Parenting Your Child Struggling With an Addiction

When you first discover that your child is addicted to drugs, your heart breaks and your stomach churns. What is happening, what did we do wrong?

Our reaction is very personal. As parents, we take immediate ownership of this situation. We refuse to see this problem as it is– an addiction. We make excuses, we develop stories, and of course, we make plans to immediately correct this problem; all in an effort to control the situation. We look for someone to blame. Little do we know that this is an issue unlike anything we have ever experienced.

Addiction is not accepted as an illness for many uneducated about this disease. For too many people, addiction is stigmatized as a weakness of character. As parents of an addict not exposed to addiction, we carry that stigma along with the guilt of our own questionable parenting skills. We cling to the belief that if our child would only make a choice not to use again, then this nightmare would end and everything could be normal again.

Parenting an addict should not be done alone. Addiction is a disease that touches all of those around someone struggling with drugs or alcohol.

As parents, we hid what was going on with our son and wallowed in self pity. We searched the internet for solutions and read books and articles. No matter how many times we searched and tried to help, nothing seemed to work. Our son continued to use and we experienced more stress and more shame.

Finally in desperation, we visited a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. As parents, we stumble, we hedge, we mutter, “my son uses drugs.”


What makes it so hard to say? What makes it so hard to admit? As long as addiction carries a stigma of shame, the healing for this disease will not begin for neither the addict nor the loved one of the addict.

My son is an addict. This statement is freedom, but it is not actually free. This statement comes with tears, heartache and realization that my son is afflicted by a disease with no cure.

By opening your life to others, you allow others to help you and your child. I have found that people will continue to love you even when you are able to open yourself up for help. In fact, by opening up, I have found wonderful friends struggling with the same issue. Without the support of my family and friends, I know we would not be in the position we are in today with our son.

The fact is, if we as individuals and even as a nation continue to treat addiction as our “dirty little secret” and not recognize it as what it truly is, then we will forever struggle to provide the treatment someone struggling with addiction really needs for his or her disease.

My name is Ron and my son is an addict.

Help Your Child Through Someone Else

If your child hears the same information you’re trying to give to him from someone of authority other than you, he may be more inclined to listen.

clip art of teacher nurse and cop