Why Does My Child Use Drugs Or Alcohol
We feel safer when we cling to the notion that substance abuse is the activity of the troubled, weird kids from broken or strange families.; We assume that substance abuse is in response to some inner demons or personal problem. Its time to give up that thinking up.
~ John Cates, Jennifer Cummings,Recovering Our Children: A Handbook For Parents of Young People in Early Recovery
Those are the big questions that so many parents struggle with Why my family?; Why my child?
They waste time and energy and asking questions that often have no definite answers.; Addiction is a complicated disease that can affect ANYONE, regardless of age, gender, income level, social status, education, race, or family dynamics.
There is no single identifiable cause for addiction.; There is nothing that you can point to attend know for certain that THAT is the reason why someone abuses alcohol or drugs.; But there are contributing factors, each of which can play a major role in increasing the likelihood of addiction:
Evicting A Drug Addicted Tenant
Evicting a drug addicted tenant is easier than evicting a dependent child. Always have a written lease that includes rules about drug use and addiction. Follow the rules and do not make exceptions. Consult an attorney and make a motion for eviction based on facts you have assembled. Tenants in violation of a legitimate lease can be legally evicted quickly.
Many attorneys recommend having written rules posted in the residence. It is always best to have tenants sign the rules by which they agree to live. The savvy landlord does not knowingly permit violations. One exception can lead to accusation of prejudicial conduct that threatens other tenants.
Whether you are a landlord or a parent with a drug addict living on your property or under your roof, you owe it to yourself to protect your property. Have rules, insist they be respected and act when violations occur. Consult your attorney every step of the way.
If you need free advice about drug addiction, we can help. Call today.
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When Your Helping Doesnt Help
Like many in my straits, I became addicted to my childs addiction.; When it preoccupied me, even at the expense of my responsibilities to my wife and other children, I justified it.; I thought, How can a parent not be consumed by his childs life-or-death struggle? But I learned that my preoccupation with Nic didnt help him and many have harmed him.; Or maybe it was irrelevant to him. However, it surely harmed the rest of my family and me.
~ David Sheff,Beautiful Boy: A Fathers Journey through His Sons Addiction
And, if they have been away from home for any appreciable length of time, you are probably used to hearing the same old worn-out list of demands that always guilt you into helping them:
Give me some money because I dont have any food at my placeno gasno electricity, etc.
Theyll throw me out if you dont help me.
You dont understand Im sick! Im really hurting. I need the cash or Ill kill myself.
Sometimes, the only time you even get to speak to you your child is when they want more money. They seem to stumble from one emergency to the next, always expecting you to loan them money. And you are terrified that if you do not give them what they want, theyll simply vanish, become homeless, go to jail, or maybe even end up dead.
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Remember That Theyre Human Not A Monster
Addiction is a disease. It results in a distorted value system that shifts toward supporting ongoing substance use. It is OK to get frustrated or angry with your loved one and, for your own well-being, you may need to limit your contact if your loved one is actively using. But be wary of treating the person like an outcast or a disgrace to the family. This can shame your loved one and interfere with them reaching out for support. Once they enter recovery, though, communicate with them and try to understand how substance misuse became a routine part of their life.
Let Go Of Expectations
Addiction is a powerful disease that affects various parts of the brain. Therefore, you should let go of the expectation that your loved one is going to enter treatment because there are many defense mechanisms that arise from addiction that make it difficult to determine if your loved one is willing, or even ready, to begin recovery. When you sit down and share your concerns with your loved one about their addiction to alcohol or drugs, be prepared for the fallout, but never give up hope. Common defense mechanisms people with addictions use include:
Your loved one may deny any problem exists and refuse to accept reality.
Your loved one may shift focus away from themselves and make others responsible for their addiction.
Your loved one might attribute their own negative feelings or behaviors to others, possibly by blaming their own feelings, decisions, and behaviors on others.
Your loved one might excuse irrational or unacceptable behaviors, motives, and feelings in an attempt to justify them to themselves and others.
