Am I talking with my parent enough?



I often feel that I am not getting through to my mom. It seems like she hears me and understands but keeps repeating addictive behavior. I look at it as planting seeds of love and encouragement. Eventually they will have the desired effect.


Hey Dave! Wondering, is your question about talking to your parent enough in general or talking to your parent enough about addiction? Or maybe they’re one in the same?! I guess I ask myself both of these questions about my dad…

Yesterday in a conversation with a friend whose mom struggles with alcohol use, we talked about lowering expectations. We talked about HOPING for change, even ENCOURAGING change, but not EXPECTING change. Both of our parents became widowed a few years ago, and now they’re learning who/how to be outside the context of their marriages. Addiction certainly adds an extra layer of complexity to the parent/child dynamic – as I know you know!

I think lowering my expectation that something might give if I do “enough” of XYZ takes some pressure off.

Currently I talk to my dad probably 1-2x per week, and it’s pretty causal, just a catch-up. What’s important to me is for him to know that I love and care for him. But like @Annie said it can be painful and exhausting to keep pushing for change, so with high hope and low expectation, I’m better able to care for my own emotional experience, and if one day he wants help to make change to his addictive & moody behaviors, I’m here.

All that said, I still ask these questions – am I doing enough, being enough, helping enough, etc.? So, I’m not entirely sure this answered your question :thinking: maybe just some food for thought!


I hear what you are saying, I went through the same thing with my Dad 6 years ago. Unfortunately I had to make the decision to cut him out of my life due to his addictive behaviour and mood swings. I constantly tried to tell my dad to get help and he heard me but didnt act on it. I thought if I kept ‘planting the seed’ then he would get help but he never did. It is 6 years later and I decided to reach back out to him and so far it is successful but I havent told him he still needs help before we can have a functional relationship again. I am looking at inpatient treatment options for him but I am reluctant to ask him due to the answer that I feel I will receive. If he says no then I will have to continue to not have him in my life because it is too painful for me to continue to go through this. I hope your mom eventually does hear you and makes a change. Counselling has really helped me understand what words I should be using. Just a thought.


Thank you Katie. I appreciate your suggestions. It’s not easy to deal with an addictive parent. My grandfather died from alcoholism many years ago. Unfortunately it seems like my mom (his daughter) is following the same path.


I love what Katie said:

We talked about HOPING for change, even ENCOURAGING change, but not EXPECTING change.

How often do you talk to your mom, and do you always bring up “the issue”? I’d say let her know how much you love her and care about her and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get her help, so she will know that you are there for her and you will know you did your part in trying to help her.


I have to agree with @katie about high hope and low expectations. Definitely something I’m going to start doing haha I’ve been pushing and pushing and I’m exhausted. To try to answer your question though, as long as you’re checking in with them a couple times a week, seeing how they’re doing with the addiction, helping them find available treatments and showing that you care and believe in them that they can beat it, that’s the best you can do in my experience


I think it’s so wonderful that you plant seeds of love and encouragement, and just like plants the desired outcome takes time, patience, and nurturing. I agree with what most people have said as well. Letting them know you are there for them, love them, and only want to help doesn’t need to be something you do every day. Every once in a while is great too! I’m sure she appreciates just knowing that you are there for her.


I know what you mean. We become masters of patience - this is a l o n g game :slight_smile:


It’s also important to remember that part of the process of checking in with your loved one in their addiction recovery is to check in in a way that doesn’t remind them of their addiction. This can mean asking them about work, or that fun new Netflix show that just came out. Simply anything else that you can connect over. It’s the loved one realizing that there’s more to life than their addiction— that there are all these little things about life they hold on dearly to, that will reinforce their desire for recovery. We often think we need to only plant seeds that explicitly define recovery in terms of an illness, but this is only half the equation.


I agree with you Ashley. It’s an indirect way to get through to my mom. I will try this approach.

Thank you for sharing.

Dave :grinning:


Happy thanksgiving @dadpop2007 <3