Cover image for Straight talk from Claudia Black : what recovering parents should tell their kids about drugs and alcohol
Straight talk from Claudia Black : what recovering parents should tell their kids about drugs and alcohol
Black, Claudia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Center City, Minn. : Hazelden, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 131 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV5801 .B549 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV5801 .B549 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Best-selling recovery author Claudia Black introduces readers to five different families and reveals how each of the parents talked with their kids about recovery, relapse, and the child's own vulnerability to addiction.

Alcohol use, drug use, and addiction are challenging topics for parents to discuss with children. These subjects are even more complex, and more urgent, for recovering parents to discuss with their children. Best-selling recovery author Claudia Black introduces readers to five different families and reveals how each of the parents talked with their kids about recovery, relapse, and the childs own vulnerability to addiction. Discussion tips and clearly presented facts help parents focus on key issues. Age-appropriate strategies help reduce childrens experimentation with alcohol and other drugs.

Author Notes

Claudia A. Black, M.S.W., Ph.D., is a renowned lecturer, author and trainer internationally recognized for both her pioneering and contemporary work with family systems and addictive disorders. Dr. Black's work encompasses the interest of both the professional and lay audiences; she originated a successful model of change in the 1970's that, today, is used in treatment programs worldwide. She designs and presents workshops and seminars, authors books and interactive journals, produces educational videos and consults to various healthcare programs in the United States and abroad. She is currently the Clinical Consultant of Addictive Disorders for The Meadows and a Senior Fellow for the Meadows Institute in Wickenburg, Arizona. Dr. Black is the recipient of a number of national awards including the Marty Mann Award, the 1991 SECAD Award, and the NCA's Educator of the Year. She is also the past Chairperson of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, presently serving on their Advisory Board and, in celebration of Al-Anon's 50th anniversary, spoke on Capitol Hill to members of Congress, constituents and representatives of various addiction and treatment organization. Black's books generate wide appeal. She is the author of It Will Never Happen To Me (more than two million copies sold and now in its 2nd updated edition,) Changing Course, My Dad Loves Me, My Dad Has A Disease, Repeat After Me II, It's Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood, The Anger Guide, Relapse Toolkit and A Hole in the Sidewalk. Claudia has produced eighteen videos including The History of Addiction and The Legacy of Addiction and a number of CDs including A Time for Healing from Abandonment and Shame and Putting the Past Behind. Author Home Page: Author email:

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Black, an addiction expert known for her work on the adult children of alcoholics (It Will Never Happen to Me), here shifts her focus to recovering parents, in turn addressing the needs of their children. Based on the sensible idea that parents struggling with addiction face unique challenges in fostering antidrug/alcohol attitudes, her latest book acknowledges the genetic component of addiction while stating that the process is not inevitable. Provided are useful tools for assessment (e.g., "the family tree") and remediation grounded in the 12-step program philosophy. Early chapters review current information on brain chemistry, generational vulnerability, and phenomena such as multiple addictions, tolerance levels, relapse, and blackouts. The emphasis then moves to straightforward and realistic advice about self-forgiveness, making amends for past behavior, and new ways of relating to loved ones. Personal stories drawn from five diverse families are used throughout; limited references are provided at the conclusion. This candid and hope-filled book merits strong consideration by large public libraries and specialized collections given the prevalence of some form of addictive behavior in families.-Antoinette Brinkman, M.L.S., Evansville, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter 1Straight Talk about Addiction and Recovery On December 31, 1986, the day after I got sober, the last thing I wanted to face was what I had done to my kids. Prior to sobriety, as a father, what I had going for me was the law, the Ten Commandments, and the tradition that adult men protect their kids. So when I became sober, the first thing I wanted to do was quickly reassert their respect for me based upon everything I had going for me. This might have worked when they were small and I had drank only a short period, but by the time I got sober nobody could say that I deserved all of the respect that the law and the Ten Commandments provided for. I realized I was going to have to get to know the kids and vice versa. For me it meant being friends first. The kids really wanted me to be a parent, and I wanted to regain their respect. Today I have been in recovery for several years and have regained that respect, but not by asserting what I had in the first place. Instead I earned respect by "letting go" of the outcome of my relationships after I had done all I could to change, trusting that God would then do his thing. Wally It has always been my belief that parents truly love their children and genuinely want what is best for them, yet that message often becomes convoluted, inconsistent, and sometimes nearly nonexistent when addiction begins to pervade the family system. As much as parents want to correct this, the focus of early recovery is often on recovery practices, marriage or partnership, and job or career. This is coupled with parents frequently just not knowing what to say to their children or how best to interact with them. This confusion can be as true for the adult child as it is for the adolescent-age or younger child. In many cases it is easy to ignore the issue of what to say or how to interact with your children if someone else, such as an ex-spouse or grandparents, predominantly raises them, or they are adults living on their own. Children can also impede the process by pretending all is just fine in your relationship with them because you are now clean and sober. And, in fact, for many it is better already. Or they may distance themselves from you with aloofness or anger. The inability to be intimate, to share yourself with your children, to be there for them is one of the most tragic losses in life. Having worked with thousands of addicted parents, I've seen their eyes shimmer with tears and glow with love when they talk about their children. As I wrote this book I interviewed a host of parents, and I was inspired by the depth of love and vulnerability shared as they talked about how their addiction impacted their children, and the hope that their recovery would provide them the positive influence and connection that they would like to have with their children. What Do You Say to Your Children? In recovery there is a lot of wreckage of the past that needs to be addressed, and there is a lot of moving forward Excerpted from Straight Talk from Claudia Black: What Recovering Parents Should Tell Their Kids about Drugs and Alcohol by Claudia Black All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.