Watching an adult child struggle with addiction is one of the most heart-wrenching things a parent can endure. Although your adult child is no longer your legal responsibility, the role of parenthood does not stop when your child turns 18, and their struggles remain a frustrating and difficult challenge to navigate for all involved. This is often doubly true for parents whose adult children face addiction, and it can be hard to know what—if anything—you can do to support your child as they walk this path. First Steps Recovery Fresno Rehab has help for you and your loved one.
Understand that Addiction Is a Disease
As our knowledge of addiction evolves, it is becoming more and more clear that addiction is a disease. This understanding is a departure from the historical perception of addiction as a moral or character failing, and like any other disease, addiction can be managed through appropriate levels of support and addiction treatment.
Similar to heart disease, some forms of diabetes, or other types of chronic illness, addiction is something that an individual may be genetically predisposed to. The disease is then kicked off through the decisions and behaviors of the person, such as experimenting with drugs various, or spending time with others who engage in drug use. But unlike other diseases, addiction is one that carries a heavy social and medical stigma, which can ultimately prevent the afflicted from seeking the help they so desperately need.
When you accept that your adult child is wrestling with a disease, rather than a personal or moral failing, it can be easier to support them through the process of change and recovery.
How to Help
Helping your adult child without enabling destructive habits is a challenging line to walk. Whether you feel like you’ve spent your energy over-supporting your child, or you feel as though you’ve under-supported your child, Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., of Psychology Today offers a few ways you can show them your love without inadvertently making their struggle worse:
- Decide what, if any, financial support you’re able to provide. This amount is unique to you and your family, and should first and foremost take into account your own financial needs.
- If you’re providing financial support, do so in the form of supplies, groceries, or other essentials, rather than as cash or deposits into their account. This will ensure their basic needs are met, while preventing a situation where they take the cash you give and turn around to spend it on substances.
- Offer other types of support, such as providing rides to rehab, joining them at support groups, or finding community resources meant to help those struggling with addiction or mental health disorders. Support comes in many forms, and there are a multitude of ways to show your child you care.
What to Avoid
Life after addiction can be a beautiful thing, but the road there is often bumpy and full of roadblocks. Your child has a path of their own on the road to recovery. Despite their best efforts, there are a few common mistake parents can make when trying to help.
First and foremost, don’t try to force your adult child to go to addiction treatment, or assume that you alone can rescue them. Not only does this strip your child of their autonomy, but it can set both of you up for failure down the road if your child is only going through rehab to appease you. The most important and influential experience in rehab is the one that your child wants and seeks for themselves. Let your child know that when they are ready to find help, you will be right there by their side.
Avoid bringing yourself and the rest of your family to “rock bottom.” Your adult child is the only one who can make the decision about whether to pursue rehab, and you and the rest of your family deserve to be safe and to avoid the “rock bottom” of your adult child’s struggle with addiction. Set firm and loving boundaries that will protect yourself and your other loved ones, and stick to them. Make sure everyone in the family knows and agrees with the boundaries being set, and create a plan for everyone to follow.
Taking Care of Yourself
As hard as it may be, it’s important to understand that you are ultimately powerless over your adult child’s addiction. It’s also important to know that being powerless isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What you do have power over is the love and care you give not only to your child, but also to yourself as you make your way through this journey. Taking care of yourself will help you keep your own cup full, which will make you better able to support your child as they work toward recovery.
The way you take care of yourself should be unique to your situation and needs. For some parents, this might mean finding a therapist for support. For others, it means increasing social support, engaging in hobbies that bring you joy, and taking care of important physical health needs. Whatever self-care looks like for you, know that each step you take toward loving and caring for yourself will prepare you for the hard work of supporting an adult child with an addiction.
Get Support at a Fresno Rehab
You and your child do not have to walk this path alone. There are a wealth of support groups, 12-step groups, rehab facilities, and addiction treatment professionals who are passionate about helping those with addictions and their families. The trained and compassionate staff at our Fresno California rehab have the skill and expertise needed to guide your family toward healing.
When you and your child are ready, give us a call at 844-244-7837. Our staff is on the other end of the line, waiting to help.