Strategies For Coping When Your Mom Or Dad Is In Rehab

Dealing with a parent struggling with addiction can be an emotionally exhausting experience even after your mom or dad decides to enter a recovery program. When your parent begins the rehab process for an addiction at a facility like Olalla Recovery Centers, it is normal to feel apprehensive and doubt about whether or not the recovery program will work. However, there are things you can do to ease your mind and help you support a parent in the undergoing recovery.

Get Support

If you have a strained relationship with the parent that is in rehab, it may be hard for you to muster the emotional strength to be a supportive child during their process. It is crucial for you and your siblings to seek out support from those who are going through a similar experience.

If the recovery center that is treating your parent has support groups for family members, sign up for sessions. Some rehab programs also offer group therapy sessions specifically designed for the children of addicts.

Attending group therapy sessions gives you the opportunity to express your emotions, talk about your experiences in a supportive atmosphere and learn coping strategies from others.

In addition, seek out help from organizations such as Adult Children of Alcoholics and Nar-Anon that provide a free support network for family members of people with addiction problems.

Write a Supportive Letter

When you want to remain supportive to a parent dealing with addiction but have trouble communicating in person, write a letter.

Begin the letter telling your parent that you love them, that you are proud of them taking a step towards recovery and that you support their recovery.

If you have trouble writing additional thoughts, make a list of the things you want to say instead. The list can include items such as:

  • All the things that you admire about your parent
  • Memories of especially happy moments in your childhood
  • Things that you want to do with them in the future, such as a take a trip to the beach or go out to dinner

You can also include news clippings of stories about famous people who have struggled with and overcome addiction.

Keep Conversations Light and Positive

When you do have the opportunity to speak to your parent during their rehab, always try to keep conversations positive. You can start conversations with praise. The following tips can help you successfully navigate a conversation with a parent in recovery.

  • Steer clear of negative topics.
  • Refrain from making personal attacks or engaging in a blame game about why they are addicted.
  • Do not interrupt while your parent is talking.
  • Do not start or get corralled into an argument.
  • End the conversation by telling your parent that you love them and look forward to seeing them again.

Set Limits for Yourself and Do Not Be an Enabler

Your role as a supportive child can help a parent overcome their addiction and stay clean. However, there is a fine line between being supportive and overly supportive to the point of enabling addictive behavior.

  • Do not make excuses for addictive behavior to your parent or your siblings.
  • Remind yourself on a daily basis, with notes or meditation, that your parent's addiction is not your fault. The only person responsible for the addiction is the addict, not you.
  • Do not be afraid to set boundaries about how and when you communicate with your parent if you feel they are taking advantage of you and take your support for granted.

If you do not take care of your mental and physical health, you will not be well-equipped emotionally to offer support in the long run.