How to Deal with an Alcoholic Parent As an Adult: 15 Steps

Although this might be hard, making it clear that you won’t tolerate their heavy drinking any longer is the best way to help them without sacrificing your mental or financial health. If possible, recruit support from other people in your parent’s life when you set boundaries. Sharing how everyone feels the same way during an intervention can help your parent see that they need help. Alcohol abuse is the excessive consumption of alcohol including an inability to cut down or stop drinking, even when consumption negatively affects your life. The person consuming alcohol usually develops tolerance and experiences withdrawal symptoms if they try to cut back or quit.

Living and dealing with an alcoholic parent is challenging, and it helps to be aware of how to cope while seeking treatment options. Alcohol classifies as substance use and affects a person’s general behavior. Generally, an alcoholic parent may feel happy, sad, out of control, angry, or have violent outbursts. A trained mental health professional can offer more support with identifying unhelpful habits and coping mechanisms and exploring alternatives that better serve you. According to White, this may happen partly because children often learn to mirror the characteristics of their parents. I treated people horribly, but I wasn’t really “me.” Today, I’m nowhere near that person now, mainly because I gave my lifestyle a total makeover.

How Having an Alcoholic Parent Can Affect a Child

While SMART Recovery™ is focused on alcoholics, the organization also has resources for friends and family as well. Al-Anon is the largest and most well-known support group for families of alcoholics. Modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon includes a 12-Step program for members to follow to help them cope with their family member’s alcoholism.

  • One of the easiest ways to do this is to suggest sober activities that you can all do together.
  • At times, you might fear having your parent’s behavior leave you embarrassed in front of other people.
  • These groups can provide invaluable support for you, which will help you better support your parents’ alcoholism treatment.
  • If your parent with AUD is willing to attend therapy with you, family therapy can often help rebuild trust and pave the way toward healing.
  • Living with a parent who has an alcohol use disorder affects the way kids, and kids-turned-adults, see themselves.
  • Submit your number and receive a free call today from a treatment provider.

Do not attempt to have the conversation with your parent when they are heavily intoxicated and less likely to hear what you are trying to communicate. It is always good to be prepared if the person reacts with anger or outright denial to the message you are trying to convey. Match with a licensed therapist and get convenient care from anywhere.

What Does It Feel Like to Drink Alcohol?

Although it is difficult to separate out the role of genetics and other childhood experiences, these children may be more susceptible to substance use and other issues. Family relationships often make it hard to figure out how much to help someone who is an alcoholic. Your parent plays an important role in your life that is heavily impacted by how much they drink. Your relationship to your parent is also affected by when they started drinking and how alcohol influenced their ability to take care of you when you were young. For instance, you might be an adult who is now worried about their elderly parent developing an alcohol problem in their senior years. Or, you might have been dealing with your parent’s alcoholism your whole life.

how to deal with alcoholic parent

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How People May Act

After growing up in an atmosphere where denial, lying, and keeping secrets may have been the norm, adult children can develop serious trust problems. Broken promises of the past tell them that trusting someone will backfire on them in the future. You have the chance to be open and honest with your father about his addiction. And while it will be a difficult conversation—or a series of difficult conversations—it could be what makes him finally get the help he needs. Contact us today for more information on how to help an alcoholic parent, how to cope with alcoholism, and start recovery at Ripple Ranch Recovery.

  • We have more than 120 years of combined experience helping people just like you move past addiction.
  • Well respected facilities are typically accredited by organizations such as The Joint Commission which sets predetermined criteria and standards for quality care and patient safety.
  • Many people with histories of alcohol abuse go on to live healthy, sober lives.
  • Unfortunately, there aren’t many options available to you for your parent if they refuse help.
  • Let him know that help is out there and that you are here to support him—whenever he is ready.

They may lash out, try to hide their drinking or deny the severity of the situation. It is important to remember you are not alone, and taking care of your own wellbeing is the most important first step to helping your parent. As with anything, developing the right treatment plan is a crucial step towards a successful recovery. Be engaged in the process and open to suggestions from those around you including your support system, other family members, loved ones, and medical staff. There are many different paths to recovery, and speaking with a qualified medical professional can help you determine which path is right for your loved one.

Reports show that about 6.6 million children live in a home with at least one alcoholic parent. Coping with the lasting effects of a parent’s alcohol use can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. You’re not to blame if you learned to use alcohol as a means of dealing with trauma from your childhood, but you can always take action to learn new, more helpful coping mechanisms.

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