Convincing a teenager to halt the use of social media might be easier than assuring them of their problems with substance abuse. Friends and family will painfully witness an adolescent addict or alcoholic’s suffering for years. Fearful of driving their younger loved one deeper into addiction, family members will debate confrontation.
Approaching an adolescent in your life who is suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism requires tact. Rather than exaggerate the state of their addiction, speak honestly and from the heart. Start by asking open-ended questions about how they feel after drinking or using drugs. Ask if anyone else has spoken to them about having a problem. Explore missed school, work, or family obligations due to drinking or drug use.
Generally, alcoholics and addicts are reactive. Be prepared for a variety of reactions as well as responses. Suggesting the presence of a substance abuse problem can warrant anger, rage, or more denial. Guilt or regret over their drinking might be expressed. Lies about the amount or frequency of their drinking might be told. Blame for their drinking on their careers, problems with family or other relationships may be assigned. Your confrontation is not premature. Deflection and denial are signs of addiction and alcoholism. Using drugs and drinking has taken internal priority in your young loved one’s life. As a result, they will go to great mental lengths to protect their ability to get drunk or high.
Having a confrontational conversation about substance abuse with your adolescent or teen when they are drunk or high will not be effective. Wait until they are no longer intoxicated. Set up a specific time to have a talk as a family. You might not get a positive response after the first or second time you speak to an adolescent who is addicted to drugs and alcohol. If all else fails, consider enlisting the support and expertise of an interventionist who can guide the process.
Is an adolescent in your life suffering from drug addiction and/or alcoholism? Recovery is possible. Your teen deserves to live a long and fulfilling life. We offer extended care services including weekly family programming. For more information, please call Sustain Recovery Services in Orange County at 949-407-9052.