Confused By Drug Addict Thinking? How to Get Off the Roller Coaster…
Drug Addict Thinking
There are many grandparents who are raising their grandchild(ren) these days, and the number one reason for this is drug addiction. If you are the parent of a drug addict (or alcoholic, yes, alcohol IS a drug!), then you are most likely familiar with the “roller coaster” of emotions we all experience as a result of the drug addict thinking.
When our child first starts using drugs our first instinct is usually that we want to “save” our child from this horrible path. I felt that way when my daughter started, kind of like “Supermom to the rescue!”.
It’s very difficult to finally realize that your child is an addict, I know that MY heart was broken into a million pieces. It was and is so hard to see my “baby girl” struggling with addiction. After years of trying to help my daughter, I was left feeling helpless since I was unable to “fix” her. If I had the power to fix another person’s life, then my daughter would have been “fixed” a long time ago. Can you relate to this?
Although we can’t change the way our addicted child(ren) perceive things while on drugs/alcohol, there ARE ways we can cope and at least get ourselves off of THEIR roller coaster.
The Addicts Way of Thinking
As I’m sure you’ve experienced, a drug addict’s thinking is enough to make you crazy! It feels as if suddenly all of the addict’s logic and reason have flown out the window! All kinds of drama starts going on in our child’s life, and nothing we say makes any sense at all to him/her anymore. Oh, and let’s not forget the part where all of this “drama” seems to spill over into OUR lives and causes us tons of stress.
Isn’t it just so frustrating when you are saying logical things to your child and they look at you like you have lost your mind? Then you wonder “Where is my REAL child? What happened to his/her mind? Who is this selfish person with no conscious? Why does my son/daughter not understand that what they are doing is wrong?” etc… It’s almost like an alien from another planet took over the mind and body of your child, and you feel like screaming “Get out of my child NOW!!!!”).
So what causes this to happen? From what I learned at the billions (well, maybe not “billions”, just feels that way!) of “orientations” I’ve had to attend at a very long list of drug rehabs, the drugs can cause a chemical imbalance in the drug user’s brain. Although their are many people in the world who can drink and use drugs socially without becoming addicted there are also many who end up addicted beyond all reason.
Once this happens the only thing they care about is their drug(s). So if that’s all they care about eventually this will all start interfering with their home life, work life and relationships. Not to mention the totally illogical way of thinking that eventually occurs, and the affects that this will all have on you and your grandchild(ren).
I’m not going to pretend that all of this makes complete sense to me, because a lot of it doesn’t. While I can understand the addiction part, I just could never wrap my brain around the part where that line is crossed and the addict loses everything and cares about nothing but the drug(s). I guess it’s one of those things that you can;t completely grasp unless it’s happened to you.
So What Can You Do to Get off of this Crazy Roller Coaster?
Realize it’s okay to say “NO” to your child! This can be difficult because addict’s are great manipulators and tend to lay on the guilt trip. Your child knows deep down inside that you love him/her,which makes it much easier for them to push your buttons to get you to (hopefully) do what they want.
Do not give your addicted child money… And be aware that your child will not take kindly to this. Try not to take whatever words the addict may throw at you personally. Always remember that this not your “real” child, and it is the drugs talking.
Even if you don’t think they spend the money on drugs that is EXACTLY what they are doing with it. I sure don’t want to be responsible with providing my child with money so she can do something that is hurtful to her and slowly killing her. It took me way to long to stop doing this! I always wanted to believe if I helped that things would change.
Do not provide bail money. I have never provided money to bail my daughter out of jail, and asked others not to. I always felt relieved when she was in jail because she was actually safer and I knew where she was.
I understand how you could feel bad that your child is in jail and want to believe any promises they make while begging you to bail them out. Most of the time they have no intention of following up on their promise to get help if you bail them out. It’s important that our child take responsibility for their own actions brought on by their behavior.
Don’t lie or cover things up to protect them. As a parent you have a natural instinct to protect your child. But lying for them will not help them, it actually hurts them in the end and enables them to keep on the same path. So if you’re child asks you to lie about anything for them…say NO. They need to handle their own situations themselves.
Don’t let the drama affect you. Dramatic calls and situations from our child will happen often. If they want something from you and you say no then you’re likely to hear all kinds of mean and hateful things coming from their mouths. Or they could be calling because they want to complain about others or how no one cares about them. Or it could be millions of other things, including manipulation tactics.
Ways to deal with the drama..One way I have learned to deal with these calls is to simply say “I’m sorry but I am not willing to stay on the phone and be treated badly. I love you, goodbye”, “I’m sorry you are felling so angry, but I need to go, I don’t allow drama in my life anymore.” This has been a very hard one for me, but I am much better at it now, and life is much more peaceful this way. Hanging up the phone is OKAY!
The whole point is to not have drama, get drawn into an argument, or be caused STRESS. If you have to unplug the phone or even temporarily block their number then do it. You are not the addict and it’s not your drama, so let the addict own their own drama.
Don’t completely cut the addict out of your life. This does not mean to accept unacceptable behavior. You have every right to not allow an abusive, manipulative person in your home. Your addict may have also stolen from you in the past, so you do need to take precautions.
Unless you have been attacked or threatened it could be a good idea to keep the lines of communication open. How is this possible when everything is so crazy? Well, there was something I read years ago that has always stuck with me….”As long as the addict knows there is someone out there who loves him/her then there is always hope”.
Since I read that I have always made sure that my daughter knows I love her. Even if I am in the process of hanging up on her I will say “I love you” before disconnecting.
If you need to get a restraining order or call the police….then DO it. If you and/or your grandchild(ren) have been threatened or have endured abusive behavior at the hands of your child then you need to protect yourself and your precious grandchild(ren) at all costs.
Understanding How to Help Ourselves Live Calmer Lives
It is very important to take care of yourself emotionally and physically. A support group (including understanding friends and family) is essential because it helps you keep your perspective and helps you to stay strong.
Exercise and nutrition are important too. You need to be able to provide your grandchild(ren) with a stable home environment, and keep the stress as low as possible. Try your best to promote peace in your life and your grandchild’s.
Being the parent of an addict and raising your child’s children is a lot to take on for grandparents. I am sure you all worry about your daughter or son as much as I worry about mine. It’s so hard isn’t it? We raise our babies and want the best for them. For now the best we can do for them is to give their children a chance at happiness and a good life.
Other than that, there is NOTHING we can do to help the addict unless he/she wants to be helped. I have come to this conclusion regarding addiction and it’s helped me to stop lecturing and trying to fix my daughter:
“We make as much sense to our addicted child(ren) as they do to us”
If you give in to your addicted child please do not beat yourself up about it, it happens! This all takes practice and we don’t always know what to do. Go easy on yourself!
I would love to hear from you as always, and your suggestions and comments are always welcome. We’re here to help each other!