Parents of Addicted Adults: How to Handle Your Child’s Addiction
Parents of addicted adults struggle. Even though your children are adults, their addiction takes a toll on you. Here’s how to handle your child’s addiction.
As the parent of an addict, we know that watching your child self-destruct is one of the most painful things that you could possibly go through.
But there’s also no denying that their addiction is having a severe impact on your own well-being.
You just don’t know how to help them — or yourselves — anymore.
In this post, we’ll tell you healthy and effective coping mechanisms, thought patterns, and things to remember if you’re parents of addicted adults.
Then, we’ll let you know where you can find help for parents of drug addicts as well as for children who are struggling with addiction.
1. Stop Playing the Blame Game
Many parents of addicted adults can blame themselves for their child’s addiction.
Maybe you feel like you should have seen the warning signs earlier. Perhaps you often feel torn between enabling your child and ensuring that they don’t end up out on the street — or worse.
Whatever the reasons, you just can’t stop going over how you raised your child, how you handled tough moments in the past, and trying to figure out what you did wrong.
It’s time to stop putting the blame on yourself.
At the end of the day, no one is a perfect parent.
And even if you feel like you did everything right, ultimately, you cannot control — nor are you responsible for — the choices that an adult child makes.
Instead of hating yourself, you need to clear your head so that you can figure out how best to help your child. You also need to understand that the feelings of anger and frustration that you sometimes can’t help but feel for your child are normal.
Attempting to curb the way you judge yourself is the first step in getting help for parents of drug addicts.
2. Look into Al-Anon and Other Support Groups
Once you’re ready to begin to accept the fact that you’re not to blame for the choices an adult child makes, it’s time to move onto the next step in your healing process.
Sometimes, nothing is more helpful than connecting with other people who are currently in your situation.
Groups like Al-Anon exist in order to help parents and other family members/friends of addicts to process their emotions, vent, and support one another.
You can learn healthy coping mechanisms, consider ways that you can help your child, and speak freely in a nonjudgmental environment. You can understand the steps to an intervention, work on developing healthy boundaries with your child, and connect with people that you can call when things get especially rough.
3. Get Real about Enabling
One of the most difficult things for parents of addicted adults to deal with is determining whether their own behavior is helping or hurting their child.
For example, if you’re trying to understand how to deal with a drug addict son, you might think that it’s better for you to drive him to meet with his dealer yourself.
Yes, you don’t want him to be using drugs in the first place.
However, if he’s going to no matter what you do, you at least want to make sure that he doesn’t get attacked when he’s buying drugs. You’ll just feel better if you can drive him there on his own and wait in the car, watching him.
The hard truth is that, when you love your child as much as you do, you can accidentally end up enabling them. Sometimes, that enabling can even include giving them a place to stay — and use.
You need to meet with a counselor, family therapist, or addiction specialist to help you to identify these enabling behaviors.
You can also work with a professional to help you to set up clear expectations and rules for your addict child. Most importantly, you need to set clear consequences for the violation of these rules.
Yes, it’s incredibly difficult — even painful.
However, it may just be the thing that ends up pushing your child to get the help they so desperately need.
4. Focus on the Positives
As the parent of an addict, we know that it can sometimes feel impossible to see the good in the current situation you and your child are both in.
However, you need to remember that, underneath it all, they’re still the same child that you cradled in your arms, bounced on your knee, and laughed in the park with.
And they’re still craving that love and acceptance from you.
When you speak to your child, make sure that you keep your tone as positive as possible. Instead of accusing them of ruining your life, tell them that you miss the things you used to do together.
Instead of telling them that drugs are wasting their life, remind them of the many talents they possess.
You might even try praying together or relying on spiritual counseling and support for help.
For Parents of Addicted Adults, Help is Possible
We know that some of the points in this article can be difficult to read and accept.
You might still blame yourself in addition to feeling extreme sadness and fear for the safety of your child.
The good news?
Our amazing team at Life Transformation Recovery is here to give it to both parents of addicted adults and their children.
Spend some time on our website to learn more about the spiritually-minded recovery process and support systems that we work to create.
When you’re ready to get help for yourself and your child, reach out to us.