helping someone with a parental addiction

Intervening: Parental Addiction

For all of our lives, we think of our parents as our protectors.  They are, ideally, our greatest support system and the people that we feel will always love us no matter what.  But what happens when the people who you feel closest to, and who you feel the most dependent on, show signs of needing your help?  The role reversal of having to intervene in a parent’s destructive behavior can be the most difficult invention to have of all.  Not only must you shed certain ideas of your parents as your greatest role models, a very difficult thing to come to terms with, but you must also have to deal with the tricky power dynamics in telling someone who is so clearly your elder what to do.  Talking about how to deal with this difficult situation is necessary for a successful intervention, and we hope that we can help you conduct a positive and productive intervention for your parent.


Just as with any intervention, your parent must know that you are coming from a place of complete love, not judgment.  This can be difficult, as the prospect of having to take care of your parents when you feel like they should be taking care of you feels like you may be being cheated out of having a stable parent of your own.  However, in these cases you must realize that their health and well-being is more important than your frustrations.  You cannot judge them for their habits, and you must make it clear that you only want to do what is best for them.


Hopefully if you are at a point in your life at which you may have to engage in uncomfortable conversations regarding the habits of your parent, you are at least an adult. Adult interactions with parents are difficult.  The power dynamic is no longer very clear, as you are no longer a child.  So is it really right for you to tell your parent what to do?  And how will they respond if you do?  It can be difficult at first to assert your right to tell your parent what to do, but over time they will understand that you only want the best for them and you have no intention of judging them, and overall, you are not criticizing their role as your parent.  You can acknowledge feelings that you may have/do have about how their actions have hurt or affected you, but getting angry at them for not being the best possible parent they can be is counterproductive.  Believing that your parent always wants the best for you is very important in having a successful intervention not only for them, but for you as well.

Realizing that your parent may have a drug abuse issue is a very hard realization to come to, and the decision to intervene isn’t easy.  It’s up to you to judge how severe the situation is and what you want to do about it, but you shouldn’t have to go it alone.  Florida Recovery Group understands how tricky interventions can be, especially when they’re with people you are extremely close with, and potentially dependent on.  So let us, help you, help them.