Parenting is never easy. From the start, there is an enormous amount of pressure on parents to make the choices that will prepare their children for bright futures. So, it’s understandable that you would feel pain, guilt, shame and frustration if your child grows up and falls into addiction.
But, how can you overcome these feelings so you can better support your child through the difficult journey of addiction and recovery? The answer is centered around acceptance.
How to Overcome Parental Guilt and Addiction
You must first accept that you may have made mistakes as a parent – everyone does. You did the very best you could, and you can’t do anything to change the past.
You must also accept that your child is an adult. You equipped him with the tools he needed to make the right decisions in life. At the end of the day, your son is his own person and you need to let him accept responsibility for his actions.
You might be thinking that this line of thinking makes sense, but how do you actually cope with the hurt and damage that has stemmed from your son’s addiction? In order to be a source of support for your son’s recovery, you need to overcome guilt and shame. You need to stop blaming yourself for your child’s addiction.
Below are ways to help you cope with those negative feelings and heal, so you can help your son recover, as well:
Many psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, interventionists and even our own Peer Support Staff members who have lived through addiction recommend putting an end to enabling your son’s addictive behaviors. In other words, you need to show him tough love.
This means saying no to them wanting to live, eat and hang out at home while they are abusing drugs or alcohol. If they ask for money, refuse to help them because they will use the money on their addiction. Make it clear that the only way you’ll support them is if they agree to residential treatment. When this occurs, that’s when you can step back in to support their recovery.
Find Credible Rehabilitation Options
When your son is ready to commit to treatment, don’t leave him hanging. Help him find a safe, comfortable and highly personalized environment where he can heal from addiction.
Your son is dealing with a lot of loneliness and dysfunction in his life right now, so he needs a treatment center that understands what he is going through and has the expertise to help him recover. Doing this will show your son that you’re still here to support him and will help you start to recover from those feelings of guilt.
Practice Self-Care and Find Support
As important as it is to get your son the care he needs, it is just as important to take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Before treatment, leverage an interventionist to help facilitate the conversation with your son. This will help take some pressure off of you and the interventionist will prevent the conversation from getting out of control.
During your son’s treatment, focus on getting some help of your own. Support groups like Al Anon and individual counseling can help you work through the pain you’re feeling from your child’s addiction. Addiction affects the entire family and you owe it to yourself to find support.
Find Support at Spirit Mountain Recovery
Feelings of shame and guilt are completely natural for parents of children suffering from addiction. It’s how you use your feelings in a positive way that makes the difference.
Spirit Mountain Recovery offers upscale drug and alcohol rehabilitation in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah. It is our belief that substance addictions are multi-phasic disorders of the mind, body and spirit. Our remarkable treatment programs are designed to help your son get the adequate rest, nutrition and exercise he needs to learn how to live a fulfilling life without drugs or alcohol. Contact us today to speak to an admissions counselor.