recent research confirms that video games do have an impact. There are things, however, that a person can do to reduce the impact of video game playing and reduce the likelihood of video game addiction seriously impacting a person’s life.
What to Do to Better Cope with Video Game Addiction

If you feel like you can’t part from your favorite video game or have run up huge gaming WoW bills unexpectedly, don’t worry, there are some steps you can take to bring your relationship with video games back down to earth.

1. Track your video game use. Yes, it’s a pain to do, but the more you keep track of the time you spend playing video games, the better you’ll be able to control it. Jot down in a notepad when you start and stop game play. Keep the journal for a week’s time, then review the amounts of time you’re spending on each game, or if it’s just one game, the activities that keep you in-game for so long.

2. Start the weaning. Now that you know you’re spending 20 hours a week on game play, it’s time to start cutting back. Take it slow and start with the least important game or activity in a game. Commit to reducing the time spent on that game or activity just 10% the first week. So if you’re spending 10 hours a week on planning for battles, aim for 9 hours the next week. That means being more conscious each time you’re in-game doing that activity, and trying to cut things short sooner rather than later.

3. Commit to being in the moment. One of the reasons people enjoy playing video games as much as they do is because it is very rewarding and often, fun. Most modern video games also offer a level of social interactivity with other players in the game, which is also rewarding. The key here is to prioritize what’s important in your life. If it’s more important for you to spend time with your online friends that your IRL friends or significant other, that’s your choice. But don’t expect your significant other to still be there when you decide you have time for him or her. It is a choice you make every time you pick up the control or sit at the keyboard, and it is one you have to become more conscious of in order to change that choice to one that can accommodate both in your life. Living life in the moment means, first of all, to live life outside of a screen.

4. You don’t need that kind of connection. So many people spend so much time online or in playing video games because they believe it is a necessary part of their connections with others, or with their ability to move forward in the game. For what purpose? If you need such hyperactive connectivity, that suggests something isn’t entirely healthy with some of those relationships to begin with. Or that the game was designed to only reward spending massive amounts of time playing it. Great for the game developers or publishers, who are enjoying your money. Not so great for you. While it’s fun for a time, it’s not going to lead to a higher-quality relationship or a better, more enjoyable life (especially if it’s creating anxiety and problems in your existing life).

5. Turn it off. Yes, that’s right. Turn it off. There’s no easier way to deal with video game addiction than to simply turn off the console or the computer and go out and do something different. By turning it off, you’re taking back conscious control of your life and this little piece of technology. Instead of it calling to you, you’re telling it, “Hey, I’ve had enough for one day. Seeya in the morning.” Set a deadline every evening for a time to retire game playing, and then don’t check or play it again until the next morning.

6. Technology works for us, not the other way around. If technology is taking control of your life — creating stress, anxiety, arguments with other people in your life, or financial hardships — then you have a backwards relationship with technology. Technology — including video games — works for us. If it’s not working for you, you’re chosen to be on the losing side of the relationship, and it’s time to put a stake in the ground and take responsibility and control for your use of the technology. Set aside specific times of the day or evening you will play your favorite video game, for instance, rather than doing so every spare moment you get. Instead of playing video games being the default thing you do, change the default to “living my life.”

Video game addiction doesn’t have to ruin your life, your work, or your relationships with others. If these tips still don’t help, it might be a sign that your video game addiction is more of an issue in your life than you realized. A psychotherapist who has experience in treating addictions can often help in such a case, and it is a treatment you should explore if you can’t reduce video game playing on your own.

