One of the most painful things to endure is watching a loved one battle with addiction. Watching their experience will create an overwhelming responsibility that lies on your shoulders: to get them to put their life back on track. It can be even more devastating knowing that you can’t force them to do anything. You really only can support.
There are a few ways you can be supportive to your child without making them feel pressured. They key is to stay involved without making your child feel like they don’t have any control. Follow this guide during their treatment and recovery process.
Create a Supportive and Open Environment
While all you may want to do is offer solutions and try to “fix” the situation, sometimes the best thing to do is lend a listening ear and let your child know that you’re there for them. As difficult as it may be, it’s important to remember that if your child is an adult; you can’t force them into treatment. Make sure to make home a loving and welcoming environment, not one met with judgement and questioning. Stress in the home is likely to trigger relapse.
Find the Right Treatment
As the parent who is not altered by the addiction, the responsibility of finding a treatment center will most likely fall on you. Consider a treatment that is science-based, and centers around the understanding of addiction as a disease. This type of treatment yields better results.
It is also important to make sure your own mental health is stable during this difficult time as well. It’s wise to seek therapy and rest on your own network of support.
Be Involved During the Treatment Process
It’s important for your child to feel like you are there for them and support them during this process. At the same time, it will do no good to smother them. Recovery from addiction is a very personal, individual journey.
Most programs will provide set times to at which to visit your child, and may also provide educational materials. Take advantage of these, and understand that it is important for your child to feel like they are changing for themselves, not because someone is making them.
The Recovery Process
Healing, and allowing your child to heal, is essential in the recovery process. Treatment is designed so that your child takes the responsibility of their betterment in their own hands. It can be difficult for you as a parent to accept that you shouldn’t try to do it for them. In a way, you must give up that sense of control.
After treatment, it may be difficult for your child to return home for a period of time. A long-term option after addiction treatment is a continued stay in a sober living facility. These facilities not only supervise detox, but also serve as a transition from rehab to home. They teach the resident how to live on their own again without dependence on their addiction.
Seeing a loved one struggle with addiction can be completely demoralizing and painful. It can cause many negative emotions in yourself as well. Being prepared with a plan this is important so that you can make sure you’re supervising the recovery process without trying to solve the problem on your own.
Use the time that your child is in treatment to seek a support group to help you sort through your emotions in a healthy way. Not only is it important to make sure you’re healthy for your own benefit, but also so that you can be strong for your child when they need you. Remember that recovery is a family journey—it is not only the victim of the addiction who needs to heal, but everyone affected.