Help Yourself Help Your Addicted Child
We all get overwhelmed or stressed out sometimes. Usually the stress is due to an event, a particular conflict with a loved one or friend or a situation at work. We know how to cope with these situations and they do eventually pass.
It is different when living with or being close to someone with an addiction. When addiction is a factor, you, the people close to the addict, lose perspective on pretty much everything because you are in constant survival mode. You live in fight, flee or freeze mode. Everything you do is a reaction. How do you start to handle things in a different way so you are not walking on eggshells or feel like everything is confrontational and chaotic?
Taking a few deep breaths before you answer a question or freak out about something, can be all the time you need to make a thoughtful response. When you take a moment, you can form more rational thoughts and think things through more clearly. You are able to offer a calm suggestion or answer that can be a starting point for a conversation rather than a reaction that will start a confrontation.
Learn different phrases
Learning a few different phrases to repeat to your addicted child is helpful when you don’t want to get into an argument or be responsible for fixing anything.
Repeat each phrase no more than 3 times. If you have to say it more than 3 times, walk away. Your addicted loved one is trying to wear you down and manipulate you into giving in.
Often addicts feel like they are not good enough and don’t do anything right. Finding the things your addicted child is good at and letting him know you are proud of him can strengthen your relationship. It can be something as simple as coming home on time or helping you put away the groceries. By building your addicted loved one up, he will start to see all the good in himself that you see and become more motivated to be that person more often.
We all know knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about addiction and how it affects the family. By having the knowledge, you will develop an understanding of your addicted child, his self-destructive behaviour and concrete ways to help him find recovery.
Reach out to a close friend and share what is going on for you and your family. Addiction in the family is a big burden to carry alone or as a couple. When you reach out to a friend, you are allowing someone else help you carry the problem and it becomes less overwhelming.
You can start by doing a few simple things to change the dynamic between you and your addicted child or loved one. These small things will give you some relief and again make life feel less overwhelming. You will start to feel less responsible for your addicted loved one’s choices and find some relief in having other people to share your burden.
Families Do Recover has a community of people that live with addicted loved ones. Join our community by registering for a weekly therapeutic and educational support group or book a discovery session to find out what will work for you.
is a Vancouver-based Addictions Specialist and Family Therapist with training and experience in numerous areas related to healing and recovery from the devastation of addiction & alcoholism.