What's Related

* Understanding More about Sexual Addiction
* What If Someone I Know Is a Compulsive Gambler?
* Neurofeedback Training for Your Brain
* Is Sexual Addiction a Recognized Disorder?
* More articles about holiday coping
* If You Think You Have a Problem with Sexual Addiction
* If Someone You Know Has a Problem with Cocaine
* Preparing Kids for Holiday Visits
* Symptoms of Sexual Addiction
* Self Quiz: Am I Addicted to Sex?
* Other articles by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Teen girls see sex assaults as ‘normal,’ educator says

Friday, February 22, 2008

A growing number of teenage girls view sexual harassment and even assault as “normal,” says a top Toronto school board official.
Gerry Connelly described the “new normal” phenomenon during her keynote address at the annual Safe Schools Conference in Toronto today.
“A young girl will see somebody being pushed against a locker and fondled inappropriately, or they are being touched inappropriately and they say: ‘Well that’s just the way it is,’” said Ms. Connelly, director of education at the Toronto District School Board.

“Well folks, that’s not acceptable, but our young girls are treating it like it is acceptable and we have to address that.”
The Toronto school safety report released last month found that “sexual assault and sexual harassment are prevalent in TDSB schools.”
According to a survey conducted at one North York high school, 33% of students surveyed reported being sexually harassed in the school over the past two years. Twenty-nine per cent reported being the victim of unwanted sexual contact, including touching or grabbing at their school, and 29 female students or 7% of respondents reported being the victim of a major sexual assault at their school.
Another report on sexual harassment at 23 Ontario schools by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health showed that 30% of Grade 9 girls and 28% of Grade 11 girls reported having been touched, grabbed or pinched in a sexual way.
The panel behind the school safety report, led by human rights lawyer Julian Falconer, said more must be done to encourage students to report all incidents of violence, and urged a sexual assault and gender-based violence prevention strategy at the TDSB.

Ms. Connelly said she was disturbed to learn that 80% of TDSB students said they would not talk to teachers or police about crimes they witnessed or experienced.
“Why? You’ve heard the expression: snitches get stitches,” she said told the audience, which included educators, social workers and police officers.
But students also worry that if they tell, their parents will forbid them from associating with certain peers or force them to switch schools, said Ms. Connelly. Many students do not trust police, she said.

Some schools have “safe rooms” where female students can talk freely about their feelings. But more must be done to create more welcoming environments that combat the “code of silence” that appears to be fostering gender-based violence directed at girls, said Ms. Connelly, who cited figures from the CAMH study and a TDSB survey that showed the troubling rate of sexual harassment and assault in schools.
For example, 21% of surveyed TDSB students said they knew at least one student who had been sexually assaulted at school over the past two years.
“It’s a phenomenon across Canada, and it’s a phenomenon that is not well researched or understood,” said Ms. Connelly.

Ontario’s education minister today announced a team of safety and education experts will examine the causes of sexual harassment, homophobia and gender-based violence and draw up recommendations to prevent the behaviours.
The Canadian Safe School Network, which put on the conference, is developing a program that addresses sexuality and unhealthy relationships among girls in Grades 6 to 10. Pauline Auty, a former guidance counselor who is part of the network, detailed some of the shocking revelations in focus groups across the province, including some from mothers as young as 12 and 13 years old. “We don’t know how to have a healthy relationship,” the girls told her. “We just know what feels good.” The children also distinguish between relationships between their friends and relationships between adults. “They think it’s OK for kids to sleep around, as long as they don’t tell (but they think) it’s not OK for adults,” said Ms. Auty.
source: The National Post

Internet Addiction

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Because cyberspace can satisfy so many of the adolescent's needs, there is the possibility of becoming "addicted" to it. Are all teens susceptible to this danger? No. Some will always be casual users, some may just go through phases of intense internet use. The ones who do fall prey to the net most likely are experiencing problems in their real lives. Cyberspace becomes an escape, a place to vent, a place to act out or even cry out for help.

As Dr. Kimberly Young -- a psychologist who studies internet addiction -- points out in her book "Caught in the Net," internet-obsessed adolescents may become the "identified patient" in the family. Fingers are pointed at them and at the "evils" of the internet, when the real problems probably lie in the family.

What are some of the danger signals of excessive internet use? In her book, Dr. Young identifies several warning signs:

-- Denial and lying about the amount of time spent on the computer or about what they are doing on the computer.

