Living with an alcoholic parent can be tough, especially when their behavior gets recognition from friends or other family members. There’s a difference between being embarrassed by your parent because they try to pry into your social life and being embarrassed by your parent because of things they do when they are under the influence of alcohol. Having an alcoholic parent can be really hard. The good news is you are not alone. In fact, 1 in every 4 person lives (or has lived) with a person with an alcohol problem. Knowing how to approach your alcoholic parent is important, as open communication about how their behavior affects you is sometimes enough for them to seek treatment.
How to Deal With an Alcoholic Parent
- Approach your alcoholic parent at a time when they have not been drinking and be honest about how their behavior makes you feel. Be sure to point out the qualities you love about them when they are not drinking. If you have a parent that is abusive and there is a chance the conversation can escalate then you should end the conversation and get yourself to a safe space.
- Find support from an adult family member or friend. Chances are that if you notice your alcoholic parent’s behavior getting worse (ie: they drink heavily most nights of the week), others notice it as well.
- If you let your parent know how you feel and they don’t seek treatment or make changes, try and put space between you and them. For example, if you know that your parent drinks heavily on Friday evenings to “blow off steam” from the week, see if you can go to a friend’s house or make other plans so that you don’t have to be around them while they exhibit that behavior.
- When your parent can not be a proper role model because of their addiction, find someone that is not struggling with an addiction that you can look up to. While parents are supposed to inspire, protect and support us, sometimes that is not the case. Making sure that you have a positive role model will ensure that you have support during this hard time.
- While having an alcoholic parent might make you want to do anything you can to “save them,” it is important to remember that they must come to the decision to seek treatment on their own. Whether or not they decide to seek treatment has no reflection on you.
If an alcoholic parent chooses to seek help there are many treatment options that they can choose from. Some of these treatment options include detox, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), and even family therapy. Children of alcoholic parents should also consider counseling. Having someone who understands and provides neutral support will help you get through this hard time. For more information on addiction treatment, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group has offices in Towson and Bel Air, Maryland, and is the area’s leading addiction recovery center.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.