Local organization helps to keep kids sober during summertime
Staffers at Recovery Centers of America Devon are focused on keeping students now home from college, as well as high schoolers, whether going down the shore or relaxing at home, safe and sober this summer.
“We are living in an age where kids very early on are bombarded with social media and advertisements that in a large part glorify alcohol,” said Steve Wicke, CEO for RCA Devon.
Julie Toy is the alumni coordinator at RCA Devon and said parents need to educate starting at a very early age.
“As parents we have a responsibility to not show children the appealing part of drinking, while glamorizing,” she said.
Toy suggests facilitating an open dialogue and asking open-ended questions.
“Let them do the talking so that way they feel safe without judgment,” Toy said.
Provide children with an environment that exposes them to other things than alcohol.
“Instead of filling the void, fill the soul,” she said. “Having the conversation with kids gives them power to say ‘No’ and that it’s Ok.
“Judgement from peers will only last for a small fraction of time.”
Stephanie Lewis, 31, is clinical director of RCA Devon and has been in recovery since the age of 21.
She favors open and honest conversations and tells parents to not be scared of what their kids do.
“You want to be involved in their lives and know about what they are doing,” Lewis said.
Lewis said that it can be tough to advise adult children, especially those in their 20s.
“You are not there to be the babysitter, you’re there for support,” she said. “Don’t be too overprotective or baby your children.”
Ask questions; find out where your kids are going and know their friends, Lewis said.
If there is a family history of addiction, let your children know that they might be at a higher risk.
And keep the family together.
“The family that eats dinner together every night might be a little bit different,” Lewis said.
Wicke acknowledged that in some cases drinking is fine.
“When used responsibly there is no problem with alcohol,” he said.
He also said that particularly during the pandemic, he has seen more and more alcohol abuse among younger kids.
But RCA can help.
“It’s a very treatable disease—just as treatable as diabetes,” Wicke said.
RCA offers treatment several ways, including through detox, and residential, outpatient and virtual rehab.
There are several RCA facilities nationwide. Two-thirds of all RCA Devon patients live within 50 miles of the Chester County facility. Three hundred and twenty full and part-time staffers oversee 230 patient beds.
Community resources include Al Anon, AA, Nar Anon and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
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