Family is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol can severely damage family units. If your mother has a drug problem, you may be wondering how to help her recover. One person can never take responsibility for another person’s recovery, but there may be a few things that you can do to help a family member in peril.
How much you are able to help your drug addict mother will depend upon at least a few different factors. Factors that will impact this process include your age, your level of stability in life, and the depth of your mother’s addiction. If you are under the age of 18, contact Child Protective Services or a trusted adult to let them know what is going on at home. Children cannot be held responsible for their parents’ sobriety. Do not sacrifice your health, your finances, or your sanity trying to help an addict, even if that addict is a close loved one.
Help Yourself First
The best thing that you can do in this situation is help yourself first. If your mother is a drug addict, you have probably been through some difficult and traumatizing experiences. It is important to discuss those experiences in therapy. You should also reach out to friends and family members and let them know what is going on. When dealing with difficult circumstances like this, you cannot isolate yourself.
There are support groups and guidebooks designed specifically for the family members of drug addicts. It can be helpful to know that you are not alone in your situation. It can also be helpful to learn coping mechanisms, boundary setting skills, and communication skills using these tools.
Do Not Be An Enabler
In order to avoid enabling a drug addict, you need to set firm boundaries. This can be difficult to do when dealing with a parent, but it is still necessary. Once you set a boundary, stick with it, even if it is difficult for you. Do not allow your mother to manipulate your emotions or your boundaries.
Not being an enabler also means not providing an addict with money, drugs, or alcohol. In some cases it also means not providing them with shelter, food, clothing, transportation, or any other essential needs. This can be difficult to do, especially when someone is suffering. Unfortunately, many people need to reach rock bottom before they can ever recover. Enabling your mother will only hurt you both over time.
You May Want to Organize an Intervention
If you are unable to get through to your mother about her addiction, then you may want to host an intervention. Invite people that know her well and ask them to share the ways that her addiction has hurt them before asking her to go to detox or rehab. An intervention is sometimes the best last ditch effort to try with an addict before you separate yourself from that person. If you do not know how to host an intervention, you can contact a professional interventionist for help.
If nothing seems to work, the best thing to do may be separate yourself from your mother, either temporarily or permanently. It is especially important to separate yourself from the situation if your mother has violent or irrational tendencies because of her addiction. It may be the wake up call that your mother needs in order to actually get real help. Screaming, calling her names, and flushing her drugs will only further her addiction and cause her to become reactionary. You have to show self respect first.
Remember, this is not your fault. Drug addiction can become a generational issue if you are not careful. You have to look out for yourself first and make sure that you have healed from the hurt and the trauma that you have gone through because of the addiction issues in your family. Otherwise, you could potentially become an addict yourself. There is only so much that you can do as a son or daughter. The rest should be left to trained professionals who are experienced in the field of addiction. Wondering where to start? Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 732-392-7311.