No matter how old we get or what we do in our lives, we look to our parents for encouragement, support and love. We can always count on our parents to love us unconditionally and provide the guidance we need to keep our compass set in the right direction. Our parents are our rock and shelter when things go wrong, and we feel a sense of comfort and peace when we feel their embrace and hear their voice. When an addicted parent who is struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, we feel an immense amount of shock and it can feel as though the world that we know is crumbling all around us.
If you have a parent who is dealing with substance abuse issues, being able to help them in proactive and healthy manner is crucial in restoring their health and healing your relationship. The following are 7 ways to help an addictive parent.
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Learn All You Can About Addiction
In order to help an addicted parent, you first and foremost must educate yourself on the disease of addiction. There are many places in which you can get pertinent information on substance abuse such as your doctor, healthcare provider and local drug advocacy organization. There are also many quality websites such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) where you can find valuable resources on the disease of addiction and where you can find help for your addicted parent. When doing research on addiction, please make sure that you are getting your information from credible websites such as government agencies.
Join an Addicted Parent Support Group
Another one of the important ways to help an addicted parent is to get the support and encouragement of a support group such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon or other similar organization. These mutual self-help groups are made up of parents and other loved ones of addicts who are experiencing what you are experiencing with your parent. These meetings are also excellent sources of information regarding the disease of addiction, and the support and feedback you receive in these meetings will empower you to make the best-informed choices regarding the best and most healthy ways to help a drug addicted parent.
Avoid Enabling an Addicted Parent
When you are trying to help an addicted parent, your first instinct is to try and help by any means necessary. While you may have the best intentions, the actions you are taking may be enabling your parent to continue their addictive behavior–and it will end up making their problems worse in the long run. Examples of enabling behavior may include paying bills, rent or mortgage or covering up for their behavior to others. In order to truly help an addicted parent, you need to be firm but fair with them in regards to the help you will give.
If a parent asks for money, transportation or other favors, you must stand your ground in refusing their requests. You will no doubt meet with resistance, and your parent may try to manipulate you through the use of guilt, but you must be steadfast. Any help that you do offer needs to be geared towards getting them professional help.
Early Identification is Important
More often than not, you may have heard that an addict must hit rock bottom before they can be helped. This line of reasoning is misleading in the fact that by the time you recognize that a parent is full-blown in their addiction, it may be more difficult for them to recover. While there are obvious tell-tale signs of addiction, many of the signs and symptoms are subtle and not easy spotted unless you are fully aware and educated on the complex and progressive nature of addiction. At the first signs of a substance abuse issue, get your parent into their doctor or other health professional to get screened. Like any disease, better recovery outcomes hinge on early detection. Treatment in the early stages of a substance use disorder is likely to be less intense, less disruptive and cause less anxiety for your parent.
If you have already talked to your parent about their substance abuse issues, you have likely encountered a great amount of denial. Those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are the last to recognize a problem, and their attitudes and behaviors have already done great damage to family and friends. In these cases, an important way to help an addicted parent is through the use of an intervention. An intervention is a carefully planned process in which you and your family confront your loved one about their substance use in a firm but supportive manner and in a safe environment. With the help of an intervention specialist or addiction professional, you provide specific examples of how a parent’s addiction has impacted your lives, offer a pre-arranged treatment plan to them and outline specific consequences to your parent if they choose not to accept treatment.
Attend Family Therapy
If your parent does accept treatment, one of the best ways you can help them is to undergo a family therapy program. Many drug rehab centers offer family therapy programs that will allow you to be with your parent, and you can identify the underlying root problems that allowed your parent’s addiction to grow and flourish. Family therapy programs are important in the fact that it will provide your parent a nurturing and supportive environment for them to work their program of recovery when they leave treatment.
Take Care of Yourself
Dealing with a loved one’s addiction can be extremely taxing on your physical and mental health. Another one of the major ways you can help your addicted parent is to practice excellent self-care. Be sure that you are eating right, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and practicing excellent hygiene. By taking good care of yourself, you will have the energy and focus to fully take care of all your needs and you will provide an excellent model for your addicted parent to follow as they embark on their own recovery journey?
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If you have a parent that is struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, call the addiction professionals at FindAddictionRehabs.com today. Our experienced treatment staff utilizes proven and effective holistic treatment services that can be individually tailored to meet your loved one’s unique needs. Call us right now!