01 Sep How Your Addiction Is Devastating Your Kids
Kids are resilient, but that doesn’t mean your addiction isn’t having a terrible effect. They may be resilient, but your kids are also sensitive and malleable. What you do and say (or don’t do and don’t say) affects them deeply. You may think that your addiction only hurts you, but you are completely wrong. It affects everyone around you, especially your kids who need you to be a loving, protective parent. Ask yourself, how does addiction affect the family? How does it affect my kids? With the answers you may finally be ready to get help and to get sober.
Your Addiction Affects Your Kids’ Behaviors
As an addict, you don’t act like a normal person. You may think you hide it well, but you don’t. Substance abuse changes who you are and how you act. You are no longer modeling appropriate behaviors for your children and you are unlikely to be taking time to directly teach them how to behave. The result is that your kids don’t know what normal behavior is. They may act out in school. They may get in fights with other kids. They may express their emotions in inappropriate ways.
Your Kids Don’t Feel Safe
Sure, you provide them with a roof over their heads in a decent neighborhood and put food on the table. You aren’t physically abusive, either. But these are only the bare minimum requirements that kids need. To feel safe, children need to feel loved and wanted. They need to know that you will be emotionally stable. They need to not be afraid of your verbal outbursts. They need you to be there for them, not sleeping off a hangover past noon.
Your Kids Become Little Adults
How addiction affects the family is complicated, and different children will react in different ways. You can be sure, though, that at least one of your children will try to act like the adult in the household. When you step out of the role of responsible adult, there is a vacuum. One or more of the kids will try to fill it. She will attempt to step up to take care of younger kids. She’ll clean the house and make dinner. She will worry about things she shouldn’t have to worry about at such a young age.
Reversing the Damage
Kids are resilient. Your addiction is affecting them in negative ways, but you can change it. By getting help, you can change the lives your children lead. You can get better so that you can provide them with security, a feeling of love and safety, a model for good behavior, emotional stability and the freedom to be kids. When it’s time to make amends in recovery, the most important amends are those you make to your children. They can also recover from your addiction, but first you need to get help and get well.
Find relief in recovery. Life gets better with addiction treatment.
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