My child is an addict, what should I do?
Professional addiction help is necessary
If you are reading this you are probably looking for help right now for your addicted child. My first suggestion is to throw away any pride or shame that you might be feeling because your child is an addict, and the idea that it might somehow be your fault.
Think about if that same child of yours is sick and needs a doctor. Would you keep it a secret and not pursue help? Of course you wouldn’t, so don’t worry about being embarrassed to seek help in this case either. The people you will contact for help most likely have personally experience in the same thing that you are going through right now, so…
Find teen addiction counselors or treatment
Talk to people who can relate and understand addictions. Search the internet for helpful ways to begin this process. Call an outpatient counseling center or an impatient treatment center and talk to someone who deals with addictions every day. Listen to their program options and become informed. Please, don’t get in a huge hurry. It’s better to gather information and discuss options with other support people.
There are millions of people who participate in addiction and codependency support groups daily. There are many online chat rooms where you can join and ask for help. Attend meetings and find out what others have done. You can apply that information to help you make a more informed decision. Read books on addictions and codependency.
Read about codependency addiction
Make a decision to get help for you in your child’s recovery. You might feel like your world is coming unraveled. Sometimes your efforts might be making things worse. Let’s be real. There is probably an incredible chance that if you find yourself doing all this work, that you may be motivated by codependency. Go on line and read about codependency.
If you find yourself caring more and being more responsible than your child (especially, if your child is an adult), then it is in everyone’s best interest, that you get solid advice from a counselor or group facilitator of a codependency support group. What you need is honest and sound structured direction on how to proceed that is in the best interest of all concerned. The goal for all should be healing and healthy living.
Are you an adult child of an addict?
An adult child of an addict has learned all the knee-jerk reactions of dysfunctional behavior. They have had to learn to cope and survive, but usually these abnormal life skills are developed during their early childhood years. Which means, they used the mind of a child to do the best they could? Unfortunately, they find themselves reacting with the same behavior twenty years later and are just as dysfunctional as ever. If this sounds like you, then please get help soon. No one has to live in chaos; usually it is a matter of understanding how to change on the inside.
Read about addiction family and disease models
Make a decision to be the best parent you can be from here on out. Get informed! No one starts out knowing about addictions, unless they grew up with a parent or sibling with addictions. The people who grew up in this chaotic environment are probably the ones you want to avoid, unless they have worked extensively through all their baggage. But all people benefit from gaining information. Learn to apply that information to your personal life and challenge yourself to become more informed, becoming the best parent you can be (not matter what age your child is).
Photo credit: Taxi For Gable