How To Navigate School When Your Parent Is an Addict

Maintaining focus and concentrating on your own goals can be difficult when you’re worried about an addicted parent. Sadly, too many students know the challenging struggle that comes with being the offspring of someone who suffers from substance use disorder. If you have a parent or parents who are actively using or struggling with addiction, here are a few things you can do to navigate your way through school in spite of this difficult circumstance.

Trusting the Professionals

As the child of an addict, you likely already know that one person cannot save the world. While you’ve probably done what you could to help your parent, there comes a time when you should leave the work of helping someone with a substance use disorder to the professionals. As you make plans for your future, one way to move forward and give your parent a better chance of recovery is to help them find a rehabilitation center or treatment clinic with licensed professionals and tools proven to be helpful.

Maybe you live in Arizona and are hoping to attend Arizona State University in the fall but aren’t sure you can leave your parent behind so you can concentrate on your studies. By helping them find a spot at a luxury rehab center in Phoenix like The Hope House before you go, you’ll have peace of mind in that first semester. Not only will your parent be in the capable hands of licensed professionals and a treatment team, but they’ll also develop peer supports through group therapy.

Seeking Help for Yourself

While it’s fantastic to do what you can to help a parent before you go, it’s also a good idea to make yourself a priority. If you hope to meet certain career and academic goals, for example, it’s a good idea to have a great role model or advocate who can help you through the admissions process and guide you through financial aid applications. Consider reaching out to the best college counselors through Empowerly who can help you with everything from writing admissions essays to preparing for college interviews.

As you get help with applying for school, don’t forget to get any mental health help you may need. The truth is that being the child of an addict can mean trauma in your background. Having someone you trust to discuss your feelings with safely can be a good way to prepare yourself mentally for that first semester. Contact a licensed therapist before starting school so you have someone to lean on when things get difficult.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Healthy boundaries and relationships are key to self-care and better mental health. While you likely love your parent, putting yourself first may mean cutting off toxic relationships or making firm rules around contact. Consider working with your therapist or a mentor to decide what boundaries will be best for you and learn how to hold them. As you move forward and work hard to be your best self, it’s a good idea to remember that you are not your parent. You have a right to your own dreams and goals and are not responsible for saving them.

At the end of the day, you’re far from alone. You’re also not responsible for your parent’s mental and physical wellness. In surrounding yourself with people who understand what you’re going through, making the most of professional mentors and college consultants, and forming healthy boundaries, you’ll increase the odds of making it through school while breaking unhealthy family cycles. Best of luck to you as you navigate school under difficult circumstances. When you reach graduation day, you’ll be glad you put in the extra work to make it happen!