Note: This is from contributing writer B.H. and it highlights her struggles and the worry and anxiety she has felt throughout her son’s journey with addiction and recovery.
Many parents worry about their child, and this typically begins on the day they are born. Some parents find themselves worrying about their child’s health, meeting those important milestones, social and emotional development, and the future. Of course, after the fact, many parents find that they worried over nothing, as everything seemed to turn out just fine.
But, a parent of an addict, whether in active addiction or in recovery, may worry all the time. This is because they have been through a period of emotional turmoil and events with their loved one. Even when everything seems to be getting back to normal, parents may find themselves worrying about their child’s future.
Codependency Can Cause Worry
Worry may go along with codependency. When parents are codependent on their addicted child, they make excuses, know that the addiction will affect the emotional lives of one or both of them, and provide more-than-normal financial support. But even when a parent has done their very best to not be codependent (raises hand), worry and anxiety can still ruin many days.
This was the old me. I have been through and gotten over severe codependency through counseling and attending weekly Nar Anon meetings. I feel that I have actually done very well, as I have had enough. My son is in recovery, even after having one slip, which led to a DWI charge. He is still going strong and only goes to work and comes home due to a court order.
The worry is still here, but not nearly as much.
Why Parents Worry so Much
Dwelling over and over again on things that may happen is what worriers do. Many parents just want life to be calm and happy. Everything seems to be less stressful when this all happens. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. As a parent of a drug addict in recovery, I would worry when he was upset, thinking he may be headed toward a relapse, but I now know there is nothing I can do. I would worry for his future, even though he does have a job. I used to be anxiety-filled to the point of almost being sick when he didn’t come home on time, but that is not an issue now. If I didn’t have my counselor, I would probably slide right back to the worrying phase! I cannot imagine how I would be in terms of anxiety if I didn’t have professional help.
How to Minimalize the Uneasiness
Many people worry about their grown children even when they aren’t dealing with drug addiction. I have learned it is time to let go, and am getting better each day. Of course I would worry if my son had an illness besides addiction, if he was financially broken, or if he was suffering emotionally and socially. I have also learned that worry solves absolutely nothing. Worry is the epitome of time wasting and mental suffering, and nothing good comes out of it. I tell myself each day that my son is an adult, and needs to learn on his own how to make adult decisions.
As soon as I reached the point of focusing on me and my life, the better it felt. I actually felt free. I began thinking of my needs, my husband and other son’s needs, and let go of anything else. I learned that no matter how much I suffered internally over my recovering addict, everything would turn out just the same. I find that giving others this advice has really helped in every aspect of life, not just the life with a loved one who has gone down the wrong path.
Any parent of a child they love more than anything will have concern over what may happen. But there is such a thing as worrying too much and letting it consume your life. Seeking professional help and doing a lot of reading works wonders. These things help you heal your mind, body, and soul, and lead to finding inner peace.