I Don’t Know Where My Son Is: Parenting an Addict

parenting an addict

Having a child who abuses drugs and alcohol can be intensely stressful. Perhaps you’ve found yourself covering for their unexplained absences at school or work, or bailing them out of jail after a DUI. Every time your phone rings or you get a text message alert, you expect the worst. You might feel continually on edge without being consciously aware of why. 

Once your son grows into young adulthood, not knowing what he’s out doing or who he is with can add to your anxiety. If sleepless nights and chronic stress are undermining your health, enrolling your son in a treatment program can put your concerns to rest and help your family heal. Here are some facts you should know about parenting an addict.

The Family Dynamic Plays a Role in Addiction

Substance abuse problems don’t happen in a vacuum. Family members can contribute to a worsening addiction through their words and deeds. First, you must understand that there’s a fine line between providing support for an addicted loved one and enabling his behavior. While you want the best for your son, you also need to recognize when you are doing something that allows his self-destructive patterns to continue. 

As a parent, your first instinct is to shield your child from any harm, including the negative consequences of his actions. This innate impulse continues even when your son is old enough to live independently and make pivotal life decisions. However, parenting an addict might require you to step in and set boundaries to define what you won’t tolerate. For example, you might refuse to lend your son money if he is only using it to buy drugs and alcohol, or stop paying his tuition if his grades suffer due to a worsening substance use disorder. 

Coordinating an Intervention Can Benefit Your Peace of Mind

Some people need extra persuasion and encouragement before they agree to seek accredited addiction treatment. In that case, parenting an addict may involve making difficult decisions like planning an intervention with other family members or close friends. 

Countless popular movies and TV shows have depicted interventions as impassioned, dramatic showdowns where people say hurtful things in the heat of the moment. In reality, a successful intervention should be a carefully orchestrated meeting where each participant writes out their remarks in advance. The goal is to demonstrate your love and support while breaking through the wall of denial that characterizes addiction. Ideally, your son will agree to enter treatment immediately, so you should also have a qualified program lined up and ready to admit him.

Family Treatment Can Help Everyone Heal Together

The disease of addiction can drive a wedge between you and your son, even if you were previously close. A worsening substance abuse problem might cause your son to behave unpredictably or erratically. Eventually, he could reach a point where he no longer seems like the same person. In a family program, you can start addressing dysfunction and mending damaged relationships. 

Spearhead Lodge’s family program can help you and your son move forward together by educating you about the physical and mental effects of substance abuse and the daily struggle your loved one faces. When you are ready to learn more about parenting an addict by enrolling your adult son in treatment, contact us today.