When a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it really takes a toll on the entire family. Relationships can be severed, and the person you know and love is no longer the same. There are many opinions floating around about what you should or shouldn’t do.
Some will say that you must take the tough love approach. Others will say that addiction treatment should be encouraged. Parents of addicts will do whatever it takes to save their child.
Here are some tips for parents about how to deal with your child and their addiction problem…
1. Be Supportive
Offer to help your child, even if you have no idea how you can. Ask your child what you can do that will be helpful to them. Ask them if you can be involved in their drug addiction treatment. Speak with their counselors or therapists and see what you can do that will be the most beneficial.
2. Get Them Into A Substance Abuse Treatment Center
If your child is under age, you can make them go into a drug rehabilitation center. That won’t work the same for a child that is a legal adult. Addicted children usually don’t want help. They are fearful of the withdrawal process.
The search to find the right treatment center can be taxing. There are often not enough beds, and there are long waiting lists to get into the good facilities. You want a place that will allow you to be an active part of the recovery plan.
For your child to have effective drug addiction treatment, you need to be a strong support system throughout the entire process.
3. Don’t Enable Your Child’s Drug Addiction
You want to show your child that you love them, but you need to make sure that you are not enabling them. The difference between loving and enabling is a slippery slope.
You should always be calm, cool, and collected when talking about their addiction, but you need, to be honest. They should know that you don’t support or enable their addictions.
Don’t give them money they can use for drugs, and don’t buy anything for them. Even a bottle of alcohol is empowering their addictions.
4. Realize You Cannot Fix Them
Recognizing your role in your loved one’s addiction problems is vital as addiction is a family disease. Studies have shown that active participation in your child’s addiction therapy can help them to recover.
Remember, you cannot fix them. You cannot change their mindset or what their brain and body crave. You must be a pillar of support standing beside them in their life’s storms.
5. There Is No Rock Bottom With Drug Abuse
Many parents wait for their child to hit rock bottom. Some addicts will tell you that when they hit that point they realized their need for help. Some even go as far as saying that rock bottom is what saved their life.
Experiencing a low is not always what needs to happen. Don’t wait for someone to get that down before you step in to help. Anytime is a great time to encourage treatment.
6. Take Care of Your Needs Too
Worrying and taking care of a child with a substance abuse issue is hard on anyone. It is common to get so wrapped up in their world that you forget to take care of yourself.
You need to spend lots of time relaxing and meditating. You will be good to no one if you get yourself completely run down. Rather, try to help them by helping yourself first. The saying, “put on your own oxygen mask first” applies here.
7. Consider Using A Family Program for Drug Addiction Treatment
Many drug treatment centers offer family programs. These programs are geared toward finding out any problems within the family unit. Family time is important, even if a person is in a rehab facility. A counselor can work with the addict and the family to work on issues below the surface.
While the family may not be the reason a person started using, genetics certainly play a big role. Always choose a center that values the family and their involvement in the healing process.
8. Keep The Lines Of Communication Open
You want to be the parent, yet you want your children to feel open enough to come and talk to you about their life. As long as you can keep them talking, you will know some of what is going on in their life.
Many times, drug addicts want to shut themselves off from the world. Those who communicate with their loved ones have a better chance of recovery than those who tend to shy away from any support.
9. Put Restrictions On Them
If your child is under the age of 18, then you can put some restrictions into play. You can make them go to rehab, and you can say who they will and will not associate with.
When the child is an adult, you lose your say in how or what they must do legally. However, you can say what is and isn’t allowed to happen in your home. Never allow an adult child to bring drugs and other things into your home around younger children. Your other children are impressionable.
If family genetics dictate a drug or alcohol problem, you certainly don’t want any of your other children to think you condone it.
10. Use Tough Love If Necessary
This sort of goes along the lines of enabling. Many parents will do anything just to keep their child close to home. They feel that if they are close to home that they are safer.
Actually, you need to set firm boundaries on what you think is acceptable. Don’t let them disrespect, steal, or do things that you would not allow other children to do. Yes, sometimes tough love is a great tool to use to get their attention.
If your child steals from you, perhaps taking the appropriate actions might get their attention. There is no right or wrong answer when dealing with a child that is an addict.
Parents of addicts have a difficult job. Trying to be supportive, even when you cannot, is not easy. Addicted children will push you to your limit. They will do things and act in ways that you have never seen before.
Use a support group and link up with other people going through the same issues. There is safety in numbers, and you will find that you are not alone.
After arming yourself with as much information as possible, look for a young adult addiction program that best suits the needs of your child.