Blended Families & Addiction

by: Donna M.

Stepparents, partners and other family members, may not want your teen or adult child who has a substance use disorder around them. Stepparents and partners may not want your child in the home that you share together especially when your child is in active addiction or even early recovery.

When your children are in active addiction they wronged many people and those people often won't be as forgiving as the maternal parent or the chief enabler. It may feel wrong to you when people close to you don't have empathy and compassion for your child; however, it is not wrong for them to feel the feelings that they have. Often Stepparents, partners and siblings try to protect the codependent parent, they are often full of resentment and anger. Some blended families in this situation have great support and will stick by the maternal parents side through thick and thin, while others can't take the chaos and drama and decide that they can’t handle the trouble the person struggling brings into their life and home so they remove themselves emotionally and sometimes physically, leaving the maternal parent feeling more alone and hurt.

While your natural instincts as a parent are to protect and defend your own adult children when situations become difficult, the counter-intuitive more positive approach is to protect each other as parents/partners instead. It is imperative that you and your partner are on the same page because when you are on the same page, you are able to discuss and decide clear boundaries, you will be able to see yourselves as a team first, and advocates for your children second. When you have a positive plan in place that you both agree on you have a much better chance to avoid the divisions that can develop in blended families.

In order to detach with love, the two of you will need to sit down and create a living agreement that sets healthy boundaries and consequences. Creating a clear plan with each other allows you to back each other up, especially when one of you is feeling anxious and stressed. Creating an agreement will provide you with the balance and accountability that can prevent the stepparent from over-reacting and the maternal parent from giving in to the adult child.

Donna MarstonComment
Enhance Your Support System During The Holiday Season


By: Donna M.

Holidays are a good time to reach out more frequently to your therapist, sponsor, spiritual advisor or support group and to spend time with fellow parents who are also learning how to navigate through their teen or adult child's substance use disorder and mental health just like you are.

Enhancing your support system during the holidays allows you to acknowledge your personal limits and learn how to accept support.

Research has shown that there are tremendous benefits in having a network of supportive relationships: Members of Parents Sharing Without Shame, positive and compassionate friends and loved ones can help you be more resilient in stressful times. Being an active participant in Parents Sharing Without Shame can even help you identify toxic behavior, when you are stressed and full of anxiety and sometimes your peers will notice it before you do.

There are many practical benefits to having supportive relationships. Peer support can and will provide you with information, advice, guidance, and also tangible support. 
Peer support can be comforting and enhance your feelings of security.

Peer support can also guide you emotionally when you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, because your peers will listen empathically to your fears, tears and fears. Peer support will make you feel seen and understood. Peer support can help you think through alternatives and solve problems, and we can distract you from your worries while providing you with better coping skills.

Peer Support throws out a life preserver to you in difficult times and will provide encouragement and hope to help to you 24/7.

Donna MarstonComment
Stop the Insanity and Reclaim Your Life!

Between your child's active addiction, holding your breath when they are in early recovery, work and life we sometimes feel like we can never get a break.

We would love to unplug from the situations that we are dealing with which tethers us to endless obligations, but we feel that if we do, somehow our child won't make it, that our child/children won’t be able to go on without having instant and constant access to us at all times.

When you stop the insanity and allow yourself to think with a clear mind, you will realize that those thoughts are nonsense and remind yourself that your children are very resourceful when they want what they want, truth be told, they can make do without you smothering them for a little bit each day and every day.

When you honor yourself and carve out time for you to unplug and disconnect from the noise in your head and connect to your inner world you will begin to restore your sanity.

The first thing you need to do is to get some “you-time.”
take a long bath with a good book, take a walk in the park, go away on a weekend retreat, try art journaling but most important, turn off all social media and your phone when you are taking care of yourself.

Donna MarstonComment
Stop Rationalizing and Negotiating Your Feelings

By:  Donna M.

As human beings we  rationalize our decisions on a daily basis, we rationalize to protect our egos and we rationalize in an attempt to explain or justify our behavior, our attitude our feelings or our child’s behavior, attitude, feelings with logical, plausible reasons.  Parents have a tendency to negotiate their wants and needs and are constantly trying to find a way over or through their child’s active addiction, alcoholism.

Parents of children with S.U.D. (substance use disorder) have a tendency to negotiate their feelings in exchange for their child seeking treatment.  Parent’s rationalize that their teen or adult child’s feelings are more important than there’s and they are very often willing to negotiate their feelings consciously or unconsciously for their child’s happiness.  As the saying goes “a parent is as happy as his/her happiest child”.

When your child is in active addiction or struggling with their recovery, stop putting yourself in your child’s destructive pathway and stop allowing your child to trample on your boundaries.  When you tell your child what your boundaries are and they continue to step all over them and are hurting you . . .  stop putting yourself in your son and or daughters pathway.

Stop trying to reason with your child when he or she is unreasonable especially when your son or daughter is high or drunk.  Parents try so hard to get along with their children and are often left feeling disheartened, sad, angry, or demeaned.   When your teen or adult child is provoking you into acting crazy, S.T.O.P. so that you can think, observe and plan how you will interact or react.

When your child is disrespectful to you, stop the conversation by simply stating: “OUCH! this conversation doesn’t feel good so I’m going to hang up/remove myself”.  When you take control of the conversation in a cool, calm tone, your child has nowhere to go with it.  When you shut down a hurtful, disrespectful conversation that isn’t helping anyone in a loving, kind way, you are taking back your power.  You have the right to say what doesn’t feel good to you and you have the right to say when you have had enough.

Donna MarstonComment