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How to deal with a drug addicted father

It can be difficult to recognise the signs of a developing drug addiction, as the indicators of drug abuse can vary based on the frequency and quantity of the drug being taken. Coming to terms with the fact that your father is struggling with addiction is a very important step in helping him towards recovery. Please remember, you do not have to take this on alone and that Port of Call is here to support you through the process.

The signs of drug abuse include:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Falling often
  • Loss of interest
  • Untidy appearance
  • Misplacing items

My father is addicted to drugs. How do I help?

The good news is that you’ve taken the first step in searching for help. Many children will try to help their drug addicted dad by excusing his erratic behaviour and pretending everything is fine. Denial can have an enabling effect, and can escalate and prolong the problem.

Approaching your dad may be difficult, but it is crucial that the problem is not ignored. Port of Call recommends that you, and your family, agree to set boundaries that can aid the recovery process for your dad. This may include denying anybody under the influence entrance to the house or refusing to give any money to your father, and agreeing on any consequences.

Boundaries can identify the addict’s difficult behaviour and help stop it. Although you can’t control the actions of your loved one, you can control your responses and make them aware of the hurt it is causing.
Starting your conversation from a place of love is the most important thing to remember. Explain to your dad, with your family present, that everybody wants to see him healthy and happy. Remind your dad that he has a support system behind him and ask him to seek help. Port of call’s experienced advisers offer confidential advice and guidance to those suffering with addiction, and their families. Contact us free on 08000029010.

Your dad must be sober during this talk, so he fully understands the established rules. You should also prepare for a potentially bad ending. If your father refuses to get help, it may seem like a waste of time but, after some time to think, this conversation may lead to acceptance and seeking treatment.

Living as the child of an addict

It can be a very difficult scenario to live in, being the child of an addicted father, but this does not define who you are. Many successful, happy people are children of drug addicts, including the popular singer Rihanna. Though there may be struggles at times, you have the potential to triumph and accomplish many things.
Here are some key pointers that will help you get through your father’s drug addiction:

1. Stop denying the problem

When you accept and face the addiction in your family, you can take the right steps to receiving positive help.

2. Educate yourself about addiction

Knowledge will help you when tackling an addiction problem. To separate truths from myths, contact Port of Call’s experienced advisors on 08000029010, or by using our contact page.

3. Don’t be scared to be loving and affectionate

Hug each other, or show a sign of solidarity. Sometimes you get so caught up in managing the problem that you forget that you are fighting together. If you aren’t the affectionate type, maybe go out for a meal, or even sit down together with a cup of tea and just remind each other of your support.

4. Let them take responsibility for their actions and their own mistakes

For example: spending money on drugs instead of shopping. Do not give him money. If absolutely necessary, provide the essentials. You must then discuss the boundaries that were put in place and enforce the consequences that you both agreed.

5. Most of all, both you and your dad must remember that addiction is treatable

People do recover! Addiction is a disease, so with commitment, open conversations and rebuilding of trust in your household, addiction can be treated.

Drug rehab experts, Port of Call, can offer drug rehab facility or a detox programme enrolment. For more information, call one of our team for confidential, non-judgemental advice on 08000029010.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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