As a parent of an adult who is struggling with addiction, it is normal to want to do everything in your power to help your child take back control of their lives from the smothering grips of substance abuse. But in order to help your child in the best way you can, it is important to be in the know regarding what methods are most effective and what options are available.
1. Support and compassion can go a long way
When communicating with your loved one about their addiction, conveying the right tone is essential. Your words should not suggest judgment or disappointment but rather express concern and love. It is likely that tough love could push your adult child away and lead them to seek more refuge in substance abuse. Be sure to state to your loved one that you are worried about the dangers that are likely to result from their substance abuse. And when possible, bring up instances that have directly affected you, too, in an effort to show that their actions have an impact on themselves and others.
2. Know the difference between enabling an addiction and helping your loved one
The most effective way to help your loved one is to set up healthy boundaries that help them live through the consequences of their actions. This does not mean that you cannot help your adult child; certainly, offer to have them over for meals if you are worried about them eating, for example. But avoid enabling behaviors, such as giving your adult child money, bailing them out of trouble, or ignoring the fact that they do indeed have a problem.
3. Your child’s recovery is not possible until they are ready, but you can plant seeds
Addressing your adult child’s addiction can be especially difficult when your loved one does not believe that they have a problem. But by letting them know that you are there to help them once they are ready, you make it known that they should come to you when they are feeling open to the recovery journey. In addition, you can back up your emotional guidance with tangible means. For example, express to your child that you would like to attend a 12 Step support group with them now, or once they are interested.
4. Have an addiction treatment professional help you decide which program is right for your child
There are several addiction treatment programs out there for individuals who are new to recovery. Doing your research on each option is vital to supporting your adult child in their recovery. Detox programs are often a first step for those dependent on drugs or alcohol. Detox safely removes toxic substances from the body through the care of a medical professional. Additionally, residential treatment programs offer 24/7 inpatient care. Residential treatment can help your loved one recognize the root of their behaviors and adopt better coping mechanisms. Moreover, medication-assisted treatment is a component of addiction treatment that can minimize severe cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms, helping your loved one gain the necessary mental clarity in order to fully commit to their addiction treatment and recovery. It is important to have an addiction treatment professional assist you in choosing what kind of treatment is best for your adult child.
5. Your self-care is a priority
A barren pot cannot fill an empty cup and the same goes for helping someone you care about. Ensure that you are tending to your well-being and do not let your adult child’s addiction take control of your life. At the end of the day, your adult child can only recover once they are ready. And letting your loved one’s addiction consume you will only leave you feeling defeated and unproductive. Instead, be sure to get rest, meditate, exercise, and even engage in support groups (such as Nar-Anon) in order to nourish your soul and heal your heart.