A man who suffers from substance abuse sits on steps outside.

What to Do if an Addicted Loved One Leaves Home

At some point, every parent must learn to step back and let go. Allowing those you care for the most to learn from their mistakes can feel shameful at times, but it’s a necessary step in the recovery process. You can’t force someone to want a better life, even when that someone is your child.

They have to want it for themselves for their recovery to mean something. That’s why learning how to engage with your child, or loved one, who is struggling with an addiction and refusing to commit to the recovery process is essential to helping them grow.

It provides you with essential knowledge that’s required to communicate with them effectively and helps you create a situation in which their sobriety is something they choose to begin — which is more likely to result in them attaining sustained sobriety.

My Addicted Child or Loved One Ran Away from Home. Now What?

First, it’s important to remain calm and consider all your options.

Is your loved one over age 18? Is your loved one an adult? What substances are they using consistently? Have they been to treatment before? While you may not be able to answer all these questions immediately, approaching the situation with a calm demeaner and levelheadedness is essential to constructing a communication plan with your loved one as soon as you can.

If they’ve run away from home, call them to simply check on their well-being. Ask if they’ve eaten or had access to basic hygiene amenities in the last 24 hours. If they haven’t, offer a way to provide those comforts for them and take advantage of the opportunity to just talk with them to show you genuinely care about their personal well-being.

3 Simple Tips: What to Do When an Addicted Child or Loved One Runs Away from Home

  1. First and foremost, educate yourself.

While it can be instinctual to want to immediately start looking for your loved one, you need to take a deep breath and slow down. Take the time to research some viable addiction treatment facilities and the best treatment approach to take regarding your loved one’s specific addiction. That way, when they return, you’ll be fully prepared to offer treatment options that can address their specific needs and clinical issues.

Although your child or loved one may be exhibiting unhealthy behaviors, it’s OK to believe they’re not a bad person at heart. They’re struggling with the disease of addiction and should be encouraged to face their illness. Doing the research beforehand allows you to increase your knowledge and create a plan to help them begin their recovery journey.

  1. Be prepared to establish healthy boundaries with your loved one.

This step can sometimes be the most difficult because it requires you avoid enabling your loved one. This term is used to describe when you’re supporting them in a way that removes the consequences of their behaviors.

Enabling can be very dangerous because the behavior discourages them from addressing their addiction through professional help. It can lead to situations that cause physical, mental and psychological harm because they have to accept responsibility for the damage their addiction inflicts. Only when your loved one is forced to face the consequences of their actions will it finally begin to sink in how devastating their substance use has become.

  1. Encourage open communication but hold your loved one accountable.

In building off the second step, it’s essential to establish an open line of communication with your loved one to show your concern. However, this doesn’t mean you allow them to walk all over you. Establishing accountability and setting appropriate boundaries creates a situation where your loved one knows they can talk to you, but you won’t sugar coat your responses.

Boundaries are important in any relationship, but especially when you’re dealing with someone struggling with addiction. Boundaries can help you feel a bit more in control of a difficult and unpredictable scenario, which is the exact situation when your loved one runs away and refuses treatment.

How an Addiction Treatment Center Can Help You Navigate This Difficult Situation

Watching anyone struggle with a substance use disorder can be difficult, but it’s worse when the person is your child or loved one. Trying to help them when they run away and refuse your assistance can feel devastating, but approaching the situation with patience and love can maintain your relationship and provide guidance for the future.

That’s why finding a treatment facility that meets all your loved one’s needs is so important during this process. It creates a situation where you can offer a viable treatment option when they’re ready and ensures you aren’t managing the situation on your own. Being proactive is the best way to ensure a smooth transition into rehab for your loved one when the time comes and creates a support system to help you along the way.

Ranch Creek Recovery’s Holistic Addiction Treatment Programs Will Be Here to Help

Wherever your loved one is on their addiction or recovery journey — if they’re contending with a severe addiction, working to become sober, trying to overcome a relapse, or currently sober — we’re here for them and your entire family. With customized treatment plans that fit your loved one’s unique recovery needs and offering a holistic alternative to the traditional 12 step program, Ranch Creek Recovery’s holistic treatment services will help your loved one stop abusing and forge a fulfilling, clean future. From the moment they start therapy, we will help them and your family every step of the way.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat. Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.