5 Tips for Parents for a Safe St. Patrick’s Day
Find out how to model healthy behavior and keep your teens safe this St. Patrick’s Day.
It is easy to have high expectations for a teen coming home from some kind of treatment, but what they need to know, is how important they are to their recovery — that failure is not the end and success is up to them. Substance use disorder creates stress for a family and there is no guarantee of the outcome of recovery without diligence. You know who your teen is. What comes after treatment is more work. Finding ways to deal with it are critical. There are resources everywhere and the web is a good place to start, even to find a meeting. There are also, ways for the whole family to just work together that enhances the success of a teen’s recovery. Here are a few:
1. Willingly, engage in the process of recovery. Recovery takes the whole family. You’ve survived together through major crises. You now have the chance to repair family bonds.
2. See this in a new light. You know that your teen’s substance abuse was not a passing fad, so “accept” your teen’s addiction. Try on addiction as a disease, not a moral problem. Look at recovery as an enduring process not a single event. Don’t view relapse as a failure, but accept sobriety, at any time as a success; usually, the biggest success in an addict’s life.
3. View your teen as an important. They have a huge burden and deserve to know the freedom of sobriety. We forget that each of us, are the most important person in our own lives. Knowing that, gives us the strength to make it. No one can do what we do for ourselves. A recovering addict needs to accept who they are to stay sober. Drugs were a way of hiding and eventually became a way of life. Sobriety depends on facing ourselves, head on, while staying sober one day at a time.
4. Respect your teen’s return home by expecting what you would of a house guest. Encourage courtesy, gratitude and other human graces. These attributes will heal dysfunction in the family. Living with a recovering teen is still a challenge, but kindness and mutuality will help everyone.
5. Put expectations aside. Parents usually have big plans for their teens! Right now, staying sober is as big an accomplishment as any. Placing more importance on anything else is stress that your teen might not need for a while. Encourage your teen to resume education and work activities at his or her own pace. Recommend physical exercise, lots of water, sleep and healthy food.
6. Don’t underestimate addiction. Without diligence, sobriety can crumble. Have a plan for relapse. Encourage daily 12 step meetings to create bonds with other sober teens. Treatment plans should cover these things. Al-anon is a good counter-plan for a parent. If a teen relapses, you can maintain your emotional sobriety. A teen getting back on track can happen just as quickly as they relapse. Remember, failure is just another step closer to success.
7. Be resilient and be prepared. Living with an addict who relapsed can necessitate outside help and tough consequences. Do this rationally and discuss consequences with your teen. If relapse persists, consider co-occurring disorders which might negate your teen’s ability to engage recovery without counseling and/or psychiatric evaluation. It gets harder to deal with this once your child turns 18.
8. Establish mutual boundaries. Remember, addiction does not respect societal age limits. Up until age 18, parents are in a state of legal bondage to a teen addict, yet your teen did painfully adult things. That makes finding the right boundaries hard. Know the law and make an effort to learn appropriate boundaries with appropriate consequences that preserve the mutual respect among the entire household. A recovering teen needs to learn about boundaries and responsibility, but is often stuck on bad habits. Be patient, but persistent. Use outside help like Al-anon to determine a course of action for broken boundaries or lack thereof.
9. There is rarely a good reason to lose hope or give up. Be courageous. Be resolved within yourself to more fully help your teen. See this as an opportunity for everyone’s personal growth.
Have you had a recovering teen come home again? What tips do you have for other parents going through this right now? Let us know below!