Having the drinking and drug talk with your children can be hard enough without other complexities interfering. For starters, kids and especially teenagers, already think they know everything. Sometimes, just getting them to listen to reason can be like talking to a brick wall. If you, or your spouse are battling addiction yourself, then having this conversation can become even more difficult.
As an addict in recovery, it can feel hard at times to tell others to stay away from drugs and alcohol. This can be even harder when it's your kids you're talking to. You want to protect them, and give them guidance, but also not come off like a hypocrite either. It can be a tough situation but there are a few things that you can do to make having the talk a little easier. We're going to share some tips that you can use so that everyone feels more comfortable when the time comes.
For starters, know that everyone that has been through this before has handled this situation differently. Your needs, and your family's needs, should really dictate how you go about having the talk and sharing your experience. For instance, if your substance abuse ended before your children were old enough to remember it, you have different options than someone who's addiction affected their children directly.
If your kids are too young to remember, then you do not have to go into a whole lot of detail about your experiences with drug abuse. You can point out some of the problems that it did cause you. You should use examples of how your past substance abuse made you fight with your family and friends, and how the addiction kept you from saving money, or getting better grades, or being healthier. Explain to them how you lost out on different opportunities where you could have been more successful.
Next, tell them why you stopped and explain in great detail why you would not abuse a substance now. Your goal should be to show your kids that you are honest about your mistakes, have been responsible for your actions, and have made the right decisions to get help and to better yourself. Tell your kids that you want them to avoid the same mistakes you've made in the past.
When you're done talking, be ready for a few questions. Your children are going to have a plenty of them. Be open to their questions and answer as honestly as you can.
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