-- Excessive fatigue and changes in sleeping habits, such as getting up early or staying up late (in order to spend more time online).

-- Academic problems, usually grades slipping. Sometimes parents might overlook the fact that the computer is the culprit since they assume their children are doing school work at the keyboard.

-- Withdrawal from friends and declining interest in hobbies (online friends and activities are taking the place of the "real" world).

-- Loss of appetite; irritability when cut-off from computer use; a decline in their appearance or hygiene.

-- Disobedience and acting out. Teens may become very hostile when parents confront them. They may deliberately break the computer-use rules that are set. Their reactions may be so intense because they feel that they are being cut off from their attachments to cyberfriends.

by John Suler, Ph.D.

The Power of Journaling

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I am a firm believer that there is no greater self-help or self-exploration tool than a journal. That’s right—a simple blank book and a pen can help you manifest millions of dollars. It can help you identify goals. It can ease emotional pain or grief. It can transport you back in time. The journal is a physical manifestation of the contents within your own mind and heart. In this article, I am going to list some basic techniques and guidelines to follow when journaling.

Your life is special and worth recording. I firmly believe that all human life is special and purposeful. You and I were placed on this world for a reason and we have a limited time on this world to establish our legacy. Some very famous people in history have the benefit of having others essentially journal for them in chronicles, biographies, and other materials that record their life, but the best and most accurate record of who you are now and who you will be remembered as after you leave this world will be through the journals that you write.

Write only for yourself. A client of mine once asked me if it was okay to journal on an internet blog for everyone to read. She said that all of her friends had created blogs and that it seemed like a fun thing to do. I told her that there is nothing wrong with blogging, but for the purposes of life journaling, you should keep your journal private and write strictly for yourself. This is because we write differently when we know that our writing will be read by other people. We have what is known as an internal editor inside our minds who edits what we write and it’s this internal editor who prevents us from genuinely writing from the heart. So while I think blogs are fun and great to share with others, a life journal needs to be written with a one-person audience in mind—you. Now this is not to say that you can’t ever share your journal with anyone. I have often shared my journal entries with the people who are special in my life, but there is a difference between sharing an entry later on and writing that entry for yourself in mind.

Human memory is fallible so write it down. Our organic memory is not as sharp as one would think. Over time, our memories of certain events either get washed away or become tainted with our retrospective and emotional views of that event. Journaling is like taking a snapshot photo of our mind and emotions during that event. It allows our memory to remain true as to the events of our past and by reading those entries months, even years later, catapults us back to that moment in time and allows us to remember it with much greater detail and accuracy than if we relied on memory alone.

Select a physical journal, not a computer. Although many people in this day and age are much more accustom to typing rather than handwriting, I argue that for the purposes of journaling, there is a big difference. In my workshops, I advocate the use of a physical journal you can hold in your hand because you can always take it with you wherever you go. I myself have some great adventures all over the world and often I go weeks without any access to electricity. Having a journal and a pen in my backpack as I explore the Amazon of Brazil or trek the desert plains of Australia is lightweight and always available to jot down notes.

Invest in a quality journal. Your journal is the most important book you will ever own. The thoughts and ideas and emotions that are contained within its pages are more precious than anything you possess because it becomes a part of you. Therefore I suggest investing in a journal that is representative of those special thoughts and ideas. Personally, I choose a handmade leather journal for all my life journaling not only because it is highly rugged and durable, but also because it looks nice and will remain that way far after I am gone. Investing some money into a good journal that you like will also be an incentive for you to actually follow through with consistent journaling practices.

-10 to +10. One thing that I do different in my journaling practices and what I suggest you do also is give yourself a pain – pleasure ranking next to the date that you write your entry. On a scale of -10 (most painful) to +10 (most pleasurable), rate yourself on how you feel at that particular time. Do this for two reasons. One, it is good for you to know exactly how you are feeling each day and to quantify that experience with a numerical value. Two, you can go back and review how you felt on a given day and you can thumb through your entries and see if there exists a pattern of low feelings or high feelings and what the cause of those feelings were.

