1. Get support
Don’t try to go this alone. Whether your child is addicted or not, if you suspect serious misuse, join a support group or find a therapist. Watching your child destroy him or herself and finding out you can’t wave a magic wand or pray your child’s way out of it can be agonizing and isolating.
These groups know where the resources are, the jobs when and if your child goes into recovery, so it’s not only for emotional support, it’s for practical support. Families Anonymous and Al-Anon have groups near you. Find one. Because there is no magic, one-size-fits-all formula. Having been through it, all I can tell you is that enduring it is hard and I could not have done it without my support group.
2. Get educated
Getting resources, short or long term care, is difficult. Parents who are educated have a better chance at finding resources when it counts and have the opportunity to figure out the right options when the time comes. You learn how to love someone who’s lost in an illness, you learn how to react, you learn that screaming and yelling only makes things worse. And you learn that you need recovery, too.
3. Never use withdrawal of love for punishment
Your child is suffering from a disease. One that takes their brain hostage and hides the person you love. But make no mistake about it, those who are using suffer tremendous self loathing, and withdrawal of love makes that feeling even more intense. Let your child know that no matter what, you love them. And that can be hard when they are stealing from you, lying and manipulating you.
4. Never lose hope
There are times you’ll feel like you want to give up. Times you’ll give up temporarily. But never, ever let that pilot light of hope burn out. Have self care strategies that work for you in those situations and use them.