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My 22 Year Old Son Is Addicted to Opiates and Heroin. What Can I Do to Help Him?

by Jo

I am divorced mother with a 22 year old son who has been addicted to drugs for several years. He started smoking pot at the age of 14 and using painkillers at the age of 19.

He went into a outpatient rehab 'seboxone' program 2 years ago but continued to use the suboxone to get high. He has been in and out of my home since he turned 18. He has stolen thousands in jewelry and money from me.

He has legal issues because of drug possession and dealing and they have compounded to the point where he would have to serve 'time' in prison if he gets caught. He had spent 3 weeks in jail in January of this year. He begged me to take him back home after he got out.

He returned to my house but after 4 weeks of doing nothing (not working, using drugs, disregarding house rules) I took him to the local bus station and gave him $500. and told him I loved him and to get his life together.

I cannot afford rehab and he says he "doesn't believe in it" anyway. He is living with a friend and I talk to him every couple of weeks. When I do he proceeds to tell me the drugs he has done, how depressed he is, he cries, etc. I know the addiction is very real however I feel that it is a choice that he is making to continue to live this way.

I don't know what to tell him and it actually makes me mad to hear him continuously complain about his life and not do anything to try and make changes. I am going through a divorce (my 2nd husband) who left when my son returned from jail. I believe the stress in the house from my drug addict, disrespectful son had something to do with him leaving.

I love my son and need some guidance on how to talk to him and how to guide him without losing myself and my life due to his behavior and addictions. Please Help!!!


Hi Jo

You love the person, but not the addict, which means having clear boundaries as to what you're prepared to put up with from your son. So as I'm sure you've done - you tell your him you love him and will do anything to support him overcome his addiction - but that is something he has to take responsibility for because you can't do it for him.

For someone as heavily addicted as your son, outpatient rehab like he's been to is typically never going to be enough. He needs to get into an inpatient drug rehab program - and not just the typical 30 day type programs because they're generally not long enough to make lasting changes - but a long-term program, ideally 90 days and longer.

Not all addiction rehab programs cost a lot of money either. Many are heavily or entirely government subsidized. SAMHSA is a substance abuse treatment facility locator by the Department of Health and Services. So do what you can to try and find your son a long-term treatment program.

But that really is all you can do. So long as he still thinks he can negotiate with his addiction and find recovery his way, he's never going to turn his life around. He has to reach the point of 'I'll do whatever it takes.' All you can do is try and get him into an environment where people can help him - and then the rest is up to him.

And despite all the chaos around you - you have to figure out how to connect with your own center and discover yourself and what makes you happy - so that you don't lose yourself and get dragged down by all of this. You can't stop your son choosing chaos and destruction for himself - but you can commit to choosing and learning to discover peace and happiness for yourself.

They mean different things for different people so you have to figure out what peace and happiness means for you. I find them through meditation, nature and reading. Where might you find them? Joining a group like Al Anon or Nar Anon can also help because you'll meet people who have been where you are and who can support you in getting through these tough times.

Remember you can't control the choices your son makes, so if he doesn't want to listen to you and get the help he needs, you have to learn how to let go and put your well-being first. It's not easy, but life never is. Take it one step and one day at a time and you'll be amazed at the changes and growth you'll experience in your own life.

Good Luck and God Bless

Comments for My 22 Year Old Son Is Addicted to Opiates and Heroin. What Can I Do to Help Him?

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Dec 07, 2014
My 21 yo is a drug addict NEW
by: Anonymous

I also have a 21 yo son who's a drug addict. Inpatient rehab offerred to him but he kept saying he can quit on his own. Every $10 or $20 dollars he gets from me for lunch at school, he would spend it on drugs, alcohol, xanax, weed, and whatever else. I'm divorced from his dad since he was 9 and He has been bouncing back and forth between me and his dad"s. With his dad, living condition is bad and ge does not provide much support for my don. My son has everthing living with me but since he does not respect my rules, i have to let him go back to his dad's. I'm so sad for me and him, but unless he's willing to go into rehab, I have to let him go.

Jun 06, 2014
by: Anonymous

MOMS & DADS OF AN OPIATE ADDICT please get this ebook that tells about the opiate withdrawal discovery that was made over 30 years ago and then suppressed that will prevent your child from going through opiate withdrawal. The rich powers that be make it hard to advertise or to get this info to the public but I cant say it enough that this is something you CANNOT afford to not need to get the opiate withdrawal secret that was suppressed for over 30 years and finally has been revealed by a big pharma insider who blew the whistle on the scandal. They kept it hidden so they could profit off of methadone. Get the truth and the secret by going to

May 18, 2014
my NEW
by: Anonymous

OMG...i am going through same thing w/my 21 yr old son. He does hold down a job, but he gets paid fri. and sun. sometimes sat. hes broke. Hmmm wonder where all his money went.(3 guess' first 2 dont count)there is tons to say, but to make long story short, he has ripped my heart out and there is nothing i can do to help him until HE wants it. the offer is there for him.

Jul 24, 2013
Teenage boy
by: Anonymous

So when and hoe to I kick him oit

May 04, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the wonderful post. Your message was the best I've come across for the same type of problems I am facing.
Continued peace and healing-God Bless.

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