Self-Care for Parents of Patients in Drug Rehab Centers
Having a child suffering from addiction is incredibly heartbreaking, and it’s natural for you to do whatever you can as their parent to help them. While you’re watching them go through detox, taking them to counseling at drug rehab center, and worrying constantly about a relapse, taking care of yourself can slip to the wayside. It’s very necessary for you to take care of yourself when you’re devoting yourself to your child’s recovery.
The Basics of Self-Care
Al-Anon is a support group for family members and friends of addicts. It’s a great resource when you’re struggling with the guilt and resentment your child’s addiction is causing. Al-Anon encourages you to remember the Three Cs: you didn’t cause your child’s addiction, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it. These are all your child’s responsibility. When you feel like you caused it and only you can cure it, you’re going to become drained very quickly, and this is when you stop taking care of yourself. Some parents even say they become addicted to their child’s addiction.
What Happens When You Neglect Your Own Well-Being
First, your mental health is going to suffer if you allow yourself to feel like you’re to blame for your child’s addiction. Many parents who neglected themselves say they constantly felt panicked, worried, and immensely helpless and frustrated. Not only will this take a toll on you, it’s going to affect your relationships with your spouse and other children, as well as your work and friendships. It’s possible to be present and supportive without sacrificing your sleep, fitness, and relationships with other people.
Survival: How to Take Care of Yourself
Remember your Three Cs: you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, you can’t cure it.
Don’t try/work harder than the addict. You doing everything for them is enabling.
Don’t be their caretaker. Instead, be a supporter.
Take time for the things you love. Your life doesn’t have to be put on hold because of your child’s addiction.
Don’t be afraid to go to therapy/counseling to work out your own feelings and check in with yourself during this difficult time.
The pride you feel in your child for their dedication to recovery and sobriety while in rehab is immense, but you should also remember if you don’t take care of your own needs, you aren’t any help to them. Eat well, sleep well, and you’ll be well.
Parents of recovering addicts are often devoted to their child’s recovery but fail to take care of themselves. Much like a parent of a new baby, it’s hard to effectively care for someone if you aren’t making yourself a priority.
Help for the Family, www.addictionsandrecovery.org
Why Self-Care Is Essential for Parents of Addicts, www.recovery.org