Convincing a Parent that They Need Help for Substance Abuse

Convincing a Parent that They Need Help for Substance Abuse

Having parents who struggle with addiction is difficult to understand, especially for those who are at a younger age. Children often question what they could have done differently to prevent their parents from becoming addicts and often blame themselves for the addiction.

By educating yourself about drug addiction, you have a better chance of successfully helping your parent or loved one recover from the disease of addiction. Additionally, it can be useful to know some tools or additional resources you can use to help address your parent’s addiction. Even consulting other loved ones about supporting your efforts to address the addiction can help persuade your parents to seek treatment.

Addressing Your Parent’s Addiction

Once you learn of your parent’s addiction, you will most likely be concerned with not only the addiction itself, but also your obligation to address it and role in their recovery.  Knowing how to even start the tough conversation can be overwhelming, let alone thinking about how they will respond to it.  There are numerous hurdles to overcome when addressing anyone’s addiction and they can include:

  • Hostility regarding the topic
  • The addict not realizing the depth of the addiction
  • The addict disregarding the topic

Often times, addressing anyone’s addiction can seem like trying to overcome one hurdle after another.  Maybe the individual is not personally ready for treatment, becomes hostile and argumentative, or completely disregards the conversation. Although these hurdles can place the discussion on hold, it is important to start the conversation. With the proper help and techniques you have a better chance of getting your parents to listen to your concerns and seek treatment.

There are numerous techniques you can use to properly address an individual’s addiction. Although the most desired outcome is for your parent to seek treatment, just addressing the addiction can benefit members of the whole family who are impacted by the addiction.  Included in the following are some examples on how to address your parent’s addiction:

  • Intervention
  • Seek support from loved ones
  • Set boundaries
  • Explain concerns

When broken down, interventions are about confronting the addict and how her addiction has affected everyone around her. Typically, interventions consist of family, friends, and even employers who explain, often by reading letters, the direct effect the addiction has had on their life. Although it seems simple, for the best likelihood of the intervention to be successful, it should be carefully planned by an interventionist. The main purpose of the intervention is to get the addict to agree to go to treatment.  However, it is also important for loved ones to be able to express their concerns and process their feelings about this time in their life as well.

When a parent struggles with addiction, typically their children are not the only ones who notice it. Many other loved ones and friends often notice some of the warning signs or side effects of addiction but ignore them until they become worse. Seeking support from other loved ones during this time is important, especially if the addict does not respond well to being confronted about their addiction.

Learning effective techniques on how to set healthy boundaries is important for your health and helps set realistic expectations on what is or is not acceptable behavior for someone to be in your life. These boundaries can include not allowing the addict around you or your family when under the influence, not allowing drug paraphernalia around you, and not providing financial help that only enables the addiction.

Sometimes simply just addressing the addiction with your parent can be enough for him to see the impact of the addiction. The bonds between parents and their children are often very powerful, and because of this, seeing the direct effect the addiction has on a child’s life can lead the parent to seek treatment.

No matter how hard you try to convince your parent to seek treatment, it is ultimately his or her choice.  When your parent is ready to seek treatment, he will do so. Until that moment, you need to make your health a priority, which may mean seeking your own treatment for the negative affects you experienced because of your parent’s addiction.