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How Your Parent’s Substance Abuse Affected You

Addiction in the Family
How Your Parent’s Substance Abuse Affected You

How Your Parent’s Substance Abuse Affected You

If you grew up with one or more parents abusing drugs or drinking too much, you probably have some bad memories. Whether you like to spend much time reflecting on it or not, your parent’s substance abuse affected you in negative ways. It hurts to think about it, but when you start to wrap your head around what happened you can finally learn how to forgive an alcoholic parent and move on with your life as a happy and well-adjusted adult.

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Ways Your Parent’s Substance Abuse Affected You

The following are just several ways that your parent’s substance abuse may have affected you.

You Didn’t Learn How To Communicate

You might think that because your parents were not abusive and because they didn’t neglect you in any serious way, they didn’t harm you. But what you learn from your parents is more complicated and subtle. Abuse and neglect are traumatic experiences, but they are not the only ways in which parents with substance use and abuse disorders harm their kids. For instance, communication in the household probably suffered. Communication in houses with substance abuse tends to be negative and limited. Without good modeling for how to communicate with people you care about, you may not be good at it as an adult.

You Learned To Self-Medicate

You missed out on the modeling of certain positive behaviors, like communication, mentioned above. Your parents probably also showed you some negative behaviors, and you may have followed their example. Many people who drink too much or abuse drugs do so as way to self-medicate. It’s a way to push down emotions, relieve stress or ignore the uncomfortable symptoms of untreated mental illness. You learned an unhealthy strategy from your parents when they should have been showing you healthy ways to mitigate stress and to cope with bad feelings.

You Grew Up Too Soon

Many children with alcoholic or addicted parents are forced to be more responsible than they should have to be. You were also forced to face situations, conflicts and emotions beyond your years. Of all the effects of parental drug abuse on children, this is the most unfair. Children are supposed to be children and not have to worry about adult problems. In a way, being forced to grow up quickly is a sort of trauma. Maybe you weren’t physically abused and maybe you always had enough to eat, but you were forced to face adult issues at such a young age.

These are just a few ways that your parent’s substance abuse has affected your life, both when you were young and as an adult. When you learn to face and work through these issues, you can start to let go of anger and resentment. Repairing love after drug addiction or alcoholism isn’t easy, but it allows you to mitigate the negative effects and learn to be a healthier and happier adult.

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