Watching a child succumb to the pressures of addiction can feel like a nightmare that you cannot wake up from. That sensation of helplessness and impending doom growing larger and larger by the moment, and all you can do is watch on as this tragic end continues to barrel toward your loved one.
It is natural for a parent to want to protect their children from any and all harm, but the disease of addiction is similar to a force of nature – it kills indiscriminately and shows no preference.
That is why making the effort to discuss your child’s substance addiction and the available treatment options is essential to staving off a potential traumatic outcome. And while getting your child to identify their substance use as a serious issue can be incredibly difficult, living with the stigma of addiction can be just as challenging.
The Stigma of Drug Addiction: Why Your Child’s Addiction is Not Your Fault
You may be thinking, “I am not the one addicted so how can I be impacted by my child’s substance use disorder?” or “My child is the one who deals with the stigma of addiction, not me, right?”
For many parents with addicted children, the daily stressors of living with the reality that your child has developed a diagnosed substance use disorder can be overbearing.
After all, you raised them to love others and respect themselves, so the fact that they ended up struggling with a substance addiction can leave a parent questioning their actions and child-raising methods within their home.
However you consider the scenario, it can leave you feeling as if you’ve failed them at some point along the way. This line of thinking is why so many parents find themselves dealing with the stigma of addiction and searching not only for answers, but also validation that they are not the cause of their child’s destructive addiction.
Because, it must be repeated again and again: You are not the cause of your child’s destructive addiction.
What is Addiction Stigma in the First Place and Why Does it Affect Parents?
As previously mentioned, the fact that your child is dealing with an addiction is the primary reason a parent finds themselves face to face with addiction stigma. That feeling of failure on multiple levels can leave you searching for answers as to why your child ended up with a substance use disorder and what you can do to help.
This is why it is so easy for parents to begin playing the blame game where they start pointing fingers at everyone and everything around them in a desperate attempt to identify the cause of their child’s addiction.
In the end, this frenzied attempt to find blame is simply an act of futility. You see, the stigma, or negative perspective most people within society hold towards the disease of substance addiction, is a longstanding social misconception.
This misconstruction of the disease has been perpetuated by individuals and groups of people within society who are poorly educated on the topic and misinformed on the origins of substance use disorders.
Due to this social fallacy, parents with children struggling with addiction are forced to bear the brunt of the social stigma associated with the disease.
This is why it’s so important for parents (such as yourself) to take the necessary steps to help both themselves and their child overcome addiction.
How Parents Can Overcome the Stigma of Addiction
While there are a number of ways to overcome the stigma of your child’s addiction, the most important place to start is with forgiveness. In particular, forgiving yourself for your child’s disease. This is because their illness is in no way shape or form a reflection on your ability to parent or raise them successfully.
Being able to overcome the personal stigma associated with substance addiction helps lay the foundation for improved self-confidence and empowerment, so you can be better prepared to aid your child along their recovery journey.
Additional methods for overcoming the stigma of addiction include:
- Increasing Your Social Support Network
Finding resources within your own neighborhood can greatly aid in decreasing the stigma associated with addiction. It can introduce you to other parents enduring the same experience and provide you with improved insight and support to regain your personal strength.
- Establishing Expectations within the Home
While the disease of addiction can be a naturally occurring disorder, perpetuating the disease through poor decision making often occurs. Working with your child to find a viable treatment facility and then encouraging them throughout their recovery is a great way to establish realistic expectations within the home, while also holding them accountable for their own actions.
- Educating Yourself on the Cause of Addiction
Forgiving yourself is the first step. The next step is educating yourself and others close to you about the realities of addiction. Being able to explain to others how the disease has impacted your family, and the manner in which it can affect anyone else, is an important step to breaking down the misconception about addiction within our society.
Holistic Treatment for Drug & Alcohol Addiction at Ranch Creek Recovery
Without question, starting the process of rehab is a daunting task, but it signifies the beginning of a new
life for both you and your loved one.
With it being such an important process, your loved one deserves to begin their recovery journey in a facility offering unprecedented care and unmatched clinical services.
After all, it’s their health, happiness and sobriety on the line.
Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.