Telling your parents, you have a drug problem takes courage.

The first step is to admit to yourself that you have a problem with drugs and that you are ready to get help.  That way when you speak to your parents, you can be truthful, take responsibility,  and have a plan to seek professional help.

There is always an increased level of anxiety which occurs when you are living a lie and hiding your drug use from your family.  In most cases, if you live at home with your parents and they see you on a daily basis, they probably already have a concern that something is going on based on your mood fluctuations.

Mood fluctuations occur when you are intermittently using drugs.  Your personality and mood will appear different when you are under the influence of drugs.  Parents have stated that they did not understand why their adult child was avoiding them.   Parents have also reported that they did notice reduced eye contact with their son or daughter.

The following stories are about three adult children, Brandon, age 18, Susan, age 21, and John, age 24.  They all found a way to tell their parents that they had a drug problem and needed help.

As a young adult, you have many challenges as you venture towards advanced education, career, and one day a family of your own.  It is a time when you are spreading your wings and want to let everyone know that you have everything under control and that you are doing well.  Hopefully one of the stories below will awaken a place in your heart to decide to speak with your parents.

Meet Brandon

Brandon works part-time at the campus bookstore and attends college classes full-time working towards a degree in business.  Brandon is a freshman, and some friends at school told him that if he takes a medication which contains a psychostimulant found in prescription medications, i.e., Adderall, Concerta, etc. he can study all night.

Brandon said, “Sure I can always use the extra energy” and he tried it and he was amazed at how good he felt.

He liked it so much he tried some more the following day and then again the next day so that he could get through the day.  Taking a few energy pills appeared on the surface to be no big deal.  But as the days went on the number of pills went up, and Brandon began to realize that he could not stop taking the medication without getting sick.  He knew he had to keep passing his classes at school and had to maintain his part-time job.

Brandon had an agreement with his parents to have his tuition paid he would be in school full-time and working part-time.  Brandon was also beginning to have difficulty sleeping and getting up for school in the morning.  Brandon was exhausted from trying to hide his drug usage and decided to tell his parents what happened.  He thought about telling his parents that it was all peer pressure but realized that they would know better.

He began by telling them the truth and accepted full responsibility for deciding to use the medication not prescribed to him.

Then he began to speak from his heart, saying, “first I love you both, and I knew that you would be so disappointed in my behavior that I questioned if you could ever forgive me.” 

He asked them if they could help him find professional help and that he would follow through.  There were plenty of tears, but both Brandon and his parents were relieved because they knew that they could trust in love and that family was always there to help.

Meet Susan

Susan lived at home with her parents, but they worked out of the home several hours a week, so she did not see them much during the day and late into most evenings.

Susan was taking online college classes and about to graduate with a degree in psychology.  Susan was having difficulty concentrating and anxious about her studies.  Susan was feeling anxious and depressed about what her future held after graduating.  She was concerned about paying back her student loan and finding a job that would allow her to use her education.

Susan was beginning to feel as if she was paralyzed to do anything and would sit some days just daydreaming that she may never graduate.  She knew how much it meant to her parents for her to get her degree, but she was discouraged.

Susan called her friend complaining of feeling anxious, and her friend told her about a medication that would help to relax her and take all her anxiety away.  Susan’s friend retrieved the prescription anti-anxiety medication called Xanax from her parent’s medicine cabinet – Xanax is a benzodiazepine which can be highly addictive. 

Once Susan took a pill she liked the way the medicine helped her to calm down and not have a worry in the world.  One morning Susan woke up and realized that she had not turned in any papers for several days and had lost track of time.

Susan decided that she needed to tell her parents when they got home from their business trip.  Susan began by telling them that she had fallen into the trap of trying to self-medicate her feelings of anxiousness.  She said maybe the anxious feelings are caused by the anticipation of graduation and what happens next.

Her parents responded first with anger asking her, “Why would you do this?”  Susan said she just needed help and that they were never home.

She said she never told them that she was having problems keeping up with the school work.  Susan took responsibility for taking the pills and then the tears began to fall.  When Susan’s parents saw this, they also took some of the responsibility for being so busy with work that they had not checked in with their adult daughter.

Susan and her parents agreed that they needed to get professional help.  They told her that they would be committed to getting her help and spending some family time together.

Meet John

John lived at home with his mother.  John’s dad left his mother when she was pregnant with him and she never married.

John’s mother worked as a full-time nurse (LPN), 2nd shift, at the hospital.  Most of the guys that John worked with enjoyed going out to parties on Friday and Saturday nights which involved drinking alcohol and some drug use.

He started by going out to the bars and drinking a couple of beers. John injured his back at work, and the doctor prescribed pain medication. The next thing John knew he was mixing pain medication and alcohol.  He realized that he could take the pain medication during the day and felt like he had more energy to work on cars and had no back pain.  But he also took the pain medication at night and mixed with alcohol.

John woke up one morning and realized that he had to buy pills outside of his prescription because he had formed a dependency on the medication beyond the pain management.  John got to the point that he could not go a day or even a few hours without the pills.

He decided that it was the time that he told his mother.  He told her the truth and that he was afraid because he noticed that when he tried to stop taking the pills, he hurt all over and could not stop shaking.

Because John’s mother was a nurse, she was familiar with the signs of substance withdrawal and told him that he needed professional help.  They had not seen each other much because they worked different shifts. However, in the end, love prevailed, and John agreed to get professional help.

Don’t be afraid to get help with your drug problem

In the United States according to the CDC, there is currently an epidemic of drug overdose (poisoning) deaths.

Since the year 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137% including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin).  Not telling those who love you about your drug problem will only hurt you and place you in danger of a drug overdose or accidents which occur when under the influence.   The drug’s effects are no respecter of person’s and can take control of a person’s life and destroy your ability to make good decisions.  The drug use may not lead to physical death, but will certainly lead to the death of your authentic self.

The drug’s effects are no respecter of person’s and can take control of a person’s life and destroy your ability to make good decisions.  The drug use may not lead to physical death, but will certainly lead to the death of your authentic self.

It is critical, to be honest with yourself and those who love you.   Your parents love you no matter your age, and there is nothing to fear when telling the truth.  Courage will come to you when you comprehend how precious your life is now.  With your truth will come an increased awareness and compassion for yourself and others. Because honestly there are more important things in life to experience other than drugs.

New Roads Behavioral Health wants to help you!

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings or concerns with your family and loved ones. They want the best for you and so do we. Watch as Eric Schmidt gives some great advice on overcoming ourselves.

Contact us today, here.