The Language of Drug Addiction is Often Negative

kid depressed addiction

The language of drug addiction is laced with many terms that seem to be designed to scare everyone. Many words and descriptors of addiction make me cringe: “hitting rock bottom,” is a term I have written about before. Another term that I have recently been exploring and considering is “Tough Love.”

Tough Love is harsh. For a parent to do what is necessary isn’t “tough love” it is REAL LOVE. Real love is letting your child sit in jail (protective custody) when for only a few dollars you could get him out and spare him from the confines of jail. (Only to find them using again within two hours.) Real love is telling your child he cannot live in your home as he continue to use drugs. Real love is when you see your addict hungry, dirty and homeless, and you buy him a meal, give him information of people who can help and encourage him to seek help and not offering to “fix it” for him. Real love is selfishly taking the time to work on yourself so that when your addict has a “profound experience” you ARE able to help in the right way instead of just falling back on old habits of enabling.

Addiction is a disease. When we see a parent sitting bedside of a child with cancer taking chemotherapy, holding his hand, wiping his head, combing his hair as is falls out, holding the pan as he gets sick, we admire that parent and comment how much they must love their child to be by his side. That parent doesn’t love their child any more than you or I. That parent is only doing what they can and must to help their child get better; just like we are doing when we practice tough love real love.

Real Love is why you are here reading these essays written by parents and professionals who have walked this path before you.

Tough love is easy, throw them out and leave them to the world.

What words in the world of addiction make you angry? Share with us below.

Related Links

Moving Away From Enabling

How a Child’s Own Reasons for Change Lead to the Most Success

Losing Your Mind Doesn’t Help Anyone

14 Responses

Leave your Response
    User Picture

    John S. Dittmann, Paramedic, Researcher, Advocate, Survivors Council Member

    August 4, 2018 at 11:13 AM

    The idea of “tough love” has been shown to be not only dangerous, but potentially deadly; however, because our society refuses to give up the antiquated abstinence only thinking, despite overwhelming evidence, they continue to persist. Something many people might not realize, withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can result in death. “Letting your child sit in jail” is like playing Russian Roulette; is that true love? Additionally, research has shown unequivocally that the risk of drug overdose is highest for persons immediately released from detention facilities!
    As parents you may not want to accept the fact that over 75% of people with substance use disorder are victims of some sort of trauma, frequently in the form of stress or neglect in early childhood. Many of them have issues with abandonment. You can say “this is not my child” but do you know what is going on in your child’s head; do you know what they have seen, done, or experienced? Do you know the number of children with substance use disorder that turn to sex work; do you think they will give up because you don’t help them?
    There is a little idea called Harm Reduction; the goal of harm reduction practitioners is not to change someones life, it’t to save it. You can’t do anything for your child if they are dead!
    PLEASE, look at the evidence, take time to go beyond the advertisements designed to look like research. Find out what is working and what isn’t; find out what has the highest success rate, and what has the highest failures. For your kids sake!

    User Picture


    December 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Hello ,I just do not understand why no one talks about: Every situation is different in every addict . The talks on support vs enabling us not clear defined. We and I know enabling -I see no talks on least trying 1 doctor visit only..Not everyone ..Why is there no talks on this issue. I learn not to give money for addiction or a car and etc. I think , Why is every situation not addressed or talked about.I started NAR N NON and no one has helped me cope or share ideas..There is no one the same , On years abuse ,the professional the non , educated or non .I am struggling as their situation is different from my addicts .I hoping someone can write me to explain and help-I feel out od place and may not go back. They all have detached cause it has been going on for 10 years or more.Where my addict started 14 months ago and not in rehab..Has job to come back to for now.She is a professional but yet I hearing failures vs alternatives of what if..Working on myself -Yes I am and I never enabled. I do not feel like getting her to first doctor appt after this is enabling if they have no car.Just very confused wit all this..

    User Picture

    John Williams

    December 29, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Among the relatives parents play an important role in the recovery of the addicted person. Drug addiction is recoverable. The introduction of rehabilitation centers had become a new hope for the loved ones of the addicted. The increased usage of drugs and alcohol has shattered many people’s family relation. This must be controlled and strict actions must be taken against this.

    User Picture

    Ron Grover

    November 11, 2011 at 3:57 PM


    I like CLEAR AND SOBER. I have already used it in a sentence and in a discussion.

    Ron Grover

Leave a Comment

Please leave a comment below to contribute to the discussion. If you have a specific question, please contact a Parent Specialist, who will provide you with one-on-one help.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *