Does your adult son or daughter struggle with addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, or something else? Then, no doubt, you’re concerned for their physical and emotional well-being. You’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to work. Unfortunately, your relationship with them is getting worse. Is there any hope? Yes! Here are some tips:
1. Stop Living in Denial. Often, as parents, it’s easier to stay in denial rather than face reality. Pretending it’s not happening will hurt you, your child, and your entire family. Jeremiah 6:14 (TLB) reminds us, “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!“
2. Don’t Blame Yourself.
A common (and false) belief held by many parents whose children struggle with addiction is that they are at fault for their child’s addiction. Sure, there are things you could’ve done differently—try to make amends, but keep in mind:
- You didn’t cause it.
- You can’t control it.
- You can’t cure it.
3. Realize You Can’t Fix It.
As a parent, it’s natural to want to make things better for your child. But you cannot fix your child. Don’t try to make decisions for them—let them make their own decisions. After all, it’s a problem only they can fix. Galatians 6:5 (NLT) puts it this way, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”
4. Take Care of Your Well-Being.
Over time, stress can take a toll on you—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Your focus may be on your son or daughter right now, but make sure you’re not neglecting your well-being. Eat a balanced diet; get enough rest; exercise daily; do something you enjoy; pray and meditate on God’s Word; express your emotions in healthy ways.
5. Remind Them of Your Love.
Your son or daughter needs to know you love them no matter what. Have a conversation with them about their addiction:
- Tell them what you are seeing and how it is affecting you.
- Listen in a non-judgmental way.
- Explain that help is available for them.
6. Practice Detachment.
Do not accept responsibility for your son or daughter. Allow them to experience the consequences of their addiction. Did they miss work? Are they unable to pay their bills? Have they gotten into trouble with the law? Then let them handle it. This doesn’t mean you stop caring—it means you are allowing them to face the pain.
7. Seek Professional Help.
You can’t help your adult child alone. Go to therapy yourself. Reach out to a licensed counselor who specializes in the type of addiction your son or daughter struggles with. Seeing a counselor yourself will help you to heal. No matter how busy you may be, find a support group for parents whose adult children are struggling with addiction.
8. Help Them Find Support.
Educate yourself about treatment options. If they struggle with chemical dependency, a treatment facility may be necessary. Provide your child will a few options. Keep in mind, however, that it’s their choice. If they say no, consider getting help from a professional interventionist who can help you do an intervention. Having an intervention may be the final step to helping your son or daughter get into recovery.
It’s not easy having a son or daughter who struggles with addiction, but there is hope because the Lord has a plan for their future! The Lord says, “I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
If you are a parent whose adult son or daughter struggles with addiction, help is available through New Life. We have licensed counselors, Life Recovery Groups, 12 Step materials, and treatment facilities we can recommend. Contact us today at 800-New-Life (639-5433).