Understanding What Your Son is Struggling With


When you have a son in recovery, you might experience difficulty understanding his struggles with addiction. Your son may not be willing to share with you or might fear judgment, especially if he feels like he has failed to live up to your expectations. Children, even emerging adults, might view parents or guardians as infallible and might feel intimidated to show vulnerability or flaw. You may want to understand what is going on with your son; however, he might not feel comfortable exposing his struggles to you.

Not Taking Things Personally

Remember that your son might have a different perspective of you as his parent or guardian. He may view you as perfect or capable of dealing with all of life’s problems. Your son might feel as if you have never experienced struggles. Parents like to keep their children sheltered from their troubles, especially when children are growing up. You most likely wanted to give your son a sense of safety and security in the home. You may have wanted your son to never worry about your problems or concerns to allow your child to be free to grow up with an optimistic outlook.

Young children need to feel secure at home and know that their parents can take care of everything. As a parent, you are doing your job to protect them from the struggles in your life. You are creating the foundation of safety and security that your child needs to thrive in their life. However, as your son gets older, he might experience setbacks or failures in his life that are devastating to him. He might still view you as invulnerable and able to take care of anything, as he had during childhood. Your son may feel like he is failing to live up to expectations that exist only as his perception. If you feel like your son cannot open up to you, remember not to take this personally. Perceptions of people, places, and things during childhood can create long-lasting beliefs for your son.

Sharing to Relate

You may need to break down barriers to allow your son to feel more comfortable. As your son enters adulthood or continues to struggle as an adult, you may want to break down the barrier by exposing some of your vulnerabilities and struggles. When you tell your son about some of the fears you had, the struggles you have endured, or your past failures, you might cut through the invulnerable perception of you, which might prevent him from opening up. While you might not relate to his experiences, you may connect on an emotional level that can foster a stronger bond. When you click on the emotional level and show your son that you have also had troubles and doubts, he might feel less intimidated about coming to you or sharing his experiences.

The Effects of Addiction

Recovery from addiction can be difficult and challenging. Addiction can be complicated and powerful. You may ask yourself, “If the consequences are so great, why can’t he just stop?” Addiction has multiple components. Your son could be experiencing a varying degree of physical dependence. They might have underlying issues at the root of their addiction, such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Addiction might be a harmful coping mechanism for them to “self-medicate” these underlying issues. Your son might fear ending their addiction due to the adverse side effects of detox and withdrawal. Treatment from addiction may require long-term stays in facilities and consistent therapeutic work or group meetings. 

Your son might lack effective coping mechanisms to deal with their unique problems. He might be unsure how to handle his struggles and utilizes drugs or alcohol to deal with his pain or fears. He might also need long-term care to learn new and healthy coping skills to deal with life’s challenges. Your son may require care to safely withdrawal from the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol. Addiction can be powerful; your son’s brain chemistry and biology might have been altered by the excessive use of drugs or alcohol. Creating new, healthy lifestyle habits can take time, as learning new practices requires consistent and repeated use over a long duration. 

If you have a son struggling with addiction, you can help them by getting more information about addiction and root causes. Remember that you sometimes need not go through the same struggles to relate to the emotional impact. You have likely experienced struggles and trials in your lifetime. Letting your son know that you have also felt pain and loss during your life might help the two of you connect.


Emerging adults might need the help and support of their parents in recovery from addiction. Though your son may be grown up, addiction can create difficulty in dealing with life and all of its challenges. Addiction might be a negative coping strategy for life’s problems, and your son might struggle in their lives due to their addiction. While you may not relate to their exact experiences in life, you have likely dealt with your own set of challenges and issues. You might share these trials with your adult son to foster a stronger relationship as they recover from addiction. Choice House can help your son with their addiction and recovery. We are here to heal families and build stronger bonds for support. We can help your son learn the valuable coping skills needed to deal with everyday life’s challenges and stressors. For more information, call us today at (720) 577-4422.

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