Addiction to drugs and alcohol among children covers the entire social and economic spectrum in our society. Many ascribe addiction to poor parenting but even good parenting does not prevent it. One of the biggest difficulties for family members when confronted with someone in their family developing an addiction is with issues of control. This is especially true when the addicted family member is a son and the parents struggle between what is enabling, what is controlling, and what the best balance is.
If you have an addicted son, you know that substance abuse has one of its component parts as lowering of awareness. He is not aware of the changes the substance is creating in him. Everyone else sees these changes, but he seldom can. So approaching him with the intention of helping him stop using drugs is tricky. If you confront your son about his drug use and it doesn’t result in immediate changes in behavior or a trip to treatment, don’t feel you have failed.
Many times the initial attempt or even the first few attempts to intervene are not successful. Your concern for their well-being must be obvious. Drug abusers/drug addicts are always quick to be defensive when the subject of drug use comes up and you must keep the focus on the problem. Don’t let the subject turn to, “You don’t trust me!” or, “Stop interfering in my life!” This is only a mechanism to take the attention off himself, keep the focus calmly on the actual problem, the abuse.
Once you are sure that your son is addicted, he needs treatment. By being firm and practicing tough love, you have the best chance of saving the life of your child but without sending him to a successful, drug-free rehab program you are just spinning your wheels. That is the hard truth.