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How to Help an Alcoholic Parent

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

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Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Millions of parents in the United States have alcohol use disorder, so many children want to know how to help an alcoholic parent.

While all situations are unique, we have some universal hints today that are well worth considering if you don’t know how to approach your parent about their alcohol abuse. If you are feeling helpless, one thing you can do is reach out to a substance abuse treatment center, like our California rehab, to help you set an intervention or begin the treatment process.

7 Ways to Help an Alcoholic Parent

1. Learn as much as possible about alcohol use disorder

2. Make sure you have a support system in place for yourself

3. Practice what you’ll say to your parent

4. Pick the right time and place to speak with your parent about their drinking

5. Engage the services of an intervention specialist if necessary

6. Listen to what your parent says with compassion and empathy

7. Offer your unconditional support

1) Learn as much as possible about alcohol use disorder

Whenever you’re trying to help an alcoholic loved one, the more you know about addiction and recovery, the more you’ll understand what they are going through.

Educate yourself on all aspects of this chronic and relapsing disease, while also exploring the most effective forms of treatment.

2) Make sure you have a support system in place for yourself

If you are a minor and your safety is at stake, you should speak with other adults or call the authorities if you feel in any way threatened.

Build a support system of friends and family who know what you’re going through so you have somewhere to turn if things go downhill and you feel at risk.

3) Practice what you’ll say to your parent

Any kind of intervention is likely to be charged with emotions, so plan what you’ll say in advance, and back up your points with specific examples.

4) Pick the right time and place to speak with your parent about their drinking

Picking the right time and place will maximize your chances of a fruitful outcome. Make sure your parent has not been drinking, and ensure they feel comfortable. If you are a minor, make sure other adults are nearby.

5) Engage the services of an intervention specialist if necessary

If you don’t feel equipped to broach the issue of alcoholism with your parent, consider engaging an intervention specialist.

6) Listen to what your parent says with compassion and empathy

Make sure you listen when you speak with your parent, and be sure to show them that you empathize.

Even if you find it tough, be honest about how you feel and about how your parent’s alcohol intake impacts you.

Keep in mind at all times that your parent is dealing with a chronic illness, so be sure to extend them compassion in line with this, even if you find it hard.

7) Offer your unconditional support

Let your parent know that recovery is a process rather than an event, and assure them that you will support them every step of the way through detox, rehab, and beyond.

How to Help Someone with an Alcoholic Parent

If you aren’t the one with the parent who is an alcoholic but have a friend who has an alcoholic parent, there are still things you can do to help the situation. One of the biggest things you can do is just provide mental and emotional support. Alcoholism can take a major toll on the family, sometimes showing a little support is all someone needs.

For others, it may be beneficial to help plan treatment or even participate in an intervention. Ask the child of the parent what they need and what they think would be best and go from there.

Come to Renaissance Recovery to learn how to help an alcoholic parent

Learn How to Help an Alcoholic Parent

Once your parent is ready to commit to recovery, you can help them find the most appropriate treatment program.

Here at Renaissance Recovery Center, we specialize in outpatient treatment programs for alcohol use disorder. If you are looking for a rehab near you or an Orange County rehab, take a moment to call our addiction hotline today to learn more information on substance abuse treatment.

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Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country