Where to Find Help for Parents of Drug Addicts

Help for Parents of Addict Children

Written By: Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
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Geraldine. "Where to Find Help for Parents of Drug Addicts." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Published on May 1, 2019, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/what-parents-of-addicted-children-need-to-know/.

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Published on May 1, 2019 | Get Help For A Loved One, Health and Wellness

Drug and alcohol addiction impact every generation, and parents of addicts are in dire need of support. When it comes to finding help for parents of drug addicts, luckily, the options are endless. Today, we’ll explore how to find help for yourself and the different kinds of help available to cope with the situation and get your child to seek treatment. 

Do’s and Don’ts for Parents of Drug Addicts

At first, it can be challenging to navigate parenting with a child struggling with a substance use disorder. Most of the time, parents blamed themselves and started to question their every move. It’s common to feel overwhelmed and powerless against this chronic disease that has taken away everything you know about your child. Nonetheless, you can still support them and help them seek the treatment they need to start recovery. 

Do’s and Don’ts for Parents of Drug Addicts

Do’s

Let start with the basic things you should focus on helping your child without neglecting caring for yourself. These are tiny steps to understand the situation better.

  • Set boundaries as you invite open communication: You’ll hear about the importance of setting boundaries in addiction. These are here to protect you. Consider the best chance you have to start open and transparent conversations about addiction. Express your concerns, clarify your needs and expectations, set consequences for not respecting your boundaries. All of this can help start the healing process.
  • Address the behavior instead of the person: Avoid casting any judgment on your loved one, even when their actions affect you. Avoid using labels like “addict or junkie.” Instead, focus on behaviors, such as “I get worried when you stay out late at night, I worry about your safety.” 
  • Offer to look for help with them: Instead of forcing them to seek treatment, volunteer to do research and call a few treatment centers to learn more about the programs and options. Having this type of support is critical for recovery and might even encourage them to seek treatment. 
  • Ask questions: Addiction is a complex disease even for the person struggling with it. Ask your child how you can best support them. Try to accommodate their tasks as long as they’re reasonable and don’t affect their recovery. 
  • Focus on your recovery: Having a child struggling with substance abuse can take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing. Focus on your self-care and invest time and effort in your recovery. Consider attending family support groups like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, to meet with others going through the same struggles. 

Don’ts

As important as it is, what you must stop doing is key to helping your loved one. Many parents don’t realize they might adapt certain enabling behaviors that allow the addiction to continue and evolve. Watch out for these issues and make sure you actively stop these behaviors. 

  • Ignore the problem: Don’t try to ignore the big elephant in the room. When you shield them from the consequences of their behaviors and actions, you’re, in essence, enabling their addiction. Ignoring the problem reinforces the belief that they don’t need to seek treatment. 
  • Berate your loved one for their choices: Many parents will resort to “tough love,” hoping it will give some sense. However, alcohol and drugs can profoundly affect your loved one’s personality and behavior; it isn’t like they chose to become addicts. 
  • Stop enabling them: It’s relatively common for parents to lend money to their children. Many will bail them out of jail when they get in trouble. Some might even go to extreme lengths to get them out of legal trouble. However, having you as a backdrop can continue enabling their behavior, and they might never seek treatment if they know you’ll always be there to “save them.”
  • Stay forever: Unfortunately, you can’t always rescue your child from drugs or alcohol abuse. Sometimes, it’s time to acknowledge that there’s nothing else you can do. If your child has turned violent against you or is causing you mental health issues or other consequences, it might be time to walk away. While this is a heartbreaking decision, detaching with love might be your last chance to help them. 
Parenting Styles in Addiction

Beware of Your Parenting Style

It’s essential to take some time to practice self-reflection. By any means, you’re to blame for your child’s addiction. However, sometimes your parenting style can affect your child struggling with substance abuse. These common parenting styles include:

  • Persecutor: Usually, a controlling, angry, and distant parent. These are parents who believe punishment will fix problems like addiction. When struggling with a situation like this, they’re very likely to isolate themselves from other family members. 
  • Protector: Also known as the enabler, they’re gullible and innate caretakers. They believe love will fix all their problems. Over time, they usually become overly enmeshed with their addicted child. 
  • Blamer: They don’t take any responsibility for what’s happening. These parents are likely to project blame onto others or fall for scapegoating behaviors, escaping from the situation altogether. 

How to Find the Right Help

When parents of drug addicts are trying to find help, it can be overwhelming. Most of the time, they don’t even know where to start looking for assistance. While every case is different, there are four methods for seeking help and addressing the situation healthily. 

Learn More About Addiction

Many parents are surprised to learn that addiction is a chronic disease that’s also progressive. Some don’t even understand the side effects of many substances. Take the time to learn more about the active addiction’s ins and outs, particularly about the struggles linked to the substance your loved one abuses. You could also call an addiction center to ask about their treatment programs and see if they offer support for parents like yourself.

Seek Professional Help

You probably have a million questions Google won’t answer. Seeking professional help for yourself will help you understand what you can do to help. It can also help you manage the mental health toll of suffering through your child’s addiction. Consider seeking family therapy and try to convince your son or daughter suffering from addiction to be open during these sessions to seek substance abuse treatment. They can also direct you to support groups of families of drug addicts. Speaking with others in your same shoes can be quite inspiring and encouraging. 

Consider an Intervention

After talking to a professional, your best attempt to get your child to seek help is by staging an intervention. Consider taking a look at our guide to stage an intervention. By having the right plan, confronting your child about their substance abuse problem might be the best option. 

Attend Group Meetings

Just like there are various fellowships available for recovering addicts, you can find plenty of group meetings for family members. These family programs, such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, are fantastic resources to start finding support to help you navigate through the issues. 

Don’t Lose Hope

Do not be discouraged if, after these steps, your addicted loved one still struggles with addiction. Most people that are unsuccessful after working through these stages may have missed critical components due to limited insight or experience. 

If you find that you do not have the results you are looking for, go back through the process with a new perspective. Thus, with the help of our qualified clinicians at Lighthouse Recovery Institute, you and your loved one can break through the barriers of denial and addiction and find long-term recovery.

🛈 This page’s content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek your physician’s advice or another qualified health provider with any medical condition questions—full medical disclaimer.

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