Watching someone deal with active addiction is extremely difficult, as you bear witness to a person who is unable to break a cycle of behavior that can cost them their life. But when you have a drug addicted child, the word “difficult” does not even begin to describe the amount of pain that you experience on a daily basis.
Like most all parents, you want your child to grow up to be happy, healthy, and successful. The last thing you were likely thinking when the doctors placed your newborn baby in your arms was about addiction and the insidiousness of it. But now that addiction is occurring within your child’s life, that means it’s occurring within yours. And like any parent who cares about their child, trying to get through this time in your lives can be like living a nightmare. You might go to bed at night not knowing where your child is and if they are safe. You may panic anytime you hear the phone ring in the middle of the night. You might even dread doing the smallest, everyday things like going in to wake them up in the morning, fearful that you will find them unresponsive. So, what are you supposed to do with the fear, anxiety, sadness, anger and all the other emotions that course through you on a regular basis? Addiction is not something that just magically disappears. It is absolutely vital that you find healthy, appropriate ways to cope with your child’s addiction so that it does not completely destroy your life.
Coping with a Drug Addicted Child
Many parents struggle with the thought that they have failed in some way if their child becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. This is a normal, common thought to have, but in almost all cases, it is not factual. Addiction is a disease that develops in response to genetic and environmental elements, most of which are typically out of one’s control. It is critical that you do not get trapped in a cycle of blaming yourself for what your child is going through if you want to properly cope with your current situation. You can make sure that you are making the time to care for yourself in ways that support your wellbeing, even if your child is not responding to any of your efforts for help.
Talk to someone
The feelings you are having as a result of your child’s addiction are not ones that you should attempt to bottle up and keep inside. Addiction is a big deal, and the emotions that you experience are a big deal, too. So, do not keep it to yourself. Make sure you are talking to someone about what you are going through. This someone can be a friend, family member, or even a therapist. You might even feel more comfortable being vulnerable with a therapist rather than someone you know, or you might have a close relationship with someone who is an excellent listener and supporter. Either way, do not hold your feelings in. They are valid and need a place to go so they don’t add to your already tumultuous situation.
Join Al-Anon or Nar-Anon
Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are the sister groups to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). They are designed for the loved ones of addicts and alcoholics. Within these local, community meetings, you will come together with others who are sharing similar experiences to yours. You can share what you are going through, listen to the offerings of others, or do both. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are excellent sources of support, as they open up a new world of people who can offer you support and hope, and eventually, vice versa. No matter where you are located in the country, there are Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings available to you.
No one ever wants to have to set boundaries on a loved one because their behavior is dangerous and toxic. But, when your child is addicted to drugs and alcohol, putting boundaries in place is absolutely vital to your wellbeing. Think of what you are comfortable with and what you are uncomfortable with in regards to your child. If it makes you feel sad or upset when your child comes home wasted, set a boundary where your child is not allowed in your home if they are under the influence. If your child regularly asks for money but never pays you back, stop giving them money. Setting boundaries, in some ways, is just an act of using common sense. If it detracts from or erodes your wellbeing, you are entitled to stop whatever it is, even if it is coming from your child.
Everything you need to know about addiction as a disease is right at your fingertips. Spend time researching the disease of addiction to better understand what exactly is occurring within your child’s mind and body. As you learn more about the disease aspect of addiction, you can start separating the behavior from the person. This means that when your child sneaks around, you understand that it is a common characteristic of addiction rather than an attack on you. Of course, it is not always easy to accept addiction for the disease it is because it is very personal, but having a strong understanding of what is actually occurring can help make coping with a drug addicted child easier.
Sober Living in Los Angeles
We understand that addiction is a family disease, meaning that it impacts every single member of the family and not just the user. Not only can we help your child overcome their struggles with active addiction, but we can also help you and your family get through this tough time.
So, if you are ready to make the call, do so Riviera Recovery right now. A brighter, easier to manage future is right around the corner.