How do I get my parent to stop using drugs?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My situation is a little turned around. How do I get my parent to stop using drugs? All of my life my mother has left me behind to go to a rehab center or hospital. She’s been hospitalized more that 10 times for substance abuse. I am 19 now and am trying to build a relationship with my mother. The only problem is she wont stop taking perscription meds that ARN’T perscribed to her, she’s drinking heavily when she’s already been notified that her alcohol abuse has taken a toll on her health and she could die, her suicide attempts and unconventional substance abuse have also become a problem. Ive had to call 911 several times. Ive come back into her life in hopes of helping her with her problem. Ive gotten mad, ignored the situation, tried to find other activities that could keep her occupied, talked to her, put her in a treatment place, tried to be her friend but still no luck. My question is what should I do? What is the next step? Should I cease converstion, and pretend I don’t have a mother, as I have done all my life?

A: You are an amazing and loving daughter to try to help so repeatedly. Sadly, no one can make an addict stop abusing drugs and/or alcohol. It’s a decision your mom has to make. Unfortunately, however much she loves you, her addiction is even bigger than that love. As a result, you are both missing out on the relationship you could have. I’m very sad for you both.
My best advice to you is to find the local chapter of Al-Anon or Al-Ateen. Both organizations help family members cope with the addiction of someone they love. You will get practical suggestions and support from others who are struggling with the same issues. I found this phone number on the web (361) 986-0799 for Al-anon Family Groups in your city. Please give them a try. It could help you feel less alone.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Sep 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). How do I get my parent to stop using drugs?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/09/08/how-do-i-get-my-parent-to-stop-using-drugs/