Help! My Adult Son (Daughter) is Addicted to Drugs!

Help! My Adult Son (or Daughter) is Addicted to Drugs!

As a parent whose adult son is addicted to drugs, chances are you’re feeling a lot of mixed emotions over the matter. Of course, you love your son and want the best for him, but he may not be seeing things the same way you are. 

You may be feeling scared for your son. You may feel grief over his pain or consequences he’s struggling with. You may be angry if he has lied to you or taken advantage of you in some way.  All of these feelings are quite normal for parents of addicted children.

You may also have some tough decisions to make moving forward.  Some may depend on whether your son is living with you or out on his own. If he’s living with you, begin learning about setting and keeping boundaries now. It’s your house and you don’t have to keep living in chaos (if you are).

It’s very important that you do take some time to learn some about addiction and ways you can be of help to your son through this time. It’s a learning process, for sure.

Get A Therapist

I’ll start off by encouraging you to get a therapist, especially if your peace of mind has been thrown off kilter. (It’s likely it has).

Having an adult son who has addiction issues does not mean your life has to suffer. I mean, sure, you’ll feel it some, because what parent doesn’t feel it when their kids are struggling?

However, to let it keep you down or terrified isn’t fair to you. Being able to process the situation with a therapist is helpful.

Beware Of Enabling

As a parent, you certainly want to protect your son from harm or unpleasant circumstances, but when it comes to substance abuse addiction, you must beware of doing things to enable your son to continue on with his addiction.

To enable means to make decisions or take actions that don’t really help another person, but rather enable them to keep walking the wrong path.  Enabling behaviors include giving money (when he is able to work himself), providing rent-free living (so he can spend money on his addiction), car borrowing (if he’s not being responsible), calling in sick for him, bailing him out, etc.

Of course, you want to help your son with his addiction problem, but at some point, you may have to lovingly detach and let his choices take them where they may. Perhaps then, when he realizes that no one is there to bail him out, he may take responsibility for his addiction and seek help.

You May Not Be Able To Help

It’s just the plain truth that there may not be anything you can do to help your son, as drug addiction is not necessarily something you can fix. There’s a saying in Al-Anon that goes, “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t fix it.”

So true.

The only one that can ultimately help your son is your son, as he will have to get to a point where he realizes he is has become addicted to alcohol or a drug and wants help to stop the addiction. There may be others in his life that can prompt him to get some help, and hopefully that will happen.

Know that not being able to fix the problem does not make you a bad parent or failure, as some things parents really have no control over. My adult son drinks more than I’d like him too. My words haven’t seemed to help (but I am hopeful), but I needed to say them. I keep telling myself, “It’s his life, his lessons, his timing). And, I pray daily, which I believe helps!

So, do your best to keep guilt at bay and move on with your life best as you can, even if your son continues to struggle with addiction.

Know That Your Son May Lie To You

If your son has become addicted to something, don’t be surprised if he lies to you. He may tell you he’s not using drugs, when he totally is. Sometimes he may not even realize he is lying; it’s just something he’s been doing for a while and it becomes a habit. He may tell you all the things you want to hear because he doesn’t want to contend with his addiction just yet.

Drug Rehabs And 12 Step Meetings

There is help available for both you and your son.  Don’t be afraid to sit down and have a real heart-to-heart with him. Give him information concerning drug rehabs and drug counseling, so when he is ready to receive some help, he will have the resources handy. I’m not saying nag him about this. Nagging won’t help. Say what you feel you must say out of love and real concern for him, and then leave it to him to do or not do.

Practice the Serenity Prayer.

For you, there are support groups, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, that give you a place to go for support and encouragement as you navigate the situation.  It is there that others in similar shoes are able to share their grief, concerns, work the 12 Steps to keep focused on themselves, and help each other through the situation.

It’s understandable that during this time of your son being addicted to alcohol or drugs that you are concerned, confused, anxious, and more. You can do your part to be of support to him without tapping out emotionally, mentally, or physically. You can continue to love him and believe in him.

A great resource that helps many parents of children who are struggling with addiction is by The Center For Motivation and Change: Parents 20 Minute Guide.

It’s a great start, so be sure to check it out!

Reach out for help if you need some support, as your needs are important. There are some really great Facebook Groups too, so check them out and get involved if you desire.

And, communicate openly and honestly with your son about the situation.  This will be a journey for the both of you, full of opportunity to learn and grow.

Other great resources:

Partnership for Drug Free Kids

Center For Motivation And Change

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