What more can I do as a mother to a drug addicted child?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in Addicted Children |

What more can I do as a mother to a drug addicted child?

Being a mother to a drug addicted child is often a parent’s worst nightmare. You want to help, but you don’t know how to. Sometimes you may do things that actually make the problem worse. You feel helpless as you watch your drug addicted child continue to use drugs and destroy their life.

A drug addict’s family and friends can often be the biggest motivator for them to seek help. However, most of the time, the drug addict’s loved ones have no idea how to help them. Sometimes, as a mother of a drug addicted child, you must realize that you have to get help yourself before you can truly help your drug addicted child.

Addiction is known as a “family disease.” This means that as a mother of a drug addicted child, you may be as sick as the addict themselves. Often, the loved ones of a drug addicted child are enabling them to continue using drugs, even if they don’t realize it. They become “addicted” to the drama of helping their drug addicted child, much like the child is addicted to drugs.

What is the difference between helping and enabling?

Simply put, when you help a drug addicted child, you are doing something for them that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling a drug addicted child is doing something for them that they could and should be doing themselves. Enabling creates an environment where the drug addicted child can continue his or her destructive behavior.

Enabling behaviors can include: Calling in sick for your drug addicted child because they were too hung-over, drunk, or high to go to work or school; making excuses for an drug addicted child’s drinking or behavior; lying for your drug addicted child, bailing them out of jail, or paying their legal fees; paying their bills or loaning them money; giving them several “second chances” to change their behavior.

If you have done any of the above, it is important that you seek help yourself before trying to help your drug addicted child. Al-anon is a great program for those that have been affected by a drug addict or alcoholic. The program teaches loved ones how not to enable the drug addict in their lives and allows them to be able to help their drug addicted love one in a healthy way. Go to http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ for more information.

Once you have sought help yourself, you are in a position to help your drug addicted child. It is important that you don’t allow your child’s using and behavior to stay a secret. Don’t cover up for a drug addicted child and don’t lie for them. A common saying in Alcoholics Anonymous is “Secrets keep us sick.” Covering up for a drug addicted child’s behavior not only allows them to keep using drugs without consequences, but it encourages the idea that alcoholism is a shameful disease.

In order to truly help a drug addicted child, it is important that you do not judge or label them. If you pass judgment on a drug addict or potential drug addict, or shame them, this will feed their addiction and provide a great excuse to keep going. Addicts use drugs to deal with their emotions.

Finally, often the best way you can help a drug addicted child is by offering them a way to get help. Don’t try to force a drug addicted child into treatment, but do let them know that you will not be enabling them to continue using drugs. Make sure you have treatment options available if your drug addicted child decides they need help.

 

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