Tag Archives: families

Recovery Support for the Parents of Addicts

recoveryWhen we talk about addiction recovery, we speak on what it takes for people living with a substance use disorder to change their life for the better. Everyday people turn to addiction treatment programs and/or 12-Step recovery meetings to learn how to live life clean and sober. It is often said that the easiest part of recovery is putting down mind altering substances, the hard part is not picking them up again. This is a fact that can be clearly supported by the rate of relapse in early recovery. That aside, if newcomers are willing to take certain steps and follow the guidance of those who have managed to maintain long term continuous sobriety, recovery is possible.

Recovering alcoholics and addicts rely on one another to stay the course, without one’s peers life can quickly fall apart. The same can be said for the families of people living with addiction. Addiction affects entire families, watching a loved one slowly self-destruct takes its toll on others. Mothers and fathers find themselves brought to the brink of despair, a byproduct of the realization that their children’s addiction is out of their control. There is a reason why many primary care addiction treatment facilities have family programs. Families often lack the tools to cope with their loved one’s addiction, they often do not understand how this could happen and why there are changes they need to make in their own lives.

Families often struggle to find people they can talk to about their son or daughter’s addiction, especially since there is still a lot of stigma surrounding the disease. Many people continue to view addiction as a moral failing or that somehow addiction is the result of bad parenting. The aforementioned idea, could not be further from the truth as is evident by the millions of Americans abusing prescription opioids and heroin, or the 70 plus overdose deaths every day. The opioid epidemic has brought addiction out into the light; more and more people are accepting that addiction is a mental illness that is out of the control of both the addict and their loved ones.

There are a number of outlets that parents can turn to for support. Just as those in recovery lean on each other, parents can find support from other parents who are facing the same reality, i.e., Al-Anon. And now, even if you live in rural America, where prescription opioids and heroin have taken thousands of sons and daughters, you can find support – all one needs is an internet connection. In fact, thousands of mothers of opioid addicts connect with each other online, The Wall Street Journal reports. Online support groups have become beacons of hope across the country, ranging from as small as five individuals to tens of thousands. The Addict’s Mom (TAM), a place to “share without shame,” has more than 70,000 members on Facebook.

For probably 10 years I had no one to talk to about it. I had my head down like a guilty parent,” says Margaret Worthen, a member of a small support group called Soul Sisters, “All the sudden I had other women, other good moms all going through the same thing.”

Here at PACE Recovery Center our treatment team, many of whom are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, takes an active role in working with our clients and their families to define their goals and move towards these goals.

Low-Level Drug Offenders Deported


In the past several years the President, as well as a number of government officials, have highlighted the need for the end of harsh punishments with regard to low-level drug offenders. Unfortunately, both illegal and legal immigrants do not seem to be covered under that umbrella. A new report has found that around 260,000 non-citizens convicted of drug offenses have been deported from the U.S., The Guardian reports. As many as 34,000 of these deportation cases were due to charges for marijuana possession.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, A Price Too High: US Families Torn Apart by Deportations for Low Level Offenses, found that between 2007-2012 over a quarter million people were deported regardless of the nature of their crimes, their length of time in the U.S., or family ties to this country. Those deported included both undocumented residents as well as permanent residents holding green cards, according to the article.

Last November, President Barack Obama made a promise that deportation would only be reserved for the most serious criminals. However, the HRW report indicates the exact opposite of such a promise.

“Felons not families; criminals not children; gang members [and not] a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids,” said Obama.

Lawful permanent residents who are charged with simple possession are able to file for a cancellation of deportation, according to the report. While they may be able to win their case, deportation lawyers point out that such cases can take several months to years. In the interim, most people facing these charges are placed in mandatory detention while proceedings are pending.

If deported from the United States for a drug crime, many lose their right to ever return to the country. Such acts, for crimes as benign as simple possession, only serve to tear families apart. Crimes associated with drug possession, and perhaps ultimately with addiction, affect not only the individual, but also the entire family. Addiction is a family disease.

You can view the full HRW report, here.

Contact Us