A recent Road to Freedom blog post covered some topics related to addiction’s impact on family and family relationships. Addiction, like any other chronic condition, has a lifetime affect on families, including your spouse, your parents or siblings and even less immediate relatives. Drug or alcohol use and all the behaviors and pitfalls associated with that can also have a powerful, negative impact on the lives of your children — now and in the future.
Drugs and alcohol can leave children without parents
The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System notes that more than 85,000 minors ended up in foster care in 2015 related to one or both parents using drugs. In fact, addiction to drugs is the second leading factor in the removal of children from homes; the leading factor is child neglect, which can sometimes be associated with drug or alcohol abuse.
In some cases, parents are able to reunite with their children following recovery, but the temporary loss can be devastating to children. Even more frightening is that continued drug or alcohol use could lead to a permanent loss, either because children are removed from the home permanently or because their parent dies because of a drug or alcohol overdose or risky actions related to use.
Addiction creates a chasm in relationship
Addiction can create a gap in your relationship with your children. As a parent, if you are struggling with drug or alcohol use, then you are probably not fully present in your child’s life. You could be missing important events, forgetting about things they told you or generally ignoring them because you are struggling so much with your own issues. It’s even possible that you are neglecting them — even if you are still able to provide food, clothing and shelter, if you’re constantly thinking about drugs or alcohol or coming home drunk or high, it’s a good chance you aren’t attending to the mental, spiritual and emotional needs of children.
Continued drug abuse puts your child’s future and faith at risk
Not only does drug abuse put your children’s earthly future at risk, but it could also put their faith in danger — a grave concern for Christian parents.
When parents abuse drugs or alcohol, studies have shown that children are more likely to engage in similar behavior as teens or adults. Letting addiction get to a point that children are completely aware of it can send mixed messages, and kids who don’t know any other way of living might not even realize the dangers of drugs and alcohol until it’s too late.
Addiction can also put children’s futures at risk in financial and other ways. Parents who are struggling with addiction can be pushed by withdrawals and other factors into make decisions they would never make otherwise, such as selling family heirlooms or necessary items to pay for drugs or dipping into children’s or college savings accounts for the same purpose.
However addiction is impacting your family — and if you are dealing with chemical dependency, it’s certain that your family is suffering too — your children’s faith might be at risk. Parents who are struggling with addiction might be less likely to get involved with church or attend on a regular basis, which means children don’t either. Your actions can also cause discouragement, resentment and anger in children, all of which can lead to spiritual problems down the road.
Paul talks about the importance of setting good examples and not provoking children in several of his epistles. In Colossians 3:21, he writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, less they become discouraged.” He repeats this message in Ephesians 6:4, saying “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The message isn’t just about drug use, but it does apply: parents should avoid engaging in action that could set their children on the wrong path. If you’re already caught in the cycle of such action, seek help and look for assistance in ensuring your children also get help.
Recovery for the entire family
The Road to Freedom isn’t just for you — it can be for your entire family. The Psalmist said, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb.” God has provided people for us to love and cherish, just has he loves and cherishes us.
For someone caught in addiction, one of the best ways to love and cherish your family is to seek help. Often, children want nothing more than having mom or dad healthy and whole again, and letting them see you taking those steps can be a big move in the direction of reconciliation and recovery for everyone. For more information about how you can seek recovery through rehab and involve your children and family in the process, call us today. (844)402-3605.