Teen Depression and Self-harm – 348

How can we use our recovery tools to help us when our loved ones are suffering from mental illness? Is it harder when our loved one is our child?

Roberta shares her experience, strength, and hope around these questions. Our conversation was guided by these questions.

  • How/when did you come to Al-Anon?
    • Give as much or as little of that journey as you wish.
  • How and when did you realize your daughter’s problems?
  • What was your initial reaction / response to them?
  • What program tools are you using to support her and to keep your own “sanity”?
    • Serenity Prayer
    • A place to go — program friends
    • Meetings — Zoom!
    • “This too shall pass” — the wave comes in and then it goes out
    • Podcast.
    • Loving Detachment
    • Acceptance
    • Boundaries (around what we can do)
    • Live in the moment — One day at a time.
    • Prayer
    • Hope (without expectations?)
    • What else?
  • How is this experience similar to your earlier experience with alcoholism?
  • How is it different?
  • How does the fact that she is your child and still a minor make a difference in 
    • What you do?
    • What you feel you should do?
    • What you can do?
    • What others are telling you you should do?
  • What are your fears?
  • Where are you today, emotionally and spiritually?
  • What might you say to other parents who have similar struggles?

Readings and Links

We read from the Al-Anon pamphlet 3 Views of Al-Anon, the section titled :”An Open Letter from an Alcoholic”, and the book Discovering Choices, Chapter 10.

A couple of listeners wrote about the podcast Poetry Unbound.

A listener wrote in response to a question about using recovery to deal with food issues, recommending Overeaters Anonymous.

Upcoming topics

Upcoming topics include “Service”, and “What qualifies your for Al-Anon?” Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecovery.show to share on either of these topics.

Music from the Show

Nina Simone – Feeling Good
Rachel Platten – Fight Song
Eminem – Not Afraid (Explict)
Eminem – Not Afraid (Clean)

6 comments on “Teen Depression and Self-harm – 348

  1. Stephanie S says:

    I try not to have any regret but I sure wish I would have heard this very episode 5 years ago when my struggling daughter was 14 years old. Such inspiration and hope to be gained from this. It would have saved me a lot of parenting mistakes and enabling, anger and fear. It may not have changed the course of my daughter’s choices but I could have been a much better support and help to her. I have been listening to your show for about a year now and cannot get enough. Your show has helped me replace anger and fear with love, compassion and empathy. My daughter has noticed it and we have a great relationship now ! Thank you for all the work you, it is more helpful than any therapy and medication combined !!

  2. Alishiya says:

    Hi Spencer
    Thank you for a wonderful and heartfelt show.
    Your words and efforts are greatly appreciated

    Thank you

  3. Mary says:

    I can’t thank you enough. My daughter attempted suicide this week in a shocking, violent way. I am trying to go back to basics in alanon. This podcast helped. More than you could know. Our mental health journey with our daughter began when she was 16. She’s 26 now and she has added alcohol to the mix. I will be following. Wonderful, honest, clear alanon tools. Gracias.

  4. Alyssa says:

    I have casually listened to the podcast for the last several months, but I have spent the last few days binge listening during a time of crisis. Most of that time was spent listening to this episode. It took a long time to listen to it, because I had to pause it to cry and process so many times. Roberta’s story is my story in many ways. I have been in Al-Anon for many years and my teen daughter was hospitalized last week due to risk of harm to self or others caused by severe anxiety. It has been such a devastating time, and like Roberta I have found the tools and resources of the program invaluable. Thanks to both Spencer and Roberta for this episode in particular that has helped me process my feelings, feel like I’m not alone or a terrible parent, and provide me with additional program tools. “Whatever your problems, there are those of use who have had them too…”

  5. Sarah P says:

    Please help. My 15 year old daughter has just started cutting. While she is in therapy and I am devouring every book I can on the topic, I am mainly needing a support group with other parents who have been through this. Am I reading that correctly, that Al-Anon is a good source of support for this? Thanks so much.

    1. The Recovery Show says:

      You will be able to find other parents in Al-Anon. If not in the first meeting you try, do try some other meetings.

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