When you have an addiction, your children, no matter their age, already know that something is off with you. They have learned to survive lack of care, unpredictability, chaos and in some cases physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Living and growing up in a home where one parent or both suffer from substance abuse can cause children to act out, retreat, limit their friendships, and never invite friends to their home. These children are at a high risk for becoming addicted to a substance themselves at one point or another in their lives.
Some children think they have done something wrong that caused their parent’s substance abuse. At the same time they may act out, feel resentment, and live in a state of confusion. A child can want to ask for help or support, but not dare to trust anyone with the family secret. Their situation is untenable. Perhaps they got their hopes up when their parent said he or she was going to quit. When the parent doesn’t follow through, the child feels like they don’t matter—they have been cast upon the rocks.
Here you are having made a commitment to get the help you need by going to a rehab for addiction treatment. The important question arises as to how can you help your children understand what has happened to you? Things may be chaotic and scary for your child, so it is best to sit them down at a time when there’s no distraction. Because of your condition, you may not be in a position to talk to your children yourself, and your spouse may have to inform them about the help you need.
Children need to hear the truth, be educated about the disease, hear acknowledgment as to the impact substance abuse has had on the entire family. They need to know it is not their fault, and they are not alone. It is important for children to be able to speak and enter into a dialog, too. You can help your children by getting support for them like therapy. They may be resistant, but later, after coming to trust the therapist, be grateful for a safe place to talk. The support your children receive is tantamount to their success in life.
According to the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, children need to know the “Seven Cs of Addiction”: I didn’t Cause it. I can’t Cure it. I can’t Control it. I can Care for myself, by Communicating my feelings, making healthy Choices, and by Celebrating myself.
Serenity Oaks provides an intensive 5 week program to support your sobriety and recovery from addiction. We aim to provide a space where you can find out how and why you have struggled with addiction. Our therapeutic and medical support are just one of the tools we provide to help set you up for success in recovery. Call us to find out how we can help you get started: 844-396-8526.