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My Son ... a Drug Addict ... is in a One Year Rehab Program. Do I Help Him While There?

Hi, My son is 39 years old and has been a drug addict for most of his life. My husband and I have been a big part of the problem because we have always enabled him. About 8 months ago we gave up and told him no more. He was homeless.

We still helped him by giving him money to get a job that was paying him cash everyday. He used all of his money on Heroin and was going down hill very fast. He lost about 60 lbs. and on the verge of dying.

He was on probation and his probation officer told him that he had a choice go to jail or rehab. He found a rehab that would take him for free because he has no insurance. He is in the program for approx 4 months and will be there for a total of one year.

We do see him on some of the visiting days, but he calls us once a week to talk and has request of things he needs. He cannot work there, it is not a working program so he has no money for anything.

Are we still enabling him if we provide him with some items that he needs like shoes or clothes, or personal products. I am so afraid that we are doing the wrong thing. Can anyone give advice?


You should simply ask the Counselors at his rehab about what they're comfortable with you providing him. I'm sure they'll be more than willing to tell you what he really needs and what he doesn't.

But I don't see why providing your son with basic personal products, a pair of shoes or some tuck shop money would be a problem while he's in rehab.

Enabling is essentially about behaving in a way that doesn't allow an addict, in this case your son, to experience the damaging consequences of his addiction.

If he wasn't in rehab and kept coming to you for money and asking you to buy him basic stuff, then that would be regarded as enabling, but the fact that he's in a drug rehab and you're simply wanting to help make his stay there a bit more comfortable by providing him with a few basics, is fine as far as I'm concerned.

Obviously don't be giving him a tonne of money - the rehab should be able to give an idea of what would be appropriate - and don't be shy to ask them as to what kind of stuff you should/shouldn't provide him with. They'll have their own guidelines in place.

Thanks for the question.

Comments for My Son ... a Drug Addict ... is in a One Year Rehab Program. Do I Help Him While There?

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Oct 04, 2015
in the same boat! NEW
by: Anonymous

What is the name of this rehab ? Is your son doing ok now.

Jul 20, 2011
Name of rehab and where PLEASE!
by: Anonymous

May I ask what kind of rehab is there that would take someone for one year, without insurance. My son has been to 10 rehabs and still a mess but the longest stay was 3 mos. My son is 48 and in the same mess? Please respond!!!

Mar 18, 2010
Talk to the rehab
by: Anonymous

Talk to the rehab - they'll tell you. But providing him with a few basic necessities shouldn't be a problem. The fact that your son is making an effort should be encouraged and supported. And the best way to help him is by trying to understand his addiction and this is where groups like Naranon which is for family members of addicts can make a real difference. The more empowered you are, the better you'll be able to respond to your son and so not simply end up enabling him. Hope all goes well for him.

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