A Mother’s Day Message to All Moms Struggling with Addiction
As millions of American families observe Mother’s Day, there will be hugs, there will be kisses, and there will be celebrations.
It’s important to realize, however, that mothers who are struggling with addiction or are watching their children go through it may have an altogether different and far less celebratory Mother’s Day experience.
Although it’s been said for years that being a mother is among the toughest and most important jobs there are, it remains no less true today, and Recovery Unplugged wants moms struggling with addiction to know that they’re loved, you’re strong, they’re valued, and we see them.
You’re not alone. Whether you’re a new mother or your kids are grown, they want and need you to get help. There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you need treatment; in fact, there’s strength in it. The stress and the struggle that often accompanies raising children and other unique factors you face in your life are real, and you’re not a “failure” or “bad mother” if life gets to you and you need help.
Nearly nine million children live in a house with at least one parent struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), and there has been a 30 percent increase in admissions to addiction treatment programs among women ages 18-44 over the past decade. The point is that you’re not alone and it’s never too late to adjust course and reclaim your life. Whether you’re just realizing that you need help or addiction has already damaged your health and quality of life, help is out there:
- Admit to yourself that you need help.
- Tell a trusted friend or loved one what you’re going through.
- Take an honest look at what substance use has done to you and what kind of help you need.
- Start exploring meetings in your area or online.
- Have a friend or loved one help you look for treatment.
It’s going to be hard, but keep trusting yourself, lean on your children, and trust the recovery process. See if a trusted friend or family member can help you if you have young children that need to be looked after. Outpatient treatment programs allow you to get the help you need while returning home to your kids every day after your treatment. The most important and immediate way you can take care of your children is by taking care of yourself.
Again, you’re not alone. Over 19 million American adults struggle with addiction, and most of these individuals have mothers who struggle right alongside them. It’s important to realize that your child’s addiction doesn’t make you a bad mother and that you may be uniquely empowered to get them help. Maybe your child is stealing money from you, maybe they’re lying right to your face, maybe they’re even becoming physically threatening or verbally abusive, but they’re still “in there” somewhere and they almost definitely want to get help.
Helping your child with their addiction requires striking a balance between compassion and accountability. On one hand, you never want to see them in pain or distress; on the other, the very thing that can provide them short-term relief is the same thing that can make the problem worse…and eventually, kill them. While circumstances are different for each family, some things you may be able to do to help your addicted child include:
- Talk to them face-to-face when they’re sober and can understand the impact of their behavior.
- Organize an intervention with other trusted and respected loved ones.
- Work with them to find recovery meetings and treatment.
- Let them know that they’re still loved and valued even though they’ve made mistakes.
- Ensure them that you’re committed to helping them in their recovery…and mean it.
It’s also important to make sure you and your family are safe. Addiction causes people to engage in dangerous and volatile behavior and it may be necessary to set boundaries and rules, no matter how difficult it may be. Enabling your child is the single worst thing you can do for them.
Your contribution and influence in your children’s lives cannot be overstated or adequately recognized. The Pandemic has shown just how far we, as a society, have to go in showing our appreciation, but Recovery Unplugged wants you all to know that we’re here to provide help and support when you need it. Contact our team today if you’re a mom struggling with addiction, whether it’s for yourself or for your child.
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