Now that you’ve realized your child needs help in the recovery process, you may feel overwhelmed by guilt, fear, sadness, embarrassment, helplessness, anger or grief. These are completely normal reactions to seeing your child in pain. However, feeling overwhelmed doesn’t have to be a permanent state. In fact, if you want to help your child to recover, you must find a way overcome these feelings and take action.
Here are a few things parents of addicts can do to overcome these debilitating emotions:
Understand. In dealing with your child’s addiction, you need to understand that addiction is a brain disorder, and you should not be embarrassed. Sure, you may be embarrassed of some of your child’s actions, but you should not be embarrassed of your child’s sickness.
Stop. As parents of addicts, you need to stop blaming yourselves for your child’s addiction and stop thinking that you are failing if your child won’t seek help. Addiction is a complex disease that manifests for a myriad of reasons and in various ways. Parents shouldn’t carry the burden of such a complicated disease.
Protect. Parents need to protect themselves from addiction’s wrath. That’s not to say you should cut yourself off from your child altogether, but rather create boundaries for the addicted child. By doing so, you will protect yourself from harm and frustration. Often professional counselors can help you to identify those boundaries and give you tactics for how to implement them.
Remember. As parents of addicts, you need to remember that you are not dealing with the child you raised. Instead, you are dealing with someone in the throes of an addiction. Substance abuse will cause your child to think and act differently than what you’re accustomed to.
Love. Although it can be difficult, parents with addict children, please do not stop showing love to your child, even when you’re being pushed away. Do what you can to seek comprehensive addiction treatment for you child and work with professional clinicians to get your child into treatment.