My Son/Daughter Is Addicted to Drugs: What Do I Do Next?
A late teen or adult son/daughter suffering from drug addiction creates an incredibly fragile situation. Emotions will be swirling, and it is common for you to want to jump in and rescue your child. Taking a minute to process the difficult situation at hand is necessary to determine the best possible solutions.
There is always hope for a sober future, and it is never too late to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Likewise, there are always ways to support and aid your son or daughter through the difficult, transformative journey to sobriety ahead.
Stay Calm and Gather Evidence
There are many overwhelming thoughts and emotions that come with helping a son or daughter cease their use of substances. Staying calm throughout the process is essential. Finding drugs or alcohol in their bedroom or car, or any other evidence of usage can prompt impassioned thoughts of action.
While it is tempting to jump into immediate action, there are things to consider before approaching a conversation or confrontation about your child's substance use habits.
Addiction is a complicated disease, and those who suffer from addiction are victims of their circumstances, so unnecessary blame can hinder the recovery process. When confronted about the use of illicit substances, defensive stances, swearing and rude language, and even lying are all common responses. As a result, gathering objective evidence and keeping a calm demeanor are both crucial. If emotions are running high, you might say something unnecessarily accusatory or drive the conversation with antagonism rather than care.
While accusations can be easily denied, it is much more difficult to deny the evidence of use. Presenting this evidence calmly creates a dialogue that is based on facts rather than assumptions that may otherwise hinder a conversation about treatment and recovery.
Educate Yourself About Treatment Options
Before sitting down for a conversation about your son's or daughter's use, education is key. Researching the exact effects of the drug or drugs being used and potential treatment options available can help structure an effective, productive conversation. By knowing the specific effects of the drug, you can find more specialized or pertinent treatment options.
This can help you select the level of care needed and find a drug treatment center most aligned with your child's needs for recovery.
Having pamphlets from relevant treatment facilities and understanding of their differences in treatment modalities can move the conversation from talking about drug use to looking for solutions. You can also call various drug rehabs with specific questions to get a better idea of how each facility operates and the benefits or barriers your child might face. Most treatment centers only serve people eighteen and up, so make sure the facilities you look into help minors.
By educating yourself and understanding the ways drugs impact health, you can best situate yourself as a point of support for your child as they go through recovery.
Having the Difficult Conversation
Having a conversation about your child's drug use is going to be difficult and highly emotional. It is important to keep the focus of the conversation on evidence to avoid making assumptions and keep your emotions from derailing the conversation.
This conversation will probably not be easy. Holding the conversation in a neutral space, such as a communal living room or even your son or daughter's bedroom can add a degree of comfort for the difficult conversation ahead. Remember this is a conversation and allowing all parties to speak candidly and openly is best. Your child will also need space and time to convey their side of things. Allowing them to speak is crucial for establishing honesty and support throughout recovery.
Talking about drug use is a conversation about future health, not an interrogation or accusation. Lying may be a common defense mechanism, but it is no reason to compromise a supportive atmosphere. Simply present the evidence you have gathered to combat untruths in a calm way. Do not get angry or accusatory but let them know you have noticed they are on a risky path and that you will support them as they get sober and make better choices.
Take Time for Yourself
This is one of the most commonly overlooked parts of supporting someone's journey to sobriety. While it is normal to want to do anything and everything possible to support your child throughout their journey, it is incredibly taxing to maintain this constant level of support. Taking time for yourself—like treating yourself to dinner, getting sufficient rest, and continuing to tend to your hobbies, interests, and social groups—allows you to keep a more refreshed and healthy state of mind.
Balancing your support for your son or daughter with your own care is necessary to keep from burning out or suffering from compassion fatigue—both of which can compromise your ability to effectively support your child. You cannot care for someone when you yourself need care, so make sure you do not neglect your needs when you are caring for your child's needs. Helping an adult son or daughter begin their journey to sobriety can be difficult. At The Edge Treatment Center, we are prepared to help you and your family recover from trying and tumultuous times. We understand the unique ways addiction affects the entire family and are prepared to help your son or daughter tackle their substance use issues while supporting families and loved ones to help you heal as a family.
For more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your child's unique situation, call us today at (800) 778-1772.