5 Ways Parents Can Deal With Setbacks In Addiction Recovery

5 Ways Parents Can Deal With Setbacks In Addiction Recovery

Watching an adult child struggle with an addictive disorder is a gut-wrenching experience. Setbacks can be discouraging, leaving you and your adult child in a state of hopelessness. However, you can successfully weather this test of your resilience. Below, we suggest 5 ways to help you and your child deal with setbacks in addiction recovery.


#1 Recognize That Setbacks Are Inevitable In The Battle For Recovery


All in all, recovery is a highly individualized experience. However, it’s important to realize that setbacks are an unavoidable challenge. Being aware of warning signs and triggers can make a crucial difference.


  • HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, and tired): This acronym applies to many high-risk situations. Avoiding these symptoms of distress should be a priority. You can help by planning meals, encouraging healthy habits, and attending therapy sessions together.


  • Stress is a major relapse trigger. It affects both the body and mind. You can’t eliminate all stresses from your child’s life. However, you can help him or her learn safe, effective coping mechanisms to deal with them. It is also important to do whatever you can to keep familial conflict to a minimum.


  • Do everything you can to encourage your child to avoid social situations that involve addictive substances.


#2 Follow The Recommended Treatment Path


Treatment plans are usually tailored to individual needs. However, following through on doctors’ recommendations may be difficult for people with addictive disorders. They may feel demoralized, unmotivated, and discouraged. A comprehensive treatment plan may involve any or all of the following:


  • Individual and/or group therapy
  • Prescribed medications
  • Family therapy
  • Case management


Encourage your adult child to keep to the recommended treatment path, even when things look bleak. Remind him or her to take all prescribed medications. If possible, provide transportation to help your child keep appointments with treatment providers.


#3 Rely On Peer Support to Deal With Setbacks In Addiction Recovery


Recovering from addiction involves major lifestyle changes. Encourage your child to spend time with those who have achieved sobriety. Recovery is an undeniably difficult process, but your tenacity will be rewarded. People with addictive disorders often benefit from peer support organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Your child’s treatment team can recommend peer support groups to support his or her recovery. You can help by attending therapy meetings together. Do everything you can to adjust the family’s schedule so that you can participate regularly in group meetings.


#4 Prioritize Your Own Health & Well-Being 


As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to help your adult child succeed. However, it’s important to secure your own well-being as well. Beware of compassion fatigue, which can place you at risk for significant health problems.

Setting an example for healthy living is particularly important. Eat well, get the sleep you need, exercise, and enjoy some favorite activities. You can invite your child to join you. Don’t nag; just let your child know you would enjoy the company.


#5 Retain Hope In The Face Of Uncertainty


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future ~ Jeremiah 29:11

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint ~ Isaiah 40:31

Hope is a precious commodity when the odds are against you. When your child loses hope, you must retain your own. Remember the scriptural promises above. Assure your adult child that it’s possible to live a full and rewarding life. Help him or her work towards a goal now, rather than putting everything on hold until every problem is solved.

Setbacks are common for those with addiction disorders. Refrain from second-guessing and doubting yourself.  Remember that you play a vital role in helping your child stay on the road to recovery.

For more information on how Shenandoah Valley Adult & Teen Challenge can help, contact us. Our compassionate and caring staff stand ready to answer your questions and address your concerns.


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