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My Drug Addicted Son Is Out of Control. How Do I Handle This?

by Carol
(Sydney, Australia)

My son is 34 years old and lives overseas, thus I am very far away from him. I can't be sure that he is using cocaine, but all signs are there and some of his friends have also written to us about it.

He has previously admitted to smoking marijuana, but only here and there. His behaviour has changed drastically in the last few month and we think that what his friends have told us is true.

His father went over to visit him, he totally ignored him, by avoiding him, not answering calls from him, saying he will meet him at a certain time and didn't turn up at all and even days.

He is ignoring his children, not working and whatever money he gets disappears - we don't know where. He sleeps all day and is awake at night. If his wife asks him to pick up the children from school, nine out of ten times he does not and she gets a call from the school.

He has always been a loving son and excellent father and husband, now he doesn't even email me anymore and we always were able to talk. I need to approach him, but I do not know how, if it was face to face it would be different but through an email, I just don't know how and what to say. Please help me. Answer

Hi Carol

It would be difficult enough to handle this if your son were living close by. The fact that he’s thousands of miles away makes it even harder. But the principles of how you communicate don’t change.

Simply talk from the heart, tell your son you know about his cocaine addiction, and talk in depth how it’s effecting you … and more importantly his wife and children.

Maybe if your son realizes how much he’s hurting his family, he’ll be open to acknowledging his problem and getting the help he needs. Encourage him to do that. Tell him there is no shame in admitting to a drug addiction and that there are professionals out there who can help him.

Many people fear admitting to a drug problem because there is still a certain social stigma attached to it – but if your son knows his family are behind him if he gets professional help, it may make it easier for him to come clean and do what is necessary to turn his life around.

There are of course no guarantees, and ultimately your son has to want to change and do something about his cocaine addiction if he’s going to turn his life around.

Also, the best person to try and initiate him getting help is his wife. So speak to her and try and work together to do what you can for your son. She needs to educate herself on how to handle being in a relationship with a drug addict, and make sure she doesn’t do things like enable him or cover for him.

So if there is a concerted effort from the whole family – you, your husband, his wife, even his children – and you’re all talking from the same hymn sheet – you stand the best chance of getting through to your son.

But it is hard at the best of times, so being so far away makes it even more difficult. That’s why getting his wife involved is so important because she’s right there and probably stands a better chance of making sure the message hits home.

Best of Luck

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