Having adult children can be both a joy and a burden. What happens if your adult child is headed down a dangerous path? Do you feel like it is no longer your place to say anything? Do you fear you’re overreacting and may push him away? Our grown-up children may be adults, but they sometimes still need our support and intervention. If you think your adult son is drinking to excess, you should step in and say something. Offer to help and provide information to back up your concerns.
Addicts and alcoholics frequently believe that they are not hurting anyone but themselves. This is far from the truth. While addicts and alcoholics are abusing substances to avoid feeling their feelings, family members and close friends are experiencing a world of hurt and pain. Every day they watch their loved one slip further and further away from them and deteriorate before their eyes.
Often, the addicted person has little self-awareness. This is traditionally called denial. There are many reasons for denial, but the most essential reason for denying there is a problem in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is this: if the addict admits they have a problem, they may have to stop the behavior. The last thing an addict wants is to give up their drug of choice. It can give them a feeling of utter terror to imagine life without their “substance,” whether that be alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors.
What can you do to help such a person?
The first step is not to enable the addicted person. If you have been making it easier for them to partake in their addiction, stop. This means that you:
- Refuse to serve as an alibi or excuse for missing work, school, or other obligations
- Refuse to call in sick for them or otherwise be a “front” when they are suffering the aftereffects of a binge
- Do not adjust your schedule, obligations, or work to accomodate them when they are impacted by the consequences of their addiction
- Do not cover up for them in any way
- Start taking care of your own issues that have come from being involved with an addict: Al-Anon, therapy, or some other way to reach out and get help, and let them know why you are doing it
Have you considered a professional intervention?
If you are frustrated, worn-out, or just plain have too much anxiety about confronting the addicted person, you might consider hiring a professional addiction intervention specialist.