Coping with an Alcoholic Parent

Having an alcoholic in the family is devastating. When the alcoholic loved one is your parent, it becomes even more difficult. Coping with an alcoholic mother or father is trying and exhausting for any person.

Adult Children of Alcoholics

Adult children of alcoholics have different experiences than people without alcoholic parents. Having to deal with an alcoholic parent can cause several psychological and even physical problems. Alcoholism not only affects the person who is drinking but also his or her loved ones. Children are the ones most affected by a parent’s drinking. Some of the problems faced by such people when they become adults include the following:

  • Low confidence
  • No base for knowing what a normal life is
  • Impulsiveness
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Failure to express themselves properly
  • Being overly loyal
  • Codependent relationships

These are common problems faced by adults who have grown up with alcoholic parents.

Senior Parents with Alcoholism

A parent may not have always struggled with alcohol use. He or she may become addicted to alcohol after children have grown up. It is difficult to understand and manage parents with substance abuse problems, and it can seem impossible to confront adult parents about these issues. If you have younger siblings, you may feel you have to be there for them and support them. You may have to fill the parent role for siblings or even for your parents. Talking to your parent about his or her alcoholism is a sensitive issue. Many try to avoid confrontation, because they feel it would be degrading for their parents or that their attempts would be met with denial or anger. Children may cover up for their parents if they make a mistake or fail to fulfill their obligations. If you are struggling with a parent’s addiction, do the following:

  • Learn about alcoholism. Read books, online articles or attend support meetings for friends and family of alcoholics. You have to talk to your parent about drinking, and information can be your best resource for learning how.
  • Do not blame yourself for your parent’s addiction. It is common for parents to blame their children for their alcoholism, but this does not mean that this blame is correctly placed. If you feel guilty about your parent’s alcoholism, you won’t be able to help him or her.
  • Avoid arguing with your parent, especially if he or she is drunk. Arguments will not lead to positive changes, and you cannot reason with a person when he or she is drinking.
  • Don’t start drinking. If you also drink, you will compound the problems in your home.

Though rehab for parents is available, it is difficult for you to convince your parent to go through a recovery program. Learn all you can about addiction and recovery and consider asking a professional counselor or interventionist to help you and your family.
Find Alcohol Addiction Help for Your Parents

We can help. We can connect you with professional intervention services, rehab care, family counseling and immediate phone support. Please call our toll-free helpline, and find out how we can help you and your family get through this difficult time. We are here 24 hours a day, so your family can be on the way to wellness today.