Explaining Addiction To My Children
Blog post by: Alumni Relations Specialist
When I got sober, my children ranged in age from seven to 25. My disease affected each one differently and so their understanding was individual. My oldest son didn’t understand why I would need rehab since he drank like I did, my youngest thought I was staying at a hotel and my middle child who was 13, hated my guts and screamed, with tears streaming down her face, for me to stop.
How this disease affects your children depends on a lot of things. The only way I know how to address it is to explain it to them according to what they need to know so that they can be supportive of the decision to stop and get help. One thing I learned was that it didn’t matter who understood my disease, as long as I understood, and I went to great lengths to stay sober one day at a time. At one point my kids complained when I was going to another meeting, and when they asked how long I would have to attend, my answer was, “..apparently for the rest of my life.” They didn’t care for my answer until I offered to stay home, just let me run to the liquor store first. This put it into perspective for them. It’s either meetings or drinking.
Now that I am staying sober, not just for them, but for myself. I don’t use that reasoning, but it got the point across. I no longer have to explain myself to anybody because I’ve learned that my sobriety is important to me and I do whatever it takes to put that first, to put myself first, so that I can be here for them.