How to Deal With an Alcoholic: Dos, Dont’s, Coping

Parents with substance abuse issues may become angry or abusive if they feel that a child is “betraying” the family by exposing its secrets to a school counselor, teacher, doctor, or a friend’s parent. Many parents are also afraid of the very real possibility that if their substance abuse is exposed, they might lose legal custody of their children and face criminal charges. Having an alcoholic parent can be difficult, so it’s important to get the help you need to take care of yourself. If possible, try to find a safe place to go when your parent is drinking, like a library, friend’s house, or a local park. Remind yourself that your parent’s drinking is not your fault or responsibility. The best you can do for your parent is talk to them about getting help, but remember that it has to be their choice.

You can’t make them acknowledge their alcohol use disorder or attend rehab either. The only thing you can control is your own behavior and how you approach them. And if you don’t feel safe or comfortable approaching your alcoholic parent, you don’t have to—it’s not your responsibility to take care of them.

How to Maintain a Relationship with an Alcoholic Parent

He had surgery and his doctors prescribed prescription pain medication for the aftermath. When the doctors cut him off from continued renewing of his prescription, he turned to alcohol. For example, if your family member shows up for work late or missing it entirely becomes a habit, detachment teaches you that it’s not your responsibility to cover for them. It also applies to making excuses and trying to fix situations, as well as avoiding arguments.

  • You do not have to agree with their behavior or try to fix their problems.
  • These feelings can affect your personal sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
  • If you are concerned about your parent’s drinking, this article outlines a few things you can do.
  • Children always suffer when they share a house with an alcoholic parent.
  • The more you learn about alcoholism, the better you can support an alcoholic loved one.

Once your parents’ have committed to a treatment program, it is important you do not make excuses for them if they relapse or continue drinking. According to the NIAAA, it is common for an alcoholic’s family to make excuses if they continue drinking or if they suffer a relapse. By covering up or excusing your parents’ relapses, you are enabling them to continue to drink with no conscience. For every excuse you make, it is telling both of them it is okay to carry on drinking. Feelings of frustration are normal but you should avoid continually confronting your parents about their drinking, especially if you are doing it to try to make them feel guilty.

Take Care of Yourself

Individual therapy is a great place to start, says Michelle Dubey, LCSW, chief clinical officer for Landmark Recovery. The type of therapy you pursue may depend on the issues you’re most concerned about. Your therapist can help you determine a therapy approach that best fits your unique needs and concerns. “Many people with AUD are unable to have healthy conflict, especially when under the influence of alcohol,” says White. This state of hypervigilance is a common symptom of both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders.

  • It remains unclear whether his sister, who had no prior caregiving experience, would find an appropriate assisted living home for Warren.
  • Priory aspires to deliver the highest quality care in the UK across our range of services, which include acute mental healthcare, addiction treatment and low and medium secure facilities.
  • Children of alcoholics may take on too much responsibility, even for things beyond their control.
  • The concerns of young people can differ from those of adults so such a group can be highly beneficial.
  • As a result, the person with a SUD doesn’t deal with the consequences of their actions.

Alcoholism is an illness, where a doctor or medical professional may be needed to help a person to get better. One of the most common issues that children of alcoholics struggle with is blaming themselves or thinking that they could be doing more for their parent. This is especially Alcohol Shakes: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Remedies true when the alcoholic drunkenly (and falsely) blames that child to their face. Alcoholism can lead to emotional, physical, mental, and financial abuse and neglect of children of all ages. This is especially true of children who still live with or near their alcoholic parent.

How to Help an Alcoholic Father

Alcoholism can also cause a parent to act in ways that are extremely embarrassing, or even humiliating, to their children and themselves. As such, a wide range of individual and family therapy options are available through American Addiction Centers (AAC). Explore our treatment centers online or contact one of our admissions navigators. We can help you not only explore family therapy options but also identify tailored treatment programs to meet your unique needs or those of a loved one. When a parent has an alcohol use disorder, it’s not the child’s responsibility to get the parent into alcohol treatment. However, other adults can certainly step in to encourage the parent to seek treatment.

  • In 2019, around 14.5 million people ages 12 and older in the United States were living with this condition, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
  • Alcoholism is an illness, where a doctor or medical professional may be needed to help a person to get better.
  • Your safety is more valuable than your loved one’s recovery.
  • “In this process, you’ll process unresolved traumatic experiences and develop tools to formulate healthy relationships and communicate your needs,” she explains.
  • If you are able to get your drunk parent to sleep, check on them periodically to make sure they are responsive and breathing and haven’t rolled onto their back.


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