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Steps for Dealing With an Alcoholic Parent


Alcoholism is a complicated and insidious disease, one that develops from a variety of contributing factors and affects every individual in a variety of different ways. Not only does alcoholism destroy the life of the sufferer, but it negatively impacts the lives of all of his or her loved ones. When there is alcoholism in the family it can be especially devastating for the children of the man or woman who is grappling with the disorder. It is important to understand that if you are currently living with a parent who has been suffering at the hands of alcohol abuse – or if you no longer live at home and still have an alcoholic parent – you are not alone. Of course, this does not make having an alcoholic parent any easier. It is not uncommon for those who have alcoholic parents to feel overwhelmed, helpless, constantly worried about the safety and health of their parents, frustrated, depressed, and anxious.

If you have been living with a parent who has been suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence, there are several steps you can take – either to gently encourage change or to help yourself better cope with the situation. Remember – there is nothing you can do to force someone who is in the throes of alcohol addiction to seek the help they need. There are certain steps you can take to try, and certain steps you can take to offer support, but ultimately your loved one will need to become willing to seek help.

Does My Parent Have A Drinking Problem?

Identifying an alcoholic parent poses some challenges. After all, your parent may drink alcohol, but doing so doesn’t make him or her an alcoholic. Instead, you need to pay attention to how often your parent drinks alcohol.

For example, if your parent drinks alcohol each day, he or she may have an alcohol addiction. On the other hand, if your parent drinks alcohol on occasion during the holidays, you don’t need to worry about it.

Signs of an Alcoholic Parent

You need to see how often your parent drinks alcohol. Your parent may have an alcohol addiction if he or she drinks multiple times a week. You should also pay attention to how much your parent drinks. If your parent drinks multiple cans of beer at a time, he or she may have a problem.

Depending on the situation, your parent may have an alcohol addiction if he or she can’t go long periods without it.

Dealing with an Alcoholic Parent

Here are certain steps you can take when you have a parent that is suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction disorder:

  • First of all, do everything in your power to understand that it is not your fault. It can be easy to internalize things and start to blame yourself, or ask yourself questions like, “What did I do wrong?” “What could I have done differently?” “Is my parent this way because I’m bad or because I drive them to drink?” Alcoholism is a disease, and you played no role in its development – guaranteed.
  • Try to have a calm and rational conversation. Make sure this conversation happens in a one-on-one setting, and make sure your parent is not intoxicated before confronting them. Only you know whether or not this method of intervention will be effective; if your parent is intoxicated all of the time, it is best to leave any form of intervention to the professionals.
  • Speak with someone, like a guidance counselor or a therapist. Speaking to someone with knowledge on the subject will help alleviate your stress, and there is a good chance they will be able to provide you with valuable resources or point you in the right direction.
  • Find a support group like Al-Anon, which was specially designed for the family members of alcoholics. For a full list of Al-Anon meetings in your area please feel free to give us a call today.
  • See what you can do about staging a professional intervention. This is an ideal option for those who are suffering from moderate or severe alcohol problems. Again, call us today for more information on how to stage a professional and effective intervention.

What if My Parent Refuses Help?

Sometimes, your parent may not accept help with alcohol addiction. Depending on the severity of it, you may want to talk with a trustworthy adult about the situation. For example, you could mention your concerns to your grandparents, so they may talk with your parent about the potential addiction.

If this approach doesn’t work, you should mention how the alcohol makes you worried, so you can help your parent understand the severity of the problem.

Agape Recovery Center and Alcohol Addiction Recovery

At Agape Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of alcohol abuse disorders of all severities. If someone you love has been suffering at the hands of serious alcohol addiction, we are available to help. We have licensed interventionists on staff who will be able to help you stage an intervention for your loved one if doing so is deemed necessary by our clinical staff members. Please feel free to give us a call at any time of the day or night for a long list of applicable resources. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping in any and every way we can.

Call the Agape Treatment Center admissions team at 888-614-0077 to learn more about what our addiction and mental health facilities can do for you or your loved one.

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