Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

Growing Up with Substance Abusive Parents

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Growing up with a parent who has a substance abuse problem can introduce a chaotic environment to a child. I grew up with a dad who was addicted to alcohol and drugs. Luckily, I was only exposed to this environment for the first three years of my life, but the things I experienced from the onset of substance abuse were life-changing. According to the book “How to Rise Above Abuse,” Hunt discusses the effects that abuse has on young children as one becomes an adult such as issues with relationships, employment, and major decision making.

Know that these experiences do not define you as a person, only you have the power to define yourself, but you may be faced with side effects of this unruly upbringing.


You may become more sensitive to having anxiety as a result of having a substance abusive parent. You may worry excessively about the future of test results, jobs, relationships, or anything that can cause change. Living with a substance abuser can cause mood swings and unpredictable behavior such as anger outbursts, emotional and/or physical violence. Therefore, you were always anticipating the next outrage from your parent and can keep one on edge. Finding ways to release anxiety helps such as exercising and meditation.


Growing up with abusive parents can cause one to experience bouts of depression. When anxiety reaches great heights, the down from that can be times of severe exhaustion, sleeping over usual time frames, differences in weight, and possible isolation. Being in tune with your body can help you identify when these bouts of depression occur and you can make the necessary changes to prevent it. Ways to prevent depression are to get adequate sleep, monitor diet, and exercise regularly.


For my situation, my father was an addict and my mother was codependent; therefore, I inherited codependency traits. Feeling like another person defines you and that you have no value or worth without that person are all signs of codependency. Overcoming codependency is not an easy journey. I have personally had to unlearn unhealthy behaviors and rebuild new healthy behaviors. The hardest hurdles can be setting boundaries and sticking to them.


The drama that ensues from an addicting environment can be very sporadic. You may feel like your life is boring if there is nothing going on. Therefore, some people create drama to keep up with the cycle of uproar. If you find yourself addicted to watching melodramas on television and your friends amuse you on their recent relationship debacles, then take a step back and lessen your time with these forms of entertainment. Find other ways to spend your time such as reading or painting.


There will always be hope inside of you for a brighter day. Hold onto it. It is your stronghold and will get you out of your cycle and situation. When you educate yourself on the matter of substance abuse, learn the cycle, learn how you contribute to the situation, then you can become a better you.

“Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy.” – Jefferson Bethke