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Shame in Secrets Courage in Telling the Truth

  • Asks ...

    I am uncomfortable with a certain aspect of drug rehab addiction treatment, namely the family therapy part. I am scheduled to check in to a rehab next week. I have a problem with vicodin and I think it’s time that I take some steps to stop using. I cannot do this on my own, I have tried. My daughter is 12. She does not know that I have an addiction to pills and I do not really want her to know that her mother is a drug addict. The rehab people have told me that family therapy is an important part of the healing process and there is a family weekend where everybody is supposed to come and participate in different activities. I do not want this. I think she is too young to be involved in something like this. Is there really any benefit in having a child get involved in all of this? I can just imagine her in some sort of therapy group with a bunch of heroin and meth junkies and me. How is she supposed to respect me as a mother after something like that?

  • Lita Perna Says ...
    Lita Perna

    Where does your daughter think you’ll be when you are in rehab?

    I admire you for wanting to protect your daughter. I also understand your concerns about her losing respect for you.

    What would you feel if I told you that she already knows more than you think? There’s a good chance she’s been protecting you. That’s a heavy load for a 12 year old. How can you best help her if she’s been keeping her own sad and scared feelings inside? Could this be the perfect time and place for her to begin her own healing?

    Talk to the rehab people about your concerns. Ask them about the activities your daughter will participate in. Ask them how this can benefit your daughter?

    You’ve probably heard that addiction is a family disease. When there is addiction in a family, everyone is affected.

    It is important for your daughter to be able to acknowledge and talk about how your behavior has affected her.

    It will take courage for you to face this truth. It will take courage for you to hear what she has to say.

    Did you know that research has shown that children of addicted parents show more depression than children of non-addicted parents and are more likely to have anxiety disorders? It has also been shown that children of addicted parents have a higher risk for psychiatric and social problems and future maladjustment.

    As a parent, this can be one of the greatest opportunities to teach her valuable lessons that will last her a lifetime.

    You will teach her that when you have a problem that is bigger than you can handle, love yourself enough to ask for help. You will teach her to take care of herself, emotionally and physically. You will teach her that shame is in keeping secrets and that courage is in telling the truth.

    How could your daughter not respect a mother who had the courage to admit she had a problem and took steps to deal with it?  Why would she not respect you for your wanting to get well? How could she not respect a mother who values the truth?

    I’d be proud of a mother like that.


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