- Free Parent-to-Parent (P2P) Phone Support across Canada
- Information on how to support yourself and your loved one
Other options include:
- Visit your doctor and discuss your own mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and insomnia
- Relax – yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, sleep, listen to music, spend time with your pet
- Maintain friendships, date night (no talking about addiction), hobbies
- Maintain healthy diet and exercise
- Limit your own substance use
You need to learn about addiction. Addiction is a disease; it is not a moral failing. It is not a lack of willpower. Without this education, you may blame your child or yourself for their illness. You may feel shame or guilt and be less likely to get help.
You need to learn about drugs. If your loved one is addicted to:
- Marijuana – you do not need to worry about overdose except with edibles. Long term heavy use can cause a medical condition with severe vomiting which is relieved by hot showers. It is addictive but not a gateway drug. It is far safer than synthetic marijuana like K2 and Spice which are illegal in Canada. Driving while high doubles crash risk.
- Illegal substances or opioids – you need to get a naxolone kit and learn how to use it
- Alcohol or benzodiazepines – stopping cold turkey can kill them
You need to learn about recovery. There are many roads to recovery. Your loved one will have to figure out which path is best for them. Expect relapses. Relapses are not a sign that recovery has failed. Recovery is the process of learning how to live with a chronic illness. Your loved one is learning.
You need to learn about stigma. Families are a main source of stigma for individuals struggling with addiction. Learn how you may inadvertently be stigmatizing your loved one and yourself. Families need to learn about stigma and then educate others. We need to change society’s views about addiction.
- Most people recover.
- Long term recovery takes time and often includes relapse.
- Relapse does not mean treatment has failed or your loved one has failed.
Never give up
- Underneath the addiction, your loved one is still in there.
- Recovery could be just around the corner.
- Even those who have struggled for decades can recover.
Join a family support group
In a recent survey 30% of Canadians said they were personally impacted by addiction. Even though addiction is so common, many people are reluctant to talk with others unless they are not going through the same thing. Fortunately, there are many support groups:
Our Family Support Group Meetings
FAR runs a Parent Peer Support group which provides a safe space where parents are able to discuss practical strategies, find support, and share resources and information.
The group meets the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, at Bellwood Health Services, 175 Brentcliffe Road, Toronto. Participation is free, no registration required. We look forward to seeing you there!