It is painful for any parent to watch their adult child spiral out of control with their addiction. Unfortunately, many parents do not speak up—the truth is that your adult children need to hear from you.
It is normal to feel that it is not your place to say anything. They are adults and can make their own decisions. Yet, they must know you are aware of what is going on, that they are not alone, and that there is help available to them.
Things to be Mindful of When Having the Conversation
When you initiate a conversation, there are some things to keep in mind, for instance:
- Drug and alcohol addiction is difficult to stop without professional help. Addiction is not a moral failing or a lack of willpower. Everyone’s reason for choosing to use drugs or alcohol is different. Your only focus is getting them help.
- When speaking to them, tell them precisely what you see and how their actions and choices affect you and your life.
- Do not be judgmental, yet be concerned and caring—this is about starting a two-way conversation with an adult. Allow them to speak their mind without any judgment or condemnation.
- Do not go into the conversation thinking it will go one way—manage expectations. It is not an easy conversation to have. Recovering from addiction takes time.
Do Not Deviate from the Core Message
Choose a key message you want to convey to them during this conversation. For example, there is help available when you need it, or you are loved and can come to use it whenever you need to. There are many circumstances where there is a family history of addiction, and you may want to share a personal story to help relate.
Overall, the conversation should be neutral in a comfortable environment. In addition, it is important to leave the conversation the same way it was entered, with a loving and caring approach.
It is okay if it does not go perfectly, yet you can end it on a hopeful note. Remind them of your love and concern for their well-being if they become angry or frustrated.