The unconditional love a mother feels for her child knows no bounds. This type of love is so pure, so powerful, and so unshakeable–it’s been shown to literally transcend the deadly destructiveness of addiction disease. Alcoholism and drug addiction is officially categorized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and Substance Use Disorder. This means that if your child is suffering from alcohol and drug addiction, they are trying to cope with an illness that has been incredibly misunderstood over the last couple of decades. The American Psychological Association has made great strides in seeking to explain the complicated physiological nature of this disease, and in doing so, alcohol and drug treatment centers have adjusted their care programs accordingly.
When your child is suffering with alcoholism and or drug addiction, it’s important to know that help is available. You can continue to be a strong support for your son or daughter, loving them unconditionally and understanding that there is a solution to their pain. The solution sometimes seems obscured by external circumstances, but that doesn’t mean it’s not readily accessible. If your child is fighting the battle of addiction, just know that they are in the fight of their life, and there are ways you can help them right now. Addiction is a family disease, and as much as you feel worn out and hopeless trying to love and support your child through this difficult time, it’s still possible to do simple things each day to start living in the solution instead of the problem.
Family Roles in Addiction Disease
Your child is addicted to drugs and alcohol and can’t seem to get their life back on track. You’ve tried everything-cutting them off financially, giving in to their manipulation, trying to help them find work, hovering over them to see where they’re going and who they’re hanging out with. Maybe you’ve even sent them to detox or treatment to no avail. All of these methods aren’t going to work for the person who is a real alcoholic and drug addict. Why? Because they have to want it for themselves. Getting sober is perhaps the hardest thing to do, and the desire, truth be told, must come from within. There is no amount of pleading, consequences, crying, screaming, or tough love you can dish out that is truly going to convince your child to go and get help. Remember they are in the fight of their life, and it’s up to them–not you–to take the first step. They have to admit their own powerlessness. They have to admit their life has become unmanageable. Then they have to come to you and ask for help. If you interfere and try and force them to go to alcohol and drug treatment, they will miss this first crucial step in recovery. They may stay sober for a while, but eventually, the desire to abuse drugs and alcohol will come back, because they never wanted it badly enough for themselves. And they have to really want it.
Knowing Your Role In Their Recovery
There are all types of labels assigned to families going through addiction disease. Mothers are called codependent, enablers, other members in the family might be accusing you and your efforts as being more hurtful than helpful. The unconditional love you display for your child is going to pay off big time-but first, it’s best to detach with love. This is a phrase borrowed from the sister fellowship to Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon. It means that you can emotionally detach yourself from the chaos and drama of your loved one when they’re going through the extreme ups and downs in the vicious cycle of active alcoholism and drug addiction. By ‘detaching,’ you are setting a healthy boundary for yourself, and for them–and it will show them that you are there for them, but not at the expense of enabling them further with their addiction. Al-Anon is a wonderful 12 step fellowship program that can support and show you precisely how to do this. While your child is going through their destructive journey, you can love them unconditionally from an emotional distance point, so that you can be as mentally and emotionally healthy as possible. This will ensure you can be a strong support for them, because you won’t be so worn out from getting sucked into their drama. When they are finally ready to go to treatment, you can be there for them like no one else, and by utilizing your own support group, you will know the specific steps to take from people who have been exactly where you are. The brilliance of 12 step fellowship programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon is that these people have been through what you’re going through, and they have a way out. If you as the parent are willing to get help for your own emotional turmoil, your child will be doubly served in finding a solution to their addiction.
The Solution-Family Disease Calls For Family Healing
Get prepared to provide hope and education for your child. When they accept their own problem with addiction, when they’ve had enough of the terrible consequences this deadly disease brings, and when they are willing to go get help, it’s important you have a list of resources available and ready. Here’s a basic list of what you can do, right now, to get your family back on track for a true path of healing from addiction disease.
- Do Some Research-learn all you can about addiction disease
- Go to Al-Anon or private therapy-get help for yourself so you can be there emotionally and mentally for your child
- Choose a treatment center that really cares about helping clients achieve meaningful recovery
- Focus on gratitude and hope-it’s been said that what you focus on gets larger. Fill your days with as much positivity as possible
- Reach out to a support group, friends and family-we know what you’re going through, and we know how to help
- Stop enabling your child-remember, the desire to get sober has to come from within
- Love them back to health-set boundaries, show them that they are worth it, and teach them all you know about their disease.
- Get help through religion or spirituality-it’s been said the power of prayer goes a long way in fostering hope and positivity. The more hopeful and positive you are, the greater chance you have at beating this disease
We Are Here To Help
Addiction disease can be an isolating disorder, drawing you and your child into a dark cave of loneliness and despair. At New England Recovery and Wellness Center, we’ve been in these terrible, dark places, and have found a way out. We want to show you all we can about how to help your child. This type of service and giving back is what we live for, and by talking with one of our addiction specialists, we can begin the journey of recovery together, right now.
A mother’s unconditional love is the strongest defense against substance use disorder. It can be leveraged to help guide your child in their own unique path of healing and recovery. Take action by learning all you can, and remember, never ever give up hope. We know thousands that have come through our doors, shaking and inches away from giving up. Watching them grow into happy, healthy, productive members of society has truly been a gift for us. We wish you the same healing and health with your own struggles. Recovery from addiction is not only possible, it’s become a steadfast reality for us.