Helping Your Teen in Recovery

If your teen has struggled with addiction to alcohol or drugs, but is now in recovery, you may wonder just how you can be there to help him or her. First, it’s great that your teen has entered into recovery and is living a life free from addiction. As a parent, you want the best for your teen, and you know that sobriety will help your teen incredibly.

Here are some ways that you can help with your teen in recovery:

1)Learn about addiction

Take some time to teach yourself about addiction. This will help you when it comes to understanding what your teen is going through and about addiction as a disease. There are many things about addiction and drugs that parents just don’t understand at first. They may think that their teen ought to be able to just quit cold turkey and be done with it, but that’s not usually how recovery works. Start reading books, blogs, and perhaps seeing an addiction specialist yourself to understand the disease of addiction and recovery better.

2)Don’t fall for your teens games

This is important if your teen is in alcohol or drug treatment. He or she may call you begging you to come get him because the place is awful. This is rarely the case, as most treatment facilities have the patient’s best interest at heart. At the same time, rehabs can be strict and it’s usually this aspect of the rehab experience teens can’t stand. They feel like they are in prison, but usually it’s simply strict rules that they must follow while they are there. Don’t fall for manipulation or stories about how awful the place is. If you must, speak with staff at the rehab and let them know your concern and then make an educated decision based on all facts.

3)Enforce rules at home

As a parent, it’s up to you to set rules and boundaries at home. If you’re afraid that you might upset your teen and they’ll start drinking or drugging again, get some support. It is important that you are in charge; not your teen. There are support groups that will help you in this matter, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Aon. Teens don’t love rules, but they ought to have them in order to learn responsibility.

4)Show love, compassion, and patience

Your teen is navigating recovery and will not be perfect. That’s a given. This is your opportunity to show love, compassion, and patience as a loving parent.  Try not to judge if your son or daughter relapses. Yes, you have rules and boundaries, but it is also a time to show compassion and unconditional love.

Recovery can be a lot like a roller coaster ride for your teen. There will be great days and there will be rocky days. Do your best at being stable for your teen through the ride. If you need help, consider attending a support group or seeing a counselor. Also, there are some great books and government resources that can help you as well.