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How To Help an Addict When it is Your Adult Child

Editor Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
Created On
Updated On

Addiction is a disease that affects the family as a whole. When your adult child is an addict, especially when they are living at home, it is easy to support their addiction for fear that they will end up dead if not. While you are not going out and buying them drugs or alcohol, by not pressing charges against them for stealing money and items from your home, or even freely giving them money, you are not doing them any good. An addict will do all that they can to fuel their addiction,  by not standing up to them you are only going to help them in this destructive cycle.

Here are a few tips to help you with dealing with your adult child who is an addict:

  1. Kick  him out! Yes, I know this seems rather harsh but your child is not a child any more, he is an adult and NEEDS to stand on his own two feet! Let him know that you love him and will be there for him when he is ready to get sober, but until then he cannot live with you any longer. He needs to learn the consequences of his own actions, the best way to do so is to let him fall because you cannot hold him up forever without going down yourself.
  2. Attend an Alanon meeting or another form of counseling for families of addicts. Your child’s addiction has not only had negative effects on him, but all those closest to him. You too are suffering and need help working through this, as well as support and encouragement that you are making the right choice.
  3. There is power in prayer, so start praying that your child will find his way and leave drugs and alcohol in the past. Pray for strength for the both of you, pray for your child’s safety, and pray for God’s will in this situation.
  4. You cannot change another person, you can not make your child get the help he clearly needs, so it is important for you to get out of the way and let God’s will take over. By making this choice you are changing yourself to be a stronger parent, to say you will no longer enable your child’s addiction and you demand that they keep their toxic actions away from your home.
  5. Educate yourself on families of addicts and codependency. Just as your child will be educated on addiction, if he chooses to enter into a rehab program, you too should be educated. You will see just where you are going wrong and how you are only helping to fuel your child’s addiction. If you do not make the changes you must today, then your child will never make the changes he must to get well and could ultimately pay the biggest price of his life.

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