It can be painful to watch—and difficult to accept—that the person you nurtured from birth to adulthood seems on course for self-destruction from alcohol or other drug addiction. You may feel it's not your place to say anything. After all, your child is grown up and can make his or her own decisions. The truth is that your adult children facing addiction need to hear from you. They need to know you're aware of what's going on, that they are not alone, and that there is help.
If addiction runs in your family, or you suspect your adult child may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, the following steps can assist you in getting that difficult first conversation about the disease started.
Here are some things to keep in the back of your mind as you talk with your grown child:
Oftentimes when chemicals and emotions are involved, conversations can have a way of getting off track. Choose a few key messages you'd like to convey and repeat them often. These messages could include:
These types of conversations need to come about in a neutral, unhurried environment.
Not all conversations will go perfectly, but they can end on a hopeful note. Even if your adult child gets angry, remind him or her of your love and concern and reiterate your willingness to be there when he or she is ready.
If you think your adult child may be addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is help available. For more information on treatment or other options, contact the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation anytime at 1-877-915-4121 or hazeldenbettyford.org.