Your dad’s addiction may be seriously affecting you and the rest of the family in many different ways. His use of drugs or alcohol may cause financial strain. It can be emotionally stressful for you to see how he is damaging himself. He may have disturbing mood swings that make life at home unpredictable. Learn below about how you can make a positive impact when your dad is addicted.
It is important to understand that your dad is not a bad person because of this problem. Addiction is a disease of the brain, not a choice.1 While his behavior under the influence may be unpleasant, you should understand that he is being driven by an overwhelming compulsion. Try to be sympathetic rather than judgmental.
Learning About Addiction
It may help if you and other family members learn what you can about addiction. You can find books in your local library or bookstore, and there is also a lot of information available online. Learning about addiction can help you get a deeper understanding of what your dad is going through. It will also teach you about how his view of the world is most likely distorted.
Talk to Other Family Members
If you are concerned about your dad’s substance use, talk to your mom and your siblings. There is a good chance that your mom is most likely aware of your dad’s problems. If she seems to be unaware or unconcerned, it could be because she is trying to shelter you from the problem.
Unfortunately, the problem is most likely not going to just disappear. Your dad may be in denial and unaware of how his substance use is affecting roles in the family. You, your mom and your siblings should try to talk to him about your concerns. Try not to be confrontational or critical. Instead, let your dad know how much he is loved, and that it is his health and well-being that you are worried about.1
Your aim should be to get him to realize he needs help. When you talk to your dad, be prepared for him to deny that he has a problem. Do not feel angry or insulted by such denials, because it is genuinely the way he feels. It helps to be able to point to specific episodes where his behavior is clearly not healthy. Presenting him with concrete evidence helps him get a realistic picture of his substance use.
Getting Help When Your Dad Is Addicted
Families of people with substance use disorder often try to hide their reality from the outside world. It is understandable why they do not want outsiders to know about problems at home. However, keeping things hushed up often means being reluctant to seek help. Just as with many other chronic illnesses, the longer substance use disorders are left untreated, the more difficult it is to recover from them.
Your dad will benefit from professional addiction treatment. Check out local facilities and try to persuade your dad to arrange an appointment. Convincing him to seek help may take time, so be patient. Try to stay positive. Addiction is treatable, and even though your dad is addicted now, he can get better.