Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
Should I pay my son's drug debt

Addiction will often go hand in hand with a debt problem. Individuals will often spend all their money or borrowed money on alcohol and drugs, which inevitably leaves them vulnerable. The growing pressure of debt can create a hostile environment for the addicted individual, redirecting their brain to focus more on their addiction to deal with their negative mental mindset.

If you or a loved one is currently struggling with debt problems and addiction, it is vital to take the necessary steps to fix both issues. The more progress you make with one of the issues, the more progress you will make with the other.

Often family members or friends believe that they are helping the addicted individual when they lend them money; however, they are doing the complete opposite. By providing a comfortable environment for the individual to get more drugs continuously, you are elongating the negative cycle of their addiction. As hard and uncomfortable as it may be, loved ones and friends need not give their addicted loved ones any money, even if they say it isn’t going to go on drugs. If they need their rent paid or require some groceries, go physically buy those items instead of lending money.

The reality of addiction

There is only one way to help an individual suffering from addiction ultimately, and that is to ensure there are consequences for the addiction and the negative behaviour that follows. If family and friends create a comfortable environment where the addicted individual can get away with what they please, they will never join the road to sobriety. It is doubtful that if the addicted individual lives in a comfortable environment, they will ever mentally want to become sober and will likely continue or worsen their behaviour.

The addicted individual will often, in their negative cycle, get to a stage where they become entirely unmanageable. Their addiction would have taken complete control, and things in their life that they once had power over would soon feel unmanageable. Very few addicts ever get sober when living in a comfortable environment. Addicts will only decide to become clean when they have no other choice; they understand that if they carry on their current lifestyle, they will eventually die. This factor can often scare individuals and will be the element that pushes them to get clean. It can be highly heart-wrenching for the family and friends to ultimately turn their backs on their addicted loved ones in a financial way, but eventually, they need to be placed into an environment where they are unhappy and uncomfortable.

Daily, addicts will often have to complete acts considered immoral by your average person to feed their addiction. No amount of pleading or begging from their loved ones will redirect the addicted loved one to do the right thing. The addicted loved one will more than likely go through months, if not years, of humiliation, arguments, physical fights, debt, pain, mental torture, and more before they decide they have had enough and they are ready to become a cleaning and change their lives for the better.

Debt collectors

Often, family and loved ones fear their addicted loved ones’ safety. The family will often be told that if debts are not settled, there will be horrific consequences for the family and the addicted loved one, which can often take the form of a member of the family being beaten up, the family house being broken into, or much worse.

Naturally, when loved ones or family members are threatened or scared, they will figure out how to pay their addicted loved ones’ debt to the drug dealers. This, unfortunately, places a target on the family’s back as the drug dealers are now aware that this family will pay any debt their addicted loved one rack up, which will result in the drug dealer pushing more drugs on the addicted individual.

Drug dealers often find out where the addicted individual lives or where their family lives. If this situation is to happen, the best scenario the family can do is lie, confidently say that the person they are looking for no longer lives here, and once the drug dealer has gone, call the police immediately. The last thing drug dealers want is the hassle of a police investigation.

Tough love

It is more common than not in the early stages of a loved one’s addiction for them to continue living in the family house. Many families will often convince themselves that they are doing what is best; they are keeping the addicted individual safe but forget to think about the safety of themselves and other family members within the house. More likely than not, when the addicted person lives in the same house as the family, they are simply delaying the inevitable by placing the entire family in the firing line for more disappointment and hurt.

If you have a family member who is currently going through addiction and is living in the same house as the rest of the family, there must be firm boundaries put in place with consequences if the boundaries are broken. If the addicted individual wishes to have the support of the family, they must respect the boundaries that the family places in the home.

Support the loved one, not their addiction

Tough love is hard for any parent; more likely than not, the parents or family members will blame themselves for what they are all going through. The individual going through addiction categorically does not want to be an addict; they would do anything to stop; however, addiction completely takes hold of the individual’s life and forces them to continue. Addiction takes hold bad enough that the individuals are forced into a way of life they do not want; the more they try to fight the addiction, the stronger it gets.

Always encourage and actively go out of your way to support the individual when they are attempting to get help; even if they are talking about seeking help but have not yet physically started, support them. It is an excellent sign that they are fighting their addiction; they are slowly getting to the stage where they are so beat down by their addiction that they can no longer see themselves and realize that they need help if they want to survive.

If the addicted individual is not showing any sign of wanting to get clean, leave them, and don’t mention getting clean in any way. Family and friends can beg and plead with everything they have; unless the addicted individual wants to get sober, it is like talking to a brick wall. Constantly pushing them to get sober can do more harm than you realize. The addicted individual can begin to feel overwhelmed, which will lead them to start taking more drugs and alcohol to deal with the guilty emotions.

How you can help

If a loved one is struggling with their addiction and debt, it can place immense financial stress on the entire family.

While we understand that as a family member, all you will want to do is help, sometimes you need to take a step back. Placing yourself and your family members in direct danger because your addicted loved one owes a drug dealer money puts a target on everyone’s back.

More often than not, until the addicted individual is placed in an uncomfortable environment, they will not try to help themselves. If a family member is making their life comfortable, paying their debt, and having no boundaries, the addicted individual will continue, and their addiction will worsen.