Whether your parent has hit rock bottom or is a high-functioning alcoholic, when someone close to you drinks it can be harmful to you as well as them.
Knowing how to handle alcoholic parents is challenging because you may not want to overstep your boundaries, but there is hope.
How to Deal With an Alcoholic Parent
Whether you are a young child or a grown adult, it should not be your responsibility to take care of your parent’s drinking problem, but there are some things you do to deal and cope with having an alcoholic parent.
Talk to Someone
It is important that you talk to someone about your alcoholic parent rather than dealing with this burden completely on your own. For young children of an alcoholic parent, this could be a teacher, coach, or other trusted adult. If you are an adult, talk to a therapist, your spouse, or a friend. Especially if your parent gets violent when they have been drinking it is important to speak to someone and ask for help immediately. Talking to someone will not only make you feel better but could also get you or your parent help.
Talk to Them
If your parent’s drinking is negatively affecting your life, it may be time to talk to them about it. This can be a touchy subject so it may be best to involve another person and have them present, especially if your parent has a temper. Try to do this when they are sober and approach the topic in a calm manner focusing on your concern for their well-being. If you do not feel comfortable approaching them, you could write a letter instead. Many alcoholics may be in denial about their drinking problems but hearing their child’s concerns could be eye-opening.
If you are older, you may find yourself in a toxic relationship with your alcoholic parent. They are your parent and you love them, but it is possible that you are making their problems worse without realizing it. Learn the difference between enabling and supportive behavior. It is important to set boundaries to keep this from happening.
Try to Get Them Help
You cannot force someone to get alcohol abuse treatment, but if they seem willing, you can try to nudge them in the right direction. If you are younger, this should not be your responsibility, so this is why asking for outside help is so important. If your alcoholic parent seems hesitant to get help or is in denial about their drinking, an alcohol intervention specialist may be an option.
If you are older and your relationship with your alcoholic parent has become toxic, it may be time to separate yourself. If you are younger and your parent is unable to care for you properly or becomes violent or aggressive when drinking, ask for help. When your parent refuses to get help and your relationship with them is only hurting you instead of helping you, it is okay to move forward without them. If they do decide to enter into an addiction treatment center and get sober, you can decide if you want to work on rebuilding your relationship then.
Whether your parent is struggling with alcohol or someone else you love has a drinking problem, there is hope. At Banyan Chicago, we are here to guide people through the recovery process and help them create better lives without the use of alcohol.
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
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