Healing the Rift with your Parents

If you have suffered with addiction, the odds are that your relationships have also suffered. Addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, or anything else can really do a number on any type of relationship. It often leads to divorce in marriages and estrangements within other relationships. One that is most often impacted by addiction is the relationship between a child and parents. As your parents, they care for you, love you unconditionally, and want the best for you. However, after being hurt by you and your addiction time and time again, a rift in your relationship is inevitable.

Addiction and its Consequences

It is extremely likely that as an addict you are either in the process of or have already disrupted, harmed, or even destroyed relationships with others. Probably your non-using friends were the first to go. They had the least invested. Next, maybe your more distant relatives and then your siblings decided they had had enough. Often, parents are the last ones to hold on to the hope that you will recover and the last ones to stick around after you have done your best to disintegrate the relationship.

Addiction has many consequences. One of the most painful for those who love you is the deterioration of your relationship with them. When you are addicted, you live for one thing only. You wake up thinking about it, go to sleep thinking about it, and think of little else throughout the day. Everything else takes a back seat to your obsession. Because you want more of it, you may end up lying to and stealing from others. Your parents are probably going to be on the receiving end of this type of behavior and they will probably put up with it for longer than anyone else would. If you have other responsibilities in your life that fall by the wayside, your parents are likely to be the ones picking up your slack.

Over time, even your parents will reach a point at which they can no longer deal with your addiction. Distrust, anger, resentment, disappointment, and guilt will begin to erode and split cracks in your relationship with them. Depending on how long you spiral downwards before deciding to get help, your connection with your parents could be slightly broken, completely ruined, or anywhere in between.

Repairing the Damage

Getting back in your parents’ good books will not be easy, but it is possible. And, it is a necessary step towards recovery. Your parents are some of the most important people in your life and having them back in it fully and with a healed relationship will go a long way to helping you on your path to recovery. It is important for both you and your parents to understand that this repair will take time, though. Mending relationships that came apart over addiction is a process that requires patience, effort, and time.

Encourage your parents to do some work on their own before you attempt to heal the rift. They need to take the time to think about forgiveness and how they expect to trust you again. Let them know that you have been working hard on your end to get clean and to make amends. Consider asking them to join a support group for loved ones of addicts, such as Al-Anon. Learning from others and sharing with those who understand their situation can really make a difference. Your parents will not simply be able to forgive and trust you automatically. They will need time and reflection to get to that point. Be patient with them as they were with you at one time.

As your parents work towards forgiveness and you work on recovery, you should also be working up to making amends. Doing so is a crucial part of any 12-step recovery program because it allows people to come back into your life and it helps you to understand the damage that your addiction has caused. Make amends with everyone you have hurt, including your parents, so that they can see how serious you are about repairing relationships.

If your situation with your parents is extreme, that is, the rift is as wide as the Grand Canyon, you might want to look into getting therapy together. A professional can be an immense help when the relationship is so damaged that neither of you can imagine where to begin. Whichever way you choose to begin the healing, you will never regret at least trying to get your parents back into your life.