Hi, I'm Ginny Mills. If any of this sounds like what you are experiencing, then I have a powerful story to share with you.
We started working together when she was a college freshman. Her parents had enlisted my help when they realized that she had been abusing pain meds she was first prescribed following a sports-related injury. For years we went back and forth about whether the opioid issue really signified true addiction, especially since she really wanted to continue drinking and smoking weed with her college friends. Over time though, it became clear. It was the real thing.
Unanticipated detox episodes on Spring Break trips, panic attacks, and periodic return to opioids that always ended up with some kind of personal disaster. It was confusing though because she was brilliant! She was smart enough to avoid using anything but alcohol and weed in social situations, so she never got in trouble with the school or the law. She was bright enough to have great grades despite full blown addiction.
She’d buy Suboxone from a drug dealer to try to self-treat her withdrawal symptoms and always tried to buy prescription opioids because she knew heroin was riskier. But if she couldn’t find pills, she would resort to buying heroin instead. At first, she snorted it. Then she learned how to shoot it. Yep. It was the real thing. But I never anticipated that our story together would include an overdose reversal.
Medical withdrawals from school followed to allow her to go to treatment. Each time, she’d return to school and to our work together – recommitted to abstaining from all opioids, making school her top priority, and rejecting the idea that she needed a formal program of recovery.
Eventually, her addiction was causing enough pain that she finally decided to really commit to an abstinence-based program of recovery. This time, when she went to treatment, she agreed to take an additional semester off to focus on learning how to live a life with recovery at the center. She returned with a commitment to live in a clinically supported sober living program, actively engage in 12-step recovery, work with a psychiatrist, and fight the temptation to jump back into school.
But there was just one thing….her dorm room. She needed to clean it out. She had left it in a wreck when she went to rehab the last time, and the school was insisting. We worked out a plan to take a safe person with her and to go on a weekday morning when everyone was in class. If they found any drugs or paraphernalia, the sober companion would take care of it so she didn’t have to. That was the plan, and it seemed like a sound plan.
As fate would have it, yes, there was heroin there and a needle too. She saw it, but didn’t tell the sober companion. Immediately triggered, she hid it and continued the cleanup routine. They left with the room clean and empty, except for a big fluffy chair that would require a separate trip.
That night, about 9pm, she called. She was obviously impaired but scared. She told me she was in her dorm room. Immediately, I grabbed my naloxone kit, called the school’s security, and advised them that someone needed to meet me at her dorm to let me in. They argued initially, but the urgency in my voice got their attention. They did not offer to call student EMTs and I was too frazzled to think of it.
All I could do was focus on going to her. On the way, my mind was racing. “I’d never done this before. I’ve just had the training. Will I hit something I’m not supposed to hit? Can I do this?” Upon arrival, the officer wanted to be sure there really was an emergency before letting me into her room. When he heard a gurgle and a gasp, he immediately opened the door.
She was blue and not breathing. I followed all the steps: call 911, attempt to rouse the person by shouting and shaking them (nada), sternum rub (nada), and then I drew up my first naloxone syringe. I was shaking when I pulled her shirt away to administer the injection into her muscle. I immediately began giving rescue breaths, stopping to see if she was breathing and shouting her name. Nada.
After two minutes, I drew up and administered the second injection and resumed rescue breaths. Nada. Student EMTs arrived and, once they realized I had already hit her twice with naloxone, put an NG tube up her nose. When she didn’t flinch, I thought for the first time, “Damn! Are you kidding me?! She’s GOT to wake up?! Am I really going to have to call these parents and tell them their daughter has died?!”
The EMTs switched to forced oxygen, and soon we started to see signs of life. She twitched a little and groaned. It seemed like I finally exhaled for the first time since that phone call. The news wouldn’t be good, but at least I knew that when I called those parents, I would be able to begin with “First, let me reassure you, she’s okay. It’s bad, but she’s okay.” And it was.
That overdose reversal was the beginning of this bright, capable, beautiful young woman realizing that her life literally depended on her recovery. She realized that even a single return to use could kill her. And thus began REAL recovery, over 5 years after that first meeting. Our sessions became more real and more productive. Her recovery engagement became regimented and non-negotiable. Her engagement in group was reflective of her own need for insight and a willingness to help others. She was serious….finally.
