The Challenge for Parents When Their Adult Child is Recovering from Addiction

Parents often face these challenges while their adult child is recovering from addictionIf you have an adult child who has struggled with addiction, it can be one of the hardest endeavors to try and rebuild the relationship that was so quickly taken away. When people are in the throes of substance dependency, they’re different – they act different, they say things they wouldn’t normally say and for parents, it forces a huge wedge between what they thought they knew about their loved one versus who they really “seem” to be.

If you’re a parent who is hoping to reconnect with your adult child while they’re in recovery, you’re likely feeling nervous. Many parents fear that the relationship just won’t be the same, and sometimes their own healing process doesn’t allow enough room for their adult child to re-enter their life so quickly again. No matter where you’re at in this process, take a deep breath – it does get better.

In 2018, a parent and advocate shared their personal story and lessons learned when their adult child went through both addiction and recovery. They told of several lessons they learned, such as:

  • Parents can enable their adult children without even realizing it
  • An adult child’s addiction cannot be “fixed” by the parent alone – their child has to change their life
  • Addiction can lead a person to lie, even if they never did this before
  • Adult children can become criminals through addiction
  • Other friends and family may not want this person around anymore

A major lesson that comes with this for many parents is to realize that because these things have happened, the relationship won’t be the same – but that doesn’t mean they can’t become stronger from it. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you’re seeking help for your own sense of healing. Family therapy and 12-Step programs such as Al-Anon provide people with a safe space to join a community of others who understand where you’re coming from – and when you’re ready, you can begin rebuilding the relationship with your adult child.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.