Saving Your Child: 6 Steps to Confronting Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol
Updated: Feb 15
There’s no denying it. The signs are all there. Your child is addicted to drugs or alcohol. As a parent, it's scary discovering your child is addicted. In fact, there’s probably nothing scarier as a parent.
Now, it’s time to act to help your child—and your family. Addiction impacts the whole family—not just the child.
The question is what are you going to do about it? How are you going to get your child and family back on track?
Follow these steps to confronting addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Stop and Take A Deep Breath
The first thing you need to do is stop and take a deep breath. You need to prepare yourself before intervening in your child’s life.
You also need to take time to prepare yourself for the critical conversations ahead and for laying the foundations for more positive outcomes.
Next, if you have a spouse, talk with them. You need to come together on a common stance on drugs and alcohol before talking with your child.
Even if you disagree, you need to come to together on the stance you’ll take. What is important is that you are on the same team, working towards the same goal.
Communication will be key for you child’s recovery.
Tips on Helping Your Child
Talking about addiction with your child won't be easy. Neither will helping him or her through recovery. Below are some tips to help both your child and you through this difficult period:
Educate yourself — Educating yourself on the recovery process is critical. Many misconceptions surround this disease. Educating yourself helps you understand how and why your child got addicted. Doing this will prepare you for what’s to come.
Stop enabling your child — There's a fine line between helping your child and enabling him or her. Enabling makes it easy for your child to continue using drugs or alcohol. Check out these signs to determine if you’re enabling your child’s addiction.
Focus on treatment — You child's poor decision-making is what got him or her in trouble. Don't dwell on those troubles. Instead, encourage your child to recognize his or her potential and take positive actions. Also, encourage them to enter rehab, and listen to their needs and goals.
Create a bond of trust — You might be experiencing many challenging emotions once you find out your child is addicted. Negative emotions can create an atmosphere of distrust and dishonesty. Instead, prepare yourself for positive interactions and productive conversations.
Expect anger but remain calm — Your conversation with your child will not be comfortable. Prepare yourself to hear things that will shock you. He or she might even accuse you of distrust or worse. You might even discover things about yourself that will be hard to accept. Stay calm. If the conversation gets heated, end it and start again.
Set reasonable goals — Have a desired outcome in mind when first talking with your child, but keep expectations low. Don’t expect them to admit use and pledge to stop doing what they’re doing. Instead, take a one step at a time approach by setting a small, but realistic goal.
Discovering your child is addicted to drugs or alcohol is scary. In fact, it’s probably the scariest thing you’ll face as a parent.
Now, it’s time to act. The tips discussed above can help you sort things out and decide on the next steps. More importantly, they’ll help you put your child and your family back on track.
If you are still unsure of how to approach your child or need additional guidance, contact me today and I’ll be more than glad to help you on this difficult journey.