July 31, 2017

Of Fear, Ignorance, and Ambivalence

Relating to the issue of increased substance abuse and addiction in our communities, the question was asked,

What do you think your community needs to implement to address demand?”

My response…

Engaged and involved parents of adolescent children willing to learn about addiction, trauma, and what their children are experiencing as they pass thru this critical developmental period in their lives. Parents don’t know what they need to know; when they are finally willing to learn, it’s often too late.

The biggest challenge we face in dealing with the issue of substance abuse and addiction in our communities is Fear, Ignorance, Ambivalence!

Ignorance: As a whole, our society doesn’t even understand addiction. Far too many people in our country are totally unaware they are living with an addiction or are have someone in their world hiding an addiction, and have no idea the impact it is having on themselves or others. (we could also call this “denial”)

Ambivalence: Unless the problem doesn’t affect someone directly, they could care less. Of course, these same people are happy to share their opinion even if it is devoid lack of insight, wisdom or knowledge.

Fear: Afraid of being exposed. There is no way this problem could possibly affect me; I am not that kind of parent, my child is not that kind of child, and I have no desire to defend or be challenged by the way I live my life or raise my kids when I know what I am doing. (ah yes, another round of denial)

There you have it, a majority of our population are either too complacent, too selfish, or too arrogant to take the time to discover what is needed to truly understand the issue. Instead of becoming part of the solution, they have chosen by their behavior to allow the issue to continue worsen.

Change only occurs in the realm of awareness, followed by action. A person living in a world of ignorance and passivity accepts the status quo when they choose to avoid learning or getting involved. For those who have determined they are too busy or too smart for their own good, they often discover the harsh lesson of what they don’t know when a crisis like this hits home; far too late to affect change.

I am specifically calling out parents for not being engaged because their children are the ones most likely to become intertwined in substance abuse and addiction. Despite all the hope and belief it won’t be their child, one out of every twelve parents will soon enter into a difficult reality once addiction does involve their child. Many of the issues related to substance abuse and addiction could be avoided if parents would simply take the time to understand what the issue is and how they can effectively address the topic with their children at home.

Despite much committed effort, prevention education in schools alone changes nothing. If this were true, substance abuse and addiction would not be on its meteoric rise. The missing component in prevention education is engaged parents willing to be proactive in their awareness interactions in the home. This cannot happen if parents do not participate in available educational programs in their schools and communities.

Right now, the only people actually addressing the issue are affected family members and other highly engaged activists. As much as I love the passion and energy that comes from the efforts in this demographic, the impact of and results in their work are relatively limited in contrast to the scale and pace of the problem.

Too many people are dying every day, too many lives are being affected, too many families are being destroyed for anyone to act as though this isn’t my problem or will never be my problem. Wrong! Despite all the pretense, it may very well become your problem!! Then what?

Parents, it is time to get into the game, your child’s future is at stake.


Want more insights from this blog? Join me on the podcast “100Pedals Talk: Inside the Blog” as I delve deeper into this post and share personal stories or reflections behind the article. (Note: The podcast relating to any particular blog is released on Thursday of the same week this blog is posted.) Subscribe to this podcast on I-Tunes here.

I would love to hear from you. What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help.  Please let me know: dave@100Pedals.com.

Dave Cooke is going on the Road! Learn more about this year’s cross county cycling trip from Charleston, SC to San Diego, CA at Cycling for Recovery 2017.





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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.