08/14/2012 02:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The White Picket Fence Is Around our Family's Hearts by Susie Spain


August and September for many people and most families is like the beginning of a new year; it is the closing of the summer time and the set up of a whole new school year.

It is a time when people start all new things and all new plans.

They sign up for school. They sign up for football. They sign up for ballet. They sign up for photography. They sign up for astronomy. Basically, everybody signs up for a trillion extra curricular activities and a lot of times they forget to sign up for the most important thing and that is the journey of the heart.

It's no secret that most families in the passageway of middle and high school are sometimes faced with the challenges, like a difficult time with communication and connection, anger or isolation, and a lot of times with drug and alcohol use and abuse.

For kids, drug and alcohol use and abuse is pervasive, tenacious and it hurts everybody's hearts. It saddens families and it steals people blind.

Please be proactive in your hearts, be brave, if you see something or you wonder, it starts in your heart, just reach out and ask. Whether you are a parent or whether you're a teen, ask someone for help, it can be a priest, a teacher, a friend, a therapist, a counselor, or even call a hotline, don't be afraid to do something, it is the beginning of prevention.

The cautionary tale is simple and it's true; the American dream of the white picket fence is not around our houses, our jobs, or our checkbooks; it's around our families and their hearts.

To protect your family's hearts and to gain more factual information please view the following websites: Angels at Risk, National Institute on Drug Abuse , DARE, The Partnership at DrugFree.