The Effects of Addiction on Fathers
Addiction is often referred to as a family disease because when a child suffers from addiction, so do their parents. If your child is an addict, you know how harmful the effects of addiction can be to fathers.
Having an addicted child can often lead to feelings of guilt or anger in fathers for not being able to protect their child or for being frustrated with their child’s behavior. Many children struggling with substance abuse will also lie to their father in an attempt to cover their tracks. Over time, this can lead to a breach of trust and a loss of respect. In some cases, the child may distance themselves from the father because they also feel guilty or ashamed of their addiction. This behavior can create an emotional distance between father and child that is difficult to overcome.
Not only are fathers taken on the roller coaster ride of feelings that accompanies addiction, but their lives can be affected in other ways as well. Addicted children can steal money from their fathers to buy drugs or alcohol. Because people with addiction problems may not be able to keep a job, many fathers feel financially responsible and continue to pay rent, legal fees, or other expenses for their child. Having an addicted child can also put a strain on your marriage as you and your partner have difficulty coping with it in different ways. In some cases, this can even lead to divorce.
How To Cope With An Addicted Child As A Father
As a father, you want to be there for your child through good times and bad, but when they are struggling with addiction you may feel lost and not sure what to do.
While you may feel that you need to protect them, the best thing you can do for your addicted child is to stop activating them. This can mean they stop paying their rent, cover up their mistakes, or even throw them out of the house. If you set boundaries and push them through, your son or daughter will be forced to face the consequences of their addiction and may become more motivated to sober up.
While as a father it can be a challenge to stop thinking about his addicted son or daughter, you have to take care of yourself as well. To begin you need to remind yourself that they have a life of their own and no matter how hard you try, you cannot control them. You also need to stop blaming yourself for your child’s addiction. Caring for an addicted child can also lead to neglect of taking care of your physical and mental health. Take time to relieve stress, exercise, and relax. When your needs are met, you will become a better father, husband, partner, and friend.
Since you can sometimes feel alone as the father of an addicted child, joining a support group can also be beneficial. There are groups specifically for family members of people with addiction problems that can provide helpful coping resources and hope.
As a father, help your child recover
If your child chooses substance abuse treatment, you should give them support. Early recovery can be a difficult time, and your child needs all the support they can get to achieve long-term success. Offer to take your child to recovery sessions, try new hobbies with your child, or exercise together to help them stick to their healthy routine. As their father, you can be one of their key advocates as they recover and set an example to the rest of the family.
Another way to not only support your child’s recovery but also improve your relationship with them could be through family addiction counseling. This type of therapy focuses on helping the family heal as a whole and restore confidence. Through family therapy you can gain a new perspective on addiction and the further path.
Being the father of a child struggling with addiction is tough, but we want to be there for you. Contact us at Vertava Health today to learn how we can help your child get back on their feet. We are here to listen to you and everything you say is confidential.
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