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Parents of Opiate Addicts and How Addiction Affects the Entire Family

I speak with thousands of people a year about opiate addiction. I have given out my phone number online, have an open email, a social network, blog and Youtube account. Of those thousands of people I talk with per year, a good majority of them are parents desperately looking for any type of advice on how to deal with their child's addiction.

This past year I was blessed with a beautiful healthy baby boy. Having a child myself has changed my life tremendously. I look at the world in a totally different and new perspective. I have heard this countless times by older and wiser people, but until it happened to me, I never knew the impact it would have on me as a person to be a father. I've seen first hand how a child can change my soul and help me understand where parents are coming from.  Having a child is one of the most rewarding life experiences I've been through.

The dangers of opiate addiction can destroy the mental health (and even physical health) of the parents who watch their child going through addiction.  Unable to truly do much, they have to let the course of addiction take it's route. Every time I talk with parents of addicts, I find myself explaining the same thing. “You have it worse than they do.” The reason I say this is because the parents want nothing more in the world than to see their child happy and healthy. Sitting back with their hands tied, watching a beautiful life they created struggling with addiction can be very upsetting and frustrating. Every parent imagines their child being successful and joyous, and it's extremely difficult to watch your own child with an addiction that can ultimately end their life. You can take them to interventions, have them forced into treatment centers, spend thousands and thousands of dollars on rehab facilities, just to watch them fall back on their addiction.  I've watched parents have their kids arrested hoping that jail would set them straight, only to see the children fall back into addition when they were released.

I as a parent can never imagine the pain I put my parents through. I do not know how I would deal if my son turned to drugs and became addicted. The thought of it tears my heart apart. This feeling allows me to talk with parents from both sides of the spectrum. I know what it is like to be completely addicted to opiates. I spent years being an addict and spending every ounce of energy I had in order to get more pills in to avoid withdrawals. I know what it is like to go through withdrawals and most importantly I know what it is like to start over from scratch.  I hit rock bottom and built my life back up to a place where I now live a happy, drug free life. I can look back on my experiences and realize what I went through and share it with others who are witnessing it first hand or going through it themselves.

I want parents to understand that their addicted child is sick. You as the parent are very limited in the ability to help your child. When you hear the famous 10 word saying, “If it is to be, it is up to me,” it is 100% true, especially for addicts. Your child needs to want their life back for themselves, before they are ready to get help.  There is nothing you can do until your child is ready to get clean for themselves. They have to want a real life and be willing to fight the hardest fight they have ever imagined. You as a parent need to stay positive and support them along the way, knowing when to step back and let them make their own decisions. As a parent you have a very hard road ahead of you but the most important thing to remember is that no person is ever too far gone. Hopefully something will "click" in your child and make them want to take their life back before it is too late. 

If you have any questions or just want someone to talk to, please feel free to email me: ryan@calmsupport.com  I personally respond to every email I receive.


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