Psychotherapy

What Can I Do If My Parents Have an Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol?

What Can I Do If My Parents Have an Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol?


Addiction takes a toll on the whole family. It can be hard to watch someone you love, especially a parent, self-destruct and cause harm to themselves as they indulge in substance abuse. Maybe you are experiencing something similar in your family. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to address these issues with someone abusing drugs and alcohol because they are often in denial and refuse to admit any problem present, regardless of how obvious it is to you.

Growing up with a family member who struggles with substance abuse-related issues can strain family bonds, causing immense stress during the holidays and any other family get-togethers.

An individual may experience physical, mental, or emotional abuse from a parent addicted to drugs and alcohol. Growing up under these conditions, no matter how old or how many years pass, the trauma and pain lie somewhere under the surface. Therefore, it is essential to remain aware of the conditions you are living and experiencing so that you can create boundaries from the effects of addiction-related pain.

The critical thing to remember is that the family member who is over-indulging or abusing drugs and alcohol is doing so because of their underlying conditions and unresolved problems. This is not your fault, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try or what you do, the one suffering needs to be ready for the treatment they need to recover from substance abuse fully.

Suppose you have a parent or other family member struggling with addiction and substance abuse-related issues. In that case, you know the heart-wrenching feelings of mistrust, betrayal, and a lack of confidence when relying on that individual.

Affects on Family Ties

  • Overall hostile environment causes everyone around to feel weighed down and irritable
  • Increased stress for all members of the family
  • Broken communication adds to more arguments and disagreements
  • Cause of reversed roles (children becoming the caretakers of an addicted parent or family member)
  • Abusive situations that are brought on by substance abuse
  • Financial troubles from bad spending habits, job loss, or poor judgment
  • Embarrassment for other family members dealing with an addicted parent, spouse, or sibling
  • Conflicts between all family members and unresolved issues
  • When drugs or alcohol are present, violence is a likely possibility.
  • Cheating on a partner or spouse brought on by poor judgment
  • Increased problems in the addicted family member or even a non-addicted family member due to stress from the heart-wrenching dynamics
  • Jealousy and resentment of other family members and friends

Affects on the Children

  • Physical, emotional, mental, and sometimes even sexual abuse
  • Difficulties in intimate relationships later in life
  • They feel guilty or responsible for any issues related to the addicted parent
  • Exhibits general anxiety symptoms, social dysfunctions, insensitivity, PTSD, difficulties coping with stress, and impulsive behaviors
  • Neediness along with emotional distance and unwillingness to connect to others on a deep on a meaningful level due to fear of rejection or any type of criticism
  • Insecurities when it comes to speaking or behaving amongst other people due to their trouble in understanding what normal is and is not
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth from years of feeling inadequate
  • Trouble trusting other people after one broken promise after another
  • Fear of abandonment due to an absent (emotionally and physically) mother or father and a greater tendency to lock onto unhealthy relationships to avoid being alone
  • The constant need for approval and usually become people pleasers
  • Physiological distress and depression
  • The deep desire for isolation and solitude away from other people, especially other family members who they know and feel are toxic for their wellbeing and trigger them very frequently
  • Self-harm and the indulgence of substance abuse themselves
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Here are a few things to keep in mind before initiating the conversation to motivate them in the right direction.

  • The person you love and care for is likely in denial. They may not believe there is a problem to begin with. It will take time for them to accept that they are on a dangerous path that could be fatal and detrimental for everyone involved. On the other hand, they may think their behavior is normal and there is nothing to discuss.
  • Expect volatile and emotional behaviors as this confrontation will be upsetting for them. Try your best not to fuel the fire with more anger. Make your points clear to them in a way that will stop them from yelling after they’ve screamed at you, told you how wrong you are, and how little you know about anything they are experiencing.

Many of those addicted to drugs and alcohol spiral out of control immediately after being hooked on a substance or gradually. They desperately want to grab hold of something that gives them purpose and fills the void. Typically, they feel their lives are meaningless, and no one cares what they are experiencing.

Reaching for the bottle or a syringe to get high takes them away from the place they feel unwanted and forgotten. It’s painful for everyone involved: the addicted person, the family members, co-workers who witness the destruction, and friends who want to help. The addict may begin hearing that their condition is a disease, and they are powerless over their demons. That is not true. At Passages, we don’t believe that addiction is an incurable disease.

We believe in the empowering nature that, as humans, we can overcome any obstacle put in our way. Let’s look at what is causing the problem and focus on healing the underlying conditions. It is possible to break free and live an addiction-free life.

We believe that those who become dependent on drugs and alcohol do so for the following reasons:

A Chemical Imbalance

1. A Chemical Imbalance

Events of the past you have not reconciled

2. Events of the past you have not reconciled

Current conditions you can't cope with

3. Current conditions you can't cope with

Things you believe that aren't true

4. Things you believe that aren't true

Your loved one is struggling with these factors. They will need to enter a treatment center, such as Passages Malibu, where the healing process is focused on identifying and treating the underlying conditions causing the addiction. Talking to your loved one may seem uncomfortable initially, but it’s crucial not to hesitate as the problem could grow. Here are seven key points.

  1. You may not realize it, but you could be making the problem worse by creating excuses or sugarcoating the situation. Instead, be stern about ground rules and expectations. Hold them to their promises and commitments.
  2. Educate yourself, friends, and family on everything there is to know about addiction. Start by purchasing a copy of The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure, written by Pax and Chris Prentiss.
  3. Ask questions. Find out what it is that is driving them to use drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Then, let them open up to you. Listen attentively and make eye contact assuring them that you care and hear what they are saying.
  4. Make them feel loved instead of judged. Avoid using the term “addict” when addressing them. Don’t yell or make severe threats. Try to avoid using phrases that belittle their worth. Instead, empower them and remind them of their strengths, aspirations, accomplishments, and how much they matter to you.
  5. Consider hiring a professional interventionist to conduct an intervention at your home or somewhere private and confidential.
  6. Provide them with information on treatment centers. Give them brochures, contact information, photos, and enlightening reading material. Talk to them about the many treatment options available for them to get help and put a stop to this brutal battle.
  7. Suggest alternative options for coping with pain, social anxiety, or trauma. Please provide them with a list of things to do and give them a sense of hope that things can get better with change. Life doesn’t have to be unmanageable or painful. It can be fulfilling and full of life if you’re willing to make fundamental lifestyle changes.
Why Choose Passages Malibu

You Deserve the Best

Do not settle for anything less than the best treatment available. Passages Malibu has helped thousands of people overcome their addictions. You're next, contact us anytime.

Check Insurance888.920.8849
Why Choose Passages Malibu

You Deserve the Best

Do not settle for anything less than the best treatment available. Passages Malibu has helped thousands of people overcome their addictions. You're next, contact us anytime.

Check Insurance888.920.8849