Though your child might have grown up and left the nest, they will always be your baby, and when your baby is hurting, it’s natural to want to do all that you can to take the pain away. Addiction, however, is something that many parents struggle with. Most addictions are not just a chemical dependency, they are an emotional dependency. They start as a coping mechanism for some pain in your child’s life, and only when you work to address both causes can your child truly have a chance of staying sober.
Being there, providing support, and helping them through the pain is one of the best ways you can help your son or daughter get back up on their feet and stay strong. You do not need to do this yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t try to do this yourself. Doing it on your own is bound to lead to frustration and backtrack any positive results you have seen.
Helping your son or daughter with an addiction problem is not an easy fix, and it will take multiple stages before you see tangible results.
Every parent should use these preventative measures. They will help your child thrive in all aspects of their life, and avoid issues like addiction, worsening mental illness, and so much more.
Build Trust and Open Communication
If your child is in pain, they need to feel comfortable turning to you and expressing that pain. This trust should be established in childhood and throughout their teen years. They need to know that if they are struggling, you are going to be there and can get them the help that they need. This way, you can trust them to take care of themselves even after they move away from home, and you aren’t there to see the signs up close and personal.
Help Them Build Healthy Habits and Relationships
They need to be taught about healthy relationships and habits. You need to work with them to embody these habits. If you don’t think your lessons were enough while they were kids, start now. Bond together through healthy hobbies and encourage open dialogue about their daily struggles, so they have a solid anchor to rely on.
Know the Signs
Though you won’t be there to see most of the signs in person, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what to look out for. You could help a friend, a friend of a friend, or even your own child with addiction if you know the early signs.
Getting Your Child the Help They Need
If your child is struggling with addiction, then you will need to start by following these three steps.
Get Support Yourself
It is perfectly natural to feel out of your depth here. Unless you also went through a struggle with addiction in your past and know the steps you are going to want to seek out support. There are groups for friends and family that you can rely on. Let them teach you, guide you, and give you the emotional backing you need to help your own child.
Learn and Put Resources Together
Try to not be argumentative or frustrated during this time, because what you know is care can easily be seen as controlling. Use your support group and let them guide you. By learning and putting resources together, you can be in a better position to help and guide them through any denial they may be experiencing.
Know-How to Approach the Intervention
The intervention is a big step, but there is no cooking cutter approach that you can take. Instead, you are going to want to customize the intervention to suit your son or daughter. You don’t necessarily need them to agree to get help at the end, either; just be willing to read through the pamphlets you have.
Getting Them the Help They Need
If and when they do agree to get help, your best bet is to start with professional treatment. Most addictions are not accidents, they are coping mechanisms. A professional center like Harris House offers intensive inpatient treatment for those still suffering from a chemical dependency, and intensive outpatient or transitional housing programs to help them deal with the emotional addiction.
What this means is that the treatment for your son or daughter will look like this:
The detox stage is the most painful. The body goes through physical withdrawals that can be very dangerous if done without medical supervision. This can either happen in a hospital involuntarily or as part of their inpatient treatment voluntarily. If they almost overdosed before this detox, then the need for medical supervision cannot be stressed enough.
Inpatient treatment is a safe, addiction-free environment that is very useful for those just coming out of withdrawal. Not only will your son or daughter be supervised to prevent immediate relapse, but they will also have therapy and wellness programs to attend to as well. The goal is to help understand your child’s mental health so that a comprehensive program can be created for their recovery.
Outpatient treatment means that they will move back home (or ideally with you) and continue to go to sessions at the center. This will include group therapy and individual therapy, as well as further life coaching or wellness sessions.
Addiction is a lifelong struggle, which means you do need to be aware that even after they graduate from outpatient, there is still a chance that they will relapse. Keep in close contact with them, spend time together, stay healthy together, and be aware when a stressor occurs in their life. A break-up, a job loss, mourning a loved one – all of these can put them right back on the wagon, but staying in touch and being there to offer help and guidance can be vital to helping them maintain sobriety and get through their struggles.