What To Do When a Loved One is an Addict

The following is an excerpt of a piece written by a New Life House Recovery Community Mother.
To find more ways to help yourself or a loved one, or read the full version, please visit: NewLifeHouse.com/zcode.

“Once you see addiction you can no longer un-see it, as much as you might like to go on denying and hoping it wasn’t there or possibly not that bad. Don’t be fooled. Know where and when to get help. Don’t do it alone. You will want to isolate to keep it hush. This is natural. We want to protect our kids. We can handle this in-house, you say.

When I first realized my son was using heroin, the sheer panic that I felt was something I had never felt before. I’ll give you some examples of what I did to try to help my son with his drug abuse.

First, I scoured the internet for everything I could find out about heroin use and/or every other drug. Then I searched for the signs to look for, ways to treat, and treatment centers.

Then the feelings of anger and sadness, guilt and disbelief and fear welled up in me. My fear was overwhelming. The fear made me crazy. Things got worse. Not to mention, the first rehab and then the second (because 30 days is not enough time for anyone to get well) but that’s where we all start.

You may have heard the term enabling and possibly the term co-dependency. Has anyone suggested you go to an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting? I had heard of these but wasn’t convinced I needed them at first, because who has the time?!

We’ve all heard about letting someone hit their bottom. But how do you do that as a mother, as a parent, when it’s your job to protect your kids and keep them safe?

Step One: I needed to admit I was powerless over the addict – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Here’s some Dos and Don’ts while I am at it:
Do encourage attempts to seek help
Do remember the good in others and yourself
Do allow other people to accept their own responsibilities
Don’t forget addiction is an illness, not a moral issue
Don’t overprotect, cover up, or rescue from the consequences
Don’t underestimate the importance of release with love

I’m pleased to report that my son Adam, through many tries at sobriety, became successful through a wonderful wilderness program and New Life House and has remained sober for about two years! He has worked incredibly hard and has had enormous amounts of help, structure, and caring instruction on how to live his new sober life, for which I am so grateful.”


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