If your parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is no doubt that it has affected your life greatly. You have felt the shame of having your parent show up to school functions high, or neglecting your childhood needs, leaving you to take care of yourself and possibly other siblings. As an adult, chances are good your parent comes to you for help with money, food or shelter.
Now is the time for you to heal from this pain. To start with, if your parent is still addicted, remember – it was ultimately your parent’s choice to depend so heavily on this chemical. You cannot force your parent to stop the destructive behavior, or to go to rehab or Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous. Your parent alone has to decide to take those steps. It is not your job or responsibility to sober your parent up, although if he or she chooses to do so, supporting that choice is a very wise thing to do!
While your parent has the right to stay an addict, you have rights as well. You have the right to put distance between your parent and yourself if you are unable to tolerate the addiction or if he or she is dangerous or abusive. You also have the right (and obligation!) to protect your children from your parent. You have every right to set and enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your children. You are not obligated to enable this dysfunctional behavior by giving your parent money for drugs or alcohol. If your parent truly is in need, it is much wiser to pay a bill yourself or to give him or her the item itself, not cash that could be spent on the next high.
A good move for you could be start attending Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meetings. These meetings are for the family members of addicts – to help them rebuild their lives, to cope, and hopefully to learn solutions from others in similar situations. Never neglect to care for yourself – you need to be cared for just as much, if not more, than your parent.
On the road to healing, I personally found my relationship with God to be my greatest help. He helped me more than I can say. Prayer and meditating on His word, the Bible, helped so much. Learning who the Bible says I am as a child of God is not only inspiring and comforting, but helpful in the healing process. If you do not have a personal relationship with God, please read the page Salvation Through Jesus Christ for more information.