Dear Parent of a Child Addict: You’re Not Alone
You’ve recently learned your child may likely be addicted to drugs or alcohol. And your first question to yourself is likely a derivative of: What happened? How did I let this happen? I’m a horrible parent – what did I do wrong?
Let’s be clear: the blame-game isn’t going to get you anywhere. Because for the record: your child’s addiction to drugs or alcohol isn’t your fault. There is only so much you can do as a parent because at the end of the day, kids are resourceful. And they’re going to find substances to use if they actually want to use them.
Here’s why you as a parent shouldn’t beat yourself up:
- Even loving, kind parents end up with drug-addicted children.
You can be the most loving, kind, gentle-hearted parent – and still end up with a child addicted to drugs or alcohol. And it isn’t a fault with how you had raised them. Regardless if a child is breast-fed or bottle-fed, nurtured and given every opportunity available, addicts in general make up about 10% of the population. Regardless.
- It’s biological: if you have it, you have it.
When a woman is pregnant, she’s pregnant: she either is or she isn’t. And it’s the same for having the biology of an addict: either you are or you aren’t. Addiction isn’t something one picks up in a public restroom, or by hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” or by watching too much MTV. Addicts come from all walks of life – regardless of their faiths, socio-economic backgrounds, education levels or sexual orientations.
- You’re not responsible for your child’s addiction. But you are responsible for how you react to it.
Making significant improvements to your child’s life starts with setting up a system and addressing the way your family engages and interacts with each other. Creating a family that has clear boundaries and expectations will allow you to deal with whatever adversity comes your way. You can learn to live with an addict that is active in their addiction or sober. You do not have to let them run the show with all the drama, crisis and chaos that comes with substance abuse.
I’ve been there. I’ve been the kid, I’ve been the parent, and I’ve been the family member of an addict. I have been the addict, myself. I have been the sober person who did the steps, and I’ve been the mental health professional who supports others as they face addiction. I understand all of the perspectives. I’m excited for you to learn all you need to know with my new book coming soon. To learn more, visit www.PetersenFamilyCounseling.com.