Distorted thinking is a significant issue when dealing with anyone with an active addiction. Although you may see the situation clearly, thought distortions can make communicating with such a person exceptionally difficult.
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Taking Care Of Yourself
Your loved ones recovery from drug addiction can be a long process and the negative impact on your own health, outlook, and well-being can multiply over time. Its important you maintain a balance in your life to avoid burnout from all the stress and frustration that comes from helping someone get clean.
Find support. Expressing what youre going through can be very cathartic, so look for support from trusted friends and family, or a peer support group for family members of drug addicts. Talking to others who are facing similar challenges can help you find comfort, reassurance, and new ways of coping.
Manage stress. The stress of witnessing someone you love battle addiction can take a heavy toll. You can reduce your stress levels by eating right, exercising regularly, sleeping well, and practicing a relaxation technique such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. Since stress levels can escalate when quitting drugs, you can even encourage your loved one to do the same.
Helplines and support
Support for sufferers of substance use disorders
In the U.S.: Call the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-4357.
UK: Find NHS drug addictions support services or call the Frank helpline at 0800 776600.
Canada: Download the PDF Finding Quality Addiction Care from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.
Australia: Find support or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation helpline at 1800 250 015.
Support for families and loved ones
Group and 12-step programs for your loved one
When You Need A Break
We all want to be heroes for our friends and families. If theyre in trouble, well go to great lengths to aid them. Many of us will sacrifice our own health and happiness to help others. But being a caregiver can be exhausting.
Even if youre willing to risk your own health and safety for others, you should recognize that you cant help them if youre exhausted. You can be a better resource for your loved one if you take a break and make sure youre taking care of yourself and your responsibilities.
Let the person know that you dont have the energy to provide support right now, but that youre committed to getting your life together so you can offer support once he or she completes a treatment program.
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Asking An Addict To Move Out Of Your Home
Drug addiction is often disguised by secretive behavior but there are other telltale signs that should alarm family members, landlords and neighbors. Parents are often brought into the web of drug addiction either as a codependent or as enablers. Being torn between a child you love and their drug addiction behavior is an uncomfortable position to be in and legal action is often the only way to remove a drug addict who is a tenant or a child living in the family home.
Analyze Where You Are
Its coming down to the wire. If all previous attempts have failed, our number one solution will be the last ditch effort to getting your loved one off of drugs, and giving them the health and attention they need to recover. By taking a step back and looking at the last few weeks or months of events, youll be able to better determine if your efforts are proving useful or if you need to take one more stab at this.
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Signs One Is Living With A Drug Addict
Many people may suspect that their spouse, child, parent, roommate, or friend is using or abusing a particular substance. However, before confronting said subject, the suspecting party should alert themselves to specific signs indicating or even confirming this is the case.
Possible factors might appear through various physical, psychological, and social manifestations.
Supporting A Loved Ones Addiction Recovery
Theres no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming an addiction to drugs, and its rarely a process thats quick or straightforward. While you can support your loved one and encourage treatment, you cant force them to change or control their decision-making. Letting your loved one assume responsibility for their behavior and choices is an important step on their road to sobriety.
Adjust your expectations. Everyone is different. Recovery for one person may mean total abstinence from drugs. For another, it could mean cutting back or staying mostly drug-free. Being too rigid in your expectations can lead to disappointment and a sense of failure, even if your loved one finds stability in their life again.
Encourage your loved one to seek help. While some people are able to quit drugs on their own, the more help and support a person has, the better their chances of success. Offer to sit with your loved one while they call a helpline or accompany them to a doctors appointment, counseling session, or peer support group meeting.
Help plan for triggers and cravings. Your loved one will need to find ways to cope with drug cravings and triggers. You can help distract them with other activities or encourage them to learn how to ride out the urge, but ultimately, they have to be responsible for their own sobriety.
