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Helping My Dad With Cocaine Addiction

Addiction doesn’t just touch individual lives. Its effects reach outward, creating an environment of chaos and confusion. When did you find out your dad was on cocaine? Did his behavior strike you as odd when you were a kid? Maybe you continue to suspect that your dad does cocaine, but you’re still unsure.

If you’re worried about your cocaine-addicted father, it’s important first to understand the disease of addiction and then confront the issue head-on. Your encouragement to get treatment could be the wake-up call he needs.

Growing Up With a Cocaine Addicted Dad

Fathers are supposed to create a solid foundation for their kids. Their stability, strength and love give sons and daughters the courage to forge their own trails. Addiction to substances like cocaine changes all that. Perhaps your dad has battled addiction for as long as you remember, or maybe this is a recent phenomenon. Regardless, the children of cocaine-addicted dads often have to deal with pain and situations no family should have to face, including:

  • Chronic neglect
  • Taking on a caretaker role to their dad
  • Having to take on adult responsibilities around the home, such as cooking and laundry
  • Living without electricity because of unpaid bills
  • Homelessness
  • Unsafe living environments
  • Lack of protection and security
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Abuse, whether physical, verbal, emotional or sexual

Red Flags That Your Dad Is on Drugs

If you’re beginning to notice changes in your father, he may be developing a substance use disorder later in life. Perhaps the stress of work has become too much to bear. Or, maybe he’s trying to cope with an undiagnosed mental health issue, like depression. Here are some of the signs that could indicate that your father is addicted to cocaine or another substance:

  • Long periods of staying awake
  • Seeming over-excited or overconfident
  • Paranoia
  • Lost appetite
  • Physical signs like dilated pupils, runny nose or sniffles
  • Mood swings such as irritability or depression
  • Experiencing problems at work
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal issues
  • Finding white powder around the house
  • White powder residue around his nostrils

How to Deal With a Father Addicted to Drugs

It’s heartbreaking to witness your family deteriorate due to cocaine addiction. You and your dad deserve to find hope and healing — and that will require professional addiction treatment for your father. Sadly, going to rehab might be the last thing on your dad’s mind. Perhaps, after years of hurt and neglect, you don’t even want to deal with your father’s addiction.

However, if you’re willing to take action, you could end up saving his life.

1. Understand That Addiction Is a Disease

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance, and addiction is a life-threatening disease. Your dad may feel completely helpless to quit. Perhaps he’s tried to give up cocaine and has faced painful withdrawal symptoms. While it doesn’t excuse your dad’s wrongful behaviors, understanding addiction can help you extend some sympathy and compassion.

2. Research Addiction Treatment Centers

Because addiction is a disease, your father will most likely need professional cocaine addiction treatment personalized to his needs. Addiction rehab should include detoxification services, medical supervision and intensive therapy to help root out the source of his addiction and discover effective coping skills. Your father’s cocaine addiction treatment should also include support or alumni services to continue his journey post-rehab.

3. Remember That You’re Not in Control

Your father’s cocaine addiction is not your burden to carry. While seeking out treatment is admirable, he must be the one motivated to change. You can offer him options, but you cannot control whether or not he accepts help.

4. Confront With Compassion

Wait until your father is sober and, hopefully, in a calm frame of mind. Then, go to speak with him. Talk honestly about how his cocaine addiction has impacted you. If needed, enlist other loved ones to share their concerns. Then, encourage your father to get professional treatment. If he refuses, you may need to create boundaries or consequences, such as not seeing him or refusing to help if he encounters legal or financial difficulties.

Learn More About Gateway Foundation’s Cocaine Drug Treatment Program

With more than 50 years of experience, Gateway Foundation is here to help people break the bonds of addiction. Our drug treatment programs provide safe and effective evidence-based care so that your dad can confront cocaine’s hold on his life. We invite you to contact us today to speak with a member of our team and learn how we can help your dad.

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