My child is an addict, what should I do?

Now that you know that your child is an addict, what do you do? Basic 1-2-3 guide for getting help for a child addict and what you should do here.

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Professional addiction help is necessary

If you are reading this you are probably looking for help right now for your addicted child. My first suggestion is to throw away any pride or shame that you might be feeling because your child is an addict, and the idea that it might somehow be your fault.

Think about if that same child of yours is sick and needs a doctor. Would you keep it a secret and not pursue help? Of course you wouldn’t, so don’t worry about being embarrassed to seek help in this case either. The people you will contact for help most likely have personally experience in the same thing that you are going through right now, so…

Find teen addiction counselors or treatment

Talk to people who can relate and understand addictions. Search the internet for helpful ways to begin this process. Call an outpatient counseling center or an impatient treatment center and talk to someone who deals with addictions every day. Listen to their program options and become informed. Please, don’t get in a huge hurry. It’s better to gather information and discuss options with other support people.

There are millions of people who participate in addiction and codependency support groups daily. There are many online chat rooms where you can join and ask for help. Attend meetings and find out what others have done. You can apply that information to help you make a more informed decision. Read books on addictions and codependency.

Read about codependency addiction

Make a decision to get help for you in your child’s recovery. You might feel like your world is coming unraveled. Sometimes your efforts might be making things worse. Let’s be real. There is probably an incredible chance that if you find yourself doing all this work, that you may be motivated by codependency. Go on line and read about codependency.

If you find yourself caring more and being more responsible than your child (especially, if your child is an adult), then it is in everyone’s best interest, that you get solid advice from a counselor or group facilitator of a codependency support group. What you need is honest and sound structured direction on how to proceed that is in the best interest of all concerned. The goal for all should be healing and healthy living.

Are you an adult child of an addict?

An adult child of an addict has learned all the knee-jerk reactions of dysfunctional behavior. They have had to learn to cope and survive, but usually these abnormal life skills are developed during their early childhood years. Which means, they used the mind of a child to do the best they could? Unfortunately, they find themselves reacting with the same behavior twenty years later and are just as dysfunctional as ever. If this sounds like you, then please get help soon. No one has to live in chaos; usually it is a matter of understanding how to change on the inside.

Read about addiction family and disease models

Make a decision to be the best parent you can be from here on out. Get informed! No one starts out knowing about addictions, unless they grew up with a parent or sibling with addictions. The people who grew up in this chaotic environment are probably the ones you want to avoid, unless they have worked extensively through all their baggage. But all people benefit from gaining information. Learn to apply that information to your personal life and challenge yourself to become more informed, becoming the best parent you can be (not matter what age your child is).

About the author
Dr. Jackson received his Doctorate in Christian Counseling from Omega Bible Institute and Seminary in 2009. He developed the Christian recovery treatment programs for Calvary Rehab Center and the Genesis Center for Recovery. He has trained and practiced Christian Counseling in all areas of drug/alcohol/gambling/sex and relationship addictions. He currently has his own web based online program called 12 Day Rehab Systems, designed for those who can work on recovery while maintaining career and family obligations. Dr. Jackson has been clean and sober since 1984. Learn more about Recovery with Dr. Steve.


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  1. My 32yr old daughter has been addicted to pills, meth, and liquor. She swears she is only drinking now. She is 5’8″ tall and weigh less then 95lbs. Skin and bones. Her behavior is crazy, violent, very permiscuos. She has 2 children. One boy 11, and a girl 13. She has no home of her own. No means of support except child support. $435 a month. I’ve wrighten her a letter telling her how I feel about what’s going on but I’m afraid it could cause more harm then good. It will definitely make her angry. After a month of no contact she has just started to talk to me and one of her sisters bearly. She stays with a family friend so we get updates on her crazy actions. She is definitely a danger to herself and possibly her kids. Don’t know what to do. Help plz!

  2. Hi my son is 34 years old and has been an addict for about 20 years . His drug of choice was meth now he has switched to heroin I have just recently decided to let go n let god . I have excepted the fact that there is nothing I CAN DO TO FIX HIM OR HELP HIM. I need to take my life back n no longer focus obsess over him. However Im stuggling to feel ok with it don’t know how to let go of the guilt.

    1. Hi Terry. You may enroll into support groups for families of addicts. They can be your rock to let go of the guilt.

  3. I suspect my 19 year old son is using and selling drugs. I have asked him to seek the help of a counsellor, but he refuses. Should report him to the police?

  4. ? My brother in law is a drug addicted but i think his brain is gone his not himself no more ,,his just walkes around the house like a mental person talking to himself like if his with someone and fights with ghost ..he will not go to a clinic i say we need to put him in a clinic he can hurt anyone with out his permission in pasadena,ca

  5. my daughter is 48 years old and has been mentally abused for 13 years and would not get help and found comfort in coke and other drugs, finally we had a family meeting and she agreed to go to detox and we believe the next step for her was the coffin, well for the past 9 days and before I have been trying to find a place where she will get live-in help and support. I don’t know what to do, I started meetings for me to help her help her self but what do I do , she will be out in3 days,,and no help for a women who so needs this. I have her 11 tear old daughter and that makes her happy but she is so scared what will happen when she gets out.she needs treatment, help guess that’s that.

  6. Donna Morgan,
    I agree completely. My problem started in 2011 when I found out my then 13 year old son was hanging out with 17 year olds. I periodically checked his text messages and didn’t find anything right away. He started to act different. Moody. I did come across a message from one 17 year old saying he started dealing and it went downhill from there. I called the school to let them know this individual was dealing at the school. He didn’t even go to that school. Brought it to the attention of the school and showed all messages to the police. They were aware prior but wasn’t enough to use against him. Really??? Brought my son in 2 times in order to instil some fear. That backfired. Started getting worse. Had a drug counsellor meet with him 1 time a week at school. My son told me he’s just telling him what he wants to hear to get him off his back. Called many parents who just turned a blind eye saying there son doesn’t do it regardless of text messages. Called police twice to come to my home as he was doing it in the house. He even made videos of smoking it in his room. When police came here they made him get rid of it as he was in possession. That’s it. So now age 15 moved to his fathers he hadn’t heard from for 7 years because he’s a user. Not to mention his very long criminal record. I have sole custody and was told by police, lawyers and drug counsellors, at 14 regardless of supervised visitation court orders he can chose where to live. He now posts on social media that he’s dealing. Apparently police don’t follow any leads on social network sites as someone else could be posting it. I sent pictures to his father. He said he gave him a drug test and all that showed up was weed and there’s nothing wrong with weed. Dead end, brick wall is where I am today. Now my son doesn’t contact me. Maybe once a month since his dad told him I’m a crazy b!..h and weed is ok.

  7. When will the famlies of all the children lost to this disease stop taking blame and feeling guilt and start demanding treatment.Where is the march for a cure?Why aren’t our schools intervening with at risk teens mental health services in our country are appalling.How many more people have to die before we take action to end this epidemic?

  8. Hi Ron. While the signs that you describe may be attributed to use of central nervous system depressants such as opiates, opioids, cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids or benzodiazepines….the only way to know if your daughter is by asking her to take a drug test. Open communication is important here, so getting a drug test without her permission can only make the situation more volatile. Does that make sense?

  9. My 17 year old daughter can be impossible to wake up. She will slur mostly incoherently for five minutes before she will stumble to open the door. Initially she sounds drunk when speaking. Within 10 minutes she is largely back to normal. However, she has little recollection of the first five minutes. In addition to what appears to be bulemia, she is also on prescribed anti-depressants. Any clue as to what she could be taking?

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