Teens in Early Sobriety

Teens in early sobriety and to go about supporting them in a healthy way. What is the best way to support your teen in early sobriety? It is important to allow your adult son or daughter to have the space needed early in recover yet to explore the tools and coping skills they have learned early in recovery. All to often, parents have been in such fear of their child relapsing, that they find themselves smothering the early addict by attempting to micromanage their recovery. This is where we find the helicopter parenting taking place.

They do this in various ways, (questioning their every move, doubting that they are following their recovery program, attending support meetings, etc).

For example, I know of some parents that I counsel that have actually driven by AA or NA meeting locations to make sure they are attending. Even going so far as demanding to speak to their sponsors or calling their therapist for updates behind their backs.

Support For Teens In Early Sobriety - How to Do This?

Although its understandable that you are fearful, enabling your teen is highly toxic. It makes the early addict resentful and can even backfire and force the addict in early recovery to feel defeated and want to give up. You will know early on enough if your child is following their program of recovery.

  • They will start to become more invested in taking care of themselves
  • You teen will want to open up on their own and communicate more with the family
  • They will take on more responsibility for their actions and start to become excited at the possibilities that life presents now that they are on the right track.

Yes statistics sadly show that many relapse in their first year, but they must learn to want recovery for themselves. No one will get sober if they are not self motivated.

Remember that it is their responsibility to ” work their program of recovery, while the parents work their own. Substance abuse therapy is not just for the addict but for the entire family to learn how to best support the newly recovering addict and yourself.

Codependency and Enabling
Support For Teens in Early Sobriety

Codependency starts occurring when another family member or spouse is controlled by the addict’s behavior. Codependency forms when the loved one of the addict believe that by showing love, and ongoing approval are necessary. It’s necessary in order to take care of the addict. This allow the addict to run the show and creates manipulation and a way to “get what the addict wants” . The excessive care giving of the codependent fosters more and more dependency on the part of the addict.

Enabling behavior starts to occur when the loved one of the addict, most often the codependent, assist, helps and encourages the addict to continue the use of drugs. This can be done directly or indirectly. An example of this behavior would be a parent or spouse hiding and keeping secret the addict’s disease. They align with the addict to support lying for them and covering up their tracks. They may go so far as to give the addict money to buy drugs. This is not uncommon.

How Can Counseling Help Teens in Early Sobriety?

  • Helping understand from the viewpoint of the teen what they are experiencing.
  • By teaching all members how to effectively communicate in a way that is helpful and not harmful.
  • By seeking marriage counseling, individual therapy and family counseling you will understand the important and vital role you play in your teens recovery.
  • Find local support groups. Parents can seek support from other parents and families dealing with similar issues such as Alanon.