Using Your Sobriety To Keep Family Members From Abusing Substances

 

A person’s memory is impressive because some people can remember incidents that had taken place when they were only two years old. The picture is not very clear in their head, but they recall fragments that the adults can confirm.

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In truth, my memory is as sharp as that. I can tell you the child I always sat with in daycare, what my favorite food was as a toddler, and which kiddie shows I loved back then. However, if you ask me about what happened during my mid to late 20s, I may not answer you. That dark phase of my life had come as a literal blur, considering that’s when I tried every drug that I could abuse.

From Valium to meth to coke—I had it all. I am not proud to admit that, but it’s the truth. Luckily, my parents and siblings decided to intervene and brought me to a rehabilitation facility, even if I didn’t want to at first. I refuse to think of what may have happened to me if they let my addiction go on because I’m sure that my future may have been bleak or, worse, gone.

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Now that I am sober for ten years (and counting), I try to come up with ways to give back to everyone who has helped me overcome my drug problem. Hence, once I got a stable job, I started sending donations to the rehab that I stayed at for six months. They never asked for payment from the patients, but I knew that they could use the financial help. I also devoted my free time to programs that required facilitators, and it made me happy to see troubled individuals get better.

While those efforts seem right, I have not forgotten my primary supporters: my family. I thought, “What intangible thing can I do to express my gratitude for everything they have done for me?” That’s when I remembered all my nieces and nephews who entered young adulthood recently. Some of them were about to graduate from college; others already entered the real world. I realized that the answer to my question is helping ensure that none of my loved ones will be abusing substances like I used to do. Not now, not ever.

So, I used my journey to sobriety to make that happen. I taught my family members the following:

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The Problem With Feeling Overconfident

When I swallowed a prescription drug for the first time, I assured everyone that it was merely for calming my anxiety. I insisted that I would never get addicted to it and that I had everything under control. However, the reality is that I was barely hanging on for dear life at that time, and I depended on the pills to help me get me through my daily schedule.

My previous problem is that I acted overconfident about taking drugs. Although I knew what was happening, I said nothing because I did not want to hear, “I told you so” from friends and family. If only I lowered my confidence level by a smidge, I might have been saved early.

The Importance Of Facing Issues Head-On

Like a typical young adult back then, I wanted to do everything at once. I was working, socializing, building my career, and dating. But not all my decisions put in a favorable situation, and that caused me to worry too much. After experiencing a few issues, I turned to drugs to escape the real world.

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As I look back, I can’t help but wonder if my life has become different if I faced my problems head-on. While it was scary, I might not have needed to depend on drugs to “survive.”

The Value Of Asking For Help From Loved Ones

The reason why drugs became my best friend in the past was that I was too proud to let my loved ones know about my struggles. I painted an independent picture of myself in their head—someone you could turn to, not the other way around. Hence, this image prevented me from admitting that I was not okay anymore.

I thought I was doing everyone a favor by doing so, but I understood in rehab that it was the opposite. My family had been reaching out to me; I merely refused to ask for help. Again, if I used my voice instead of swallowing all those pills, things would not have aggravated too much.

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Final Thoughts

When I shared my addiction experience with my nieces and nephews, my parents and siblings cried with me. After all, the incidents might be blurry for me, but they were as clear as day for them. Thankfully, I am healed now, and we are only shedding tears for the dark path that almost took my life back then.

I hope that you have gotten a lesson or two from my story today.

 

 

 

How Parents Can Help In Preventing Their Child’s Addiction Relapse

Drugs have a significant detrimental impact on ability to learn and retain information. With the adolescent brain still in development repeated drug use may have long term serious effects. — Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D., LPCS

If there is anyone who can help a teen recovering from drug addiction, it is undoubtedly his or her family. A recovering teen needs guidance and, at the same time, a fresh start in life. Relapses in drug addiction are normal at the earlier stages of recovery, but this does not mean that a full recovery is far from happening.

Below are the most important ways of keeping your child’s chances of relapsing at the minimum.

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Make Your Home Safe And Friendly

Your child is recovering and still at his most vulnerable stage. Remove anything in the house that would remind him of such a low phase of his life. If you have any displays or ornaments of wine bottles, take these out from his sight. Better yet, take them all out of the house.

Create Family Moments

The purest and most natural form of bonding is eating a meal together with the whole family. Planning a family bonding does not have to be expensive. You can have a picnic or a mini-vacation somewhere to forget the stressful parts of your life. Your child will feel better knowing that everything, including his relationship with you, will eventually get back to normal.

Do Not Exclude Your Child From Social Events

The most difficult challenge that your child will experience after recovering is finding a new set of peers again. More often than not, peers or friends of people suffering from drug addiction are also drug addicts themselves.

Do not leave your child behind. Keep involving him on every family plan. Treat your kid like a normal member of the family. Do not make him feel like he is a burden or someone who needs delicate treatment because of his addiction.

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Help Your Child Find A New Hobby

Usually, what triggers relapse is boredom. If your kid does not find any new stuff to dwell on, then the chances are that he will go back to substance abuse. As a parent, you may suggest new things that he can try as a hobby to distract his relapse thoughts. Do this without any hint of compulsion.

Depending on the substance being abused, you may begin to notice marked hyperactivity or extreme happiness followed by a “crash” where the mood becomes just the opposite. The individual may appear very lethargic or more irritable than usual. Thinking and behaviors may become irrational and unpredictable. — Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP

Be Knowledgeable About Your Child’s Condition

Continue finding support from professionals. Your constant communication with your kid’s doctor will help in mitigating all the chances of relapse. Parents must know the warning signs of addiction relapse and all the possible ways to avoid this from happening.

You can learn more about their condition by seeking help from reputable counseling platforms like BetterHelp. The professionals can help you in understanding your child’s condition. Also, it is beneficial to know how to handle the situation in case of a relapse.

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Get Help From Peers

Ask the help of parents who are also dealing with recovering teenagers; don’t be shy. Let them offer pieces of advice to you. Parents need help not only in making their children better but also in keeping themselves healthy amidst the situation of their family.

If parents succeed in maintaining an affectionate relationship with their teen – which can certainly be challenging at times – then they probably do not need to worry so much that their kid will develop troubling drug habits. — Nigel Barber Ph.D.

While events of relapse are normal, especially in the early stage of recovery, these episodes shouldn’t be that frequent. Aside from the above tips, parents are encouraged to maintain strong family relations with the rest of the family. The most important thing to note when it comes to recovery is that family is the most reliable foundation that anyone can have. So, you must be there for your child no matter what.

4 Ways To Deal With A Drug Addict In The Family

If there is one thing that you need to know about drug addiction, it is the fact that a family member’s addiction is not only the personal problem of that person but of his entire family. The truth of the matter is that you are not responsible for the drug dependency of your brother, sister, mother or father. Regardless of who among them is addicted, your role stays the same. All you have to do is to guide them on the right path.

Over time, a person with opioid use disorder develops habits revolving around their opioid use, eventually leading to the person’s entire life being consumed with either gaining access to their next dose, using it, or trying to recover from their last hit. — John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

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