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Help! My Grown Son is an Addict

What to do if You Have an Addicted Son who is an Adult

How should you respond if you discover that your grown son is an addict?

Addiction and Your Son

Whether you've recently discovered that he's an alcoholic or a drug addict, your first response is probably to panic. This is most likely something that you never thought would happen to your child. Maybe he never used drugs or alcohol in high school, so this is completely unfamiliar to you. All you really know is that you're concerned that he's ruining his life. You need to know what you can do.

Getting as much addiction information as you can is the best place to begin.

You need to know everything you can about what addiction is, and how it's affecting him. You also need some practical advice on how to get him the help he needs.

At Northpoint Washington, we want to help you with this. We understand you're in a terrible situation. There's no need for you to panic. With the right addiction information and guidance, you can be of great help to your son.

The Difference Between Substance Abuse and Addiction

People will often confuse substance abuse and addiction. They think they mean the same thing. However, they are different.

When someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, they feel a need to use that substance. They may tell you that they just don't feel right unless they're using. When they're not using, they have cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. The addiction has taken over their life.

When is abusing drugs or alcohol, none of this is present. There may be occasional problems, but the substance use doesn't seem to have much effect. Still, there are some signs that you can look for.

Common signs of drug abuse in your son may include:

  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bruises on the arms, or elsewhere on the body
  • Complaining of feeling tired
  • Sleep problems, such as insomnia

Common signs of alcohol abuse in your son may include:

  • Experiencing memory problems
  • Evidence of blacking out
  • Spending time recovering from hangovers
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Spending an excessive amount of money on alcohol

Is Your Adult Son an Alcoholic or Drug Addict? Signs of Addiction to Look for

How do you know substance abuse has transitioned into addiction? This is something that many parents wonder. There are some addiction signs that you can look for as well. If you notice any of these, your son may be a drug addict or an alcoholic.

  • Appetite changes and severe weight loss or gain
  • Symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Abrupt changes in mood
  • Increased aggressive behaviors
  • Legal problems due to substance use
  • Infections or physical signs of substance use
  • Becoming isolated or withdrawn
  • Changes in grooming habits

If you're still not sure, you can try taking a family member addiction quiz. This will give you even more insight into the issue you're facing with your son.

Addicted Son

Ways that Addiction Recovery Can Help Your Son Recover Successfully

Maybe you're thinking about bringing up addiction recovery to your son. However, you're not sure what to tell him about the benefits of it. Drug treatment and alcohol treatment can be so helpful in that they offer:

  • Detoxification of the body. This deals specifically with the physical side of the addiction.
  • Around the clock monitoring in case of an emergency.
  • Accountability to help your son avoid relapsing.
  • Unconditional support and encouragement from those who also have addictions.
  • Professional support to determine the cause of the addiction so that proper treatment can take place.

People who attempt to stop using on their own usually fail. They're just not equipped with the tools and the knowledge to be successful. This is why alcohol rehab and drug rehab are so important.

Avoiding Enabling Behaviors with Your Grown Son

It's possible that you've never really thought of yourself as an enabler. However, now you're starting to see how you may be enabling your adult son. You only want what's best for your child. You want him to be happy. Unfortunately, some of the things you're doing may be making it easier for him to use alcohol or drugs.

Do you do any of the following:

  • Allow your son to live in your home?
  • Take care of your son's children when he's been using?
  • Offer bail money if your son gets arrested?
  • Provide food for your son so that he eats enough?
  • Pay your son's bills for him?

If you're doing any of these, you are enabling this addiction to continue. This is a hard truth to hear, but it must be said. Enabling doesn't do anyone any good. It only makes a bad situation even worse.

In order to stop enabling your son, it's important to put strict boundaries in place. Let him know what you will and won't do.

Be prepared because he will probably argue with you. He may even accuse you of not loving him anymore. Addicts are master manipulators. It's something they learn in order to keep using. You don't have to listen to those accusations. Do your best to stand your ground.

Tips and Resources for Parents with Addicted Adult Children

More than anything, you're in need of practical information. You need to know where to turn for help. We'd like to offer you some addiction tips and resources that can help you during this time.

Addiction Information and Education

The more you know about addiction in general, the better informed you will be. There are some really great resources available to you online.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a great place to start if your son has a drug addiction. You can find out everything you need to know about addiction here. You can also research certain drugs.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is a wonderful website if your son is an alcoholic. It is filled with information that will help you understand alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

Addiction Bloggers to Follow

There are some really great addiction bloggers you may want to follow. These include:

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh – Helping Parents Find Peace
  • Barbara Theodosiou – The Addict's Mom: Sharing Without Shame
  • Sandy Swenson – The Place Where Love and Addiction Meet

These are all individuals who have faced what you're facing right now. You'll find strength and peace in their words and experiences.

Online Support for Families of Addicts

The Internet can be a great place to get help and encouragement. If you're looking for online support for families of addicts or alcoholics, there are a few sites you should read.

Learn2Cope offers online support to families. They have a forum that is available for you to join in and discuss with others like you.

Parents of Addicts Online Support Group offers you a great online atmosphere. Here, you can talk with other parents, and read about their experiences. You'll see that you're not alone in your struggle with your adult son's addiction.

Additional Addiction Resources

Al-Anon is a group for families of addicts that you may also want to consider joining. They have in-person support groups all over the country.

You also may want to think about therapy for yourself. When you consider the amount of stress that this situation is causing you, you can see the need for help. There's no reason to feel nervous about seeking out a therapist. They are trained to help you through these types of situations.

The Intervention Process May be Something to Consider

You may have tried to talk with your son about addiction treatment. Sometimes these talks are helpful, and sometimes they even get results. More often than not, adult children resist being told what to do by their parents. They feel that they know what's best for them. Let's face it; they're dealing with a powerful addiction. This is why it's important to know that you have another option.

Have you ever heard of an intervention? You may have seen interventions done on television. They are a real service that is offered by many alcohol and drug treatment centers. In order to schedule one, you just contact the program and ask then about it. Usually, you'll get the chance to meet with the interventionist prior to the meeting. They'll want to know who will be attending. Together, you'll come up with a plan for what you're going to say.

Your son's friends and other family members will also be invited to the intervention itself. They should prepare statements to read. At the end of each statement, you'll make a plea for him to get addiction treatment. If he refuses, there should be some consequences that are outlined as well.

Fortunately, the vast majority of interventions are very successful. Addicts are often moved that so many people care enough about them to show up. They will usually agree to treatment, and that can happen right away.

If you're thinking about an intervention for your son, it's probably because it's necessary. It might be the only thing that makes a difference.

Addiction Treatment Services are Available for Your Adult Son Immediately

More than anything, your son needs drug rehab or alcohol rehab. You may be in need of an intervention to help get the process started. Regardless of what your needs are, please know that addiction help is available for you.

At Northpoint Washington, we understand how you feel knowing that your grown son is an addict or an alcoholic. The fear that you live with everyday is unmatched. You may dread getting the phone call that something terrible has happened to your child. All you really know is that something needs to change. We want to help you make that change happen.

You may have questions about drug and alcohol rehab, or perhaps you're curious about what an intervention involves. We're here to get you the information you need.

Do you have a grown son who is an addict? Are you looking for practical ways to help him get drug or alcohol treatment? Please contact us today for assistance.