As a previously addicted child I felt compelled to write another blog for parents. Why? Well, the main is reason is because addiction doesn’t affect the addicted person. This is a family disease that leaves parents wondering, worrying, and stressed. I am hoping with this blog to explain some of the behaviors your addicted child may be displaying. These aren’t excuses, because there really is none, I am just hoping to answer some of the questions you may be having about why your child, who you thought you knew so well, all of a sudden seems to be a stranger.
10 Things Your Addicted Child Wants You to Know
1. We Are In Here
This may sound confusing, but going along the lines that your child seems like a different person, I want all parents to know that the child you do know is in there. We don’t lose the person we once were it is just covered up right now by a disease that is dictating how we act, what we do, and how we live. We are in here! Underneath all of it, we are still your kid, we are still that 4 year old little boy or girl who wants nothing more than to make their parent’s proud. Which brings me to my second point.
2. We Want to Make You Proud
We try not to think about how we are doing the exact opposite making you proud of us but there is still that large part of us that wants to just make you happy. And our addiction makes us feel really bad for not doing just that. We cover up this fact with anger directed towards you. We say things we don’t mean, we do things that are hurtful all to cover up the fact that deep down we want you to be proud of the lives we are living. And we know our drug use is the farthest thing from it.
3. Our Angry Outbursts Make Us Feel Bad
When we argue with you, after we walk away, if we go to use chances are we are using because the argument caused us pain. See when we reach a certain point in our addiction we are hurting pretty bad. That hurt comes out in the form of extremes. Extreme anger or depression usually that gets directed towards the people we love the most. And after an argument all we want to do is make the hurt go away. Just know that we don’t want to fight with you, we are in a spot where we are incapable of seeing how much pain we are causing, all we can see and feel is our own pain. We are sorry—we just don’t know it yet.
4. It is You vs. Us But Not Always
I am not going to pretend that we are always thinking how much we love you deep down because in the beginning we definitely think of you as the people who are trying to keep us from doing what we want to do. Why can’t you just let us live our lives? If you could just accept that I am doing drugs everything would be better. On, and on and on. We place blame on your inability to just let this be what it is. And we see you as the bad guys. We see you as the people who are out to make our lives a living hell. Now the reason I brought this one up is because I want all the parents out there to know that you are not the bad guys as much as your kid may make you feel like you are. I don’t know how long it will take or if the day will ever come, but eventually if your child enters sobriety there will come a point where they know and realize you were right, that you were just trying to help and that you love us so much that you couldn’t just “accept” our lifestyle. If you are really lucky, and I am going to say this to all the parents who haven’t gotten this yet, you’ll get a “Thank You.” Thank you for continuing to hound us, to stay on us, for not accepting this as our final fate as what we are. We are so much more than that and the only people who refuse to accept that is our parents—so from me to you—thank you. Love you.
5. We Need You
It may seem like we want to be all-independent. It may seem like we don’t need you in our lives. We haven’t been doing a very good job of showing any of this but just believe me when I say that we need you. Eventually there will come a time when you are the light at the end of the tunnel for your addicted child. Whether it is in a moment when they feel totally broken or they are ready to get clean—your undying, unwavering constant presence and belief that they can be something different is HOPE and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE in it’s purest forms. And we need that from you.
6. If We Aren’t Talking to You It’s Because of Shame and Guilt
I don’t know if this is the case all the time but I know that when I wasn’t talking to my parents it wasn’t because I didn’t want to. I didn’t talk to my parents for lengthy periods of time because I didn’t want them to hear me, see me, or be near me when I was messed up. It made me feel awful. It made me feel guilty and I was embarrassed. Yes, it was selfish, but that was the truth of the matter. I checked in just enough to let my parents know I was alive other than that I was protecting myself from those terrible feelings of shame and guilt.
7. When We Get High, Steal, Use You etc. We Aren’t Thinking, “Man I Really Want to Hurt My Parents.”
There is one thought and one thought only that drives us to do what we do and that is the thought of relief that comes with getting high. We will do absolutely anything to get that relief. And if that means hurting you in the process, well that doesn’t even cross our minds. This is an unfortunate outcome of the disease of addiction. That we never get high based on the truth of the situation, we never get high thinking we are going to hurt you. We get high on the lie. We get high on the idea that we will feel better, that it won’t be that big of a deal etc.
8. Even if We Have Told You This is Your Fault—It Isn’t
Don’t listen to your kid when they tell you this. They are just trying to make you feel as bad as they feel right now. This is a manipulation tactic. Regardless of what you are doing your kid is going to find a way to get high if that is what is fueling them right now. This isn’t your fault. Nothing you did or didn’t do caused them to be this way. And nothing you do or don’t do will cause them to want to stop.
9. We Are Really Delusional
I had no idea the impact I was having on my family until after I got sober. I was so delusional. I honestly believed that my parents were horrible people and that they were just trying to make my life harder. I didn’t even see my parents as human being, I saw them as nasty authority figures. The world we see and the world you see are totally different—just know that we really believe what we are seeing around us. But eventually clarity comes. And I can remember clear as a day when I finally realized that my parents are just people trying to figure out life just like me. And things changed for me after that moment. I was 20/21 and I came to the realization that my parent’s had all the same feelings as me. Nothing sparked this, I was just thinking and it hit me. And I felt this overwhelming sadness for them. For what I was doing to them. Things started to change then.
10. Through it All We Love You and There’s Hope
Like I said, we are still your kid. We are still in there. We love you and we can’t figure out why life is so hard and why everything is so chaotic. We blame you, then realize it isn’t your fault and blame ourselves. We try to do better, we may even swear not to use or try to get clean on our own—only to fail again and again. Chances are we need outside help, I know I did. And the thing I remember most about getting help is my parents showing up. And while the part of me that was cold, icy, hard, and even incapable of saying I love you stayed more prominent for the first few months and even year eventually I softened and became capable of seeing the truth. I love my parents and I don’t know where I would be without them. They have my back and I have theirs. We can recover from this—all of us—together—the entire family. It is going to take everyone working together by taking care of themselves but it can happen.
With that said. I hope you know that we love you. And if your child can’t say it right now, I will say it for them until they can. Love you, thank you, don’t give up on me. Reach out to us for help if you want to give your addicted child the tools they need to beat drugs and alcohol. 855-441-2449.