By Sandy Baker
For many college students, this year’s winter break will be different. Students may have gone home early if their school switched to remote classes after Thanksgiving, and they may not know yet whether they’ll return to school in January. This means that many students will be living with their parents again for an extended period of time. Living at home may reveal to some students a hard reality – an addiction to drugs or alcohol that developed while they were in school.
It’s Time to Talk to Someone
If you are one of these students, you need to talk to your parents or another trusted adult about what’s going on.
Why Do You Need to Tell Your Parents at All?
You’re practically an adult. You make your own decisions. Why do you need to tell your parents that drug or alcohol use is a big part of your life?
Because doing so may open the door to a conversation about how to get your life back on track. If you’re suffering from addiction, you need a support system to help you recover. If you’re not sure whether you’re addicted, be honest with yourself about the way drugs and alcohol have impacted your life.
- How are your grades?
- Are you still going to graduate in time?
- Have you pursued all of the opportunities you wanted to?
- Will any of your professors recommend you for a grad program?
- Are you facing health challenges as a result of your substance use?
- When you’re ready to admit to yourself that you may have a problem, you don’t have to face it alone.
- Ask your parents or someone you trust for help.
You’re Not Alone
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recognizes the risks associated with drug use in colleges in the U.S. On an average day in the previous year, 2,179 students drank alcohol, and 1,326 used an illicit drug.
Here’s the good news. Most parents want to help. If yours do not, help is available from other sources. You can talk with any therapist or counselor, or you can contact a treatment center to talk with an admissions counselor.
How to Open the Conversation with Your Parents
When you make the decision to talk to your parents about your drug and alcohol addiction, you’ll find that it may be somewhat healing for your relationship with them. Addiction isn’t something most people want to admit to, and it most certainly can be terrifying for parents to hear about for the first time. Here are a few things to consider.
- Tell your parents you understand what’s happening to you. Offer them resources about addiction so they can learn about what you’re going through.
- Discuss what drug and alcohol use has done to your grades and health.
- Take the time to recognize your parent’s frustration, anger, and fear.
- Ask them for help. Tell them you’re ready to get support.
Having this type of conversation isn’t easy for anyone involved. But chances are that your parents suspect something is happening anyway. They may have noticed that you no longer have the same group of friends or that your interests have changed significantly. They may see that you’re facing challenges related to relationships or that you’ve pulled away from your family completely. They will probably deeply appreciate and respect your honesty, even if they initially get angry or hurt.
What Type of Help Can You Get As a College Student?
Our residential treatment program at The Ranch at Dove Tree may be exactly the type of support you need. This program is designed to allow you to step away from school for a short while as you work on your addiction.
Chances are good your health insurance will cover the cost of your care. You just need to reach out and call our team to learn more about how we can help you.