My Son Is an Addict—What Do I Do?

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My son is an addict.” If you’re facing this reality, you may worry about getting a call saying he’s in the hospital, has been arrested, or worse.

We created this guide to help you. You’ll learn how to tackle your son’s drug or alcohol addiction together. There’s hope, and with effort, he can overcome this. But sometimes, it might not work out, so keep in mind that it’s not your fault – we also provide guidance on how to cope with that.

If you need same-day rehab admission for your son, call 877-679-2132.

How To Tell if Someone Is an Addict: 4 Signs of Addiction

Recognizing addiction can be challenging, but some signs can help you identify if your son is struggling.

1) Inability to control use

An addict often finds it hard to stop using drugs or alcohol. Even if they want to quit or cut down, they can’t seem to control their use. This might mean they say they’ll stop but keep using drugs or alcohol, or they might try to quit and fail multiple times. Their life may start revolving around getting and using the substance.

2) Using more drink or drugs than before

Over time, an addict will need more drugs or alcohol to feel the same effects they used to get with smaller amounts. This is called tolerance. You might notice your son drinking more or using higher doses of drugs. This increase can happen quickly and is a clear sign of addiction.

3) Withdrawal symptoms

When someone is addicted, their body gets used to the substance. If they try to stop or reduce their use, they might experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include feeling sick, anxious, shaky, or irritable. They might also have trouble sleeping or experience physical pain. Withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and is often a reason why addicts keep using drugs or alcohol.

4) Physical or mental health issues

Addiction affects both the body and mind. Physically, your son might lose weight, look tired all the time, or have frequent illnesses. Mentally, he might become depressed, anxious, or have mood swings. These changes can affect his performance at school or work, and strain relationships with family and friends.

If you notice these signs in your son, seek help. Addiction is a chronic condition, but with the right support, recovery is possible. Reach out to professionals, and support groups, and use the resources available to you. Remember, you are not alone in this journey.

What to Do If Your Son Is an Addict

Finding out your son is an addict can be heartbreaking and overwhelming. Here are some steps to take:

  • Educate yourself: Learn about addiction. Understanding how it works can help you support your son better. Read books, visit websites, and talk to professionals for accurate information. Knowing the signs, stages, and effects of addiction can make you more prepared to help your son.
  • Seek professional help: Reach out to doctors, counselors, or addiction specialists. They can provide treatment options and support. Rehab programs, therapy, and support groups can be very effective. Look for local resources and explore different treatment options to find the best fit for your son.
  • Offer your support: Let your son know you are there for him. Show love and understanding, but also set boundaries – support him without enabling his addiction. Encourage healthy behaviors and praise small victories. Stay positive and patient.
  • Take care of yourself: Supporting an addict is stressful. Make sure you also take care of your own physical and mental health. Join support groups for families of addicts, and don’t be afraid to seek counseling for yourself. Practice self-care and take breaks when needed. Remember, you can’t help your son if you are not well yourself.
  • Create a plan: Work with professionals to create a treatment plan for your son. This might include detox, rehab, therapy, and ongoing support. Having a clear plan can help both you and your son feel more in control. Set realistic goals and celebrate progress, no matter how small.
  • Set boundaries: Set clear boundaries with your son. This might mean not giving him money if he’s going to use it for drugs or alcohol, or not letting him live at home if he’s not following the rules. Boundaries help protect you and other family members from the chaos of addiction.
mother talking to son depicting the question is my son an addict

How to Confront Someone About Their Addiction

Talking to your son about his addiction can be very difficult. Here are some tips to help you approach the conversation.

Choose the right time

Find a calm, private moment to talk. Make sure your son is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A quiet and relaxed environment can make the conversation easier. Avoid times when he is stressed or angry.

Be honest and direct

Speak openly about your concerns. Use “I” statements, like “I am worried about your health,” to avoid sounding accusatory. Be clear and specific about what you’ve noticed. Explain how his behavior is affecting you and others.

Stay calm and compassionate

Approach the conversation with empathy. Avoid yelling or blaming. Show that you care and are there to support him, not to judge. Keep your emotions in check and focus on expressing concern and love.

Listen to him

Give your son a chance to talk. Listen without interrupting. Understanding his perspective can help you support him better. He may share things you didn’t know, and this information can be crucial in helping him.

Offer solutions, not ultimatums

Suggest ways to get help, like seeing a counselor or joining a support group. Offer to help him find resources and make appointments. Avoid giving ultimatums that could push him away. Be prepared with information about treatment options and offer to go with him to appointments.

Be prepared for resistance

Your son might deny his addiction or react negatively. Stay patient and don’t give up. It may take several conversations before he is ready to accept help. Be persistent but gentle. Sometimes, hearing the same message from multiple people can make a difference.

Follow up

Keep the lines of communication open. Continue to offer support and check in regularly. Let him know you are there for him, no matter what. Show consistent care and concern, and remind him he is not alone.

Involve other loved ones

Sometimes, it can help to have other family members or friends involved in the conversation. A united front can show your son that many people care about him and are concerned about his well-being. However, ensure that everyone involved approaches the situation with empathy and understanding.

3 Resources to Help Combat Addiction

If your son is struggling with addiction, here are three resources that can help.

1) Detox centers

Detox centers are facilities where your son can safely withdraw from drugs or alcohol under medical supervision. These centers help manage withdrawal symptoms and provide a stable environment for the first stage of recovery before entering a longer-term treatment program.

2) Rehab programs

Rehab programs offer a variety of treatments to help your son recover from addiction, such as:

  • MAT: MAT (medication-assisted treatment) uses medications to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, often combined with counseling.
  • Talk therapy: Helps your son understand the root causes of his addiction and develop coping strategies. This can include individual therapy, group therapy, or family therapy.
  • Counseling: Provides ongoing support and guidance. A counselor can help your son set goals, stay motivated, and navigate challenges during recovery.

Rehab programs can be inpatient (where your son stays at the facility) or outpatient (where he visits regularly but lives at home).

3) Support groups

Support groups bring together people who are going through similar struggles with addiction. They provide a sense of community and shared understanding. Popular support groups include:

  • AA: AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is a 12-step program for people recovering from alcohol addiction.
  • NA: NA (Narcotics Anonymous) is a similar program for people recovering from drug addiction.
  • SMART Recovery: Focuses on self-empowerment and teaches practical skills for maintaining sobriety.

Support groups can be a great source of encouragement and accountability for your son. They also offer support for family members through groups like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.

Helping your son overcome addiction is challenging, but with the right resources and support, recovery is possible. Use these resources to guide your son to a healthier, happier life.

Call our friendly recovery team for help finding an effective, insurance-covered rehab at (877) 679-2132.

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Get Addiction Help for Your Loved One at Ohio Recovery Centers

We can help your addicted loved one at Ohio Recovery Centers at our rehab center in Cincinnati, OH.

Your son can begin his recovery with our alcohol detox program. He can access medications and continuous care to help him withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably.

The outpatient nature of treatment at Ohio Recovery Centers means your son can stay connected to his everyday life while dealing with alcohol addiction during weekday sessions. If he needs more support, we also offer more intensive outpatient programs.

Due to the unique nature of all addictions, your son can access personalized treatments that include medications, talk therapy, counseling, family therapy, and holistic treatments. All our treatment programs also include aftercare to help your son stay sober.

To begin your son’s journey to recovery, call our expert team today at 877-679-2132.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn