Why Addicted Parents Should Consider Couples Alcohol and Drug Rehab

Parents often say, “I’ll do anything for my kids”. And in the news, you time and again see instances from around the world, of parents who go so far as to throw themselves in harm’s way to protect their children. 

But what if both parents are suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol?

Are they really able to be there for their children, to keep them safe, nurture them, and show them unconditional love? The answer is NO. No matter their best intentions, addiction strips away the ability to reason, commit, and follow through. Unless the parents both receive treatment, such as going to couples rehab and committing to sobriety, they will cause damage to the lives and the future for their children.

How are children affected by addicted parents?

The home life for families with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs is one of instability and even chaos. Addicted parents often experience extreme mood swings, putting children on alert, never sure how their mom and/or dad will be acting or reacting each day. Homes ruled by addiction also lack consistency with rules, expectations, and discipline. If the parents are “checked out”, or just not around because they are in the midst of their substance abuse, the children learn that Mom and Dad are not dependable, and the constant uncertainty leads to feelings of insecurity.

Children take on adult responsibilities:

Because the caretaker role may be missing in homes with addicted parents, children often pick up the slack by assuming responsibilities around the house. They realize that they need to be self-reliant, or act as guardian to other siblings. They may have to prepare their own meals, take care of getting themselves to school, and clean up the house. The only structure they do have is what they create for themselves. 

The emotional impact can be immensely damaging:

While parents are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are unable to monitor the well-being of their children. They have limited control of their own emotions, and can lash out at their kids or even blame them for their abuse. Unfortunately, children too often accept this blame, thinking that “if only” they helped more, behaved better, got better grades, etc., then Mom and Dad wouldn’t feel the need to drink or take drugs. They seek approval, and are regularly let down.  Children can feel shame, knowing that their family situation is not normal, and may try to hide their reality from the outside world. This, in turn, leads to feelings of isolation.  If the parents can find their way to couples rehab and learn new ways to cope with addiction, they can stop the constant turmoil in the family, provide stability, and avoid the damaging emotional effects of substance abuse on their children.

What are the current and future risks for those children in an addicted household?

Because of the constant uncertainty and volatility in their lives, children of addicts frequently suffer from feelings of rejection, and as they grow up, are more likely to experience a myriad of troublesome or serious issues:
•    Anxiety
•    Depression – difficulty having fun
•    Difficulty with emotional relationships
•    Inability to recognize and feel genuine love
•    Fear and mistrust of authority figures
•    Chronic lying
•    Critical lack of self-esteem
•    Lower scores in school from lack of support
•    Higher chance for physical and health problems stemming from neglect
•    Higher potential for becoming victims of verbal and physical abuse
•    Much higher risk for alcoholism or drug abuse themselves

What can be done to help?

There are groups established to aid children of substance abusers; however, someone else usually has to recognize that the child needs help first. Or, the children have to be old enough to know how to find and trusting enough to ask for help from another reliable source, such as a relative, teacher, counselor, or neighbor. 

But ultimately, what will benefit the children the most is if their parents seek help. Entering a rehab program for couples shows the children that their parents recognize the problem, are still committed to each other, to the family, and they want to create a healthy home life for them all.  If the parents can return home and support each other in recovery, this gives their children the understanding that they are valued, and even in times of great struggle, there are ways to overcome them, break the cycle of abuse, and move on.


If you and a loved one are searching for freedom from addiction or simply need guidance in discovering the benefits and importance of couples rehab and healthy living, now is the time to start your path towards healing at Moffitt Wellness Retreat. Our luxury couples rehab programs are focused on personalized and private treatments to ensure your long-term success.