There’s not much you can do to prepare yourself for the fear, anger and pain that accompanies learning your child has a drug or alcohol addiction. Substance abuse affects the whole family, and the best way to help your child get the help needed to recover is to thoroughly educate yourself.
The more you know about addiction, the better you can help your child come to terms with their addiction, find helpful resources, choose the right treatment program and become involved in your child’s treatment and aftercare in the most effective ways possible.
This 14-part series is designed to help provide you with the information you need to face this struggle and help your child and your family find the path to recovery.
From Acknowledgement to Action
The sooner your child gets help for overcoming an addiction, the better the outcome will likely be. Whether or not your child acknowledges the addiction, and whether or not she has asked for help, there are a number of steps you can take to support her recovery.
The First Steps: Education
Before you can do anything truly productive to help your child, learning everything you can about addiction and the substance he’s addicted to is of critical importance. It’s also important that you get your information from reputable sources.
The National Institute on Health is an excellent resource for current information about addiction and various drugs of abuse, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website features a helpful section on recovery and recovery support.
The Second Step: Engage in Therapy and Support
If your child is in denial about her addiction, or if she is resisting seeking help for it, engage in therapy and join a support group for families of people with addictions. Both therapy and a support group will offer a wealth of resources and give you a safe place to voice your fear, anger and other negative emotions.
The better you understand addiction and learn how your own attitudes, beliefs and behaviors can influence your child’s addiction for better or for worse, the better you’ll be able to fully engage with her and help her see the need for treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
If your child has agreed to seek treatment, then engaging in family therapy, joining a support group and seeking individual therapy for each affected family member are essential steps for addressing family dysfunction—a major relapse trigger—and improving communication within the family system.
The Third Step: Find a Suitable Treatment Center
Finding a treatment center that offers the type of program best suited to your child’s needs is important for helping to ensure the best possible outcome once he enters treatment. Gracious Care Recovery offers many different Programs and Services to treat your child.
Even if your child isn’t open to treatment at this time, it’s essential to hold onto the hope that he will come to terms with his addiction and ask for help at some point.
The Fourth Step: Consider an Intervention
In some cases, an intervention can persuade your child to agree to seek treatment. An intervention is a meeting between you, your child and other concerned friends and family members. During the meeting, each of you explains to your child how her addiction has affected you, and you offer her the opportunity to enter treatment right away.
Ninety percent of interventions planned and executed with the help of a professional interventionist end with the addicted individual agreeing to enter treatment, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. To decide whether an intervention is right for your family, discuss your options with a mental health professional, addiction specialist or a counselor from a high quality treatment center.
The Fifth Step: Don’t Give Up Hope
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cites hope as the foundation of recovery. If your child has agreed to treatment, there will be challenges and setbacks in the months ahead. Holding onto hope and fostering it in your child can make a big difference in the success of his recovery down the road.
If your child is in denial or has refused to seek help for an addiction, believe in his ability to recover and offer positive words of encouragement and love, which can help break down the barriers that may be preventing him from seeking help.
“When Your Child Has an Addiction” Continues
In the next entry in this series, learn about educational resources available to assist you and support groups for your child. Continued in “My Child Has an Addiction, Part 4: Educational Resources and Support Groups”.