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What to Do When Your Parent is an Addict

A son and his mother smile as they enjoy the sunset out in nature.
It is possible to heal from addiction and get your family back on track.


Your parents are your rock.

But when your mother or father is an addict, the roles are reversed. Your parent needs help—and all of the responsibility is on you.

It’s somewhat natural to wonder how your mom or dad could do this to you. But that’s not how addiction works. Addiction is marked by a loss of control. In effect, it isn’t your mother or father acting this way. The drugs or alcohol are in the driver’s seat.

How to Deal with Drug Addicted Parents

You’ve probably heard about the concept of “hitting rock bottom.” The theory is that a person won’t really be ready for help until they’ve lost everything.

It’s critical, however, that you not wait that long to try and convince your parent to seek treatment. Like any disease, it’s best to tackle a problem as soon as possible.

What’s more, it can be dangerous to wait, especially with drugs like heroin that resulted in more than 15,000 deaths in 2016.

See if your parent will agree to be screened for addiction by his or her physician. Talk to them about treatment options. An intervention is another possibility.

Make sure your parent knows there is no shame in seeking help. Older generations grew up thinking that addiction was a moral failing. These days, science paints a more complete picture of addiction as a complex disease that most people need professional help to overcome.

What Not to Do

There is a fine line between helping and enabling your mom or dad.

If you enable someone, you prevent them from experiencing the full consequences of their behavior. And if they never experience those consequences, they may not feel the need to turn things around.

So what exactly is enabling? It’s doing something for your parent that he or she would have been able to do if it weren’t for the effects of drugs or alcohol in their lives. It’s also considered to be enabling if you cover up for your mom or dad so that they can keep their addiction a secret.

Taking Care of Yourself

At the end of the day, you can help your mother or father, but you can’t force them to do anything. What you can do is take care of yourself.

Don’t underestimate the value of a support group for those who have family members battling addiction. You’ll be in a room of people who understand what you’re going through—and can offer guidance and empathy.

Addiction Rehab in Denver

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center where your loved one can find the help he or she needs to rebuild the life that addiction has torn apart. Our team of experts works together to tackle both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

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