Addiction Resources for Parents
When a teenager or young adult struggles with addiction, often their parents must deal with the brunt of their actions. While there’s no doubt that the majority of difficulties will fall upon the addict themselves, their parents often adopt a protective, or even codependent role in an effort to keep their child safe from drugs.
Unfortunately, very few people are prepared for the reality of addiction. Without proper preparation and access to resources, parents often struggle to help their children without enabling them. It’s important for any parents of active drug users to be aware of the different resources available for them.
What Do Parents Need to Do When Their Children Are Addicted?
If you are the parent of an active drug user then you’ll probably notice that a number of responsibilities seem to fall into your lap. Unfortunately you must also learn to draw an important distinction. The line between helping your children with their addiction and enabling them to continue using is often blurred.
Parental Roles & Enablement in Addiction
As a parent, your first instinct is likely to help your children through their addiction. And as a parent, your first instinct is probably to help them stay on their feet. You’ll likely be inclined to keep them fed, clothed, sheltered, and perhaps even financially stable.
While all of these things are important for anyone, when you’re dealing with someone in an active addiction, things are a bit different. While these things may help them stay on their feet, they also provide a stable environment in which they can keep using drugs.
Furthermore, this also tends to create a codependent relationship between parents and children. You become more invested in the life and safety of your child than yourself. Your child may also become dependent on you for food, shelter, and money – in other words, they become reliant on you for funding and fueling their addiction.
So how does a loving parent learn to balance between enabling their children and helping them with their addiction? Sadly, many of the choices which will actually help your child overcome their addiction are difficult to make and, at first, may seem like the opposite of helping them.
Anyone who is going to overcome an addiction on their own is going to need to take responsibility for their actions. While they have someone providing them with food, shelter, and support, they don’t need to take responsibility. Why would they? They have an environment set up in which they can continue to use drugs or alcohol without needing to take responsibility.
To take responsibility, one needs to become aware of the repercussions of their addiction. These repercussions often involve financial struggles. In serious cases, addiction can become challenging enough to bring their living situation and their relationships. As a parent, however, you want to see your child thrive.
As you can see, it’s very difficult to make these choices and decisions on your own. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available for parents who are interested in truly helping their children overcome their addiction.
Resources for the Parents of Addicted Individuals
There are a number of different places that you can find information and support for helping your children with their addiction. We have broken these resources into different sections.
These are some of the best books on the market for helping parents cope with the troubles of their addicted children.
Kids and Drugs: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention
This is a Canadian book directed towards the parents and caregivers of people struggling with addiction. The book focuses on the use of a number of workshops which were developed to help parents understand their roles in regards to preventing children from using drugs.
The Parent Action Pack
This is a book written in hopes of encouraging parents to discover evidence-based information to use in an effort to help their children overcome addiction. The action pack is designed to help confused parents separate fact from fiction so that they can know what’s really going on in regards to their childrens’ addiction.
By providing some insight into how teenagers think and offering information about addiction and effective communication, the Parent Action Pack aims to provide parents with the knowledge needed to help guide their children away from drugs.
Guide: Helping a Loved One
This guide was written for those who think that their loved ones might be struggling with an addiction or other mental health disorder. The book suggests that as a primary caregiver you have the opportunity to be a central supportive role.
Starting the Conversation
This is a guide that aims to educate parents on how to properly open up a dialogue with their addicted children. Oftentimes parents struggle to approach their children about their addiction in a constructive manner. Emotions like fear, anger, and shame may override their rational mind and lead to confrontations rather than conversations.
This book wants to educate these parents on how to properly communicate with their addicted children. This can be done through compassionate communication, using “I-statements,” and practicing a non-judgmental approach.
From Grief to Action Coping Kit
This book was written to help people whose loved ones struggle with addiction. The book provides you with insight on some of the questions, issues, and problems that might arise when you are helping someone who struggles with addiction.
The book will educate you on how to reduce risks, communicate properly, manage any potential legal repercussions, and encourage your children to access treatment.
Internet Resources & Websites
These are some of the best resources available online. In these groups you will find access to information, groups where you can connect with other parents, and opportunities to educate yourself on the nature of addiction.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is the leading federal agency that deals with scientific research relating to drug use and its consequences. If you want to educate yourself using cutting-edge research on the effects of addiction, then this is one of the best places to do it.
NIDA is dedicated to advancing and improving the knowledge and science available in the field of addiction. They aim to take this knowledge and learn how they can best apply it to help improve the health of individuals, families, and public health.
Public Health is an educational group dedicated to helping clarify the definition of public health and to providing information to people interested in maintaining their health. This resource is fantastic for any parents who are interested in learning more about the available research on public health concerns.
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the largest nonprofit provider of addiction treatment in the United States. Their story began in 1949 and has expanded to include 17 facilities across a number of different states.
The Foundation offers support and resources for both youth, adults, and caretakers. They are renowned for their unique family and children’s programs which can provide a beacon of hope for parents who are struggling to guide their children through an addiction.
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, or PAL, provides support and help by educating parents about addiction and encouraging them to make healthy, constructive choices. The program, which was founded in 2006 by Michael Speakman, a substance abuse counselor in Arizona.
As the group continued to grow, PAL established itself as a Christian-run non-profit organization. While the group is run by Christians, it is open to people of all backgrounds and faiths. Their main goal is to encourage hope by providing education and support for the parents of addicted loved ones.
Sober Families is an organization that helps families who have a member that is struggling with an active addiction. They acknowledge the difficulty faced by many family members who have already tried a number of things to help their addicted loved one.
Their message is one of hope. They aim to foster the belief that you can help your loved one sober up. Their approach employs evidence-based research including communication science, behavioral principles, mindfulness, and compassion.
Their main method is known as Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) which is an approach that has been proven to help nearly 70% of families get their loved ones into treatment. By teaching non-confrontational communication skills and self-empowerment techniques that prevent codependence, Sober Families provide a framework for helping families get their loved ones safe and healthy.
American Society of Addiction Medicine
The American Society of Addiction Medicine is a professional society that represents more than 6,000 clinicians and other professionals in the field of addiction medicine. The organization, founded in 1954, aims to increase the availability and efficacy of addiction treatment across the United States.
On their website you will be able to educate yourself about the many factors involved in addiction. They rely on evidence-based research and cutting-edge science to provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding addiction and how to fight it.
As the parent of a struggling addict, you are faced with a number of challenges. While these challenges may seem tough at times, remember that they are never insurmountable. Addiction can be beaten, and with the proper education and support you can guide your loved ones safely through to the other side.
The resources included in this article are some of the best for parents who are struggling with addicted children. This collection of books, online resources and organizations can help any parent learn the necessary skills to communicate effectively with their loved ones.