Self-probing questions. When people think of journaling, they think of simply logging the day’s events on paper. This is far from true with my journaling techniques. Of course, I do recommend regular event recording, but I also advocate interweaving what I call self-probing questions along with those other journal entries. Self-probing questions are questions you ask yourself and from which you brainstorm your own answers to. It’s a way of reaching deep within your mind and your heart to retrieve answers that may not have surfaced to your conscious mind. Self-probing questions help you bring clarity to issues in your life that need to be solidified in your mind. For example, in one such entry of mine, I asked myself the question of what exactly are my dreams in life? What did I want to accomplish, see, or do in my life before I die? I brainstormed and wrote down every answer without evaluating or judging those answers and let me tell you, I came up with goals that I never even realized I had, but made sense to me after I realized that I did in fact have such goals in the back of my mind. Each week ask yourself an intuitive question and brainstorm answers on paper without evaluating them….just write them down. You might be surprised at how powerful this technique is.

Author: Tristan Loo

Parental Drinking Boosts Teen Alcohol Risks

Sunday, February 10, 2008

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Parents' drinking directly influences teen drinking and also has an indirect effect through teen perceptions of parenting, especially monitoring and disciplines, a new study says.

Reporting in the February issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers analyzed data collected from 2,402 male and 2,329 female teens and their parents in Finland. The teens were asked about their alcohol use and intoxication at ages 14 and 17.5, while the parents were asked about frequency of alcohol use and intoxication, as well as their lifetime prevalence of alcohol-related problems.

"We wanted to, first, examine the extent of the relationship between the drinking behaviors of parents and those of their adolescent offspring at 14 and 17.5 years of age," corresponding author Shawn J. Latendresse, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a prepared statement.

"Second, we wanted to determine how much of that association was due to parents' drinking behaviors affecting their ability to parent responsibly, which translated into a risky or protective environment," Latendresse said.

The study found that, among parental dimensions examined, monitoring and discipline played the strongest intermediary role in associations between parental and adolescent drinking behaviors. The researchers also found that the magnitude of this role was much stronger during early adolescence, while parental drinking had a stronger effect on teen drinking in later adolescence.

"With respect to individual aspects of parenting, our analyses show that parental alcohol use, intoxication, and problem drinking symptoms are consistently associated with decreases in monitoring and increases in discipline," Lantendresse said.

"Decreases in monitoring are related to higher levels of adolescent alcohol use at age 14 and more frequent intoxication at both 14 and 17.5. Likewise, increases in discipline are linked to more frequent use and intoxication but only when adolescents are 17.5," Lantendresse said.

While the study findings "are consistent with the protective effects of parental monitoring, it is important to note that excessive discipline may actually have the unintended effect of conveying greater risk for alcohol-related behaviors among adolescents as they get older and are seeking a greater sense of autonomy," the statement said.

Battling The Binge

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Now we have begun to get to grips with stopping the nation smoking and turning our attention to obesity, alcohol abuse must be the next big issue to have health chiefs scratching their heads for a solution.

The tragic rail death of Roddy Stewart, just before his 17th birthday this week, brings in to sharp focus the way teenagers treat alcohol.

There are few who abstain and many are binge drinkers from an early age.

Recent figures released under Freedom of Information for the Highlands and Islands show 61 under-18s were lifted by Northern Constabulary in 2007 for public drunkenness. In 2006 it was 49.

Although the full details of how the schoolboy came to be hit by a train on the rail line after a pre-birthday celebration with friends are yet to come out, his father admits drink was undoubtedly a factor in his death.

The young lad did not want to say "No" to people, according to his father.

"He would go along with the social convention and if that meant going out to celebrate his forthcoming birthday with friends then he would do it. Inevitably, at that age, alcohol is involved at some stage," said the former policeman.

