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
- Spending time recovering from hangovers
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Spending an excessive amount of money on alcohol
What Can We Do To Help Our Adult Drug
Secondly, I want to address the issue regarding your grandson. Im concerned that even though the courts have said he cant visit his mother, his father is disregarding that decision and providing visitation. Someone needs to make sure the boy is not being exposed to any risky or shady situations when staying with mom, especially considering that both mom and her boyfriend are actively using. Hopefully mom remains fully cognizant during his visits, and I dont mean to suggest she isnt but addiction is a wild card, and if the youngster is being exposed to any hazardous circumstances , then those visits should stop immediately. If you have reasonable suspicion the boy isnt safe, and your son in law refuses to take appropriate action, then you might need to contact your local child protective services or the courts and inquire about your options you can do so anonymously in most cases, if only for advisement.
Tip #: Love Your Child With Everything You Have
Its hard to put into words the feeling you get when you become a parent. The love and excitement and joy you feel when they say their first word or walk their first step never really goes away as you watch them grow all the way into a young adult.
Sometimes its hard to remember those joyous occasions, though, when you watch addiction control most of your childs life.
There is nothing wrong with becoming angry with your child. In all likelihood, the battle theyre facing has led to many negative consequences in your own life.
Sometimes you face financial consequences. Sometimes you simply cannot help but be taken aback by their lack of honesty.
Regardless, you must remember that your child and their addiction are not the same thing.
Turn the negative energy you feel about your child into passionate hate for the addiction thats controlling their life. Make it the fuel for your fire to end their addiction and bring back the man or woman you once knew.
Always keep in mind, though, that showing your child unconditional love doesnt mean enabling their addiction. They must still be held accountable for their addictive behaviors.
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When You Stop Caring
This may seem unnatural for parentsbut showing that you stop caring is different from not caring at all. Some children respond to reverse psychology. The more attention, nagging, or coaxing that you give, the more they are repelled to seek treatment. However, letting them know that youre providing more autonomy with their life may eventually encourage them to achieve sobriety. To do this, you must:
- Acknowledge their maturity: You have to let them know verbally and through your actions that they already know whats right versus wrong, that they are thinking adults who will be responsible for their decisions.
- Letting them know you respect their choices: Tell them that although you would love for them to get help, you still respect their decisions nonetheless. This must come from a point of sincerity and not from manipulation.
- If your son is not living with you, you may want to decrease contact. If he is living with you, set up an agreement for more independencesuch as moving out, stopping to pay expenses for them, etc. The choices you will take depends on your unique situation.
Hopefully, doing this will loosen strings that suffocate your son, allowing them to take a more proactive approach to their addiction recovery.
Tip #: Dont Forget To Love Yourself
The final tip is incredibly important as it encompasses a lot of what weve already gone over.
You should not be bearing the entire weight of your childs addiction to the point that you are unhappy in your own life. You can only do so much.
Take some time to appreciate what youve done and continue to do for them even when theyre turning it down.
Your life changes in an instant when your child first comes into your life, and that never ends no matter what age your child is. However, when your child grows out of that adolescent age and becomes an adult, your roles and responsibilities lessen and evolve.
Loving yourself essentially means youre drawing your boundaries, accepting your limits, and keeping yourself healthy in a difficult situation.
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What To Do With A Drug Addicted Son
Have you spent the past few months or years wondering how your son could go from an innocent child to being someone with a serious drug problem. Addiction does not discriminate, and you should first know that having a son who is addicted to drugs doesnt mean that youve done anything wrong. People develop addictions for a variety of reasons. Your son might have picked up their first drug habit in high school when they gave in to peer pressure, or they may have started using drugs to cope with a traumatic experience. Whatever the reason is for your sons addiction doesnt matter right now. Theyll learn how to address the underlying causes of their addiction in rehab, but you must first help them figure out how to get there. Knowing what to do with a drug addicted son starts by remembering that you arent alone. There are professional addiction treatment centers that are filled with people who can help you get your son sober.
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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How To Help Someone Dealing With Addiction
Knowing someone who has an addiction is not uncommon, but knowing the best way to help a loved one with an addiction can be confusing and even scary. When someone has an addiction, it can affect every aspect of their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones. You will inevitably be concerned about your loved one, and it can be difficult to know what to do and what not to do, but its important to remember that Recovery is a solution.
The Robert Alexander Center: A Safe Place To Get Sober
The Robert Alexander Center is a state-of-the-art addiction treatment center that can support your sons addiction treatment through residential care, intensive outpatient therapy, outpatient care, and facilitated aftercare opportunities. By providing multiple styles of treatment for your son, we are able to tailor addiction treatment to his individual needs.
The Robert Alexander Center is an alcohol and drug addiction treatment center dedicated to supporting individuals through every step of their transition to a sober lifestyle.
Contact us today to see how we can support your child.
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Tip #: Acknowledge The Fact That Your Child Is Now An Adult
This one is a bit obvious, but you can easily forget it when you see your child in trouble or hurting.
The reality is that your child is an adult now, and he or she has control over their own life and the decisions they make. You cannot hold yourself accountable for every step or misstep they take.
In the same breath, its important to tell you to not let your child blame you for their past bad decisions, their current situation, or future decisions they will make. Its not fair to you.
If youre putting in work to help your child and theyre continuing to choose drugs or alcohol over help, they have no basis to blame you. You know in your heart whether youre doing enough.
We live in a country where the decision to get help for alcohol or drug use is on the person with the substance use disorder. You cannot make them go to treatment if they refuse.
The best you can do is encourage the decision to go, and leave the rest up to them.
Again, he or she is an adult.
