There are certain conclusions that parents tend to draw about addiction and alcoholism; ideas that are derivative of how it is portrayed in the media. There is a notion that drug addicts and alcoholics are doomed to suffer and die at the hands of their addiction. While this may be true for some, there is another truth that is usually left out of popular portrayal of addiction and alcoholism. There is a way out. If you discover that your son is an alcoholic or addict, there is a tried and true method to stopping the progression of the disease.
The first step is to determine if your son needs a higher level of care. This is usually a necessity, as breaking the pattern that is instilled during an addiction can require an intense change in environment, as well as the implementation of structure. Removing drugs and alcohol from the equation is not a solution to the problem, as an addict will find any way to get their needed substance. Also, in a higher level of care, such as a treatment center, there is a community in place determined to get clean and sober and life a full life, so the people in a treatment center, whether it is staff or other clients, can help to urge an addict or alcoholic forward in their recovery. Treatment centers that utilize the principles discussed in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous are generally the most successful in helping their clients to achieve long term sobriety. A 12 Step program is geared towards cultivating an environment in which a spiritual experience can occur, resulting in a complete psychic change. This is the most effective method to dealing with addiction and alcoholism.
Ultimately the decision surrounding what to do is a question that your son has to answer for himself. The stories of people in sobriety are filled with accounts about how early on they were not ready, and needed to have an experience with suffering in order to want to make a change in their life. Though difficult, it may be in your son’s best interest to have an experience that warrants a change in their life for the better. Maybe your next move is to cut him off financially, kick him out of the house, or even call the police. It is paramount that a certain amount of suffering takes place so that your son has the realization that he needs to want to change his life for the better. The best thing you can do as parents is maintain open communication with your son, assess where he is at, and take the necessary steps forward, whether that is to seek a higher level of care, or to let him have an experience with suffering to gain some perspective.