One of the first things I ask a parent who is thinking about sending a son or daughter away for recovery is, do you have any leverage over your son or daughter? How dependent are they on you for money or housing?
Next I would ask is they have a lot of friends and if so, are you close to them because you may have to call them and tell them your plans of getting your son or daughter help and it starts with everyone being in agreement that they can’t “help” him/her. They cannot allow him/her to sleep there or loan them money for food or shelter. Your chances at getting them into rehab are much better when they don’t have someone to turn to that will enable their using.
I ask these questions because unless the addict is a very intelligent and mature person and is actually in favor of going away to get help it is near impossible to force someone unless you have leverage. At least that was the case for me with my son. A parent must have some awareness of the severity the addiction and be confident in knowing that the continued behavior or usage will only further contribute to their son or daughter’s demise.
As my son became more isolated due to his anxiety I realized that there was nothing more that I could do to help him and clearly he did not know what to do to help himself. So as time went on I could see the progression of my son’s life becoming more and more diminished; I worried that he might be suicidal.
So it was evident that every day that went by without him getting treatment he was one more day closer to death. This realization was the impetus I needed to have the strength to lock our son out of the house. Initially that realization made it easy to do at first, but when he showed up at our door two days later, after sleeping somewhere outside, it was more difficult. He was apologetic and admitting that he needed help to manage his life but thought that going away was too extreme.
We had exhausted all options, one of which was to seek the help of a psychiatrist, but that only made things worse as the doctor just prescribed more drugs. I told myself I either turn my back on him and take the risk of what could happen out on the street or witness a slow death for him, as I was certain he would take his own life.
It was painful to watch someone who was once so extroverted, and joyfully energetic, to now, just a shell of a person. He worked at a part time job with minimal interaction with the public and then spent the remainder of his time alone in his room barely coming out to eat. I was resolute in my decision that I would not continue watching this literal wasting away of my son and that I think is key in order to close the door on your son or daughter.
One must realize that the consequence of turning your back on someone in order to force positive change is an act of love not rejection. It is the perfect example of being cruel to be kind.