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Peer Q&A

If you have a question regarding a recommendation for where to find a certain resource or support in your city, click, “ask a question” below and we will put it out into our community of peers to answer. Please allow 2-3 weeks to show up on our q and a page. Note: this is not for medical or crisis response/ advice.  

How can I talk to my parent about how their substance use is affecting me without it turning into an argument?

Talking to a parent about how their substance use is affecting you without triggering an argument can be challenging. We all have different experiences, are at different places on our healing journey, and carry different traumas and triggers, so what works for us might not work for you. But here is what has helped us: 1. It's important to choose a calm moment when you and your parent are not stressed and not under the influence of drugs. 2. Know your triggers and boundaries: Be mindful that a parent with substance use challenges may feel shame, inadequacy, and guilt, which can make it difficult to discuss with them, and you may be carrying a lifetime of trauma that can make it difficult to stay calm 3. Begin the conversation with "I" statements to express your feelings without sounding accusatory, such as "I feel worried about you" instead of "You need to stop”, and “I felt hurt when you missed my birthday and were drinking”, instead of “you always ruin my birthday”. 4. Try to bring up one issue from the present, versus past issues all at once to avoid you and your parent going into a shame cycle or fight, flight, freeze, fawn. 5. Listen actively to their responses, showing understanding and avoiding judgment. 6. Setting boundaries and seeking support from a therapist or support group can also provide guidance and reinforce the importance of the conversation for both individuals. 7. If you or your parent get triggered, let them know this conversation is important to you and ask if you can talk again at later time

I am moving out of home, which should be exciting, but I am nervous to leave my parents. How do you manage the stress of moving out of home?

Moving out can be a super stressful time, even if you are the one choosing to move out. Some advice: Grieve: Prepare yourself for grief: grief of not having the parent you want to visit and care for you and celebrate your home. Boundaries: they may miss you and grieve you moving out, especially if you were the main caregiver. This can make boundaries hard but are super important to maintain your mental health. Some boundaries that helped us: Turn off our phone at night; pick one day a week that you come to visit and stick to that day; Find respite: if you are a caregiver find support in organizations, family, neighbours or friends to help for you to avoid burnout. Remind yourself you will be ok, that it is not selfish to move out and take care of your mental health, and that there are others who understand and have been there, too (and we are doing ok:)

I am pregnant with my first and excited, and also hopeful that it will get my parents to stop using drugs. What is some advice to prepare me?

Being pregnant is super exciting but can also be emotional, especially if you're worried about a parent's mental health or substance use issues. It's important to focus on your well-being because that's the best way to support your baby. Here are some tips from others who've been there: Reduce Stress: Stress can be common for all sorts of reasons, and our stress can stress out our baby, even while in our belly! Finding ways to lower your stress is important. Control What You Can: Focus on things you can control, like your boundaries, and not on things you can't, like we can't control a parent's substance use or their capacity to be a present grandparent or parent while navigating their mental health and substance use challenges when baby comes-this can bring up a lot of emotions and memories in us, which brings us to our last piece of information: Love Your Inner Child: Having a baby can bring up old feelings, so show your inner child love the love and compassion you wish you had, without expecting it from a parent. Talk to your safe people and find comforting places to feel all the emotions in healthy ways. Take care of yourself—it's the best way to take care of your baby.

More Q&A coming soon

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