When Do I Give Up on My Drug Addict Son?

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

My child’s struggles with compulsive substance abuse are destroying his life and tearing our family apart. I can’t believe it’s come to this, but I’m starting to think it may be time to give up on my drug addict son. 

If you’ve ever had a thought like this, you are not alone. Addiction can threaten to dissolve even the strongest bonds between parents and children. But before you make any irreversible decisions, please know that the situation may not be as hopeless as it currently appears.

At Renewal Health Group, we understand the problems parents face when dealing with a child who is addicted to drugs. We have created an addiction treatment program for young adults that can be family focused and help resolve many of the issues.

How One’s Drug Addiction Affects The Whole Family

When people become dependent on alcohol or another drug, they are rarely the only ones who are affected. 

Here are a few examples of how a drug addict son can affect an entire family:

  • Some family members may feel the need to cover up for the addicted person’s behaviors or shield them from the consequences of their actions.
  • Parents may feel that they have failed their son, which can undermine their interactions with their other children.
  • Siblings may begin to feel neglected because their brother demands so much attention from their parents.
  • Family members may begin to blame each other for the problems caused by the drug addict son.
  • Parents and siblings may begin to isolate themselves from friends, peers, and colleagues due to perceived stigma or misplaced shame.

When Do I Give Up on My Son Who Is a Drug Addict? 

As we acknowledged at the outset of this post, if you have ever thought about giving up on your drug addict son, you are not alone. Having this thought doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent, either. 

Watching a loved one descend into the abyss of active addiction is a traumatizing experience – and trauma can manifest in many ways, including occasional thoughts about simply turning your back on the problem altogether.

Instead of asking if (or when) you should give up on your son, it may be helpful to ask yourself this question instead: Do you really want your son out of your life, or is the problem that you haven’t set appropriate boundaries?

As we will discuss in the next section, boundaries are guidelines that can preserve your relationship. 

When you put the right boundaries in place, you may discover that what you misinterpreted as a desire to give up on your son was actually frustration over the way he had been interacting with you and the other members of your family. 

Boundaries can shield you from certain aspects of your son’s life, while allowing you to continue offering him your love and support. 

How Do I Set Boundaries for My Drug Addict Son?

As the parent of an addicted child, it is important to understand the limits of your control. Understanding that you can’t force your son to stop using drugs is an important first step in this effort. Acknowledging that you are solely responsible for how you respond to your son’s behavior is another vital step.

Awareness of the extent of your control is crucial for setting appropriate boundaries. For example, as we’ve already noted, you can’t prevent your son from abusing alcohol or other drugs. But you can prohibit them from possessing or using drugs in your house. You can’t make them get a job, but you can refuse to lend them money (regardless of why they claim they need the financial help).

Here are four tips for setting boundaries with your drug addict son:

  1. Speak to your son when you know he’s not under the influence of any mind-altering substances.
  2. Clearly state the boundaries that you have established.
  3. Emphasize that you are setting these boundaries out of love for him and because you want to maintain a relationship with him.
  4. State the consequences that you will enforce if he violates the boundary.


Once you have established boundaries, you have to be vigilant about enforcing the consequences if necessary. This underscores the importance of carefully considering both the boundary you are setting and how you intend to respond if it isn’t respected. Don’t make threats or ultimatums that you’re not willing to back up if you have to.

How to Stop Enabling Drug Addiction

Maintaining healthy boundaries can be part of the effort to ensure that you’re not enabling your son’s substance abuse. Here are a few other steps you can take:

  • Don’t lie about or try to cover up any problems your son causes as a result of his substance abuse.
  • Resist the urge to blame yourself or anyone else for the difficulties your son is experiencing.
  • Refuse to endure emotional, verbal, or physical abuse from your son because you believe “it’s the drugs, not him.”
  • Continue to encourage your son to get the help he needs. 

How to Stop Worrying About My Drug Addict Son

As long as you have a shred of love for your child, it will likely be impossible to stop worrying about him. Instead of trying to stop worrying, you may want to focus your efforts on ensuring that your worries don’t become unmanageable. 

If you believe that fears for your drug addict son’s future are undermining your relationships with other family members, preventing you from advancing in your career, or otherwise negatively impacting your life, it may be time to speak with a professional.

Talking to a therapist or counselor can help you process your experiences and develop healthier coping skills. You may want to consider family therapy or couples counseling in addition to individual sessions.

Treatment Options for Chronic Relapsers

Relapse is the reason we use the word recovery instead of cure when describing a person’s effort to end their addictive behaviors. Even after an extended period of sobriety, one slip-up can threaten to push a person back into their former self-destructive behaviors.

If your son has struggled with chronic relapse, he may need detox (to help him rid his body of the drug he has been abusing) followed by residential care. One of the many benefits of residential treatment is that it allows people to temporarily step away from the stresses and distractions of their daily life, so they can focus their full attention on their recovery efforts.

Depending on the nature of your son’s continued struggles with addiction, he may also benefit from spending time in a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program

There is no single path of treatment that works for everyone who has experienced chronic relapses. What’s most important is finding a treatment center that will assess the full scope of your son’s needs, then provide the customized services that will finally help him experience the hope and promise of successful, long-term recovery.

Contact Renewal Health Groups Drug Addiction Treatment Centers in California

Renewal Health Group offers a full continuum of personalized care for adults whose lives have been disrupted by the compulsive abuse of alcohol or other drugs. 

At our drug addiction treatment centers in California, your son will be in a safe and welcoming place where he can receive focused care from a team of highly trained professionals. We will work closely with your son to identify the root causes of his struggles with addiction, then we’ll help him build a solid foundation for a healthy, drug-free future.

To learn more about how we can help your son, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today.  

one of our compassionate specialists will reach out to you shortly

We look forward to hearing from you