From those early sessions freshman year through the first year of true recovery, her parents and I worked together closely. I helped them make pivotal decisions with each crisis, each period of cautious optimism, through each treatment center selection, and through those stable months of recovery.
Today, she is over 18 months sober, and she protects her recovery as her most precious commodity. She has graduated and gotten a great job in her chosen field. She has mended relationships with family members and chooses only friends who can support her recovery. She is active in the young people’s recovery movement and attends 12-step meetings several times a week. She works with a therapist to keep attending to those things that can threaten recovery. She is not only alive, but thriving.
Her story is not uncommon. She wanted to believe that she could stop Drug A and keep using Drugs B, C and D because “they never caused a problem.” She wanted to prioritize school. She wanted to be “a normal college kid.” Her parents wanted all those things for her too. The journey was a mixed bag of confusion, irritation, hopefulness, terror, tragedy and finally….FINALLY a full life in recovery.
I can imagine all of these nightmares because I have experienced many of the same things with our own daughter.
I am a mom of a daughter in sustained recovery.
But I’ve also spent nearly 30 years helping parents just like you! As a licensed clinical addiction specialist, I know the difference between partying and addiction, and I know the difference between “going through the motions” and real recovery.
I have led and managed a residential drug and alcohol treatment program, a sober living program, and an outpatient program, so I understand how these programs operate and what you can and should expect from them.
I’m also licensed to treat mental health problems, not just addiction. So if your son or daughter is affected by co-occurring psychiatric issues, I understand the delicate balance of getting symptom relief in addiction recovery.
In short, I’ve walked this journey from all angles with literally hundreds of families and my own.
It would be my honor to walk it with yours.
I'm an addiction professional, and my own daughter spent four long years struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. She hid her addictive using so well that we couldn't figure out what was at the root of so much chaos...so many problems.
She finally realized this was not the path she wanted to follow, and we are thankful that she is now three years into sustained recovery. So, if this can affect our family, it can happen to any of us. The key difference is I knew what to do to not make her situation worse and how to help when she was ready.
In my years of providing support to parents, I've learned that what parents really want is to know what these drugs are doing to their son's or daughter's brains and to learn about strategies and resources to help them.
I created Parenting Through Addiction with you in mind because I know that your instincts are to love, provide, protect, nurture and rescue your child---even if that child is an adult whose behavior has been infuriating, terrifying or unacceptable. You know that this is NOT how you raised them to behave, yet they either seem hell-bent on self destruction or finally open to getting the help you know they desperately need. Either way, you have your own desperation for learning how to save them from drugs, alcohol or themselves.
Parenting Through Addiction is a membership program offered to parents with
a son or daughter struggling with drug or alcohol misuse. Inside you'll find:
"I can’t begin to tell you how much Ginny helped my husband and I through this experience. We have had many counselors throughout the years and Ginny, by far, has been the most helpful to us, as parents."
“Ginny Mills and her staff provided our family with an incredible amount of compassion, support and professionalism. She provided us with clear guidance based on her extensive knowledge and experience.
Ginny was recommended to our family and it turned out to be one of the best calls that we have ever made. It is a journey, but with Ginny's guidance, we now have hope.”
Larry M Parent
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Parenting Through Addiction is helping 1 million parents like you to learn, heal, and know how to respond to your adult child’s substance user issues. You will discover the help you need to continually love, provide, protect, nurture, and stop rescuing your child. You will find the tools you need to make a positive difference in your son or daughter’s journey toward recovery. When you succeed, you get your REAL son or daughter back in your life (not this impostor created by addiction.)
“Ginny brings warmth, strength, and hope to the most difficult circumstances. She doesn't give false hope or sugar coat a situation, instead, using her profound knowledge and ability to communicate clearly with love, she lays out a plan and walks with you toward better days. The advice she gives is not always easy to hear. Her directions are not always easy to take, however, she patiently encourages until progress is consistent. Most amazingly, Ginny has a unique ability to give hope to the hopeless and bring them to a place where they can once again love themselves. I can recommend Ginny without reservation."
