No mother ever forgets the day she gives birth to her child. She remembers the exact time, the place, the first cry, the tiny fingers and toes, the rush of happiness, the sheer limitless possibility of what this child’s life might be… all the wondrous details of a newborn’s arrival are etched into a mother’s memory forever.
No mother ever forgets the day she learns that her child is an addict, either. The tears, the emotions raging from shock to fear to denial… and without warning, the flood of guilt. How does one explain what it’s like to watch their precious child struggle with addiction?
Loving an Addict
Not very long ago you were the fixer, the healer, the protector of this child, but now, you can’t do any of that. You search your mind for the why and the how this is possible and what you could have done differently. This addiction lies in your child’s voice, moves your child’s body and has taken over your child’s every thought. Now you live in daily fear this addiction will kill your child.
You’ve tried everything in your power to help them. You’ve lied for them and given them money to cover their debts. You’ve bailed the out of jail, been their personal ATM machine, housekeeper, counselor, and the list goes on and on. But nothing you do works and worse still, your child doesn’t appreciate your efforts all while you lose yourself and get dragged into a dark place.
You feel lonely and disconnected from everyone and you are sad. Only you don’t tell people this. Fueled by stigmas about the disease of addiction, you don’t want your friends feeling sorry for you or judging your child. Instead, you suck it up, put on your brave face and carry on. Having an addicted adult child is hard every day, but on Mother’s Day, it can be excruciating. All you want this Mother’s Day is your healthy child back. You’ve tried so hard to do everything right. You wonder where you went wrong.
Don’t lose hope. Learn more about how to help a loved one find recovery from addiction.
How Moms Find Support When Loving an Addicted Child
Dear Mom, first and foremost, please reach out for help. Be open to learning and doing new things. Don’t wait for your sick child to ask for help. Lead the way. Involve professionals. Do not allow addiction to destroy your life.
The hardest things you will ever do is to let go. Not of your child but of the disease. Accept what is and let go of what you can’t change. Let go of the urge to fix, control, and rescue them, allow your child to feel the consequences of their addiction. Remember addiction is a family illness. You can’t cure your child and you can’t control them, but you can influence the outcome.
Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease that can be managed successfully with clinical treatment and lifelong recovery support. Mom, never give up hope. 23 million families across the United States are living in recovery and leading wonderful, productive lives. Although it may seem like the pain will never end, it can and does for millions.
Finding Addiction Help for a Loved One
When your loved one is ready to seek help for substance abuse, Valley Hope works closely with you and your family to identify the most appropriate level of care and develop a successful treatment plan.
For more than 55 years, Valley Hope has provided trusted, compassionate, customized care that helps loved ones struggling with drug and alcohol addictions and their families find new life in recovery. We treat each person with compassion and respect in an environment built to foster healing and empower your loved one’s recovery.
Remember, family participation and support is essential during a loved one’s treatment and even more important to sustain long-term recovery.