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Sub-Categories of Drugs: Effect on the Family
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A healthy family requires a good handle on reality. Wherever illusions take the place of reality, relationships suffer and the delicate balance that is family begins to disintegrate. Drug abuse is an attempt to escape from what is felt to be an untenable reality. It is believed that the escape is the solution but this is part of the illusion.|
When one member of a family retreats into this drug induced illusion it becomes impossible for the family to sustain itself in a healthy and life giving way. A link in the chain is sorely damaged. What is real can no longer be relied upon as common ground. Communication cannot make its way across the gulf between reality and the escape from that reality.
WHEN A CHILD TAKES DRUGS
Knowing that your child is abusing drugs may not be as easy as it is made out to be. As parents we are always on the look out for a our children's welfare. We watch over them and worry about them but, even then, we may not be the first to know if our child is seeking excitement and comfort in chemical substances.
Statistics show that parents that unambiguously communicate their desire that their children stay well clear of drugs are 50% less likely to have children that do drugs. Communication cannot be underestimated. Communication, however, is not just telling our kids how we feel about drugs it is creating a climate where they feel comfortable to give us their own UNCENSORED view.
The first thing that a parent feels when a child is discovered to be taking drugs is overwhelming guilt and some anger. The anger is aimed at the fact that the loved one has placed themselves in danger and this is unbearably painful for a parent. The guilt comes from a feeling that they should have known, that there was something that they could have done to stop this from happening.
When your child takes drugs it is time to take off the blinkers. All of them. The only way out is going to be through a great deal of painful but liberating honesty and overzealous feelings of guilt don't help. Guilt trips for parent or child are not appropriate. You need to practice forgiveness and compassion like you have never done previously. You will also need professional help. Don't be afraid, good help should strip you naked and give you nowhere to hide, you and your child. This is good. Your family will never be the same again. It will be stronger and more robust. This is the potential.
WHEN A PARENT TAKES DRUGS
When a parent takes drugs the child feels that their childhood has been taken from them. They begin to take on the role of parent to their childlike mother or father. This means that they end up surrendering all their own questions and issues about life to the overwhelming parental dilemma.
More often than not the child of the drug addict feels painfully responsible. He or she can never relax into their own lives. They must always be vigilant lest the sky fall. They give up their own feelings on a deep profound level believing that they must be strong for a parent that is invariably a poisonous mixture of need and anger.
Children of alcoholics and drug addicts can have their young lives irreparably damaged if they do not seek help from neutral outside agencies. It is important that these people are not extended family members who end up treating the child like the responsible adult. Support groups and relevant professionals have the power to give the children of addicts their childhood back. This is crucial.
WHEN A PARTNER TAKES DRUGS
It is tough to love someone who is lovable one moment and a monster the next. It is tough not to feel somehow responsible for their pain. It is tough not to give up your own life in support of a lost cause.
Honesty is the only defense in the domestic situation that involves the drug addict partner. Being a strong partner can not only save yourself and your partner but more importantly it will provide a redemptive role model for children in the family.
When one parent is disintegrating it is all the more important that children be able to look to the other parent for support. The addict creates a quasi reality that threatens to suck in every member of the family. The addict has lost contact with reality and is being ruled only by his or her need for the substance of addiction.
If the sober partner finds it too difficult to confront the drug addict he or she should be strong enough to recognize that and seek help from professionals outside of the little hell that is fast being created by the addictive behavior.
Drug addiction and abuse has the power to destroy a family forever. The best defense is to take it 100% seriously. This means admitting that the problem will not go away if you all conspire to ignore it. The best defense is to look the interloper straight in the eye and act to save every member of the family. Immediately. Do not wait for a catastrophe. Do not worry that you are over reacting. Trust your gut on this and get help.
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