How To Stop Worrying About Your Drug Addicted Son? A Stop-Enabling Guide

December 19, 2023

Addiction | Barbara Decker

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Key Takeaways

  • Understanding addiction is key. It’s like being stuck in a bad storm. Learning about it helps you know how to help your kid without getting lost yourself.
  • Take care of yourself, too. Put on your life jacket before helping others. Make sure you’re not worn out or stressed from dealing with their addiction.
  • Asking for expert help is smart. Professionals are like rescue teams for when the waves get too high. They’re there to support both you and your child.

Barbara’s Perspective

Worry is a curious beast, often misunderstood and frequently mishandled. In my experience, worry isn’t an involuntary reaction but rather a choice we make, consciously or unconsciously. We have the power to either succumb to it or to steer away from its grasp. Choosing not to worry is not about ignorance or denial; it’s about making a deliberate decision to replace repetitive, unproductive thoughts with constructive, positive action. This shift requires persistent effort, training our minds to focus on solutions rather than getting mired in the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’ that lead nowhere.

In drawing the line between worry and focused problem-solving, I’ve found that worry, while a common emotional response, is ultimately a futile exercise. It hasn’t solved any problems in my life; instead, it has only succeeded in robbing me of time—precious minutes, hours, and days that could have been spent more fruitfully. Recognizing this distinction is the first step in transforming how we approach challenges, especially ones as heart-wrenching as dealing with a loved one’s addiction.

Barbara 🙏

Finding the courage to let go of worry is like searching for a pebble on a vast beach. It often feels daunting and endless, especially when that worry is tethered to your son’s battle with addiction. You’ve spent nights staring at the ceiling, your mind racing, fearing for his safety and well-being. It’s an experience that can feel isolating, but you are far from alone on this journey.

As we venture into this tender conversation together, let’s gently explore how you can begin to ease the weight of this worry from your shoulders—taking steps towards peace of mind for yourself and fostering an environment where healing can flourish for both you and your beloved son.

Stop Worrying, Start Acting: It’s Time to Take Control

Worry can be like sand slipping through fingers – no matter how tightly you clench your hand, it will still escape. Overcoming anxiety about your addicted child involves learning techniques. Mindfulness or cognitive-behavioral strategies will help anchor you amidst emotional storms.

Acknowledge the Reality

Acknowledging your child’s addiction is like accepting that you need support from others. Recognizing substance abuse as a disease strips away blame. It makes you see your child not as a person with a substance use disorder but as someone battling an illness.

Here is when one might wonder if you should drug test your teenager as a way to confirm suspicions and seek the necessary help. This step could be part of assembling a support system equipped to provide the right recovery aid.

Self-Care: The Beacon Leading You Home

In managing your mental health while witnessing your loved one struggle with addiction, self-care acts as both armor and medicine. It protects you against burnout while nurturing resilience within.

Help Your Child but Don’t Forget To Help Yourself

A mother is sitting in a chair and writing in a notebook, completely engrossed in her thoughts taking care of herself.

Helping someone who battles drug addiction without losing yourself along the way requires balance. It’s a dance between empathy for their plight and respect for personal boundaries. To ensure a sustainable support system:

  • Set Clear Boundaries: Establish rules that protect your well-being. This includes house rules, financial limits, or specific times to discuss their challenges.
  • Communicate with Love: When setting these boundaries, don’t express them as punitive measures. These as necessary structures for a healthy recovery environment.
  • Create Space for Yourself: Reserve areas in your life that are untouched by the chaos of addiction—places where you can unwind and recharge.

By advocating for both your child’s recovery and your health, you become a lighthouse. It’s about walking this path together. Ensuring each step nourishes rather than depletes your spirit. Some addiction treatment programs provide structured support and professional care. This is an option you should consider if you want to take care of yourself.

Self-Care Strategies for Parents

Here are practical tips:

  • Schedule regular “me time.”
  • Engage in physical activity.
  • Seek solace in hobbies.

When parental help starts drowning out personal welfare—it’s time to reassess priorities and seek out life rafts designed for self-preservation.

Seeking Help for Yourself: The Importance of Professional Support

There comes a time when professional help is not just beneficial—it becomes crucial. It’s vital for parents to navigate through these troubled waters with their children. Therapy or support groups offer safe harbors. Here you can express feelings without fear of being overwhelmed by them.

SEE: Find out why your boundaries keep getting crossed (and how to reinforce them)

Understanding Your Child’s Addiction Journey

Imagine standing on the shores of a vast and tumultuous ocean. This is your child’s addiction journey—a place where the tides are unpredictable, and the waves are relentless.

You might feel helpless watching them struggle against the current. In this case, it’s essential to recognize that parenting an addicted adult is different from guiding a younger child.

With adults, finding ways to support them in regaining their footing on solid ground often requires respecting their autonomy while offering unwavering love and understanding of this treacherous ocean they must navigate.

Defining Drug Addiction and Substance Use Disorder

Drug addiction isn’t a choice or a sign of weakness; it’s akin to being caught in an undertow. Substance use disorder can be characterized by an inability to control drug use despite harmful consequences, intense cravings, and changes in behavior that prioritize substance use over other life activities.

