Parents of Addicted Adults: Coping Tips for Resilience

December 9, 2023

Addiction | Barbara Decker

Key Takeaways

  • Admit your loved one has a problem; it’s the first step. Support them to help your family’s future.
  • Set firm boundaries and encourage your child to seek professional help if they are open to hearing you. Show understanding and highlight the benefits of change.
  • Learn about addiction, reward good behavior, and adopt healthier habits for lasting recovery.

Barbara’s Perspective

The parents we work with often struggle with a tough question: What’s the difference between being supportive and enabling? This challenge involves rethinking what we know about love and support, especially when dealing with addiction as a disease.

It’s a fine line to walk, requiring a deep understanding of how addiction works and how best to help without causing further harm. And it is a concept that any parent can master, once they begin to see the truth of this disease.

Barbara 🙏

It is very difficult for parents when their child becomes addicted. This road can lead to rehab, jail, or the tough choice to distance the child from the family.

Addiction can put a person’s future at risk. It can come from mental health problems, difficult experiences, or pressure from friends. You likely feel the burden of their struggles and the weight of their decisions. It may feel like a never-ending string of excuses, lies, and deception.

Helping your adult child can be difficult, especially when they’re struggling with substance abuse. You might even discover that some things you’re doing to protect them might make things worse. But don’t worry. Once you understand this, you can be better at helping yourself and your loved one to overcome the problem.

Don’t hesitate to seek support and get the help you need. You’ve got this!

Life as the Parent of an Addicted Adult

Having your grown-up child struggle with addiction isn’t easy. It’s like a huge, heavy feeling you always hold in your heart, right?

Sometimes, you might wonder if there’s anything you could have changed. It’s normal to feel regret and question yourself with “what ifs.” You might feel remorseful and wonder if you could have led your child down a better path.

As a parent, you naturally want to protect your child and ease their suffering. However, shielding them from consequences may worsen their dependency. This could cause a problem where the person relies too much on others and doesn’t learn to be independent.

The struggles of your adult child’s addiction are a test of strength and patience. It’s about finding the right mix of emotional support and actionable guidance. In difficult times, how you handle things can set the stage for your son or daughter’s recovery.

Strategies to Help Parents Support an Addicted Adult Child

A woman is holding her daughter's hand while using strategies to help parents of an addicted adult.

Parents and grown-up kids face challenges when dealing with addiction. But it’s possible to overcome this obstacle with support and guidance. We will give you helpful tips to help your child begin their journey to sobriety.

Recognizing the Problem

When your loved one is dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, you might feel helpless and deny the problem. That’s okay, but knowing your child needs help is the first step to recovering them.

Accepting that your child uses drugs is hard. If you suspect your son or daughter is addicted to drugs, learn what to do if you find drugs in your child’s room to take the necessary steps.

Drawing the Line

Parents of grown children who are struggling with addiction should establish clear rules. They should find a balance between tough love and showing understanding. This is both for protecting you and encouraging your child to take responsibility. Explore the option of drug testing your adult child to establish clear guidelines and ensure their well-being.

Talking is a key part of this process, as discussing how the addiction is affecting the family can bring a change.

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

Encouraging Your Child to Get Help

Showing your child that you care can be very supportive. This can encourage them to seek professional help if needed. Keep in mind that they have to make their own decisions. So, approach them with understanding and make them feel comfortable expressing their feelings.

You can’t make someone seek help, but showing positive outcomes can make a difference.

Rewarding Good Behavior

Encourage your family member’s efforts to stay away from drugs. Little things like appreciating their efforts can make a world of difference.

You can motivate them by giving small rewards and celebrating their progress towards recovery. Encourage and acknowledge their steps. This creates a great environment that makes them feel good about their rehab.

Loving Someone in Addiction: Coping Mechanisms

A group of people who loves someone in addiction supporting and practicing coping mechanisms around a couch.

The addiction affecting your son or daughter is undeniably difficult. Yet, you don’t need to go through this alone. Here are some tips to help you go through this difficult problem:

Learn About Addiction

Understanding addiction is crucial for navigating your loved one’s situation. Educate yourself through reliable resources, books, or online materials.

Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions and approach the situation with empathy. To better understand addiction, you can learn about the feelings and thoughts your child is facing. This will also help you find support and treatment options.

Find Other Parents

Connect with other parents facing similar challenges. Join support groups or online communities where you can share experiences and advice.

Knowing that you’re not alone can provide a sense of comfort and strength. Talking to other parents can give you helpful tips and ideas for handling similar situations.

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

Set Healthy Limits

Establish clear boundaries regarding your son or daughter’s substance use. Setting rules shows you care about their well-being and won’t allow harmful actions.

It’s an essential step towards supporting their recovery. You create a structured environment that promotes responsibility and accountability by setting boundaries. This helps them start their journey to sobriety on a positive note.

Talk Openly

Leave the lines of communication open. Create a non-judgmental space where they feel comfortable sharing their struggles. Let them know you’re there to support and assist them in seeking help.

To build trust and encourage their recovery, it’s important to have open and sincere communication. This creates a foundation for working together and increases their willingness to accept your support.

Take Care of Yourself

While caring for your addicted child, remember to prioritize your well-being. Ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising.

Seeking guidance from a counselor or therapist can provide an outlet for your own stress and emotions. Remember, when you care for yourself, you can better support your child. This creates a stable and nurturing environment for their recovery.

Stay Positive

Recovery is a journey with ups and downs. Stay positive and celebrate even small improvements.

Your support and positive attitude help your family members stay motivated to beat addiction. Staying positive helps you handle challenges and stay determined during the recovery process.

Get Professional Help

Don’t hesitate to seek advice from professionals experienced in addiction. Find support services. You can get help from a counselor, therapist, or support group to understand your loved one’s situation. They have the expertise to guide you.

Professional help ensures you’re equipped with effective strategies and emotional support. Talking to experts helps you learn about new addiction programs so you can help your child better.

Using these strategies empowers you to learn how to stop worrying about your drug-addicted son; this will create a supportive environment for both you and your son’s recovery journey.

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

Connected Healing for Addiction Recovery

Being a part of supportive groups is a key step for making a space where people can talk and gain strength while improving. These groups don’t just give emotional and practical help but also link people dealing with the same problems. They create spaces to share stories and build each other up.

Listening to other people’s stories of getting better is inspiring. It also gives hope to those dealing with addiction.

Fostering Positive Change and Looking Forward

A man and his mother looking forward, fostering positive change as they embrace in the kitchen.

Recovery is possible. Making positive changes, including detox, is a vital aspect of rehabilitation. At first, it may be difficult. But if you start doing healthier things, it can help you stop bad habits and improve your environment for long-term healing.

To improve your life, try doing positive things like exercising, being mindful, and being creative. In essence, learning to live sober.

Though steep and winding, the road to recovery represents a series of victories with each step forward. For parents and individuals alike, it’s a collective journey marked by resilience and progress. They go on a life-changing journey, not just to heal but also to learn, love, and gain wisdom.

Frequently Asked Questions About Parents of Addicted Adults

What is the role of parents in addiction?

Parents play a key role in preventing addiction through support, modeling healthy behavior, and open communication. They provide education, set boundaries, and guide intervention if needed.

What are the psychological effects of addicts on children?

The psychological effects of addicts on children can be profound, encompassing emotional, cognitive, and behavioral impacts. Exposure to a parent’s addiction can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and a higher risk of developing mental health issues for the child.

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

How genetics play a role in addiction?

Genetics greatly influence addiction, as hereditary factors make people more susceptible to substance abuse. Genetic variations can influence how someone responds to drugs, impacting their likelihood of developing an addiction.

What are the psychosocial behavior of drug addicts?

Drug addicts display various psychosocial behaviors, such as social isolation, poor decision-making, and altered relationships. Addiction often leads to a preoccupation with obtaining and using substances, neglecting other aspects of life, and engaging in risky behaviors to sustain the addiction.

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