How To Cope When Your Child Is An Addict
Having an addict in the family is never easy. When that addict is your child, whether a teen, young adult or fully-grown adult, the impact on you as the parent is devastating. First you feel immense guilt and pain because your child is suffering. You may also face a lack of support from your loved ones. Finally, your mental, emotional and physical health may begin to deteriorate. How do you cope with these issues after you have tried to get help for your child?
Living With Pain And Guilt When Your Child Is Addicted
It is only natural to experience a sense of extreme guilt and feeling as if you have failed your child in some way. Seeing your child suffer can also cause you a tremendous amount of anguish and emotional pain. If you have done your utmost to help your child get into recovery, if you have expended your resources, you have done what you can. Remember that your child is capable of making decisions and his poor choices are not your fault. It is normal to still feel guilt and pain, but there are ways to cope.
Realize that extreme feelings of guilt and pain are signs of a negative attachment to your child. Recognize this attachment and how it is harming you. Accept that your child makes his own choices and that you cannot force him to stop using drugs or alcohol. Focus your energy on yourself and on the positive relationships in your life. If your spousal relationship has been damaged because of your child’s addiction, work on it. Redirecting your focus will help you detach from negative and unhelpful emotions.
Getting Support For Family Addiction
A major issue that parents of addicts face is a lack of support. If your child had another kind of medical disease, like cancer, you could expect to receive all kinds of support from family and friends. Parents of addicts, however, often find their loved ones have turned away, thanks to the lingering stigma attached to the disease of addiction. Support is essential to coping, so find it where you can. Look for other parents who know what you’re going through. Support groups for loved ones of addicts can be a great resource. You might also work on those closest to you. Talk to your more supportive loved ones and explain that you need help and love.
Taking Care Of Yourself When Your Going Through The Pain Of Your Child Being An Addict
You can only help others if you are properly cared for and are well. Trying to help your child and suffering from the guilt and other negative emotions his issues have created, your own self-interests have probably fallen to the bottom of your list of things to do. You must find the time to take care of yourself if you hope to be happy again, to be able to help your child when he is finally ready for it or to re-establish a healthy relationship with your spouse. It may seem selfish, but find time to do something you enjoy, something just for you. Make the time to prepare healthy foods for yourself and include exercise or meditation in your day. These small gestures will make you better able to cope with your addicted child.
Having a child who is seriously ill is one of every parent’s worst nightmares. With the disease of addiction the feelings of helplessness and guilt can be especially powerful. If you can dissociate yourself from those negative feelings, find support and take care of your own health, you can cope with this. You will even be able to help your child when he decides it’s time to get clean.
Read More: What Can You Do When You Feel Helpless With Your Child’s Addiction? And Help Your Child Overcome Their Addiction!
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