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Letting go of an Adult Child with Addiction

April 1, 2010 in drug rehab

Cable car let goParents being held hostage by adult children with addiction is not an uncommon condition. It isn’t easy to say no to a daughter or son, regardless of their age. Hearing threats like they will kill themselves if you don’t give them money to support their drug addiction, or that they will starve themselves, or even worse, they will threaten to live out on the streets or become prostitutes. Yet, all the money parents dole out will do no good whatsoever, no matter how you wish things were different. Financial support only enables the adult child to further their substance abuse. They will continue to abuse drugs and alcohol as long as the support is there. All a parent is really accomplishing by continuing to succumb to their adult child’s threats is continuing the sickness, the illness and making it grow.


Letting go of an adult child is the toughest thing a parent can do, but if letting go isn’t done, the substance abuse cycle continues. Wishing that things could be different is not dealing with the reality of the problem. A complete change in thinking is what necessary for the parent to save their adult child, and a change in the parents thinking will also force the adult child to change, but how they change is unpredictable, but eventually, they will change. Change in thinking is where the hard part comes in; parents need to understand the cold fact that they have to cut their adult children off until they are clean and sober for at least a year, maybe longer. Parents need to cut off all ties, all financial support or even go so far as turning them into the authorities if they are using illegal drugs.

No one said letting go was easy. Again, it’s the only way the adult child has a chance to become healthy and happy again. It’s the only way they’ll have a chance to become clean and sober. It’s a rough road, but a necessary road. What parent doesn’t want ‘true’ happiness for their children? All parents do, but they need to understand that supporting an addiction will not create any form of happiness for any child, at anytime, anywhere. Period.

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1 response to Letting go of an Adult Child with Addiction

  1. my 35 year old daughter is in rehab for alchol and prescription drug use. she is married and has an 18 month old daughter. she will be released from rehab after 14 days. she has had this problem for several years but has managed to hide and deny it and function without others being aware of it.

    her mother and i love her very much be can’t take it anymore. what should we do

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