As a parent one of the most difficult things to come to terms with is the knowledge and realization that your child has a drug addiction. You have always brought your child up with their best interests in mind, and to find out that they are struggling with an addiction can not only be heartbreaking but can also leave you questioning what you did wrong. However, it is important not to beat yourself up about this, and to realize that your child is going to need your help, love, and support if they are to get through their illness and come out of the other side a better person and human being. Recovery from drug addiction might not come by way of a cure, but recovery is perfectly possible, so here are the best ways of supporting your child through their journey.
It is important to understand that your child has a problem but equally important to help them recognize this and understand that there is a possibility for recovery from drug addiction. Don’t make excuses for their behavior as there is a fine line between helping them and enabling them, if you cover up for them it will make them think that they don’t have a problem. You will need to talk through with your son or daughter the impact they are having on the rest of their family and your expectations for the future. Only then can you start helping them in earnest, and the process can begin.
It will be of no help at all if you judge your child because they have an addiction. Yes, you wish that they weren’t addicted, however, it has happened and you are not going to be able to change the past. No-one chooses to become addicted. You will also cause further resentment if you are constantly berating your child for their behavior, or showing them tough love. Explain what effect their actions are having on you and the rest of the family, be emotional because your feelings are true and you are much more likely to strike a chord with your child than if you constantly chastise them for the position that they are in. Always try and listen to their point of view and show that you are worried about their well-being.
Our natural instinct as a parent is to help our children all the time, by whatever means necessary, however, you need to be careful with a recovering drug addict as you do not know where your money is actually going. Your child may also become dependant on you for financial support and this could actually hamper their recovery, as they will have less incentive to recover, seek a job, and heal. Much better is to support them with programs run by professionals from this location to see what would best suit their individual needs. Aside from family and friends, support groups can become an integral part of the recovery process, where they will be able to meet other people undertaking the same journey.
Communication is a two-way process, and although you have your child’s best interests at heart often your judgment can become clouded. Why not ask them what they actually want, or what they think the best process is for them to aid their recovery? Rebuilding relationships after addiction is important and that starts with you. If you smother them, are always telling them what to do, and are constantly bringing up their illness, then you are more likely to alienate them and drive them back to the addiction that they are trying to cure. Asking for input is a way of showing them that you respect them, and in turn they may be more open with you in the future.
Don’t Forget Yourself
Whilst it’s natural that your primary concern is the well-being of your son or daughter you cannot forget yourself and the role you have to play in their recovery. You have to lead your life or you yourself will risk falling into a spiral of depression. If necessary you can find solace in self-help groups for other parents of addicts, and this will at least reassure you that you’re not the only person in this position and that it isn’t your fault.
As a parent of an addict, it will be an incredibly challenging time as you will be feeling a whole host of emotions from guilt to anger and despair. What is important though is that you are there as an understanding guiding force in their recovery. Be there for your child, communicate, do not cast judgment, and support them by listening and offering them treatment and guidance. It will be tough for both of you, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for recovery after drug addiction and you can help your child live the life that you always wanted them to.
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