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Helping Your Child Without Enabling Their Addiction

What to Do When Your Adult Child Wants Help


If your adult son or daughter calls and says they want to get better, you know what to do. You help them find a treatment program—and then get your loved one there as quickly as you can.

But there are all kinds of other requests for help that leave many of us confused, like some of the following examples:

  • Can I borrow $300 for car insurance?
  • Can I stay at your place for a few days?
  • Can you help me buy enough pills so that I don’t get sick and miss work?
  • Can you drive me to work?
  • Can you lend me $20?

Your natural instinct may well be to say yes. Your son or daughter is suffering—and even if you can just alleviate that for a day, you want to help.

But in all of the above circumstances, that “help” is really just enabling. In fact, anything you do to make it easier for your son or daughter to drink or use drugs is enabling.

Ways to Support Your Child Without Enabling

The only real help for someone battling addiction is to convince them to commit to recovery.

With that being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about that. If you need to, spend a little time getting educated. You’ll discover that, once addiction happens, your loved one is no longer in the driver’s seat.

So it won’t help to ask why your son doesn’t just stop. It won’t help to tell your daughter that she’s ruining your life.

How to Help an Addict Without Enabling

So what will help your loved one battling addiction? Do your best to talk to them in a way that doesn’t guilt or shame them. Ask open-ended questions like:

  • How do you think your life would be different if you didn’t have to use anymore?
  • How would you like your life to change?
  • How are you feeling?

It’s also a good idea to consider hiring an intervention specialist. Remember, too, that you want your son or daughter to know that you will always love and support them—but you won’t help them destroy their lives.

Hope and Healing from Addiction at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we believe everyone deserves the chance to live a free, happy and peaceful life. We’ll help you get sober, but more importantly, we’ll help you learn the skills you need to live a good life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

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