How Did We Raise an Addict?
No set of parents wants to believe they are responsible for their child becoming an addict. When a family finds out one of their children is addicted, many questions come to mind:
“Where did we go wrong?”
“Is this our fault?”
“What could we have done differently?”
Asking all these questions is something many parents have to confront in this situation. The fact of the matter is no family is solely responsible for creating an addict. Most parents do their best when raising their children. They teach them ethics, morals, the difference from right and wrong, and give their children everything they need and maybe some things they just want. It’s easy for parents to blame themselves when they find out their child is shooting heroin or smoking crack. That’s because it is easier for the family to blame themselves rather than to just put the responsibility back on the addict. Parents feel as though if they weren't causative about preventing it, they must have had a hand in creating it.
Although becoming addicted is not a choice, deciding to pick up drugs or alcohol in the first place is a choice. But why does anyone make that choice to begin with? Why does a person decide to get high that first time, especially knowing the possible consequences? Most people try drugs or alcohol for the first time out of curiosity. They want to know what all their friends are talking about…they hear it makes you feel so good, they just have to try it. Or maybe it’s pressure from the group of friends they’re part of. Either way, they get high or drunk that first time and realize whatever substance they just took handles some of life’s problems for them, so they keep using it, over and over again, until they become so mentally and physically addicted they can’t stop on their own. See, not everyone becomes an addict. There are people who can go out on the weekend, do a bunch of cocaine, and on Sunday night, they’re in bed getting ready for work the next day. They don’t get high until the next time they go out and party or just put it down altogether, never to use again. Those who become addicts find that drugs and alcohol solve such a severe problem for them; one they can’t deal with without drugs. So, did the parents cause this?
The answer is NO, the parents didn’t cause this. Addicts will come up with all types of excuses for why they tried drugs and became addicts. Those excuses usually put the responsibility on someone or something else, other than themselves. It’s easy for them to blame their families for their problems. They’re the closest people to them and have had more interaction with them than anyone else, so why not blame mom and dad? Whether they blame dad for disciplining them when they were younger or blame mom because she was late picking them up from soccer practice a few times, the reality of the situation is that mom and dad didn’t stick a needle in their arm or a straw in their nose. On the contrary, they only wanted the opposite for their children. Mom and dad didn’t cause this…their child decided to do this, on their own accord, knowing what the devastating consequences could be.
It’s a completely normal reaction for parents to take the responsibility for their child becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. They go through all the times in their child’s life when they could have done something different, said something different, or reacted in a different way…that maybe those are the reasons why their son or daughter is now all strung out on their couch, having lost another job, another relationship, and can’t pay their bills. What all parents need to realize is it’s not their fault. While their child didn’t choose to become an addict, ruin their lives, and destroy their family, they did initially choose to get high or drunk. The responsibility for an addiction should be placed directly on the addict themselves. No one made them do what they did. They are responsible for their own condition in life and they should get help at an addiction treatment center that puts the responsibility back on them for what happened and further puts responsibility on them to sort everything out and handle their situation. If the addict becomes responsible for their own condition and stops blaming mom and dad, a disease, or life in general, then they can finally be put in a position where they can “grab the bull by the horns” and kick their drug use once and for all.