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Mom helping her adult daughter with addiction
Asking for help with addiction takes a tremendous amount of courage. Make sure to recognize your child’s bravery.

Your Child Came to You for Help with Addiction. Now What?

If you’re a parent of an addicted child, you want nothing more in the world than for your son or daughter to reach out and ask for help. Maybe you’ve been trying to encourage your child to take this step for weeks, months or even years. Or, maybe you were blindsided by a surprise confession. Either way, when this time comes, you’ll want to be prepared for helping your child with his or her addiction.

But What if Your Child Doesn’t Ask for Help?

One the other hand, if you’ve recently become aware of your adult child’s addiction to alcohol or other drugs, you might be wondering what you can do to fix the problem. That’s what good parents do. Unfortunately, addiction is a chronic disease that you can’t simply cover with a band-aid. 

Stay with us through this article and we’ll show you what to do next. Let’s start with how to handle an adult child’s request for help:

Acknowledge Your Child’s Bravery

First things first. Admitting you need help for drug or alcohol addiction is one of the hardest things a person can do. If your child comes to you asking for help, make sure to give credit where it’s due. What makes asking for help so hard? In many cases, the answer to this question comes down to the powerful stigma surrounding addicts.

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Show Your Emotional Support

The next thing to do when your child asks for help with addiction is to make yourself available for emotional support. Simply knowing that you care about them and will be there to support them before, during and after the rehab experience can be a powerful, reassuring motivator to follow through with treatment.

Start Researching Addiction Rehab Centers Near You

Only now is it time to begin your search for a quality drug treatment program. Since your child came to you for help, it can be a good idea to search together. Not every rehab program is a good fit for every person. Based on your child’s unique situation, there could be important co-occurring conditions to consider when deciding on where to go. Some programs are better equipped to deal with these than others.

Find Out if Your Insurance Covers Drug Rehab

After you identify a few potential candidates, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll pay for your child’s treatment program. You can start by confirming whether your insurance provider is accepted by the rehab centers you are considering. If you find a match, the next step is to verify with your provider that your specific policy covers addiction rehab.

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Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

In some way, addiction affects everyone who is close to your child including any siblings. It can also hurt your relationship with your spouse or significant other. This is why it might be a good idea to join an addiction support group for family members of addicted loved ones. Many parents find it helpful to talk to other people who are either going through a similar situation or who have been there before you. If you’re in the Colorado area, here are some groups to look into:

Nar-Anon Family Groups – A 12-step program for families and friends of addicts

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones – Helping parent’s, families and spouses find support

How to Talk to Your Adult Child about Addiction

A concerned father reaches out to his adult son who is struggling with addiction to alcohol.
When reaching out to your adult child about a suspected addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s important to express your concern without lecturing and to prepare for a potentially negative response.

Before you confront a loved one about a drinking or drug problem, you need to understand the role you play in the recovery process. The first thing you need to accept? You cannot control or cure your adult child’s addiction, as much as you’d like to do exactly that. Here’s what you can do:

1. Approach the conversation with sympathy and tact:

For starters, you need to remember that you aren’t speaking to a child anymore. Your son or daughter is an adult, and the tone of your conversation should reflect this. Here are some talking points to help frame your conversation:

  • You are genuinely concerned for your adult child’s physical health and safety
  • You value your relationship and want to preserve it
  • You have observed alarming trends related to drinking or drug use
  • You aren’t passing judgement on their behavior
  • You want to understand the underlying cause of the substance use

2. Choose the right time and place:

This is a sensitive topic, so don’t bring it up on a whim or in an awkward location. Here are a few suggestions that could make sense for you and your loved one:

  • Wait for a time when your adult child is least likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Find a neutral environment where both parties feel comfortable
  • Consider a public park with plenty of space for privacy or a private setting behind closed doors

3. Try to offer a dialogue, not a lecture:

If your adult child really is addicted to drugs or alcohol, don’t be surprised if you receive a defensive or combative response to your concerns. Denial is a common stage of the addiction grieving process. Resist the urge to tell your loved one what to do, offering your suggestions and support instead.

What to do if Your Conversation Takes a Negative Turn

Before you go into this conversation, set realistic expectations for your child’s reaction. Sure, it’s possible that talking to your adult child about drinking or drug use could spur the recovery process. While possible, this outcome is extremely unlikely – at least initially. For that reason, be prepared for your loved one to become defensive, argumentative or even angry. And, if that happens, it’s time to calmly end the conversation by letting your child know you love them and that you are always here to support them. Now is not the time to argue. 

The Raleigh House is Here to Help You and Your Loved One

If someone you care about is struggling with addiction, don’t wait to get help. We offer comprehensive addiction rehab in Colorado that focuses on treating the person as a whole – not just a set of symptoms. Our drug treatment program combines nutrition and exercise with both group and individual counseling led by master’s-level addiction therapists. Fill out our form, or call today.

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