If you’re the mom or stepmom of a young adult son, you want him to experience the best in life and grow up to be a well-adjusted, happy person. That’s why it can be so heartbreaking and frightening to confront alcoholism as a parent. Addiction is a family disease, which means it has far-reaching consequences for the addicted person and everyone in their orbit. You are not alone in your struggle as a mother of an alcoholic child. Here are some tips you can use to promote your son’s recovery.
1. Practice Acceptance
Perhaps you discovered your son’s drinking problem when stumbling upon a hidden stash of empty cans and bottles or realized he was struggling when you caught him coming home drunk night after night. Or, maybe your son came to you ready to admit he has been struggling with alcoholism and asked you to help him get sober. Regardless of the circumstances, responding by blaming or lashing out is not the answer.
Your son probably already carries a heavy burden of guilt about the way he’s been behaving, and he doesn’t need you to make him feel worse. Instead, respond with love and compassion. Understand that addiction is an illness – not a weakness, a character flaw or a result of inadequate decision-making skills.
2. Don’t Blame Yourself
Parents of young addicts often try to shoulder most or all of the blame for their child’s substance abuse problems, but being overly self-critical is not a helpful approach to the issue. Accepting all the responsibility for your son’s substance abuse disorder is a classic example of enabling and codependent behavior.
While agreeing to help your son enroll in a licensed treatment program and supporting his goal of achieving sobriety is a healthy response, pretending the problem doesn’t exist or attempting to shield your son from any negative consequences are not “solutions” to a young adult’s substance use disorder.
3. Practice Self-Care
When you’re anxious or worried, you might neglect activities like exercising, gardening or relaxing with a good book. However, overlooking your self-care can heighten your stress levels and make you feel even worse overall.
To improve your mental health, try incorporating meditation into your self-care routine. May is National Meditation Month, so there’s no better time to start a meditation practice if you don’t already have one. Since there are many ways to meditate, you can find a routine that works for you, start in small daily increments, then build from there.
4. Become an Advocate
While you may not understand everything your son or stepson is going through – especially if you’ve never had a substance use disorder – you can still be his staunchest ally in his battle to overcome addiction. Do your best to educate yourself about this disease and become part of the movement working to end the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and substance abuse.
Accredited Young Adult Addiction Treatment
Many parents confronting the realities of their children’s substance abuse feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn. At Spearhead Lodge, we’ve created a world-class treatment program exclusively for young men struggling to break the cycle of addiction. Our counselors can customize a plan that helps your son embrace a new, sober future. Contact us today to learn more.