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Evaluating The Potential Haunting
Take A Step Back And Set Boundaries
Its important not to get too tangled up in this mess. Adult children and teenagers are highly likely to rebel against their parents for no other reason than the sake of rebellion. This can make your efforts feel like a giant waste of time and leave you feeling worthless. If youre constantly asking about your sons problem, giving advice and telling him what to do, it will probably go in one ear and out the other. Just let him know you are there for him if he needs to talk and how much you love and care about him.
A gentle approach usually yields the best results, but that doesnt mean you should let yourself be taken advantage of. If your son is stealing from you or demanding money, cut off these channels immediately. Lock valuables in a safe, and keep tabs on all of your cash and cards. If money has been taken, keep records of the amount and discuss a repayment plan once hes in the recovery process. Personal responsibility is necessary for him to heal, however difficult it may feel to say no and not be so involved.
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Here Are Some Signs That It May Be Time To Call Your Relationship Off:
The relationship is abusive:;If the addict is physically or emotionally abusive, get out of there as soon as possible. No matter how much they threaten you or make you feel like youre hopeless without them, you need to walk away. Call a family member, a trusted friend, or even a;domestic violence hotline;for help.
Children are affected:;If you have kids, you may have to lower your tolerance for the addicts behavior. It might be necessary to remove the children from the situation, even if the relationship isnt abusive. Addicted parents can have;long-lasting effects;on their childs mental health. So, its important to take your children into consideration.
They dont want to change:;If the addict has no intention of changing, it might be time to leave. The problems youre currently facing will only get worse. Its possible to love an addict in recovery, but its difficult to stay with someone who doesnt want to get better. It may be tough, especially if you still love them, but do you want to take care of them forever?
Theyre holding you back:;When maintaining your relationship is preventing you from living your best life, you might want to get out. It doesnt make sense to have your dreams ruined by someone elses addiction. If your;self-esteem;and mental health are only going to deteriorate over time, you might want to end the relationship in order to pursue a happier life.
Your Love Can Help Them Love Themselves
I dont want you around unless you stop drinking and drugging, is something many people struggling with addiction have heard over and over. Love can often feel conditional for people who have spent years of their life in active addiction. However, supporting and loving your friend or family member when no one else will do say, can encourage them to love themselves.
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My Son Is A Drug Addict: When Is It Time To Let Go
Author: Pamela ZuberPamela Zuber
Letting go of a drug addict son can feel like giving up, but it is not quite so. Many parents wonder about how to let go of an addict you love when this endeavor seems too painful to take. Understand when it is time to turn the page yet still remain hopeful in their addiction recovery.
The discovery of a childs addiction can be one of the most painful heartbreaks as a parent. We envision our children growing up living a life that is even better than our ownbut these hopes and expectations come crashing down at the clutches of substance abuse.
The truth is, the pain and challenges of this predicament dont stop at the discovery of addiction. It goes on to continue until your child decides to get treatment. However, what if this request is met with statements of denial or even rebellion on your childs end? What are you to do as a parent? What should you do if your son refuses to recover from addiction?
The Benefits Of Taking Action Early
Movies, books, and magazines often portray people who hit bottom before they can be helped. However, this representation is a myth. People do not need to bottom out to be helped. Research shows that early identification of the problem is a much more effective solution for substance use problems.
Early identification occurs at the first signs of a problem before anyone has suffered a traumatic event, dropped out of school, or lost important relationships, jobs, health, or self-respect.
Identification can be done through a health care professional screening, employee assistance professional, or family member. What happens after the screening depends on the results of the test. Some people can learn to cut back, while some need further assessment and possible treatment.
In general, all people are better equipped to work on recovery if their substance use problem is discovered and confronted early on. Treatment in the early stages of a substance use disorder is likely to be less intense, less disruptive, and cause less anxiety.
Waiting for people to ask for help is a risky strategy. Without help, family members can expect crises like arrests, medical emergencies, loss of job, public embarrassment, and even death.
Some people find that when they seek help for themselves, the person struggling with addiction;gets angry. This may be perhaps because the efforts represent a loss of control. Also, getting help signals that you are serious about changing the situation.
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