Choosing your Battle with Your Adult Child Addict

Choosing your Battle with Your Adult Child Addict

I never kicked my son out of the house. Friends said I should. Co-workers told me it was the only way. Even some of his drug friends said it would be for the best. But I could never bring myself to do it. 

Tough love means different things to different people and the hardest thing in the world is listening to armchair quarterbacks when it comes to addiction. Each family is different. Each situation is different and nobody can tell you what you should feel or act or do. 

With that said, there are two circumstances that I can honestly say would have caused me to tell my son to live elsewhere. 

Physical threat: I was very fortunate in that my son never threatened me in any way. I have friends who have adult addict children who have hit them, shoved them and in one case actually threatened to put a bullet in her head if she interfered with his drug use again. My son doesn't even raise his voice to me, so I was never faced with the choice of knowing where he was and knowing I was safe. Had he ever raised a hand, threatened me or implied he would hurt me, he would have been told to leave that day. 

Doing drugs in my presence: Addicts are not the only people with triggers. Parents develop triggers too - something that would put you over the edge and cause you to make an otherwise impossible decision. For me, it was if my son ever did drugs in front of me. I have friends who would rather have their adult addicts do the drugs at home where they are safe. I am not one of those parents. I am sure drugs were done in my home. I found way too much proof of that. But had my son ever tried to use in front of me, I would have told him to live elsewhere. 

Outside of those lines in the sand, most other things were not things I was willing to throw him into the street over. I do have a friend who kicked her son out the first time he stole a small amount of cash from her to buy drugs. That was her line in the sand and I support that. 

Final thoughts: Rather than listen to what everybody wants you to do, it is important to decide where you want to draw the line in the sand when it comes to your child's addiction. Knowing this ahead of time can make the decision easier if it ever has to be made. 

A boundary letter

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