The 5 Truths for Parents of Drug Addicts
As parents, you want to believe that your child has their life together and that they are happy, healthy and successful. Unfortunately, this is not the case when drugs are involved in their lives. This is hard to accept, especially as a parent; but the sooner you come to accept the truth, the quicker you can actually begin the process that will lead to a journey towards recovery.
Listed below are 5 truths for parents of addicts:
Addiction is a Disease
You did not fail as a parent and you did not cause your child to become addicted to drugs. Personal issues and trauma may give your child reason to use and fuel their drive to abuse drugs, but they are not the cause of the disease of addiction. You can’t just chalk it up to a lack of will power of morals and values. Addiction is a complex disease that causes your child to compulsively seek drugs. They may have chosen to experiment with drugs, but the brain changes over time due to the drugs being consumed. It becomes difficult to practice self-control in which ultimately results in having intense cravings.
Parents Enable Their Children
You raised your child the best way you knew how and taught him/her important lessons. The choice to do drugs was your child’s and that led to addiction. All you can do is support them and provide them with opportunities to make healthier decisions. This is difficult because as parents we want to run to our child’s aid to try and fix all of their problems. This is why the help received from therapists and sponsors may be better for their recovery because these supportive individuals are not biased and will hold them accountable for their actions.
You Can’t Fix Everything
As good hearted as our intentions might be, you can’t fix every problem that has resulted from your child’s addiction. If you continue to swoop in and save the day every time they get in trouble, they will continue using, getting themselves into trouble with no consequences. What for? They have come to expect and rely on your rescue attempts. It may seem harsh, and may be even cruel to not help but by standing your ground, they will be forced to realize that their actions have consequences. Addiction is a problem that only they can “fix” and the repairing can only happen when they are ready and willing, not when you are.
The Addict is a Master Manipulator
Your child might see you as an easy target to manipulate. They know what buttons to press: making you feel guilty, making you earn their love, etc. This behavior will help your child acquire power over you, and in turn fuel their addiction. They will guilt you into helping them out of legal issues, supporting them financially, or even getting money from you to pay for drugs. Although this may be hurtful, your child is not doing this because they don’t love you; they are doing it because drugs are their priority.
Your Child is not the Only one that Needs Treatment.
Just as your child is powerless to their addiction, you are also negatively impacted by the disease of addiction. Parents of addicts have the tendency to be overly involved, having constant preoccupation with their child’s behavior. Parents will often feel guilted into doing things for them that they can do on their own which is hindering their recovery. The best thing you can do for your child is to decrease enabling behaviors. When your child is finally ready to make a change in their life, you will be stronger and better prepared to help them instead of falling back on old habits.
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