Dear Mom, How to Talk to Your Son About Rehab From, An Addict

The mindset of someone who is still using is complicated. There is the want to continue getting high and then there is a little voice underneath all of that chaotic, whirlwind, furious need for substances that is saying things like, “Why am I doing this?” and “I don’t want to hurt my family,” and “I need to stop.” Mom, your son is still there. You just have to talk to the little voice. It is difficult, because addiction becomes the pilot, the driver, the BOSS–whereas the little voice is just along for the ride. The addiction determines the action and the response to pleas for your son to get help. I am here to tell you though, that if you can get through, past the addiction, you can get your son help. Which brings me to my first tip on how to talk to your son about rehabs in NH.

(And I feel like I should say this before I get rolling. I am not coming from a place of being a professional interventionist. I am an addict in recovery myself, and I have my experience. I know what would of worked for me and what’s in the mind of an addict–that is the perspective I am sharing. Each situation is unique. Each person is unique. However, the experience of addiction for most of us, is the same.)

  1. Tell him you know he’s got two warring sets of emotions and thoughts right now

As soon as you call it out for what it is and let him know that you are aware of the battle going on inside him, he will immediately relax. Shining on a light on the battle between the addiction and the son you knew, helps him get to that inner voice that wants to do the right things. Suddenly, he isn’t fighting the addiction’s voice alone anymore. He has your help.

This will allow you to talk to your son in a way so as to avoid defensiveness, excuses, justifications—anything the addiction wants to say to keep him using. Because that is what his addiction is going to do. It is going to give him every reason in the world to keep using. And he is friends with his addiction. It gives him comfort. That is why for many people, they have to hit rock bottom. Rock bottom is the realization that your addiction isn’t your friend and all those things it says to you are total bullshit (excuse my language).

But, like we are saying, you don’t have to wait for rock bottom to get through to your son. Depending on where your son is in his addiction, he already knows that it really isn’t his friend–he just might not be at the rock bottom place of total willingness to defeat it yet. So, call out the disease, let him know you know he wants to do the right thing and understand that he still wants to use at the same time. It is a hellish place to be as an addict and to have anyone understand it–is immediately a comfort, a sigh of relief, and allows you to open up with that person.

2. Let him know that if there is any part of him that wants to get help, it’s available to him right now

There are some practical action items that have to happen before you offer help. Of course you will need to do your research. Find some places that are available for him. You will need to figure out if he needs detox, which he most likely will, you need to figure out what kind of treatments you can afford, insurance will cover etc. You will need to find out where he is going to treatment and how he will get there. It’s a lot. And we know, it shouldn’t be on you mom–you’ve already done so much. But you’re mom. Lean on your own supports while going through this.

Your best bet is to ask friends and family, doctors, and search online. If you are seriously considering it, I am going to say this, not because you need to come here but because we genuinely want to help. If you need help call us and let us know. Even if he doesn’t stay with us, we as working professionals in the industry might be able to give some good recommendations and help you figure it all out. You can also check out our post about how to find a reputable treatment center here: 12 Questions to Ask Your Treatment Center 

There are many good treatment centers and just as many unethical ones. Do your homework and have a plan in place. If your son does decide he wants help, the window of time to get him there will be a small one.

Have a rehab available to him. Let him know this is to lessen his pain, not increase it. And see where you can go with that.

3. If you are going to make ultimatums at this time, make sure you stick to them 

Sometimes ultimatums work. Sometimes they don’t. It depends on your own circumstances. Either way, if you are going to make ultimatums make sure you stick with them. The addiction in your son will take advantage of any inconsistencies. If you say the money will stop, the kids will be taken away etc. you have to stick by your word. If you don’t stick by your word with these things, he will know he can get away with it again. That nothing bad is actually going to happen. So make sure you are ready to do the hard things if you are going to make ultimatums. Which brings me to the next “tip.”

4. Don’t worry about him being angry with you

As a person with a mother and an addict, I was surprised to learn my mother (and my father) cared if I was mad at them. I was surprised to learn how hard that was for them. That is because I am the epitome of selfish and self-centered in my addiction. I know now, of course–that no parent wants their child angry at them. I see mother’s of addicts all the time talking about their child being angry at them and you can hear the hurt. I am here to tell you, let your son be angry. Let him be angry and ALIVE. Let him be angry with an ABILITY to get better.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to do things you feel will push your son away from you forever. Whether it is confronting him with the idea of rehab, having him involuntarily committed or even calling the cops. Like I said, I only have my personal experience but my mother did the second. She had me involuntarily committed, and man was I angry. I was so angry. But you know what, after the third day when my system started clearing out of the substances, I was okay. I still loved her. And later on, as I would travel down my journey of recovery, I came to the realization that I owed her my life. She was okay with my anger because it meant I was ALIVE. I don’t think I would have made it much longer if she had worried about making me angry with her and I had just kept on the way I was. Because of that decision by my mother to make the hard decision for me, my life changed forever.

5. No matter what I love you

Loving someone and making healthy choices for yourself are not two different things. The two can co-exist. Love is an action word. And if your actions are healthy for yourself and healthy for your son, than you are loving him. Loving him in a way that is stifling the flame of the addiction instead of fueling it. It might be the hardest way to love anyone ever, but you are super mom. You’re not perfect but you’ve always done your best to give your son the best of yourself. The best of yourself may not look like what you want it to look like right now. But hang in there. Find your own supports. Find your own group. Do what you need to for you. When your son is ready, you will be there. If he ends up not being ready right now, you will be ready when he is.

There are no guarantees when it comes to convincing your son to go to rehabs in NH. None of it may work out the way you pictured, but it just might. Today might be the day everything changes. If you haven’t had a conversation with him, if you haven’t considered help. Maybe now is the time. No, now is the time. With an addiction you might not get another chance. If you need help, please let us know. We will do everything we can. We have been there. We hope to hear from you soon and until then we will keep praying for the addict still sick and suffering and for you mom.