Parents can heal from the harms of addiction.
Addiction Support for Parents
It’s been said that addiction is a family disease. Hence, Last Door believes that recovery is best accomplished from a family systems perspective with addiction support for parents.
Ask most parents what they want for their children and they answer along the lines of happiness, health, success. The parents’ of an addict will say “I hope and pray that he doesn’t die” and sometimes…. “We don’t hope anymore, it’s too painful”.
After years of living with the indignity of addiction it’s difficult for parents to hope again; to dream of health, success and happiness for their sons.
Last Door recognizes the dynamic role parents fulfill in families and in recovery. Parents are often our first contact with the family; we’re constantly astonished by the depth of love and pain experienced in one person. Last Door Parent’s Group was developed to help parents live free from active addiction. As such, our collective experience and energy of alumni, clients, their families and staff creates a vibrant diverse recovery community.
Family members of someone with an addiction need just as much support as the person struggling with the addiction. It’s important for family members to find a support system of their own, to discuss the challenges they face, share their experiences and build healthy boundaries for their own recovery. In addition, families need to understand that addiction is a disease and that their loved one needs support, understanding and boundaries so that they are not enabled.
Enabling is when a family member or friend takes on the responsibility of helping the addict cope with the consequences of their addiction. This involves making excuses, helping cover up the addiction, providing money and other resources that enable the person to continue their addiction.
Support and compassion, on the other hand, is providing emotional and practical help. Offering understanding, providing resources like treatment programs or support groups, and having conversations about the addiction and how to help are all ways to support without enabling.
The difference between support and compassion, and enabling is that support and compassion focus on helping someone recover. And not helping the addict continue their addictive behaviour. Sometimes love means saying no. Saying I love you so much that I am not willing to provide for you in your addiction. But, I will support you in recovery. Tough love and health boundaries are what will make the most impact.
Self-centred compassion is the process of helping someone else to make you feel better. It has little to do with actually helping another person get well. It’s often motivated by selfishness or guilt, and can make the person being helped feel worse because it doesn’t allow them to build their own resilience and self esteem. When you’re constantly rescuing someone they’re only ever allowed to be the victim, and never responsibility for themselves.
There’s often an addiction the family members have with the addict. The need to protect, care for, look after and parent often leads to co-dependency.
Co-Dependency and Addiction
Parents may feel an intense need to control their son‘s addiction, leading to poor boundaries and an inability to emotionally separate. As such, a cycle of codependency in which the son‘s addiction is enabled.
Breaking the cycle requires parents to learn how to set boundaries and recognize their own powerlessness in their son’s addiction. Seeking out support from other family members, friends, and support groups like Last Door’s Parent’s Group or Al-Anon and Nar-Anon is paramount. Additionally, focusing on their own self–care and to find healthy ways to detach from their son‘s addiction.
Take our Codependency Self Test, see if your are being codependent.
What is Parents Group?
Last Door’s facilitated family group takes place on Wednesday evenings. The group provides a therapeutic atmosphere where family members affected by addiction can access support, gain knowledge and develop freedom from the isolation of addiction. As a result the group is designed for individuals seeking support, not the substance affected person. Emphasis is on families connecting with other families with similar life experiences. It’s a safe, nonjudgmental place for families to discuss how to support someone in recovery.
Some members have attended the group since is creation over a decade ago, helping foster hope and connection between families. Others attend sporadically as their schedules allow. It’s a group where all members participate at their own comfort level. Topics discussed include:
- Setting Boundaries
- Peer Support
- Shame and Guilt
- Stress Management
- Building your own Recovery
Parent’s Group is now digital as well. The weekly meetings are hybrid Zoom and in person. You can now connect with parents across North America and build supports with other parents near you.
Betty’s Story about her Son Chris
Family support is a huge part of sustainable recovery from addiction. Overall, family support is an essential component of sustainable recovery from addiction. By providing support, setting boundaries and structure, and helping the individual access professional treatment and recovery services, family members can play a critical role in helping the individual achieve lasting sobriety.
Family Enhancement Program
Last Door offers Family Enhancement Programs running multiple times per year. The program is a four day Family Addiction Treatment retreat run by our facilitators. Providing families the opportunity to delve into workshops and peer support groups with other parents of clients and alumni to build the strong supports needed to overcome the harms caused by addiction. Taking place at our Keystone facility in Mission, BC the retreat offers a chance for parents to relax and decompress surrounded by nature.
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