Many dads struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Some battle it themselves and some are forced to watch as it consumes their children. Today millions of American fathers will celebrate Father’s Day, but others will be reminded of the strain that drugs and alcohol have put on their relationships with their sons or daughters. No matter what side of it you’re on, addiction is a family disease. People who are struggling often have whole communities of friends and families who suffer right alongside them on their journey, and parents top the list of these roles.
This Father’s Day, Recovery Unplugged wants-scratch that-NEEDS-to let dads struggling with addiction know that help is out there. You don’t have to let drugs or alcohol estrange you from your children, or yourself, any longer.
For Dad’s Struggling with Addiction
You’re far from alone. Data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse indicates that men struggle with addiction to every type of illicit drug and alcohol at a greater rate than women, and that also includes non-parents. When you add in the pressures of being a father, it can become even more overwhelming. As Father’s Day also coincides with Men’s Health Month, it helps to know some of the common origins and triggers of paternal substance use disorder (SUD), such as genetics, learned behavior, gender and role-associated pride and stigma, financial pressure and more.
For example, one father could have a family history of alcohol abuse that makes him more vulnerable to binge drinking, while another father can develop a painkiller addiction because he got hurt at work, but still has to provide for his family. There are many unique issues that can drive fathers to substance use, and Recovery Unplugged wants all dads who have been affected to know that we see you, we hear you and we want to help.
For Dad’s with Addicted Children
Your child never stops being your child, even when they’re grown and have kids of their own. The longer their SUD continues, the easier it can be to feel like there’s no hope. When it starts, you may try everything, like yelling, screaming, threats and punishment, but find that those don’t work. As your kids get older, and even harder to keep an eye on, you may feel like you have to start making incredibly painful decisions, like severing ties with them or kicking them out for your safety and the rest of the family’s. While each family’s situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping your child overcome addiction, here are some measures you can take:
For Children under 18:
- Be firm and direct, but don’t yell at them or judge them. Let them know you know what is going on and that it ends now. You have more power than you realize as a parent.
- If necessary, enlist the help of your child’s school and their parents’ friends. It can be hard to know which of their friends are the ones they’re using with, but it helps to give their friends’ parents a heads-up as to what’s going on and see if they can provide any insights.
- It’s also possible they’ve started using with a whole new group of people. Often, kids start to associate with a new circle of friends to just bond over drug or alcohol use and nothing more. Monitor their social media activity, check their phones and periodically search their rooms.
- You should also keep an eye on their appearance and behavior, and if they come carrying an odd smell or affect.
Once you discover that your child is struggling with addiction, get them into treatment immediately. There are plenty of addiction treatment centers that specialize in juvenile substance use disorder.
For Adult Sons and Daughters:
When your son or daughter gets to be an adult, it can be harder to guide them toward treatment and recovery, but you can organize an intervention, set clear terms of accountability for your relationship, let them know you want to help them and do as much as you can to get them into a treatment center. They need your help, even if they don’t want to admit it.
Get Help Now
If you’re a father who has been impacted by addiction, Recovery Unplugged is waiting to help you get your life and family back. We offer all levels of care, accept most major insurances and have multiple locations across the country. Call us now to start your treatment today.