Denial About Addiction

Although teen addiction to drugs and alcohol is on the rise, adults are still the leading abusers of these substances. For parents of adult addicts, waiting for the son or daughter to admit his or her addiction can be extremely stressful or depressing. Although parents cannot force a child into recovery, there are a few things that can be done to nudge an addict in that direction away from their denial about addiction.

What Can Be Done On Denial About Addiction

Don’t nag.

Warning someone over and over about the dangers of addiction and denial about addiction is not going to make an impression. In fact, nagging usually just annoys addicts. They will avoid the person who loves them most because they don’t want to keep hearing about their failure as addicts. Some addicts place themselves squarely at risk from driving under the influence, depression and suicide, or criminal activity related to substance abuse. Those would be the most effective times to use tough love to confront a son or daughter, or to stage a family intervention. Another option is to consult a substance addiction professional for advice, especially if you believe that life-threatening action is imminent.

Be positive.

When an addict is functional, or if he or she opens up about the addiction, it is important to be positive when possible. Be a good listener, offer advice if asked, and continue to express love and support for the addict. Although the person may fail recovery time and again, knowing that he or she has a parent’s love despite being an addict is important.

Offer support.

This requires drawing a fine line. In fact, parents may need to speak with an addict specialist about the best way to be supportive of an adult child addict. On one hand, it is helpful to support an adult child going through detox and rehab. This can be done by encouraging words, hugs, visits if the person is a program resident, and temporary housing or monetary support until the recovering addict gets a job. But parents should not offer continual support to an addict who is not trying to recover, as this will only enable the addiction to continue.

Pray or be patient.

Spiritual people find comfort in prayer and sharing their anxiety with friends. Others remind themselves to be patient. A calm mental attitude can make the waiting period more bearable.

Watching adult children struggle with denial about addiction is hard. Providing appropriate support can have a positive impact for success.

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