First thing’s first- this process is an uncomfortable one. Let’s get that out of the way now. Confronting your child going about their substance abuse is just about the last thing any parent would want to do. They’re more than just a loved one, they’re your baby. Because you love them so much, you must look past this discomfort and delve into how you can solve the issue of their drug abuse. We understand that finding a drug rehab center that they will be willing to go to will be hard. But what about even getting them to want to accept their drug abuse problem and go in the first place? They need to accept their substance abuse, and it’s important to understand they are suffering from a mental health issue. Watching your baby go through dangerous and heartbreaking situations is almost unbearable. A little understanding about their addiction disease will go a long way.
Addiction and alcoholism change a person from the inside out, and the same child you gave birth to is no doubt very different than the child going through substance abuse. As they get help for their addiction, you can also get help by understanding they are still your child, and they need you more than ever.
The hardest part is getting them to want to get help. Let’s look at some ways to do this.
Before You Approach Their Substance Abuse, Check Up On Yourself
We always say that apples don’t fall far from the tree. You’re worried about your child and want to see them do better. How can you approach your child, however, if you yourself are not treating your mental health well? Don’t be too harsh of a critic, but make sure your behavior is indicative of a healthy life too. This can be hard when there’s mental illness running in the family. Or maybe it’s a really tough time. That’s okay.
If you’re struggling too, take this time to reflect on how you can help yourself. When you help yourself, you help your child too. You also establish more credibility to your concerns when you approach them. People are stubborn–if your behavior seems hypocritical to an intervention, your child will want to push you away rather than listen. If you take prescription drugs, take the dose you’re prescribed with water and a nice meal. If you live in a drug and alcohol open house, get rid of those things. We cannot preach to our children about living better lives without being a good example for them.
This also goes for self-care. The last thing your child wants to see is how much you’re struggling at the hand of their drug abuse. Write down your thoughts and concerns. Find a trusted friend to speak with about it all. Take care of yourself too. Seeing you struggling-no matter what it’s about-could lead your child further into their drug abuse.
Do Your Research On Substance Abuse
Before you talk to your child about what they’ve been up to, it’s ideal for you to know exactly what’s going on in their body and mind. Check up on the facts. What are they taking? Is it a prescription drug or did it perhaps come from a recreational situation? Is this common for their age? How does this affect their physical health? Maybe other loved ones have become addicted to the same drug. If you feel comfortable, ask them how it made them feel.
After you understand more clearly what your child is addicted to, looking into different addiction centers. You know them more than most people do. What treatment options do you see that would work well for their personality and well being? What most people don’t realize is that there isn’t one standard way of recovery. Smart recovery is that which matches well with the addict’s needs and wants. If your child loves the outdoors, there are recovery centers designed to take advantage of the healing power of the outdoors. If your child isn’t much into talking alone with a therapist but will talk to you, look into family therapy practices. The opportunities to recover are endless.
Don’t Come Into It With A “You’re A Drug Addict” Mentality
It goes without saying that you’re concerned about the mental health, physical health, and safety of your child. You could also be feeling some disappointment in them and in yourself. What you should not do is treat the situation as a failure and come into the intervention with disdain.
Your child looks up to you and loves you no matter what. The last thing that will help their mental health and stability is to hear their parent call them a drug addict. Convincing them to go to a treatment center by making them feel guilty will only make them want to abuse drugs more. Your loved ones need to know your concerned, but not in a judgemental way.
Share with them your love and support for their hard time. Introduce treatment options to your child with an attitude of hope. Show gratitude that they took the time to listen to your thoughts. Getting addicted to a drug is a personally tragic ordeal, and being told by your parent that you need to recover will add to their guilt.
This intervention needs to be a peaceful and sentimental moment, rather than a time to reprimand your child for their drug abuse. Getting help from loved ones and taking suggestions on how to approach your child will provide a safe place for them.
They Go To Drug Rehab–Now Let It Go
So they finally agreed to go, and now you’re absolutely freaking out. Remember that your baby is going to get the help they need to live a long and fulfilling life. They’re saying goodbye to mental illness, to drug abuse and even though they’re also saying goodbye to their loved ones, you will see them soon. Let it be. Worrying about how they’re doing is inevitable, but take this time to heighten your own self-care so you can be the best possible person to yourself and the best possible parent to your child.
Accept that your child is safe for the first time in a long time. No more restless nights wondering where they are, what they’re doing, or if they’re suffering. They’re safe. They’re surrounded by mental health professionals and other recovering drug addicts. They are learning to lean on their peers for support. Their mental illness is finally getting addressed. If you let them be while they’re in alcohol rehab, they will learn how to lean on caring professionals and fellow peers for support.
Things aren’t always perfect in the treatment center industry. We’re dealing with a drug and alcohol epidemic of catastrophic proportions. Our loved ones need us more than ever to be firm, supportive, and as mentally healthy as possible. Little good will come by hovering over them and suffocating them while they’re undergoing drug and alcohol addiction therapy.
Let Them Go.
The hardest step in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction is the admission of powerlessness over their drug abuse, followed by action. That part is over. The heavy lifting is done. They are safe and protected in our four walls. While they’re in treatment, seek a support group for yourself. Recovery takes time, and by remembering these simple tips, you stand a much greater chance of staying sane and supportive for your child.
It’s unfortunate that your child got to the point of needing to go to a treatment center, yes. But, it’s also amazing that they were willing to. Substance abuse and mental health issues can cause so much permanent damage to a person’s life if they are not taken seriously. Let the bad thoughts go–your child is in a place where they can get the help they need to live a long, happy, meaningful life.