Behavioral Signs of a Drug Addicted Son or Daughter

The signs may start subtly—like pebbles shifting beneath your feet before a landslide. These could include:

  • A withdrawal from family life
  • Sudden changes in friends or hobbies
  • Unexplained financial problems

The Psychological Underpinnings of Addiction

Addiction digs its roots deep into the psyche, wrapping around one’s sense of self like ivy on an old tree. It often coexists with mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety—creating a tangled web that requires patience and expertise to unravel.

Stop Enabling Your Drug Addicted Child

A mother setting boundaries to her drug addicted child

Enabling behaviors might feel like throwing lifelines—but they’re often ropes entangling them further into dependence. To stop enabling:

  1. Educate yourself on healthy support vs enabling.
  2. Maintain consistent boundaries.
  3. Encourage accountability without rescuing from consequences.

Confronting Enabling Behaviors

A step-by-step guide begins with awareness—spot when ‘help’ hinders recovery. Then, change the course towards actions that empower rather than entrap.

Are your efforts genuinely aiding their journey to sobriety, or are they smoothing the road back to addiction? This is where tough love comes into play. This concept may feel counterintuitive but is necessary for promoting long-term healing.

Look for ways to encourage responsibility:

  • Set conditions for financial support.
  • Insist on transparency regarding their activities.
  • Require participation in family therapy sessions.

It’s about shifting the dynamics. Turn passive assistance into active encouragement of healthier habits and self-sufficiency.

NEW: How to make the shift from "Mom Code" to prioritizing your own well-being

Approaching Intervention With Compassion

Approach the intervention carefully. Use the same strategy as family involvement in substance abuse treatment. Build structures strong enough to bear heavy burdens yet designed with compassion.

Set clear boundaries during this collaborative process to safeguard everyone involved. Construct walls that can withstand the high seas of addiction while maintaining open gates for your loved one’s eventual return to sobriety and family unity.

Rehab Treatment Options Beyond Home Concerns

A man is discussing rehab treatment options with a doctor in an office.

When addiction takes hold, the home environment may not be enough. In such cases, it is essential to explore rehab treatment options.

Let’s break down the avenues for getting help. Ensure your loved one doesn’t have to hit rock bottom before receiving the help they need.

Exploring Addiction Treatment Programs

The journey to recovery starts with understanding the available addiction treatment programs. These can range from inpatient facilities, where individuals reside at a center for some time, to outpatient programs that allow them to maintain some aspects of their daily routine. Here are a few key points:

  • Inpatient residential treatments offer round-the-clock care.
  • Outpatient services provide flexibility while delivering necessary support.
  • Specialized programs may address co-occurring mental health issues alongside substance abuse.

The Step Before Rock Bottom: Early Intervention

Waiting for someone to hit rock bottom isn’t just risky—it can be life-threatening. Early intervention is crucial. If you’re grappling with what to do when your child tests positive for drugs, take immediate action. This can alter the course of their journey.

Seek professional help. Engage in open communication, and build a support system for you and your child’s recovery.

Before the consequences worsen, there is an opportunity for recovery. Individuals struggling with drugs can receive help in a supportive environment.

WATCH: Free, confidential workshop that explains how to "Love Another Way"

Getting Help: Navigating Treatment Pathways

When you’re ready to get help for your addicted child, knowing where to start is half the battle.

  • Researching Options: Explore which program aligns best with your loved one’s specific needs. Consider factors like location, duration of treatment, and therapy styles offered.
  • Consulting Professionals: Doctors or specialists can guide you through selecting an appropriate program. Take advantage of their expertise.
  • Utilizing Resources: Look into resources provided by insurance companies or local community services. That could ease the financial burdens associated with treatment.

Whether seeking out an intensive outpatient program or contemplating residential rehab options, every step taken is a stride toward regaining control over drug addiction. Your proactive search for proper support and guidance reflects strength.

A Guide to Parenting With Hope and Resilience

A mother parenting her adult child with hope and resilience

Let’s dock our boats for a second, shall we? We’ve been talking about a journey that’s anything but smooth sailing. Remember, clinging to hope is your anchor in the storm.

It’s tough, but the sun habitually rises after the darkest nights. Those strategies we unpacked? They’re your trusty compass—keep them close and use them often.

They’re not just quick fixes but part of your everyday survival kit. And hey, sometimes you must send a flare for help—that’s okay! Looking for professional support is intelligent and proactive when feeling overwhelmed. You know what’s cool? You’ve got a fleet of fellow parents sailing right alongside you.

You might feel alone out there on the open sea, but trust me: there are so many others who get it—who really get it. So here’s to calmer seas ahead, and remember—you’ve got this. Keep steering true north!

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Stop Worrying About Your Drug Addicted Son

What are the psychological effects of addicts on children?

The psychological effects of addicts on children can be profound and long-lasting. These often lead to emotional distress, anxiety, and trust issues. These children have an increased risk of developing substance abuse problems themselves. Growing up in an environment where addiction is present can disrupt a child’s sense of security and normalcy, affecting their emotional development and relationships with others.

Are drugs used as a coping mechanism?

Yes, drugs are often used as a coping mechanism. They serve as an escape from stress, trauma, or mental health issues. Individuals may turn to substances to avoid the pain or discomfort. However, this can quickly spiral into dependency and addiction.

SEE: Find out why your boundaries keep getting crossed (and how to reinforce them)

What is the most common defense mechanism in addiction?

Denial is the most common defense mechanism in addiction. Individuals refuse to acknowledge the severity or reality of their substance use. This serves as a psychological shield against the pain of admitting control has been lost and protects them from confronting the need for change.

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