An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

How would you react or how did you react, when finding out your child had an addiction?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by pineywood, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    This is a tough situation and will not only test the bonds between parent and child, but the strength between spouses or significant others. I am not sure you could understand this situation, until you go through it (and I hope you never have to). Yet, to have some guideline and rules in place, so everyone involved understand the consequences will help. So many people, think it will never happen to them. When you find out, your child is an addict, I think this is one of the first reactions. No! My child would never experiment with drugs or alcohol, much less become addicted. I know that was my first thought! Then came the sadness, then the guilt, then the blame and these emotions cycled all over again. Eventually, you reach the point of acceptance that "everyone" involved needs to take responsibly. It is taking that step into becoming proactive vs reactive. Believe me, I know this is much easier to say or even understand compared to acting upon. I was not even sure I would share my personal experience on the forum. I have so many other relations and friend dealing with addiction, it is easier for me to talk about it by distancing myself a little bit from the situation. But part of healing, is acceptance.

    Wondering, if anyone feels comfortable sharing their first emotional reactions and how you dealt with it or are dealing with it?
  2. Johnsnow123

    Johnsnow123 Active Contributor

    I don't have a child but me and my girlfriend are looking to try for one soon, once we're married. By experiences that I've gone through with my addiction, I would be absolutely crushed if I found out my future child was addicted. It's so hard and the main cause of it is depression. I wouldn't want them to go through the same thing that I've gone through so I would help them in anyway and be there for them whenever they need a helping hand. My depression arose because I felt like my biological mother was treating me lie I was unwanted and I was useless, so I would always be there for my future child. I have always wondered the question, what if my future child had the same childhood as I had? It makes me sad all the time.
    pineywood likes this.
  3. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    I think to myself of course I would be heartbroken, but I would be doing everything I possibly could to help my child through the struggles of beating the addiction. It's times like that when you realize the sheer importance of family, of loved ones that will stick by you through the good, the bad, and the very bad in some instances. They'd need as much support as possible.
    pineywood likes this.
  4. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    I would like to add, that I do not doubt that, as a parent, we would all want to help. But I think when this situation occurs, what is the best avenue to help? Even if you are not a parent yet, we can all relate to being a teen and the resentment that comes along with a growing mind and body still trying to find their identity.

    It can feel like telling that two year old child, I am not allowing you to have that cookie before dinner because I am mean, but because I care about your health. It is better to eat your fruits and veggies first. But what happens when one parent says its okay to eat their cookie first and the other says no. I suppose, dealing with an child that has an addiction is similar to any other situation a parent deals with, when it comes to a difference in parenting styles, but in this scenario, you are dealing with a life or death situation and emotions run high.

    Here is my question, how long would it take for you to slowly give your child their freedom back?
  5. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I do not have a child yet but if ever that happened which I hardly wish will not, I will be shocked. It most probably be mix of emotions like being angry, sad and worry. I will definitely do all the things I can to make him stop the addiction.
    pineywood likes this.
  6. Faithfulmarie

    Faithfulmarie Member

    When I discovered a loved one had started smoking marijuana, I went through all those emotions, the strongest one was guilt. I felt that I must have been a failure as a parent. We had always spoken of dangers of drugs, I never thought that I would have to deal with that. Interestingly, he later said to me that although we had spoken about not doing drugs I had never explained to him "why he shouldn't do drugs".
  7. unique

    unique Member

    If I found out my son was an addict I would too feel that way you feel, denial, then frustrated, then sad and then blaming myself. But you have to be strong for the both of you and figure out a way that both of you together can fight this addiction. Whether it spending more time with him, joining a gym together, making sure you are listening to him and watch out for the signs of a cry for help because you never know what influenced him whether it is peer pressure, wrong choice of friends, depression, unbalanced home or etc. Do not give up and see a specialist and ask for help. Best of luck.
  8. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Much like a majority of the posters here I think that I would feel sad and guilty. I would feel that I didn't do a proper job as a parent, didn't supervise enough, didn't know what was going on in my child's life, and should have done a better job. It happens, it does not mean that you're always a "bad parent" but you can't help feeling like that when your child is addicted and you're trying to figure out where it all "went wrong".
  9. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Oh, I could never give up on my child. I do not understand how anyone could turn their back on their own child (no matter the age). When I speak of addiction, I believe once an addict always an addict and I have thought about this intensively and extensively. My child is no longer a user, but will forever remain an addict. It is not that I am promoting a label, it is just a fact.

