Recovery is a Family Dynamic

By
Alexa Sparkman
Woman with red hair and her teenage son

 

Addiction affects the entire family, and parents are certainly no exception. For parents of children in active addiction, navigating life is far from easy. It comes with challenges, desperation, tears, and a lot of questions.

We asked Shatterproof Ambassadors, specifically those with children in recovery, about their experiences so other parents may find hope and maybe even some relief in knowing that they are not alone.

What do you wish you knew sooner about how to support your child? 

"I wish I [knew] I wasn’t going to be the one to save our sons. They have to be ready and want to work a recovery program. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be rescued. Recovery is not a straight line. SUD is a chronic disease and relapse may or may not happen." - Gena W.

"I wish I knew that almost every drug on the street contained Fentanyl. While I told [my daughter] what drugs can do to her mind and body, I never explained what to look for in a counterfeit pill. [For example] real Xanax doesn’t crumble. Until she overdosed I didn’t know much about Fentanyl, nor that it was extremely accessible. I wish I would have taken the New York Department of Health’s Naloxone Training Course and explained how to use Fentanyl test strips." - Renee C.

"I wish we would have realized that we could not support [our daughter] until we stopped trying to hide what was going on. Once we stopped letting the stigma of addiction keep us ashamed and started talking openly and honestly about what our family was going through, we were a much better support system.  I decided to learn as much as I could absorb about addiction - instead of hiding from it. That education really helped me navigate the world we were in." - Bonnie Z.

What helped your family the most? 

"[Realizing] that this is a family disease. We all play a role in it and it is imperative to try and heal. What works for us may not for another. One size does not fit all! Communication, empathy and educating about this disease."- Celeste K.

"Going to 12-step family support groups and also reading stories about successful outcomes because this gave me hope and reduced my anxiety. I also went to counseling - received EMDR for the trauma I experienced which really was a lifesaver." - Paige G.

What was the best advice you received during the journey to recovery?

"I thought that these types of things only happened to movie stars’ children and children from broken homes.  The best advice was that it can happen to anyone and that recovery IS a possibility.  NEVER give up hope..."  - Andrea J.

"The best advice that we received as a family was to take what we needed and leave the rest.  With opiates, you have to treat the mind and body.  Harm reduction includes Medicated Assisted Treatment: Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol are all vital to treat opioids. We opted for Vivitrol; However, the mind needs psychotherapy, DBT, and EMDR therapy.  The body and brain need treatment.  There is no shame in needing these life-saving medications.  They are all critical to recovery." - Renee C.

How did your family overcome challenges?

"Supporting one another to learn as much as we could and do the things we needed to understand addiction and recovery and our role in [our son's] recovery. Holding onto hope. We aligned to support him no matter what." - Paige G.

"By changing my tone and approach. By realizing I was as ill as my loved one and I needed to learn and heal as well. That this is not a one size fits all disease." - Celeste K.

What resources did you find most helpful? 

"I attended a CODA meeting and I started reaching out to people that I knew were going through the same thing. My cousin had a relative who lost a daughter to an overdose and [she] connected me with Rehab centers. In addition, I also contacted several rehab centers that discussed what I should do and how to respond to my child. Even when I knew he wasn’t ready to go to rehab, I still contacted these people and centers to prepare myself." - Alejandra J.

"Insurance Case Management, residential treatment with family, group therapy,  12-step family meetings, and individual counseling." - Paige G.

How was your family dynamic impacted before/after recovery?

"The best advice that we received as a family was to take what we needed and leave the rest.  With opiates, you have to treat the mind and body.  Harm reduction includes Medicated Assisted Treatment. Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol are all [great ways] to treat opioid addiction. We opted for Vivitrol. However, the mind needs psychotherapy, DBT, and EMDR therapy.  The body and brain need treatment.  There is no shame in needing these life-saving medications.  They are all critical to recovery." - Renee C. 

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