Only families who have been struck by addiction can understand the many and varied struggles that are faced every day. When it occurs, one of those struggles is internal—shame due to a child’s addiction—but it can have a deep impact on the family’s ability to effectively help their loved one heal from the disorder.
Some parents blame themselves and assume others will as well. Some believe that if others were to find out about their son’s disorder, they would shun him from social events, community gatherings, or bar his progress in other ways. When parents allow shame to stop them from reaching out, they suffer due to a lack of emotional or physical support, and their child often doesn’t get the treatment necessary to heal.
Tactfully Addressing the Issue of Addiction
The need for privacy is understandable and limiting the number of people you include in your son’s struggle is fine as long as it doesn’t stop any of you from getting the support you need to begin the process of putting addiction in the past. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the issue:
- No explanation necessary. If something comes up with your son that stops you from attending a function or holding a social event, simply cancel with as much notice as possible, calling it an “unexpected issue” if it’s a social event or a “family emergency” if it’s a work event.
- Medical professionals are legally bound to maintain confidentiality. If you talk to a doctor or contact us at Muir Wood, as medical professionals, we are bound by HIPAA laws to protect your medical information. Addiction is a medical disorder and, as such, any discussion between you and an addiction treatment specialist on the subject is protected.
- Sharing with the right people. Close friends, family, medical providers, therapists—all of these people will respect your son’s privacy and not allow your personal family struggle to become fodder for gossip.
Bill Williams’s son, William, struggled with heroin addict and ultimately died due to an overdose. The burden of his child’s addiction took its toll on everyone in the family emotionally, financially, and even physically. In his thought-provoking blog, Bill writes about the struggles his family faced during his son’s addiction. The concern about what others would think was the most burdensome, he writes, and the most unnecessary. Rather than fear, he encourages other parents to be courageous as they face addiction and put their son’s health and well-being in the forefront of their minds, letting nothing stop them from getting the best possible treatment for their child.
The Risk of Painful Secrets
Don’t allow your family to bear the weight of worry and fear of what others think for another day. Contact us at Muir Wood and learn more about your son’s options in comprehensive, teen-focused care.