For the Family & Loved Ones

9 Ways To Help Yourself When You Are Concerned About Your Child

9 Ways To Help Yourself When You Are Concerned About Your Child

Thu, 10 Mar 2022 15:00:54 +0000

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Are you looking for ways to help yourself because of your child’s drug or alcohol use?

Do you feel the stigma and shame of addiction?

If you answered yes to either of the above questions, I have walked in your shoes. My family has experienced addiction to crystal meth and dependence on marijuana.

While my kids worked to turn their lives around, there are many families who are struggling.

They ride the emotional roller coaster of their child’s substance use. Often it leads to guilt, anger, frustration, and shame.

It is an unhealthy situation for any parent or family member.

Now with fentanyl-laced in many of the drugs and their availability on social media, it is more crucial than ever that you focus on tools that can help.

Help yourself first. It’s the way to begin the process of healing.

There are many things that a parent or family member can do. While you don’t have control over every aspect of your child’s substance use, you can help your child change.

The hope is that one day your child will live a happy and healthy life.

What can you do in the meantime? Here are nine ideas to get you started:

help yourself

Practice self-care

There is the saying from the airline about putting your oxygen mask on first before you help others. This saying applies to the situation of coping with the substance use of a teen or young adult.

It is stressful and challenging when your child is using drugs or alcohol.

There are research-based strategies that can help in new ways.

When you understand and manage your emotions, it can ease the situation. By helping yourself first, you will make better decisions. You will be more of a help to your child.

Educate yourself on recovery strategies

There are many useful evidence-based approaches available, as well as traditional approaches that may motivate a person to change and seek recovery. One such program is Community Reinforcement and Family Training or CRAFT, which strongly supports family members.

It is essential to stay involved in your child’s situation. To turn away or detach is not so helpful. While it is tempting to want one answer that works for everyone, one size doesn’t fit all. Yet, the solutions are often unique to each person. Long-term change comes from understanding the root of the problem.

Positive reinforcement can make a difference.

Substance use is often accompanied by negative behavior and negative talk. Positive reinforcement can make a difference.

Change the conversation to one that is more positive. It will remind you and your child about what they are doing right.

You may feel you are acknowledging the behavior that your child should be already doing. Put that aside because your child is in a different place than most of his peers.

Allow positive reinforcement to be part of your conversation.  It can help motivate your child to change their life for the better.

llow for natural consequences.

Consequences come from a place of compassion and love. When you plan for them ahead of time, your emotions don’t get in the way. They are not confrontational or punishment.

Get out of the way and let the world teach your child. Negative consequences can decrease their interest in continuing the undesirable behavior. Those teaching moments can be what increases your child’s interest in change.

Allow your child to experience the consequences of their actions. They will learn a powerful lesson about life. Of course, it is always essential to keep your child’s safety in mind and your tolerance level.

Create a social network

As humans, having a social connection is what will enable us to live well and thrive. Families with substance use issues can often isolate and let go of close friends and family. It is not healthy and often makes the problem more challenging.

The stigma and shame of addiction stifle family healing. Surround yourself with family and friends with similar interests. It will help you better cope with the challenges that you are facing. Talk to a friend or

Try to plan something at least once a week. It will make you feel better and give your mind a break from worrying about your child.

Start an exercise program.

Something as simple as taking a walk is an excellent place to start when it comes to exercise. Because things are challenging now, this might be the best time to start a new habit, such as exercise, to stay fit. It’s a great way to help yourself stay resilient. Not only will you be feeling better, but you will be a role model for your child.

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” ~ Unknown

Physical exercise is a way to improve your mood. It helps relieve some of your stress. Brain chemicals will be stimulated. You will feel healthier and more relaxed. Self-esteem and better sleep are two benefits of exercise. Start with small steps to help you get started. You will begin to feel happier, healthier, and make better decisions.

Focus on other family members

It is easy to get caught up in the negative cycle of your child’s substance use. When you do, your other family members feel neglected. Their issues can be left unaddressed. Your attention is on their sibling with substance use issues.

Marriages can often feel like they are at the breaking point. Spend quality time with all your children as well as your spouse. Find something positive each day, and stay optimistic. Don’t let addiction break your family apart.

Live in The Now

Recently my middle son told me about the app, The Now. I am amazed that my 30-year-old is interested in the concept of living in the present moment. I love how our kids can often be our best teachers.

The Now gives you 23 days of lessons, tips, and quotes to train your mind to live more fully in the moment using continuous mindfulness training.

Here are a couple of examples: “He who lives in the present lives in eternity.” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein and “You can’t change the past, so don’t worry about it right now. Go out and do something for yourself instead.”

Living in the now helps you focus on today, not what has passed and not what will come. When you focus on the present, you will help yourself feel less anxious and more in control.

Have Gratitude for what is going well.

You feel happier when you are grateful for what you have in your life. Train your mind to look for the positive and notice the shift that evolves. You will be less likely to be caught up in the negative cycle going on around you. You will no longer allow yourself to be the one who suffers.

When you have moments of crisis in your life, it is vital to acknowledge the sorrow and pain. It is also essential to work through the process and allow something beautiful to evolve.

Gratitude can turn:

anger into calmdespair into joydoubt into hoperesentment into compassionfrustration into acceptanceshame into empowerment

It gives you the strength to bloom and grow once again.

Please do all you can for your child that supports their recovery. At the same time, work hard to enjoy your own life and those around you who need your love and support.

When you help yourself first, you will have so much more to give to others.

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