When Your Child Is Addicted To Drugs

My son died of an opioid overdose in 2016 after battling addiction to fifteen years or so.  I’m certainly not alone.  During the previous year, 70,000 victims lost their lives to opioids.

As staggering as that statistic is, officials are expecting THIS year’s opioid-related deaths to double the 2019’s total, according to journalist Zoe Rohrich of pbs.org., August 7, 2020.  Yes, opioid deaths are surging during the pandemic, in the shadow of Covid-19.

But opioids aren’t the only powerful substances that can wreck havoc.  Crystal meth, cocaine, alcohol, even marijuana also have the ability to destroy relationships between parents and children.

I empathize with any parent dealing with children who have the disease of substance abuse disorder. I remember my son confessing to me during a time of sobriety that when you’re abusing drugs, “the only thing you care about is getting high.”  Your son could be sober for a year and then relapse again.  The odds of relapse are nearly 40%.

We fear for our children.  The drugs are getting stronger.  Imported fentanyl is ten times stronger than heroin.  Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer, is one hundred times stronger than fentanyl.  Even marijuana, being considered for legal recreation use, can be laced with PCP, “angel dust.”  The drugs rule the roost and can make a parent seem ineffectual.

It is easy for a parent to become addicted to his child’s addiction, to be “co-dependent.”  How many times did my emotions mirror my son’s helplessness or his temporary respite of sobriety?  Sound familiar?

When the family is stuck in the same old patterns and isn’t gaining any ground, when the blaming and resentment get in the way of steering the child into therapy. I’ve been there.

While the child has to own his own recovery, when should a parent lean in and when should she withdraw?  It’s hard to know.  How do YOU move forward when your previous attempts haven’t worked or you’re too drained to make the initial effort?

In the hopes of helping baffled parents, such as I was, who want to mentor their children, I will post links to recovery organizations, write about different recovery options, and mine the research of addiction professionals.

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Review of Victoria’s Voice (2019), published posthumously by Momosa Publishing and parents David and Jackie Siegel