5 Truths Parents of Addicts Must Face
All parents want the best for their children. From sending children to the best schools, sports programs or art and music classes, mothers and fathers sacrifice to give their children all the opportunities they didn’t have in life. Even though you may have laid out the opportunities for them, your children decide on their own paths. Sometimes, that path leads them into addiction.
Facing the Truth
Having a child struggling with alcohol or drug addiction is not an easy thing to cope with. You might ask where you went wrong or wonder if you could have done more to prevent it. The truth is it was out of your hands all along. The sooner you begin to accept the following five truths, the sooner you begin to heal and get on the right track.
- You can’t blame yourself for your child’s addiction. No amount of sacrifices, financial assistance or opportunities could have prevented this. When it comes down to it, addiction is a disease. Your child chose to take that first sip or get that first high. The choice to try alcohol or drugs for the first time might have been fueled for different reasons: peer pressure, boredom or issues and trauma from the past. After that, addiction took over affecting their brain and sending them back for more.
- You can’t fix everything in your child’s life. You might have been a superhero when your kids were young, but now they’ve grown and have to figure out their problems on their own. As much as you want to rescue your child, the best thing you can do is let him or her deal with the consequences and work things out. Bailing your child out of trouble every single time is detrimental. If you do so, your child will expect you to solve the problem and continue to feed their addiction; there’s no consequence.
- You can’t do it alone. You might want to be your child’s savior but they are going to need more than their parent to get better. They need a team of addiction specialists at an addiction treatment center and a support system of family and friends. The proverbial village is needed to help your child get on the path to recovery. You also need a good support system to get you through.
- You can’t force your child to get help. No amount of pleading can get your child into a drug and alcohol rehab. Unless your child is court ordered to attend treatment, your child can choose to continue using alcohol and drugs. The important thing for them to know is that there are consequences for refusing treatment. Letting them know that you no longer will support them or bail them might sound extreme to you, but is necessary. Enabling their behavior is only making their addiction worse.
- You can’t expect your child to get better if you don’t. Even if your child chooses to get help, you must get treatment for you and your family. There’s no point in your child getting the care he or she needs to simply return to a dysfunctional environment. Learning how healthy boundaries helps your relationship with your child grow and allows you to heal.
It’s difficult to cope with your child’s addiction but there is hope. Facing the truth and addressing your enabling and other issues helps you heal and your child’s recovery.