And, that must be one of the key messages to try to hammer home to young people — saying no is not uncool and neither is knowing when to stop.

Roddy did nothing wrong with the peer pressure and social conventions currently circulating in our society.

But, until we built into our psyche, at the youngest age, the health and social consequences of continually overindulging in alcohol, the results will become apparent as young men and women start showing up on statistics later in life.

The number of people in the UK dying from alcohol-related problems is continuing to rise.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were 13.4 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 population in 2006 — up from 12.9 in 2005.

The mortality rate in men was more than twice the rate for females with the overall death rate almost doubling from that in 1991.

It appears that, for certain younger people who have been drinking heavily for most of their lives, the consequences are beginning to show themselves at ever earlier stages.

Parents also have a responsibility to drive home the message — even if it appears young people are not listening.

A top Ross-shire police officer recently said he was aghast at parents turning up to demand that alcohol confiscated from teenagers be returned, saying many were grateful their youngsters were not turning to drugs.

He explained youngsters are often put under pressure to turn up to a party or gathering with a bottle and what happens is they pinch supplies from the home.

The issue should be tackled from a number of angles — more expensive alcohol could help and, as flagged up by Scotland's largest licensing forum, made up of NHS and local government officials, the police, drinks trade and retail lobbying groups, minimum pricing for drinks could be introduced.

This would allow for a bottom price to be set for alcohol in pubs and clubs.

According to a report by Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, raising alcohol prices by 10 per cent would save the lives of 479 men and 265 women every year.

We should get behind Alcohol Counselling Inverness (ACI) which, as we highlight today, is trying to raise awareness about the risks associated with drinking alcohol.

It has called on Highland Council to provide funding from its education budget so its programme of talks can be rolled out to every school in the area.

Although, we know the council already tackles it through personal and social education.

It would be a step in the right direction.

source: Inverness Courier

Parent's Drinking Raises Risk Of Teenage Alcoholism

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Drinking habits of parents significantly affects their children's future alcohol habits, and as well as their perception of parenting, a new study shows.

Experts from the Virginia Commonwealth University drew their findings from an experiment involving teenagers, 2,402 males and 2,329 females in Finland, as well as their parents. The scientists asked the teenagers about their alcohol use and intoxication experiences during the ages of 14, and 17.5.

The parents were then asked about their own alcohol use, and intoxications. Questions were also raised about any lifelong alcohol-related problems, according to HealthDay.

"We wanted to, first, examine the extent of the relationship between the drinking behaviors of parents and those of their adolescent offspring at 13 and 17.5 years of age," said author Shawn J. Latendresse of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at VCU.

He added that they also intended to find any connections between the parents' alcohol behaviors and the children's perception of parenting, in terms of responsibility and environment.

The findings revealed that monitoring and disciplining were the ones most affected by parental drinking, with it having the greatest effect during early adolescence. According to the experts, these two work together to increase in the teenagers' drinking.

"Although these findings are consistent with the protective effects of parental monitoring," said Latendresse, as quoted by Science Daily, "it is important to note that excessive discipline may actually have the unintended effect of conveying greater risk for alcohol-related behaviors among adolescents as they get older and are seeking a greater sense of autonomy."

Michael Windle, professor at Emory University, added that the results "may be viewed as an empowering finding for parents," and will urge parents to seek help, if it is needed for the sake of their parenting methods.

The research appear in the February issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

source: allheadlinenews.com

Flip sides of an addiction

Monday, February 4, 2008

TWEAK by Nic Sheff (Pocket Books, £7.99)
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff (Pocket Books, £11.99)

When David Sheff's home was burgled, he didn't need the police to find the culprit.

There was a prime suspect, his own 21-year-old son, Nic.

Another time Nic broke into his mother's house to steal her computer. He also burgled his grandparents and once pilfered his nine-year-old stepbrother's moneybox of its $8 savings.

