How do your loved one's other family members and friends respond to their substance use?



What’s the response from other family members and friends regarding your loved one’s substance use? Do you think their response helpful or harmful to your loved one?


Hi everyone, my first time posting here. Looking forward to sharing experiences with the group and learning some new approaches. Would really like to get away from my “trial and error” style of parenting. The response from friends and family has been interesting and I have definitely culled the pack. Some well meaning friends have offered to take me out for drinks. (What?!! my son is literally dying from substance abuse and you think I would enjoy ingesting the same poison?). Two different friends who do not have kids are quick to offer me advice about cutting off all ties and letting him “hit rock bottom”. But mostly people are sympathetic and supportive, and more than a few have revealed their own substance abuse family issues that they have kept quiet.


Interesting and also not surprising that your friends would offer you drinks during this time. It just goes to show how engrained substances have become in people’s responses to pain and struggle. How did you respond to that?

Also interesting that some have revealed substance abuse in their own family. It’s more common than we think, and we’re all more alike than we think.

Glad you found this community, @Linda. :slight_smile:


My family was very much in denial of how bad the situation was - thinking I was overreacting, until there was scientific proof when she delivered her baby that he had tested positive for drugs. Now it’s all very awkward as they want to be supportive, but don’t really know how. And I’m not even sure what supportive looks like - to me or my daughter - let alone the baby. It’s all very convoluted.


“Let ‘em hit rock bottom”
“Cut all ties“
“Save yourself before they pull you under, too.”

I have heard all of these all too often from family and friends. I have not had much support overall from my family. My spouse mostly, a niece who understands addiction, and a friend that supported me up until that point she could no longer tolerate the detriment my daughter’s SUD was causing me. My mom has offered some support when I can keep established boundaries with her concerning negativity and sharing negative chatter with my sisters. My family prayed for my daughters incarceration. I understand they’re thinking it might save her life. However, I would have preferred they prayed for her entering rehab, prayed for her sobriety, or prayed for her recovery.

I am well aware of waiting for your loved one to “hit rock bottom”. Rock bottom everyone has one yet you can’t help them get there. Nor can you be certain your loved one has hit the deepest depth of their bottom?

I am experienced in “cutting all ties”. I have cut ties with people I don’t like or who become an irritant in my life. I have “cut ties” with my step mother and her children, other non-supportive family members, co-workers, bosses, doctors, irritating community members, etc. However, I do not ever plan on cutting ties with my child.

“Saving myself before I get pulled under” that which I had to start doing, a few months ago. When I said to my daughter, “It is time for you to save yourself. I keep jumping in the deep end to pull you out and you dive right back in, over and over again. You are drowning us both and now I must save myself before it is too late!

This reminds me of a prayer I learned from a post on a bar-room wall when I was around 10 years old and that has been chanted at many AA and recovery meetings:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


My family and friends are very supportive. One of them has had her own issue with alcohol and is sober.
Some of them may have thought I’m an enabler, but they also know how complicated it is for both of us.

Unfortunately, my son’s father doesn’t really understand SUD or can’t bare to deal with it. Also his cancer has returned and his life my be shortened and I have no idea what that will mean for my son’s journey.
I would really like to be communicating better with my son before we have to deal with that hard news about his dad.


Yeah, it can be tough to support someone when you don’t know even know what you need for support! Might be helpful to just start there: What does support look like for you? And then go from there.

I’m sorry to hear of the way your family ended up accepting your loved one’s substance use. It must be very hard on all of you. Is anyone else looking into support, as well?


Sending you love @seapa. That’s a lot to carry for one person. I’m glad you have a support network to lean on, and even someone who personally understands SUD.