Dont Ignore Your Own Needs
Its natural to feel worried about your child when they are struggling with a debilitating disease like addiction. Letting your fears consume you, however, will stand in the way of your own happiness and peace of mind. Over time, continuing to put your loved ones needs above your own may also lead to feelings of resentment on your part.
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The Range Of Addiction In The United States
In America, there are more than 20 million people addicted to some form of substance and in need of treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration . Out of those 20.8 million, only roughly 10% seek and receive the help they need.
If you have an adult child addicted to drugs or alcohol, you likely feel helpless and hopeless. You may even feel as if you have no options available to you.
The list below has been compiled to help you, regardless of the stage of addiction your adult child may be in.
Dont: Expect Immediate Change
How do you help an alcoholic? One of the best ways is to be realistic in your expectations. Long-term Recovery is not a quick fix. Its an ongoing process for your loved one that takes time, effort and continued support from professionals and family alike. Some treatments may work for some time and then need to be changed.
If one treatment doesnt work, it doesnt mean all treatments will fail. It just means youll have to find the specific one that will work for your loved one.
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How To Pay For Addiction Treatment
If your child is on your insurance plan as a dependent, that should be your first stop for payment options for drug rehab. Insurance may cover a significant portion of the cost of treatment. If your child does not have insurance under you and meets certain qualifications, public assistance like Medicaid may help cover some of the cost of treatment.
There will usually be some out-of-pocket costs even if insurance covers a good chunk of treatment. Here are a couple options to help your child or your family cover these costs:
- Discuss payment plans with treatment providers Many offer financing options where the outstanding balance can be paid off over time.
- Consider treatment programs that offer discounted care Many universities that have mental health programs, like psychiatry programs or graduate psychology programs, offer therapy and other forms of treatment on a sliding scale based on income level.
How To Let Go Of An Addict You Love
Unfortunately, learning how to let go of an addict you love is much easier said than done.
There are some steps you can take once you have decided the time has come to let go of an addict you love.
First, you will need to separate yourself, both physically and emotionally. During this time, its important that you find a strong support system because you will need it. Often loved ones of an addict will participate in a group of other people whose loved ones are an addict. When you do that it can help you move forward in a positive, productive way, and also understand that youre not alone. During this time you will also need to create a list of things that you know you will have to change as part of your goal of letting go of an addict you love.
If you slip up on some of the commitments you make to yourself during this time, its okay, and you can continue moving forward without being too hard on yourself. Whats most important as you learn how to let go of an addict you love is simply to do your best.
You should also try to find things that you enjoy doing for yourself, and you should work on creating the life that you want without the inclusion of the addict.
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How You Can Help Someone Who Is In Recovery
Family involvement is just one of the ways in which you can help your loved one when theyre in treatment. It allows counselors and doctors to get a better understanding of the patient as well as their behavioral patterns and habits. Other ways in which you can help your loved one include:
- Getting involved: Attend family therapy and express your feelings. This will allow them to get a better idea of how their addiction affects everyone around them. Its also a great way to show that you support your loved ones Recovery because you are willing to invest the time and effort to help them heal.
- Communicating with them: Once the blackout period is lifted, you will likely be allowed some contact with your loved ones. Communication can be very difficult, and a seemingly safe conversation can spiral into a heated argument. Find a mode of communication that works for both of you, be it phone calls, emails or in-person visits. Use it as an opportunity to verbalize your support.
- Offering support: Saying youre there for your loved one is one thing, but support goes beyond that. Talk positively about the future and of your loved ones progress. Let them know theyre not alone.
- Trusting but being mindful: Its important to maintain trust throughout the Recovery process, but its also important to remember not to fall into old habits. Show your loved one that you trust them, but be aware of old behaviors that may be problematic or harmful.
But Nothing Really Prepared Me For The Spring Of 2016
Our son had transitioned from a Connecticut addiction treatment facility to a local Boulder program. He was 19. We were all excited for him to have a fresh start, to have him home for a change. During his time in Connecticut, he had not owned his addiction. Instead, he would say, “I have an addictive personality.”
He had “mostly only” smoked pot during that time and had, on occasion, taken some nonprescribed meds. In fact, by his own admission, he resisted almost all the way through. Toward the end of the program, he kept trying to prepare us for the fact that he might smoke pot again someday.
Recognizing that there was nothing we could do, as he was an adult in the eyes of the law, we just prayed he’d realize that using any drugs at all post-recovery was asking for trouble.
Soon after returning to Boulder, he started his own IT consultancy. He seemed to be happy, productive, and he was making good money. He was, however, only working 10 to 15 hours per week. So, he had plenty of time on his hands. And when you’re an addict, empty time equals danger. That time eventually got filled with bad decisions, questionable friends, and ultimately, lots of drugs. A downward spiral that accelerated very quickly.
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What Is An Enabler
An enabler is essentially a parent that behaves or acts in ways that do nothing to hold their son accountable for their substance abuse problem. Enabling is counterproductive to getting your son to admit they are addicted to drugs. Some of the more common ways parents enable substance abuse in their sons include:
- They make excuses for their son
- They provide their son with money
- They deny their son has a substance abuse problem
- They cover up their sons behaviors and substance abuse problems so their child does not have to face the consequences of their actions
The Dos And Donts Of Helping A Loved One With An Addiction
Once youve noticed the signs of addiction in your loved one like an Alcohol Addiction or an Opioid Addiction, for example youll need to know how to talk to and treat them in a way that is positive and helpful. There are several ways to do this, some easy to practice and others that require a little more effort and understanding on your part. Here are a few dos and donts for helping a loved one deal with addiction:
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