My Child, The Addict [Part 3]
My baby grew up to be an addict. There was a time when I believed a mother’s love could fix anything, but it can’t fix this.”
At first Anita Devlin had no idea her son Mike was spiraling out of control and heavily abusing prescription pain relievers, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Whenever he needed extra money for drugs he simply told his mom it was for textbooks, or something like the front tire popped on his car. Anita had no idea her son was experimenting with anything, besides maybe a little marijuana.
However, she was right by his side when Mike made the courageous decision to enter into drug rehab treatment; and she continues to support him as he marks two and a half years of sobriety.
Parents of Addicts
Parents whose children struggle with addiction suffer a unique pain. The unforgiving disease is heartbreaking and brings feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and confusion.
It’s no secret that being the parent of a child struggling with addiction is extremely tough; but there are 7 lessons regarding one’s child that can help in the fight against addiction. These include:
- Parents Are Enablers: While there is no doubt that parents deeply and unconditionally love their children, their judgment in dealing with the addiction may be cloudy; which can lead to parents “enabling” their child to continue with their addiction. One such example is providing money. No matter how small or big the amount is, an addict’s mental state is guided by alcohol and drugs, so despite what they say otherwise, the money is most likely going to their next high.
- I Cannot Fix This: When it comes to alcohol and drug addiction, more often than not it is a problem that only the addict can fix. As such, they are the only ones who can decide to do something about their addiction and parental interference in trying to make that decision for them may lead to failure and frustration. It is the right thing to encourage that your child seeks help, but with the delicate nature of the disease, it’s recommended to seek professional guidance, i.e. a professional interventionist.
- My Addict Is A Liar: It’s imperative to remember that when it comes to addiction, an addict will say anything to hide their addiction and take any action to mask the problem. As such, just as a parent may be on the lookout for evidence of their using, it’s important to also be on the lookout for evidence of your loved one not using. Not to say that your child is a bad person, as addiction can happen to anyone, but he or she is entrapped by addiction and will go by any means to continue using.
- My Addict Is A Criminal: Addiction is a hurtful disease and unfortunately its effects may lead an addict to commit some form of illegal behavior; the price of which the addict will have to pay. For example, when an addict’s money flow starts to diminish, he or she will look to other means, like stealing, to achieve his or her next high.
- Others May Not Want Them Around: Unfortunately, over the course of the addict’s struggle your child may have wronged many other people. As a result others, such as friends, brothers, sisters, or grandparents may have their own feelings and pain regarding the situation.
- Life May Not Be The Same: Addiction is an invasive disease that can turn the lives of an addict and their loved ones upside down. This is not to say that recovery isn’t possible. With proper drug rehab treatment, a lifetime of sobriety IS possible and can spark the path towards normalcy.
- Homelessness May Be The Path They Choose: The perils of addiction may lead to the addict becoming homeless and living on the streets; and it’s important to remember that they were the ones that made the choices to end up that way. They can make other choices, and there are people and organizations that can help them, but the key element is that the addicts must make the choice themselves.
Addiction is a cruel and all-encompassing disease—one which recovery from should not be taken on alone. Entering drug rehab treatment, along with the help and guidance of compassionate and experienced treatment professionals can go a long way in getting an individual struggling with addiction on their path to long-term recovery.
Additionally, the drug rehab treatment process can and will aid parents in learning how to be positive support system for your loved one, which is a crucial aspect to long-term addiction recovery. If you have a child struggling with drug addiction, encourage him or her to seek proper drug rehab treatment. Recovery is possible!
Read part 1 in our “Addiction in the Family” series here.
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