When your parents don’t understand addiction

by Melissa 

Coffee cup of inspiration

I have a smart, beautiful daughter. She was a lovely little girl and a successful student throughout high school and college.

She is also a person in long term recovery from a substance abuse disorder. She has struggled with depression and anxiety for years. It has been hard for me to understand.

Because I love her, I keep trying. I fail, I get frustrated, but I keep trying.

Our road to recovery has been long, winding and at times filled with anger, denial, enabling, fear and frustration. Through all of our negative responses and reactions, love has been there.

I loved her when I threatened her. I loved her when I yelled at her, I loved her when I searched for treatment options. I loved her when I begged God to keep her safe. I loved her when I denied or minimized her addiction. I loved her when I thought I could do it for her.

Through education, support groups and counseling, I learned that I needed to love her enough to detach a bit. I needed to trust her with her recovery. I needed to not only recite the serenity prayer, I needed to live it, one moment at a time.

I look back with regret and shame at the times I lost my temper, the times when I denied the situation. I never thought this would happen in my family. I was ill prepared. I am grateful to other parents who were generous enough to be transparent about their journey. I am grateful to those in recovery who openly shared their story and gave me hope.

If you are struggling with addiction and early recovery and your parents are not supportive, please know they may be doing the best they can at that moment.

They had hopes and dreams for you that didn’t include addiction or treatment centers. If they don’t struggle with depression and anxiety themselves, they may not understand your need for help. With education and the tools for their own recovery, they can be your biggest fan, your greatest source of support.

I know it must be hard to gather the courage to ask for help only to have your request marginalized. Please be patient with you parents. They need time. They need education. They need you.

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Melissa is the mother of a daughter with mental illness who is currently in long term recovery from heroin and fentanyl addiction

3 thoughts on “When your parents don’t understand addiction”

  1. i want to say thank you to everyone for their prayers for my nephew who used crack. he’s a good man now and doing so fine. i know a lot of people out there are facing hell just as i did.

  2. Thank you, Melissa! I was in the opposite situation (the child of an addicted parent) and it took decades for me to realize my Dad was sick and that he did love us. No one wants to be an addict and cause their loved ones such pain. Thank you for the reminder that we need to be compassionate with ourselves and our loved ones.

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