Your parents are supposed to take care of you, teach you from right and wrong, and protect you from the harsh realities of the world as best as they can. Unfortunately, parents are people, and people are not perfect.
What to Do When Your Parent Is an Addict
Addiction can happen to anyone and when a parent gets caught up with drug abuse, it can leave their children to try and pick up the pieces. If your parent is an addict, you are not alone. There are a lot of other people in similar positions, and it is okay to not know what to do.
Especially if you are not yet an adult yourself, you should not have to deal with a parent’s addiction alone. While your parent may be in denial or trying to hide their drug problems, you shouldn’t keep their secret to yourself. Talk to an adult you trust about the situation so they can step in to help. A drug addiction can be dangerous, and if you do not speak up, your parent’s addiction problems could get much worse. Your parent may not be happy with you now, but they will thank you one day. If you are older, you may want to consider reaching out to a rehab facility and learning more about their substance abuse programs or holding an intervention with the help of a professional.
Talk to Them
It may be an uncomfortable topic, but it is likely something your parent needs to hear. Many drug addicts are in denial about their problems, but hearing it from their children can be a big eye-opener. Try to talk to them when they are sober and stay calm.
Anyone who has had someone close to them struggle with addiction knows that drug addiction hurts more than just the addict. Addiction can have a huge impact on your life, and you should not be going through this alone. If you are too embarrassed to talk to friends or loved ones about it, talk to a professional. Call a hotline, get therapy, or join a support group. It is important that your mental health is taken care of and you remember that this is not your fault.
When your parent is an addict, it is not uncommon for the normal roles of the relationship to be reversed. You may find yourself taking care of and protecting them, but it is not your responsibility to clean up after your parent’s addiction. In fact, keeping your parent from facing the consequences of their drug abuse is known as enabling an addict and could be making their addiction worse. Instead, remember that you are the parent, they are the child, and set boundaries. When they start to experience the negative side effects of their addiction, they may be more willing to get help.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol
Addiction is often genetic, but just because your parent is a drug addict doesn’t mean you will become one too. Still, there is a higher risk than normal; turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with a parent’s drug abuse is not the solution.
In some cases, drug addicts can get violent or their living situations can be dangerous. They may get mixed up with some bad people or no longer be able to pay the bills. Their relationship with you may also become toxic. When this type of serious situation arises, it is okay to get out. Stay with a family member or friend and distance yourself from your drug addict parent. It may not be easy, but until they seek residential addiction treatment and stay sober, it is likely the best thing for your future.
Substance abuse can be toxic and it is hard to know how to deal with drug-addicted parents. While you may feel alone at times, you do not have to be. At Banyan Palm Springs, we help drug addicts get sober and their loved ones move forward.
If your parent is an addict, we want to help. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more.
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
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