The main reason that many parents ignore the fact that their children have an ongoing addiction issue is because they don’t want to believe or admit that they have failed in some way. To know that your child has a substance abuse issue is heart breaking enough, but to feel responsible for your child turning to drugs or alcohol is just something that takes time for many of even the best parents to admit.
Unless you have completed several degrees in substance abuse counseling yourself, knowing that your own flesh and blood is actively using substances is largely an impossibility. Once you start focusing on your child and the present need for immediate action to be taken, you can put away any feelings of shortcomings and get onto these five steps that will greatly help your family recover from substance abuse.
1. Stop Enabling Substance Abuse
Your child is not going to be happy to learn that he or she can no longer get away with abusing addictive substances in your home. Realize that addiction goes beyond the scope of your abilities and seek out counseling for substance abuse for your loved one as soon as you can.
2. Turn to the Scripture
In times of chaos, instability or uncertainty, it is vital that you use your faith to help you follow through on some of the harder steps that you know your family must take. No one will blame you for telling your child that his or her damaging behavior must stop, and if you need reassurance, read the scriptures and look for guidance.
3. Seek Out Expert Help
Neither you nor your family can battle substance abuse alone. Even if you see positive progress, know that your child will need outside help in the form of counseling in order to recover. Since substance abuse is not something that is exclusive to your home, ask your pastor if there are any substance abuse programs that your child can be referred to quickly.
4. Maintain Clear Boundaries
You’ve got to say what you mean and mean what you say when you deal with a loved one who has an addiction problem. Your boundaries will be tested, but it is up to you to make it clear that you will be sticking to your principles.
5. Learn What Tough Love Is
Tough love doesn’t mean that you are abandoning your child or leaving them on their own to work out their issues. Instead, tough love is ensuring that you protect everyone else in your home - including yourself - from the poor decisions that your child has made.
It will be hard for you and your family to come to terms with the fact that one of your children is a substance abuser. Know that other families are going through the exact same thing, and that your faith will continue to be tried again and again. As long as you know in your heart that you are doing the right thing, do not doubt that you are making the correct choice.