Friends. Girlfriends. Boyfriends. School. You name it. The most basic relationship issues often overwhelm young adults. Adding the burden of dealing with an addicted parent can really push things out of control.

Cornerstone Recovery Center is an addiction recovery center in Fort Lauderdale that understands the impact of drug and alcohol addiction on individuals and their families. The following guide is intended to help young adults recognize parental addiction and do the right thing for everyone.

The Warning Signs of Parental Addiction

You may have read one of our earlier blogs on addiction in children. While addicted adults have their own issues to confront, many of the warning signs are similar in both children and adults, including the following:

  • The inability to keep a job (similar to a child’s poor performance in school)
  • Emotional and behavioral issues (perhaps reported by a child’s friends or teachers)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor judgment
  • Mismanagement of finances
  • Increased isolation
  • Physical, verbal and/or sexual abuse
  • Development of anxiety or depression
  • Inability to keep promises or follow through with simple tasks
  • Development of unhealthy friendships

Do Something Now: Your Plan of Action

Being aware of the signs of addiction is the first critical step in helping your mom or dad. But now what do you do and to whom do you turn – even before thinking about contacting a drug rehab in the Fort Lauderdale area? The following guidelines will help to get you moving in the right direction.

Understand that this is not your fault. If you have an addicted parent, understand that their condition is not your fault. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) some 25% of all children under the age of 18 live in a family where a person abuses alcohol or is an alcoholic. You are also four times more likely to become addicted to alcohol or drugs! Remember: they are sick; you are the victim. Don’t blame yourself. You must get past this to help your parent.

• Begin the conversation with some questions. Asking your parent the right questions  – in the rights way – will help you help them. Ask the following questions to learn more about their illness and their state of mind:

  • How long have you been using drugs or abusing alcohol?
  • How much do you use in a day?
  • Where do you get your drugs? (prescribed or on the street?)
  • How does it make you feel when you’re on it/off it?
  • How would you feel if you never had to rely on drugs or alcohol again?

Talk to an adult you can trust. While it feels good venting to a friend, having an adult – a doctor, family friend, religious leader, teacher or relative – on your side can help. You may want to share the answers you got (see above.) with the people you trust. This person may become your shelter from the storm and may be able to help you find an intensive outpatient program in South Florida for your mom or dad.

Join a support group. As we said before, and as the statistics tell us, you are not alone. That’s why support groups exist. Being part of a group of kids with addicted parents provides comfort, support and strategies. If you need help finding a support group, ask your guidance counselor. Groups like Alateen (1-888-425-266), which is sponsored by Al-anon, was designed to support teens dealing with addicted parents. Your support group may also be a source of information about outpatient treatment in South Florida.

Be good to yourself. We’ve said this to parents and we’ll say it to you, continue with the activities (inside and outside of school) that make you feel good about yourself.

• Stay safe. Fire departments always stress the importance of an escape plan. You may need a place to escape from the stress of addiction. Whether it’s a friend or relatives’ house, or your public library, you need to identify these places now, not when things get really bad.

Cornerstone Helps Makes Good Choices a Habit

Cornerstone Recovery Center is an addiction recovery center in Fort Lauderdale that will help you and your family through the toughest of times. If your mom or dad has a problem with alcohol or drug addiction, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are strictly confidential.