Keeping Yourself & Family Healthy

  • I have tried everything to help my child. I am physically and mentally broken. I don't want to give up but what else can I do?

    You are not alone in feeling this incredible pain. Most parents are not prepared for this the emotional, heartbreaking, and exhausting journey. It can be mentally and physically overwhelming to see our children in pain. The uncertainty, the worry and fear will often lead to exhaustion and isolation. If left unattended, this exhaustion can lead to negative health consequences including depression, anxiety, and fatigue. All of this can reduce your resiliency making it more difficult to be effectiv...

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  • I blame myself for my child's substance use and often feel ashamed. What could I have done differently?

    Those of us who have traveled a similar journey with our loved ones have had those same feelings of shame and being at fault. Those of us who have traveled that similar journey also know that this shame we feel makes it very difficult to reach out for help thinking no one will understand. Please know you are not alone. Many parents, if not most, have experienced all the"what ifs" - those long nights where we second guess everything we have done - "How did I not see the signs?", "Why did I not sa...

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  • My son’s siblings are angry and resentful because of his substance use? What can I do to help unify our family again?

    Substance use can be stressful for every family member. Siblings can often feel helpless as they are caught in the middle of a substance use issue. They can also feel that they are not getting support from their parents and this can lead to anger and resentment. Siblings handle the problem of their brother or sister's substance use in their own unique ways. Some try and have heart to heart talks with their sibling, others want to help, and can sometimes help too much, others would prefer to ign...

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  • What can I do to help myself with my feelings of anger and resentment towards my daughter?

    There is the saying, "You only as happy as your unhappiest child." I wish that were not the case, because instead of feeling joy watching your child grow up, you are facing a negative situation as you watch your child live an unhealthy lifestyle. You will feel afraid, angry, resentful, embarrassed, frustrated, confused, guilty and more. These feelings are all understandable. Watching a loved one struggle with substance use can be stressful for all family members involved, but especially for par...

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  • What do I do about family members who give advice and mean well, but are not always helpful?

    One of the issues that family members so often face is unsolicited advice when their child is struggling with drugs or alcohol. While much of this advice is well meaning, family members may resort to more black and white thinking, and may not take into account your family's unique situation. Keeping this in mind, look for support from family members who you trust and feel will help you feel better. They may not agree with you in all aspects of the problem, but will be willing to be a positive s...

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  • How can I let go of my need to "fix" things?

    Many parents are understandably anxious to “fix” their child as soon as possible when they discover that they are dependent on drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for substance use. There are however some alternative steps you can take that can help motivate your child to get back on track. First, understand what is behind your child's choice to use. There are many risk factors for addiction, such as childhood trauma, environment, genetics, early use, and mental health issues...

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  • My son’s addiction overwhelms me with sadness and I'm not sure how to control that emotion. How can I stop worrying about him on a daily basis?

    Addiction is particularly stressful for parents, so know that you are not alone. There is a saying from the airline to put your oxygen mask on first, before you help someone else. Emotions can feel overwhelming, so take time to help yourself feel better first. To help you handle your emotions, start with a foundation of self-care. Be sure you are eating well, exercising, getting as much sleep as possible and doing your best to keep your worrying in perspective. When you are feeling physically a...

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  • In what situations might I call the police?

    When a child or loved one struggles with addiction, you are likely to find yourself in some difficult situations from time to time. Some of these situations may be made easier—and safer—by calling your local police. While calling the police to help you deal with a loved one’s addiction may at times be a subjective choice, there are certain situations that may warrant police involvement. If you ever feel unsafe or physically at risk as a result of your loved one’s behavior, or if you ever feel l...

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  • How do I connect with people who will understand my family’s situation and who will not pass judgment?

    One of the most helpful things you can do when your child is struggling with substance use is to connect with others who understand what you are going through. There are many options, so take the time to find a support group or professional who you trust and feel comfortable with. To find a professional, ask friends, family, or your doctor. Psychology Today also has listings of therapists in local areas. It is critical to find someone who specializes in addiction and is open to a research-based...

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