Eventually, the parent of an addict blames themselves for their child’s addiction to drugs or alcohol. When that moment arrives they begin to look for help instead of trying to deny it or hide it completely. I grieve for them. I want to tell the parents, “Don’t blame yourself!” Did you cook the dope, fill the syringe, tie them off, and stick it in their arm? You didn’t open the beer and make them drink. They did that themselves, their own choice.
There are choices the parent(s) can make to help their addicted child, but giving them free rent, money for gas, or seeing to their continual comfort are not the right choices. First of all, the parents need to be in recovery themselves. Either Celebrate Recovery or Al-anon are both great places to hear from people in similar situations, and find proper help for themselves.
No amount of pleading will get them in a rehab that will work. The key word is, “pleading.” If you get to that point forget them going to rehab to get better. They will not be going for themselves, but to make you happy, and lighter in the wallet.
You’re not off of the hook entirely. Like most of us, we do not see OUR child ever doing anything but being better than their friends. The only communication we offer is to warn them to stay away from friends that drink and take drugs. They respond, “okay mom, sure dad…I wont’ go near them.” We want them to stay away from the wrong type of friends. What we don’t see is, they may be the wrong type of friend.
What Can a Parent Do?
The best help you can give your child, spouse, or close friend that have an addiction or substance abuse problem is to be involved in your personal recovery. Codependency is a major help to the abuser’s continued use. Like the one addicted, it has to be dealt with. As mentioned above Celebrate Recovery and Al-anon are powerful programs that teach attendees how to help by not helping.
I met a man some time back whose wife was a crack addict. Her addiction had nearly bankrupted the family. He decided to remove her from all money related accounts after a couple of trips to rehabs failed. She cannot touch household income. She remains in the home, a heavy user, disappearing for days or even weeks at a time. His reasoning for allowing the wife to remain in the home is that the kids mother is alive and present in their lives, even though it is really screwed up.
Will his children see the value of living drug and alcohol free? Doubtful. As noble as his line of thinking is, crack is illegal, her constant disappearing acts have to place the kids in constant terror of their mother’s demise. Those young people will possibly grow up thinking it’s okay to be addicted and see anti-drug programs, the police, and any or all authority as bad.
There is woman, friend to my wife, whose daughter and son have addictions to drugs and alcohol. Though they are well into adulthood, late twenty or early thirty-somethings, they live with her…along with their children. They abuse her, yes physically beat her, mentally torture her. She gets back at them…she sits and cries. Whose the addict? According to her, she tries to help them because their father is AWOL, life-long, and she feels sorry for them. They know that, and play the abandoned child role, a performance worthy of an Oscar.
As I sat in a group meeting the other night, there were several men in attendance from the Hope House. These young men were in the same life-style as the man’s wife and the mother’s children. The major difference being that their families said, “Enough!” They took the chance of stopping their enabling their child, stopping ALL communication with them, knowing the risk of never seeing them alive again. That, some may think is cruel. Others say, it’s about time.
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice: many advisers bring success.” Prov.15:22 NLT
The truth is, some of these parents have went to the morgue to identify their child. Some have watched their child get well enough to get a job, a place of their own, a life free of drink and drug. The risk is real. Through CR, and Al-A, that decision can come much easier when those codependent friends and family listen to advice from others who have been there.
I could go on, tell you more and more stories that have happy endings, and sorrowful tales that wrench your heart. Don’t be deaf, don’t deny, stop hiding. Most importantly, pray for God’s intervention for this country’s denial. Pray for families going through this terror and ensuing misery…especially if you have kids. You could be living their story by turning your head, or saying, “that’s their problem.” If you think that way, watch out, trouble is looming.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.