Randall Green, a 34-year recovering alcoholic, talks to the teens at a South Florida rehab
Dr. Randall Green, PHD, LMFT, CAP, is not only an octogenarian (80-years-old); he is also 34-years sober. He recently stopped by a South Florida teen drug and alcohol addiction rehab to offer those in recovery eight slogans to live by that can change their life in a positive way.
While the speech was presented at a teen alcohol and substance abuse treatment center and the speaker is a clinical director in the drug and alcohol industry, I thought his points resonate with all teens – whether or not they suffer from alcohol or substance abuse addiction.
Here are excerpts from the “Eight slogans for teens that can change their life,” speech presented by Dr. Randall Green:
1. 1. Live one day at a time – “Do you know today is the only day there is. Yesterday is gone. Can you get back to yesterday? Can you change anything that happened yesterday? And yet we talk about yesterday all the time.”
“If I only I had bought that stock when it was just one dollar. Yesterday is a cancelled check. Now what about tomorrow? Tomorrow isn’t here yet. Tomorrow is a promissory note. It might or might not come. So the only time to consider is right now.”
“Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Stay in the now.”
“So stay in the now. Stay in this moment. Right now many of you are thinking about things a week in the future. Ask yourself everyday where am I today. It may help to look down at your feet just to reinforce where you are and to stay grounded.”
2. 2. Give time, time – “You see we rush through life and try to make that traffic go faster than it is going on the highway. If there is a line of cars in front of you what are you going to do,”
“I say give time, time. The only other alternative is to get all bent out of shape and start cursing and waving your hands. But you may as well take a deep breath and give time, time.”
“And give yourself time to get better. Teens today are so impatient. We want recovery now because we are addicts. We want are family to forgive us and take us back in and forget about the past and celebrate the fact that we have been sober for one month.”
“Learn to be patient with yourself and your family members who need more time to deal with your drug and or alcohol addiction and to accept and forgive you.”
3. 3. Take the road less traveled – “Everything wasn’t going great in your life and then one day you were driving around and you see the sign Teen Drug Rehab and you say to yourself, I think I will check in here. It seems like a nice place to stay.”
”No, the truth was your life was falling apart, just like mine was. The only difference is that I was 46-years-old. You guys don’t have to wait until you are 46 or 36 or 26 for that matter. It is better to confront your problem now, when you are young and have your whole lives ahead of you.”
“I could have avoided so much heartache if there had been a place like this for Randall Green, when I was your age. At your age, I was already on that wrong path. I was on the broad road that led to a destructive life instead of the narrow road. The road less traveled.”
4. 4. Listen to your body – “Don’t be afraid to intervene on yourself. If you are thinking about drugs or something negative, think about something else. Distract yourself. And be sure to intervene on yourself early because you don’t have much time.”
“You only have a little window of time - about eight seconds - when a drug or alcohol visual comes into your mind and you make your decision based on this information. Either you are going to delete the thought like on a computer or are you going to activate the process and start using the drug or alcohol.”
“So before that addictive process escalates, you are going to have to intervene within that short window of time. You are going to have to think about something else. Since the brain can’t think about two thoughts at the same time, this distracts you from the bad thoughts. Human’s think, then we feel, and then we act.
5. 5. When things are good don’t forget why – “If everything is going great in your life and you have not gotten into trouble in a long time and you are doing the 12 steps and you have a sponsor, it is important to remind yourself why you are enjoying all this success. Because if you don’t ask yourself this question, many times you are going to get lazy and go back to your old habits.”
“In your mind you are thinking that you are doing so well that you are going to reward yourself. You are so proud of yourself for not using drugs and alcohol. And all of a sudden the neurotransmitter dopamine starts going crazy up there in your brain and this triggers the rewards center to go off.”
6. 6. Nothing sticks – “We forget the pain that we have experienced as a teen. This is why we need to go to meetings and why we need to read good literature. So we can always be reminded the torture that we went through was real. It is easy to go back to our addiction and much harder to maintain our sobriety. Remember, you are free to choose but you are not free of the consequences of your choice.”
7. 7. Think – “So how many of you are here because you didn’t think. We need to think and then act. But what we do more times than not is act and then think, which is what gets us in trouble in the first place.”
“So you have to think and then take a deep breath and let the brain go into first gear. Because a lot of times what we do is open our mouth before the brain shifts into drive and then you say to yourself, I wish I did not say that. Remember we make choices and choices make us. “
8. 8. Parents can be right sometimes - “I knew everything when I was your age and my mom and dad didn’t know anything. It was an amazing thing to me how smart my mom and dad got from the time I was 16 until the time I was 25. I didn’t believe any of the things my parents told me when I was a teenager.”
Editors Note: Upon conclusion of the presentation, Randall was overjoyed to learn that it would be published on the Inspirations for Youth & Families YouTube channel. His happiness would prove to be bitter-sweet since Randall’s wife is suffering from ACL or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and she has lost her ability to speak. But she could sure listen.
Here’s a shout out to Randall’s wife for bravely fighting ACL and we hope she enjoys her husband’s phenomenal speech to the kids.
About Scott Brand:
Scott Brand works in the outreach department of Inspirations for Youth, one the nation’s leading Teen Adolescent Addiction Treatment Centers. He spends his time talking to the teens about their inspirational stories of recovery. He also performs the same duties for the Cove Center of Recovery it adult treatment center counterpartSB.
Brand during a national television interview