On the surface, this sounds like a cruel mandate, but adult children who are victims of alcohol and drug addiction need more than saving. In fact, if you approach recovery as a crusade, you may be heartbroken by the result. The following tips for addiction lay out a smart, loving, supportive, yet disciplined strategy for getting your adult child into recovery and beyond.
Tip #1: Strengthen Your Relationship and Open Your Channels of Communication
Everything you do for your addicted child is based on the value of your relationship. If you don’t have the kind of relationship you would like, work on that first. It all begins with active listening and asking questions about your child’s condition, hopes, and fears. Your questions should be open-ended and not intended to make your child feel defensive or trapped by his or her responses. Whether it’s alcohol or drug addiction, a relationship based on trust is a great foundation for change. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the following addiction tips strengthen communication:
- Stay engaged and focused
- Display a sense of acceptance and understanding
- Be kind and respectful
- Reduce distractions
- Focus on the good
- Monitor your negative reactions
Tip #2: Don’t Confuse Support with Enabling
Supporting your child is critical, but that doesn’t always mean financial support. Your child is struggling and may not be capable of self-support. Simply providing money without knowing where it’s going may enable addiction rather than stop it. This goes back to the old expression, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It’s all about making sure children have the coping skills and a plan that they can implement. Their decisions have put them into this situation and their decisions with get them out.
Tip #3: Keep Your Family Strong
Whether at home, in a recovery center or on their own, addicted children can put tremendous strain on the whole family. Like any stressful situation, addiction can lead to feelings of guilt among parents and neglect among other family members. So focus on keeping the family as normal as possible. Follow regular schedules, attend functions and school events or just take a walk, a run or a hobby that you enjoy.
Tip #4: Establish Expectations and Boundaries
As you may have already witnessed, an addicted child is likely to challenge established boundaries. That’s why it’s so important to set realistic and understood boundaries for both of you. It may even result in a written contract that acknowledges expectations, rights and a system of rewards and penalties. As a parent, you need to be loving yet firm. Develop these guidelines when everyone is calm, rational and respectful.
Tip #5: Love Yourself as Much as You Love Your Child
Parents of children with alcohol and drug addiction are often guilty of guilt. They blame themselves for the actions of their children when they are powerless in the face of the many influencers of addiction. So don’t be so hard on yourself. Your ability to help your child depends on you keeping your head on straight. If you succumb to stress and depression, you’re less likely to provide the stability your child needs in recovery. Understand that you are doing the best you can. If you need to reach out for help, that’s OK. If you need to focus on what makes you happy, that’s OK. And if you need to find a support group or a private therapist, that’s OK, too.
Cornerstone Helps Make Good Choices a Habit
At Cornerstone Recovery Center, we help you develop strategies that help you make good choices for life. If you and your adult child need help with alcohol and drug addiction, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.