How Addiction Impacts the Parents of Addicts
Addiction is a disease that impacts more people than just the addict. This is a type of illness that can drastically affect and even alter the lives of an addict’s family and friends. Parents of addicts can experience all types of emotions and feelings, including denial, anger, grief, disapproval, and confusion. But what exactly is it like to be the parent of a drug addict and what can you do to help your child when they are suffering from a drug addiction?
Understanding Drug Addiction as a Disease
When parents of addicts discover their child’s drug habit, it can be devastating and even shocking. The reality is that addiction can happen to anybody. Your child can suffer from addiction even if the child is 13 years old, in their 20s, or a full grown adult. Regardless as to whether your child gets straight A’s in school or has held a successful job for over a decade, they can still be addicted to drugs. It doesn’t matter whether the child has failed out of school or if they have their Master’s Degree because the disease of addiction does not discriminate. Drug addiction doesn’t happen to everybody, but it can happen to anybody. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that can happen to a person in any walk of life, so never assume that it “wouldn’t” or “couldn’t happen to you.”
What Is It Like to Be the Parents of Addicts?
Being the parent of an addict can be difficult. You may have not known that your child has even touched drugs in the first place. You may even feel like it is your fault when the reality is that you are not to blame for your child’s addiction. No matter how great of a parent you have been or not, it isn’t your fault that your child is suffering from the disease of addiction. You may feel like as the parent, you have to get them into treatment and help them recover, but the reality is that you can only do so much. You can talk to your child about your concerns, let them know about some reputable addiction treatment facilities that can provide the care they need to begin the recovery process, and even give them an ultimatum to get help or they will be cut off or kicked out. However, it is up to your child to be willing to get that help. They may refuse, and then what? You can’t force them to recover, but you can be there to support and love them without enabling them.
What exactly does it mean to enable an addict? Enabling a drug addict means providing money, paying their rent, taking them to get drugs, bailing them out of jail or paying for their lawyer, making excuses for their habit, and essentially prolonging their addiction. If you have already suggested an alcohol and drug rehab or have even given your child an ultimatum to get treatment or they have to leave, then you have taken the first step at pushing your child in the right direction. When your child is stuck in active addiction, you need to put your foot down and let them know the truth. You can’t keep supporting their habit, even if you do have their best interest at heart and want to protect them. The best way you can protect your child when they are suffering from addiction is by not helping them continue with their habit. Create some roadblocks for them and don’t make living in their addiction easy. This will hopefully lead them to experiencing a bottom or help them come to the realization that they cannot keep living the way that they have been.
Dynamic of the Family
The entire dynamic of the family may change when you are the parent of an addict. Your child may become like a person you don’t recognize. You may feel like your child hates you, ignores you, or doesn’t want anything to do with you. It is because their drug addiction has become all-encompassing and has taken over as the top priority in their life. They feel that they need these drugs in order to live and chasing that next high is all they can think about.
Drug Addiction Treatment
Treatment plays a critical role for the recovery of drug addiction because it can allow addicts time to get off the drugs and receive help for underlying issues that may have pushed them to try substances in the first place. Until they get the help they need, your child will be self-medicating and remaining hooked on substances. In recovery, your loved one can begin to see the damage that has been caused due to their addiction and they can learn of a new way of life where they don’t have to depend on the crutch of any substance. They can live a life in freedom from addiction. Do your best to explain to them that this life is possible and they deserve to live it. They may reject the idea at first, but you have to keep supporting this lifestyle because living in active addiction is no way to live. Make it clear that you do not support their habit and will not enable them because you don’t want to prolong it.
There are viable options for addiction treatment. Letting your child know that recovery is possible and that you want to guide them on that path toward recovery can play a critical role in helping your child become willing to get the treatment they desperately need for their drug addiction. While trying to help your child may not be easy, the best thing you can do for your child is let them know that you love and support them but only want the best for them.
The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs is committed to helping addicts and their families by providing critical treatment for drug addiction and various substance use disorders. The Watershed offers a Help Line that is available 24/7. We can help you and your child get the resources you need for addiction treatment today. Contact The Watershed for help today or to seek advice about your addicted loved one. Call The Watershed at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, Addiction Treatment, drug addiction, drug addiction treatment, family disease, parents, parents of addicts