The fact that you are reading this must mean that there is a good chance you are seeking help for your addicted child. The most important thing right now is to remember that you’ve taken a big step to help your son or daughter with what they’re going through. It might not feel like it but you are doing the right thing. Next, you must let go of any pride or guilt you may be feeling regarding your child’s addiction. Both pride and guilt can show up because it is common among parents of addicts to feel as if they are the sole reason as to why their child is going through this hard time. If only you had raised them differently, or if only you had reached out sooner. None of those feelings, although real, are helpful now. Keep reading to see some practical ways you can help your son or daughter through this difficult time.
STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
One of the key addiction symptoms is low self-esteem. This can result for a myriad of reasons and can take a long time of diligent oversight to change. A great way to combat this is by allowing the individual to open to someone to express their feelings rather than keeping them hidden away. One of the keys aims of this is to strengthen and build upon the existing relationship. As the parent, this may be hard. You may hear things you didn’t want to hear as a parent. However, the rules have changed and you are now a vital part of their recovery if they choose to let you in. Don’t blow it. Listen to them. Don’t say anything. Just listen and ask how you can help (emotionally only of course. No money!)
ENCOURAGE POSITIVE BEHAVIORS AND TREATMENT
The addict has learned to lean on drugs and alcohol to help them deal with emotions and not face problems. For the individual to regain confidence in their mind and body without the use of drugs and/ or alcohol, it is important to not focus on poor decision making and mistakes they have made. Failure to do this will affect the self esteem on the person and may damage the relationship further. We are not focusing on the past right now. We are looking toward the future and positive behavior. A way to help increase positive behavior is for the addict to engage in new hobbies and activities with the people closest to them. This will help build stronger relationships and help the person embrace new lifestyles in their life. Ask them who they want to be. What they want to do. And help them go for it.
SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
When engaging with your child as you have been, the most important thing to remember are BOUNDARIES. Boundaries are the most important part of dealing with an addict, especially in early recovery. When we say set specific and clear boundaries, what we mean is that you should set clear rules for yourself with the recovering addict on what things you will tolerate and will not tolerate. This is to make it clear to the person how you will treat them and how you expect to be treated. It is very common for addicts to manipulate the people they love the most, so they can be able to continue that lifestyle. To help, you may consider asking yourself questions such as, “are you willing to lie for your child?” and “are you willing to sacrifice your needs for your child’s wants?”
You must be fully aware to not become an enabler which is a result from weak boundaries which may lead to you making excuses for your child setbacks, blaming yourself etc. Strong boundaries can create tension between you and your child, however it will make it clear to them what can and can’t be tolerated.
This whole process is going to be physically and emotionally draining on you which is why it’s important to make sure you are looking after your health. Struggling to do so whilst treating your child can lead to several health conditions such as depression, anxiety, arthritis and more. There are ways you can help yourself such as joining a sober living support group, practicing relaxation skills, breathing exercises, practicing yoga etc.
If you are struggling with a child who is addicted, our team at San Diego Sober Living is here to help. We have been there and we know how to help you navigate these difficult times. Call us today!