Glenn Williams is my friend and colleague here at Focus on the Family. In addition to serving as our Chief Operating Officer, Glenn is a psychologist, writer and substance abuse expert who has worked with parents and teens for more than 20 years. He’s recently authored an excellent new book titled, Talking Smack, on the perils of drug addiction, and offers mothers and fathers practical advice in dealing with the subject. I was privileged to be invited to pen the foreword and would love to offer you a sneak peek of the project.
Some time ago, Glenn was in Australia promoting How to Drug Proof Your Kids, a curriculum he developed to help parents navigate their children away from the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. One pastor told Glenn that How to Drug Proof Your Kids simply wasn’t a necessary resource for his congregation. After all, his church was located in an affluent suburb and most of the kids came from relatively healthy, stable homes.
A few weeks later, the pastor who previously declined help called Glenn in desperation. As it turned out, his own child, as well as several other kids from the church youth group, were actively experimenting with marijuana. The illusion that his congregation—and indeed, his own family—was “safe” from the influence of illegal drugs had been shattered.
I can’t state it any more plainly than this: If you’re a parent, you need to read this book. Drug and alcohol abuse do not discriminate. They impact children in every nation and every environment and every walk of life. No matter how compliant or well behaved your children are, please don’t put your head in the sand and think that you won’t have to confront this issue with them at some point. Drugs pollute both the ghetto and the country club. They are found in both public and private schools. They can be found in urban and rural environments, and everywhere in between.
Regardless of cultural background or socioeconomic status, no one ever grew up wanting to be an addict. But somewhere along the way, he or she believed the lie that the abuse of drugs or binge drinking was nothing more than harmless fun or a way to blunt emotional pain. And by that point, it was too late to turn back. Drugs and alcohol have a way of deluding users into believing that they can somehow remain in control, even as they engage in an activity that destroys both body and soul.
As president of Focus on the Family, I see evidence of this all too often. Every day the staff at Focus receive e-mails, phone calls, and letters from individuals and families teetering on the brink of collapse as a result of drugs and alcohol. What began as “innocent experimentation” quickly descended into a nightmare of addiction. It’s incredibly difficult to learn about a teenager caught up in a pattern of drug or alcohol abuse, but it’s equally traumatic to read of the pain and sorrow endured by his parents. In most cases, they are caught completely off-guard by the revelation of their child’s addiction. They didn’t think it could happen in their family. By the time they are made aware of the problem, their precious child has been arrested or has overdosed . . . or worse.
This is a bleak picture. But take heart! There are a number of steps that you, as a parent, can take to avoid scenarios like those I have just described. And that’s what Talking Smack: Who’s Speaking with Your Kids about Drugs and Alcohol, If You’re Not? is all about. Glenn has spent years in the trenches developing and teaching the How to Drug Proof Your Kids curriculum, and the wisdom and experience he has gained through that process are reflected in Glenn’s resource. I have a few other thoughts on this topic which I’ll share tomorrow. Meanwhile, why not consider ordering a copy of Glenn’s book.