Are Your Coping with a Drug Addicted Child? You Are Not Alone – Help is Out There.
Whether adult or not, your child’s addiction can be a very serious area of concern. You can frequently find out what’s going on simply by paying attention to a few signs – unnecessary irritability, poor performance in school or at work, loss of interest in friends or regular activities, a poor diet or sleeping habits. Coping with a drug addicted child can be one of life’s greatest challenges – it’s someone you care so much about, and yet, have only minimal influence over. If they are bent on destroying themselves, you can’t stand by and do nothing. What do you do, though? Here is advice for parents of addicts.
Don’t see yourself as responsible for what’s going on
Caring deeply about what happens to a child comes with being a parent. Yet, parents do manage to let go with time. You wouldn’t expect a 70-year-old parent to care as much about everything going on in the life of their 40-year-old child. Letting go is natural.
With time, children grow up to be independent who will often do things very differently than you want. In the case of a younger child addicted to drugs, you may need to emotionally let go sooner. This doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything. You can still do everything that’s necessary; but you do it without emotional involvement, much in the way the therapist would help. Not only does such detachment help you keep your sanity, it allows you to offer better advice and better help. Emotional detachment is actually useful and helps in coping with a drug addicted child.
Addiction is a mental disorder in which the mind loses the ability to care about others. You should certainly do everything you reasonably can to help your child. You should also see, however, there are limits to what can be done.
You mustn’t let your mind tell you that you aren’t a good parent if you don’t constantly beat yourself up over your child’s addiction. It is a mental disorder that takes its course, and outside intervention may or may not help. Often, it’s out of your hands.
If you’ve been hurting with the treatment that your child has been giving you, or if you’ve been hurting yourself, you should stop and see that it simply isn’t right. If you need to, attend therapy.
Live your life and enjoy your primary relationships
If your entire relationship with your spouse and friends has turned out to be about your child’s addiction, stop letting this unfortunate part of your life take over everything that you have. It is completely okay to have fun, fulfilling relationships with everyone else, and not even think about what’s happening to your child. It’s simply a form of self-cruelty to tell yourself that your child’s problem should be all that you think about. If you feel drained, it means you’re going overboard obsessing over your child. You should give yourself permission to give up, and have a great time with your own life, giving all your relationships the attention that they are due.
Learn as much as you can about the disease
If you find that it’s hard to truly detach, it’s possible that it’s because you don’t really understand how addiction could be a disease that has nothing to do with how good a parent you’ve been or what you’ve done. Try your best to learn about the disease — read up any of several books on the market that contain great scientific explanations of addiction for laypersons. The better you understand the science involved, the more clearly you will see that addiction is no one’s fault, and that it’s okay to forgive yourself.
Talk to other parents
Whether you find them at a local group or the Internet, it can be a tremendous relief and a great source of clarity to share your thoughts with other parents of addicted adults or teens in the same position as you. You should find fellow parents as quickly as possible.
Help is out there. If you need to talk to a professional, whether it be about potential treatment programs, intervention techniques, or just for advice, give us a call today.