How Addiction Affects Parents
When a son or daughter struggles with addiction, parents become secondary victims of the unprecedented opioid epidemic that kills 90 Americans each day. The experience of parenting through addiction can be devastating to the powerless parent, to a marriage, to the family as a whole. The downloadable resource guide “Waiting Between: When a Son or Daughter Struggles with Addiction” is an attempt to give the experience a name. The booklet also hopes to encourage parents that they are not alone or crazy or ineffective.
A Particular Type of Grief
Parents of adult children struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol share in a universal state of suspended grief. Hope can become the enemy. Defeat can feel like a parental betrayal. The booklet explores the theory of ambiguous loss, developed by Dr. Pauline Boss at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Boss’ work has been applied to families coping with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or to families with MIA service members, or to families with a member who is missing under explainable circumstances. But it is a perfect fit explanation for the experience of parenting a son or daughter who struggles with addiction. And as parents, we could use all the explanation we can grab to sustain us through the emotional marathon of a child’s drug or alcohol use disorder.