Linda B Parent
Ginny has been counseling with adults, adolescents, and parents and leading relapse prevention groups for over 25 years. She is the founder of Full Life Counseling & Recovery since its inception in 2008. Recognizing just how many parents lack access to hope, education, consultation and support, she developed Parenting Through Addiction: The Other PTA to meet that need for families everywhere. Click here to learn more about Ginny and the consulting team
We know. You are not the one with problem. Your son gets high, not you (well, probably not). You grasp that the drugs are causing problems for your daughter, but they are her problems, right?! Oh really. Hmmm. I'm guessing that HER problems have become YOUR problems LOTS of times! If you're like most parents, your child's legal, medical, academic, financial problems have certainly caused problems in your life, and we bet you're tired of it!
Your body and mind were not created with the expectation that you will live in a constant state of fear and high-alert. Adrenalin and cortisol are supposed to give you bursts of energy to react to immediate threats, but when you live with high-Adrenalin and high-cortisol levels most of the time, it takes a serious toll on your body.
Many treatment programs offer great opportunities for families to learn about addiction, communication, boundaries and recovery. You may have attended several and therefore think you've learned what you need to know. But just like rehab alone is not enough to ensure stable recovery, neither are family programs. Our "Families Recover: The First Year" course will help you navigate the distinctive challenges of the first year of recovery. And just like you want your son or daughter to keep going to meetings and doing their recovery work, we hope you'll participate in our weekly Endurance Meeting to keep learning, connecting and finding comfort in the realization that you are not alone and your experiences are shared by so many other families.
We know that there are a number of opportunities for you to get the information, support and guidance you need. Although Parenting Through Addiction is one way, there are others.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
You are fully protected by our 100% Satisfaction-Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with your experience at Parenting Through Addiction, just let us know and we will gladly refund your investment for the last 30 day period of your membership.
Ginny Mills and the PTA Team
We know that not all substance use results in addiction, but when it does, we advocate for early treatment (rather than waiting for the proverbial "rock bottom"). The FREE mini-course will help you draw some conclusions about whether use has likely progressed to addiction -- or at least if it has progressed enough to warrant engaging the services of a professional to offer further assessment. Even if use is not yet addictive, you may find that having more information and support from other parents helps until it's clear one way or another. You will find other parents in similar situations in the Monday night Discovery Group just for parents who do not believe there is an addiction but who are worried nonetheless.
No, PTA is an education and consultation membership site, not counseling. While our consultants are also professional counselors, our role here is different. PTA provides an affordable, accessible, convenient way online for parents to learn about substance use and how to address it at all stages on the journey. There are online courses with video lessons and other resources by topic; inspirational and hopeful engagement; resources to help with treatment selection; and an opportunity to engage with other parents on the journey. Even the private consultations offered are not therapy. Consultants collect information about each family situation and offer solutions and resources to match identified needs.
Treatment centers are like colleges, churches and Rotary Clubs. They may all study some of the same things, but they can vary a LOT depending on the culture, the values of the leadership, where they are located, and what kinds of facilities and services they offer. Sometimes treatment doesn't work because it's a bad fit for the patient, and sometimes it doesn't work because the patient is not yet willing enough to learn about addiction and to do the very hard work of recovery. If your son (or you) balked at aftercare recommendations, then that could explain why treatment didn't work. Our Parent Guide to Understand Rehab, Parent Guide to Choosing Treatment, and our ebook explaining the importance of aftercare could be very helpful. Other parents in the private forum discussion could be very helpful as well.
Imagine if you could have your REAL son or daughter back in your lives (not this imposter)
Imagine being able to celebrate all those milestones you expected to celebrate --- graduations, weddings, births and multi-generational family celebrations
Imagine a happy, carefree family vacation with all your loved ones ~ full of laughter, joy and love.
Imagine going on vacation with your husband with no worries of what will happen while you are away.
Imagine being able to celebrate your son or daughter’s recovery success AND their life success (just like all the other parents)
Imagine curling up on the couch listening to your son or daughter express recognition of the ways in which their drug use and their behavior hurt you and expressing gratitude for your willingness to help and not give up on them
Imagine your son or daughter reassuring you over and over that this is not your fault and knows that you loved them and raised them well
Imagine being able to talk with your son or daughter about practically anything without walking on eggshells
Imagine being able to rest easy with the confidence that your son or daughter is making wise and healthy decisions
Imagine your heart not skipping a beat every time the phone rings.
Yes, I want to join PTA now!
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