By Sandy Baker
When a parent struggles with alcohol or drug addiction, a child often feels helpless.
It’s hard to watch a parent struggle, even when you’re an adult with children of your own. However, the best way to support a parent in recovery is to recognize his or her needs while managing your own wellbeing.
Recognize the Addiction
If your parent is still struggling with addiction, it’s important to recognize the signs of parental addiction. This includes:
- Changes in behavior
- Difficulty completing responsibilities
- Trouble remembering tasks or details.
If you believe there is a problem, encourage your parent to seek care. At The Ranch at Dove Tree, there are drug rehab options to meet individual needs. This includes our detox programs as well as our intensive outpatient care. The key here is to get your parent into treatment as soon as possible. To do this, you may need to show him or her the effects of addiction with an intervention-style experience.
5 Ways to Support Your Parent’s Recovery
Once a loved one enters into drug and alcohol rehab, the process of recovery begins. This is when parents need the support of their family the most.
1. Educate Yourself
Most people have misconceptions about drug abuse and recovery. They believe they know what needs to be done and how a person should react. However, the recovery journey is never simple or a straight path.
It is important for family members to learn about new treatments and methods for recovery. It also means working together as a team to learn what addiction is, how to overcome it, and what struggles will happen along the way.
2. Be an Active Part of Family Therapy Sessions
Talk to the doctors and be a part of the family therapy sessions your parent will go through. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends family therapy because it is effective, lower costing, and incorporates key tools to support recovery efforts.
Being an active part of a frustrating and overwhelming situation, especially one that created negative outcomes for your own life, is downright difficult. Yet, it is by far one of the most important steps you can take to encourage long-term recovery in a parent.
3. Engage in Family Activities
Time is incredibly valuable to those recovering from addiction. Parents long to see their children, be an active part of their lives, and to engage in day-to-day activities with them. Here’s how to make this possible even if you are a busy adult:
- Have family meals together. Try to do this each day or at least several times a week.
- Give your parent a call just to chat. You do not have to ask about drug or alcohol use. Discussing your day or a common interest is a great place to start.
- Shop or go to the movies. Make your parent part of your life. It matters to them and their long-term recovery.
- Get to know their friends.
- Listen to their needs and try to help out. Whether it is cleaning the house or just going to the grocery store, support them when you can.
4. Boost Your Own Mental Health
It is very important for you to remain healthy and mentally fit as well. Do not immerse yourself in your parent’s recovery at the expense of living your own life.
To accomplish this, take time to do the things you enjoy the most. This may include spending time exercising, working in the garden, or watching a movie. If you need a day to stream your favorite shows or to get away with friends, do it.
5. Set Realistic Expectations
Addiction is a chronic illness with ups and downs. Life can get in the way of a simple path along the recovery process.
You can hope for the best, but you should mentally prepare for tough days. Here are solutions to focus on:
- If you suspect your loved one is using again, reach out to his or her sponsor or counselor for help in dealing with it.
- Be prepared for challenging conversations and painful words. Addiction can bring out the reality of what your loved one is struggling with. They may lash out.
- Be ready to support them when they fail themselves. Through recovery, your loved one may become frustrated when he or she cannot find a job or overcome pain.
The Ranch at Dove Tree Can Help
The Ranch at Dove Tree offers family support services in place to help you help your parent begin the journey towards recovery. We can also connect you to various resources in your community that you might find helpful, including support groups for children with parents who struggle with addiction.