If your mom is showing signs of addiction, it may be a good idea to directly address the situation. The problem can cause you a lot of emotional and physical stress, and substance use poses a threat to her health.
Young people sometimes feel ashamed about their mother’s use of drugs or alcohol, which can make it difficult to seek help. If you feel this way, you should keep in mind that your mom is not the only adult with a substance use disorder. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 25 percent of young people are exposed to alcohol use disorder in the family home.1 If you believe your mom is addicted, here are a few tips to help you address the issue to make life better for both of you.
Talk to Your Mom
It is never going to be easy to broach the subject, so you may keep putting it off. This will not help either of you, so it is necessary to summon the courage to tackle the problem. Choose a time and place when you are unlikely to be disturbed. Try to arrange the talk for a time when your mom is calm and relaxed, and preferably when she is sober.
If you have siblings, you might want to talk about the issue with them. They are most likely affected by the situation as much as you are. You may be able to persuade them to be with you when you talk to your mom.
Always keep in mind that your mom is suffering from an illness. No one chooses to become addicted to alcohol or drugs, so do not be angry with your mom because of her illness. Try not to be judgmental or critical. Your goal should be to get your mom to admit she has a problem. It is only when she does this that she may be amenable to getting treatment.
Try to stay focused on getting her to address her problem. That means staying non-confrontational. Tell her that you love her and that you want to help her get better. Point out specific instances where her behavior has caused problems for you. Help her to explore her problem by asking her questions.
Getting Help If Your Mom is Addicted
If you feel you cannot tackle this yourself—which is completely understandable—there may be other people you can approach for help. That could be another family member, or somebody your mom trusts and respects, such as a member of the clergy, her doctor or a close friend. Look for local support organizations like Alateen that can help you deal with your mom’s condition.2
Drug or alcohol dependency is a treatable illness. If your mom is addicted, your goal should be to get your mother to commit to treatment. Contact local rehab facilities to get literature on treatment programs and try to discuss these options with your mom. Remember to be patient, as it may take some time before your mother understands she needs to get help.