If you have struggled with alcohol or drugs, the hope is always that you can spare your children the same fate. Research has found, though, that there is a strong connection between DNA and the likelihood of developing an addiction. If you are an addict, your child is genetically predisposed to become one too, but a dance with drugs and alcohol is not inevitable.
Why Addiction Is More Likely Among Children of Addicts
DNA plays a major role in whether a child will develop an addiction. There isn’t anything you can do to change genetics. But you can influence the environment in which your child is raised and impact their future positively or negatively.
If you went through holistic rehab, particularly before your children were born or were very young, and you have remained sober, you can see your addiction for what it is and how your lifestyle and associations contribute to or prevent it from reoccurring. Because you are concerned about your children developing an addiction, you will be conscious of how you behave, what substances and people are permitted near them, and how to maintain a home that keeps them safe and healthy.
If you continue to struggle with sobriety, the way you live may not be conducive to a substance-free life for your child. Children in a non-sober space learn to accept drugs or alcohol – and the accompanying behaviors – as the norm. You may not have the capacity to provide them with healthy meals regularly, which can impact development, their own cravings, and how they respond to stress. Lasting stress caused by family challenges due to addiction make a child significantly more likely to experience depression or anxiety. And someone with mental health challenges is more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.
What You Can Do to Prevent Passing Down Addiction
Parents can take steps to prevent addiction from passing down to the next generation, but it takes a conscious effort, self-control, and a willingness to take care of yourself too.
- Get sober: If you are not sober, get sober. Go to rehab. Let your child see that you are making every effort to become the best version of yourself without alcohol or drugs.
- Model good habits: Routine is the sober adult’s salvation. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy meals, exercise, go to meetings, adopt a hobby. Prioritize your health and wellness – and do the same for your children so their needs can be met and they can see and understand the importance of loving yourself and taking good care of yourself. They are always watching you, in good times and in bad.
- Ban substances: Even if other people in your household are sober and have never been addicts, make sure that your house is a drug-free and alcohol-free zone. This is a basic rule of sobriety – removing and minimizing temptations. Don’t give your child easy access to substances or allow them to see anyone abusing them.
- Cherry-pick your friends: There are some people in your life who are good for you, and there are some who will threaten the foundation of your sobriety. Spend time with the people who support your new lifestyle and do all they can to help you maintain sobriety. Let your children see that you have friends who care about you and do not enable you to do the things that took you down a rabbit hole.
- Establish rules: Maybe you didn’t have rules as you were growing up, or you shunned them, and as a result you found your way to drugs and alcohol. Permissiveness may make you the cool parent, but it does your child no favors. Implement curfews, rules about using the car and phones, who your child hangs out with, where they hang out, and what kind of behavior will get them punished.
- Discuss addiction: If you are an addict, then it’s likely not a secret in your household. Even as a recovering addict, the illness is still there, and it should be discussed, especially with your kids. If you want to save the next generation from the same difficulties you endured, be honest about how your addiction began, what they need to know to keep themselves from becoming addicts, and how you can work together to keep them drug- and alcohol-free.
Learn about holistic rehab for yourself or your child, and get the recovery support you need from our therapeutic team at Beachside Rehab. Contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770 to discuss your individual needs.