Nic was the walking incarnation of every parent's worst nightmare: a child lost, seemingly irredeemably, to drugs.

Growing up, Nic was the 'beautiful boy' of John Lennon's song. He seemed to have it all. The son of prosperous journalists, he was precociously intelligent, personable and popular, and by his early teens already proving himself a talented artist and writer, a handsome blond surfer, the epitome of middle-class American health.

A brilliant future seemed assured.

Except he was already experimenting with cannabis, and his childhood had not been without difficulties.

His parents divorced when he was seven and joint custody meant he became a frequent flyer between father David in San Francisco and mother Vicki in Los Angeles.

As a young man, David himself had smoked pot and experimented with other drugs. He didn't panic at finding cannabis in his son's room and indeed, Nic's dabbling with drugs, typical of his generation, might have stopped there..

Unfortunately Nic also tried a drug described as 'the number one drug problem in America', crystal meth, formal name methamphetamine, alias tweak, gak, Tina or speed, a drug so addictive it has 35 million users worldwide, compared to 15 million cocaine and seven million heroin users.

Made in makeshift labs from ingredients found in decongestants and brake cleaner, injected and sometimes smoked, crystal meth is highly addictive and very dangerous.

Users often 'tweak', experiencing a psychosis and suffering hallucinations, intense paranoia, deluassions and symptoms similar to schizophrenia.

Tweakers can go without sleep for 15 days and be extremely violent, committing spousal and child abuse, and murder. In some U.S. cities 80-100 per cent of all crime is reckoned to be methrelated.

Meth use is spreading across Britain, too.

The success rate for users permanently kicking the habit may be under ten per cent, and even then it takes at least two years for the ex-addict's burned-out brain to regain normal function, if ever.

Nic Sheff's account of his addiction begins in the middle; he's relapsed after a period of rehab and sobriety, having saved £1,000 from working. It almost seems fun he and lowlife associate Gak find ingenious ways to score drugs.

They set up as drug dealers, buying wholesale and selling in small amounts, but increasingly the merchandise ends up in their own veins and they are so stoned they get ripped off. The money dwindles and the fun stops as the inevitable downward spiral of drug addiction takes over.

We learn the history of Nic's addiction, his twice dropping out of university, his many abortive attempts at therapy and rehab, how he supported his habit by working the streets as a gay prostitute.

His desperate family get him into rehab again, he stays clean for more than a year, has a job and has film reviews published. But one phone call from an addict exgirlfriend and he's using again.

They end up utterly destitute and living in squalor with Nic so wasted he can't even resist his family's attempts to put him in long-term rehab.

Nic's father David's record of these events shows the anguish that addicts' parents face. There are the brief respites when rehab seems to work, then the inevitable relapses when Nic simply disappears and David waits anxiously for the phone to ring.

Often it's Nic spinning him pathetic lies to obtain money; once it's a hospital where Nic's on a life-support machine, having overloaded his system with drugs.

Best is when Nic is under arrest because at least then his father knows where he is. With ever-diminishing hope David gets Nic into rehab after rehab, the emotional cost matched by the financial drain, up to £5,000 a week.

He questions his own responsibility for his son's addiction, despite the '3 Cs' maxim of Al-Anon, a support organisation for families of addicts: 'You didn't cause it. You can't control it. You can't cure it.' Finally David and Vicki persuade Nic into long-term rehab that addresses the psychological roots of his addiction. It appears to work. Now 23, Nic has been sober for 18 months, has a partner and looks on course to lead a productive, happy, drug-free life.

Both takes on this story are riveting, brilliantly written, thoughtful, searingly honest and equally essential. They should be mandatory reading for every teenager and every parent of one.

Buy a copy of 'Tweak'
Buy a copy of 'beautiful Boy'
source: The Daily Mail


Saturday, February 2, 2008


YOUR NOT ALONE! PLEASE VISIT US AT Sober Teens if you have self-harm issues, eating disorders that you could use some help and support with!