Clarity House Sober Living for Women Director of Operations Mike Joly Provides Tips for Parents of Young Substance Abusers

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Mike Joly, director of Operations for Clarity House and CEO of New Life House, has specialized in sober living for young adults over the past seventeen years. Working with substance abusers and their parents, he has encountered the dilemma that keeps young women from achieving sobriety as early as young men.

Gender biases and societal pressures influence people to treat men and women differently. These tendencies in parents to treat daughters differently are understandable - yet detrimental.

Mike Joly found that young women do not receive timely and effective family intervention for substance abuse compared to young men and developed these tips to help parents understand why a timely intervention will help save lives. The same common themes that keep young women from achieving sobriety as early as young men are: they have too many distractions available to them, they are not willing to sit on their hands and do what needs to be done and their parents are enabling their behavior.

2. Parents treat daughters differently than sons. A parent will come to the conclusion that some form of intervention is needed immediately with a son, but they will let the problem fester to the point where it becomes dangerous when daughters are concerned. Moms and dads are afraid that if they draw the hardline, their daughters will run away, be physically harmed, be raped, get pregnant, etc. Parents are taught to keep daughters safe and that loving them more will help, when in reality love without firm boundaries hurts.

3. Girls, being mature earlier than boys, hold it together and continue to present themselves well and this makes it harder to identify the extent of their drug and alcohol use.

4. There are striking differences between the recovery rate of young female substance abusers and the recovery rate of young men.

5. Young female substance abusers take advantage of this parental nurturing tendency, causing parents to be more vulnerable to manipulation. In trying to protect their daughters from these scenarios, parents unknowingly prolong the addictive behavior hindering recovery and contributing to a recipe for disaster. Enabling tendencies in parents are understandable, yet detrimental.

6. By parents continually trying to keep their daughter’s safe, they are actually taking care of their own anxieties rather than their daughters. The result is that it’s the child who remains in control. The outcomes parents are afraid of happening actually do end up happening. These young woman never get the opportunity to open up, take a hard look at themselves and realize what is necessary for real change to come about.

7. While substance abuse changes behavior in every addict and alcoholic, regardless of age, demographic, sex, etc., young women are particularly vulnerable because of the nature of their parental relationship. Additionally, they lack the maturity and self-esteem necessary to make the healthy choices they so earnestly need to make at this pivotal time in their lives. This becomes a destructive cycle that can only be broken when parents can escape societal pressures regarding how they view and support their daughters, confront their own anxieties, and insist on immediate intervention.

8. Clarity House’s work with female addicts and their parents has shown Joly that many needless accidents and deaths could be prevented if parents were more aware and supported by 12 step programs such as Al Anon.

Mike Joly created the Clarity House model of recovery based on his seventeen years in the sober living business. Clarity House offers a structured environment where young women feel safe and supported while discovering the reasons behind their substance abuse. Here the distractions and influences are eliminated, allowing time to focus on building healthy relationships, taking responsibility for actions and developing self-esteem. Clarity House has found that young people in general bond better together and are motivated more in a peer-centered environment. Young women can’t identify with the housewife who has lost custody of her children, but feel in alignment with someone their own age facing the same age-specific life challenges.

To find out more about how Clarity House Sober Living can offer a struggling young woman the solution to a life free of drugs and alcohol please visit their website here or call them at 888.357.7577

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Martha Lockie
New Life House
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