    Your recommendation of a specialist is a good one. The thing is this child was already in therapy before the addiction began. It was a matter of finding another. Nor was it a matter of not spending enough quality time with the child. It was/is a complicated situation, as it is in every case, I am sure.

    Thanks for the replies everyone!
    Just want to say that the legalities of this situation have been resolved after several months.
    I think, I can breathe again.
    unique likes this.
  10. unique

    unique Member

    May I ask, what were your steps to help your son recover? If you do not mind me asking, I just think this would be very helpful for those who may need a little guidance. And I applaud you for being a very strong parent.
  11. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Yes, I will share the steps to recovery, but not tonight. I do thank you for your applause on being a strong parent. I think it was/is a combination of my husband and I, along with other family members. As most of you here on the forum already know, drugs and alcohol affect more then the user. At the same time, it the individual in recovery that truly deserves the applause. It is such a serious situation that should not be taken lightly. It really forever changes a person. Tonight, I just give thanks. I think, I am still in a little bit of shock (in a good way). By the way, I never said it was my son.
    unique likes this.
  12. unique

    unique Member

    Sorry, about that I guess because I have one child which is a boy. I guess I was putting myself in your situation and said son as I was typing.
  13. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    You never know how you will react when confronted with most situations, but I do believe in my case I would be hurt and perhaps disappointed in both of us. I have had such a close relationship with my son, I feel like he would be the kind to tell me right off the top. I think being here has taught me that were it ever to happen that he got involved in excessive drugs or alcohol, I should address the matter sensibly. I also know that some things are easier said than done.

    Pineywood and I truly happy that you are able to breathe again, and I wish you and all involved much success.
    pineywood likes this.
  14. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    lol It's okay. Just letting your know about not being my son.

    I do agree about how this forum is helpful to put more issues into perspective. Sensibility vs emotional reaction is always the best route. As you say, easier said compared to the actions. Of course, I am not implying a lack of emotion. Thanks for the well wishes.
  15. DCMY

    DCMY Member

    You have to be understanding and realize that you as a parent, have to act very carefully. If it happened to me I'd make sure my kid felt safe and knew I'll help as much as I can but also never think about that substance again.
  16. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    I am curious, what you mean by, "I'll help as much as I can but also never think about that substance again"? Do you mean that you would never address the drug again with your child? Although, I do understand the importance of moving on.
  17. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    If my child was an addict, I would have to react to it carefully and respond carefully. I would hope that I would be able to give my child an environment where they would not have to hide things like this from me and where they would feel comfortable coming to me when they had problems such as these. I would make sure they know that I am there for them no matter what, and that I would be there to help them get through this and get the necessary help that they need to get on the right path to recovery.
  18. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Should parents learn from a third party that their offspring has being doing drugs, first thing they'll do is embrace denial

    "My little boy/girl can't . . . we've raised him/her right."

    I remember my mother's reaction when she learned that my brother was doing drugs. She just slumped into a chair and cried for over an hour. Then the next day she tried to talk to him.

    I suppose most parents will blame themselves for this. They'd think that had they noticed earlier then maybe they could have helped their child before the addiction became a problem. It never is that simple though.
  19. baker19

    baker19 Member

    As a mother of an addict one month shy of his 22nd birthday , the emotions of learning your child is using a highly addictive drug and seeing the changes the drug causes is indescribable. It's a roller-coaster ride of disbelief, hurt, disappointment, self-blame, hate, frustration, defeat, and overwhelming fear. The fear of what will happen when he's high and wreck less, the fear of suicide when he comes down and depression sits in, the fear of what illegal activity he may be doing to get money to get high again - a never ending cycle of fear! It grabs you and takes hold consuming every second of your life. You will never know or completely understand until you live it.
  20. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Sorry to hear that you, too, understand the roller-coaster ride of emotions. I could go into detail of every emotion you list, but it is not necessary. It's pretty self-explanatory. There is not much that I can add to your comment, but I wanted to acknowledge you and thank you for sharing. At the very least, I just want you to know that I feel your pain, as a parent, and hope for the very best for you, your family, and your son.