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4 Ways to Help Your Child Stay Clean

4 Ways to Help Your Child Stay Clean

Your child has recently returned from a treatment program for substance abuse and addiction. You may think they’re in the clear now that they’ve gotten the drugs out of their system and had about a month away from their friends. The truth of the matter is that addiction is a life-long condition that requires ongoing awareness. Recovery is possible but it, too, requires ongoing work and maintenance. Here are 4 ways to help your child stay clean.

#1. Learn About Addiction

It’s hard not to take everything that’s happened personally. After all, as the parent, you’re the one who raised your child and it’s common to think that whatever has happened is in some way your fault. But addiction doesn’t discriminate – it’s a disease that transcends social, gender, age, political, cultural, and ethnic lines. Once you understand this, you can begin to heal so that you can be there for your child.

It’s important to be approachable so that your child feels comfortable enough to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Addiction generally causes a lot of guilt and shame, which can perpetuate the drug use. Once your child is clean, they will probably still have some feelings of shame that can eventually undermine their progress. That’s why, as the parent, you need to understand that your child’s addiction isn’t your fault; you can be there for them without them feeling bad about themselves and the things they’ve done in the past.

#2. Encourage Your Child to Stay Involved

Whether it’s a 12 step recovery support group, Smart Recovery, or some other support group for people with addictions, it’s important that your child stays connected to the recovery community and continuously works for their sobriety. A lot of parents struggle with the idea that their child is an addict or alcoholic and will tell themselves “it’s just a phase” – even if their child has been to multiple rehabs. Addiction is a chronic illness like diabetes, meaning they will have it for life. The good news is that it’s possible to recover but, it involves constant vigilance and hard work.

#3. Don’t Enable

One of the important ways to help your child stay clean is to learn the difference between helping and enabling. Attending addiction support group meetings can help you understand the difference and learn ways to help your child stay clean without enabling them. This can be really tricky but, once you understand just how detrimental it can be when you enable your child, you will want to learn ways of effectively encouraging and supporting them.

#4. Join a Support Group

Getting support from an addiction support group, such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Family Anonymous is essential for parents of children with addiction and substance abuse issues. These groups are free to join and are a venue for sharing information, resources, and experiences for people who, just like you, have a child or other family member that is struggling with substance abuse or else is working a program to recover from it.

This is where you can get the support to help you with all of the items on this list, actually. At support group meetings for people affected by addiction, you will learn and understand better the nature of addiction, how not to take things personally, how to learn about the ways to help your child stay clean without crossing over into enabling, and the importance of being part of the recovery community to your child’s ongoing success at staying clean.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

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Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

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