Finding help for your son
As a parent, you only want the best for your son. Discovering he is an addict is a fevered nightmare that has become a ghastly truth. Fear fills your waking hours, as you are terrified your son may become another awful statistic.
A parent should never feel helpless but you find yourself in a situation you are unable to control and you begin questioning your abilities as a protector. You want to tell your son to stop but you don’t wont to resort to nagging as this will only result in further alienation.
Why is he like this?
You have taught him well and from a young age instilled in him decent values so why doesn’t he simply stop? Addicts often lie, especially to themselves. They manufacture false truths endlessly repeating it until the denial is almost impenetrable. Your son has probably convinced himself he ‘has it under control’, ‘he can stop anytime’ and ‘it’s not a problem.’ You try to convince him otherwise but he refuses to listen. This will burden you with guilt.
You have used every weapon in a parent’s arsenal; nagging, begging, cajoling, pleading, bribes, threats, demands and even ultimatums but your son remains loyal to his addiction. It is completely understandable why you would resort to all or any of these tactics but unless your son actively wants to seek the help they will be frustratingly unsuccessful.
Is it a phase?
An often-used phrase parents rely upon to explain irreverent or awkward behaviour is ‘its just a phase he’s going through.’ Addiction is not a phase and to imply otherwise is an attempt to convince yourself and perhaps others that your son could be in a far worse predicament. You have even convinced yourself that in time he will be able to break the habit all by himself. This is called ‘minimizing the situation’ and is part of the destructive enabling process.
The wave of addiction is larger than you may suspect and can quite easily engulf all those closest to your son. Anyone who consents to your son’s addiction motivated pleas is an enabler. It is very easy for anyone including a parent to fall into this trap. Where’s the harm in lying for him or giving him a little bit of money? The harm is immense because it prolongs the longevity of the addiction. Your son may have manipulated you into becoming an enabler but remember the disease of addiction combined with the drug of choice has manipulated your son into thinking he cannot function without it.
As well as the associated health risks of addiction your son may also suffer from sexual dysfunction. This could include testicular atrophy, breast enlargement due to the alcohol or drugs interfering with the levels of testosterone and estrogen in his system and even impotence. The consequences could be devastating for your son’s self-esteem and psyche.
What do I do if he is willing to get help?
Once your son has accepted help it will be a matter of finding the right rehabilitation programme, one that best suits your son’s specific needs and addiction. You may ask yourself ” Does Rehab work?” The aims are for your son to physically and mentally break from the addiction by addressing any underlying psychological concerns as well as learning the skills required for a life of stability and sobriety. He may be reluctant to commit to taking time off work but he needs to put his recovery first. Please click to see how long rehab takes.
As well as your son, you and your family can also benefit from therapy. Addiction creates change, especially within the family dynamic. Learning new and healthy ways to interact with one another is a foundation you can all build on.
Addiction will have changed your son while rehabilitation will help to restore all his positive qualities. You may not recognize your son as the person he was before the onslaught of addiction because that person doesn’t exist anymore. You will need to spend time getting to know your son again, away from the influence of drugs and alcohol that had kept him prisoner for so long.