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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.

8 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

8. Help your parent find the right treatment program

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.

8) Help your parent find the right treatment program

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, so why not speak with the team for more information at 844.912.2284?

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

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Paige R

“They truly cared for me and the other people that I served with! From this group, I have made 8 new brothers and friends for life! We have continued on, after the program, to take care of each other”

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Courtney S

“Great staff who took the time to get to know me. They have a lot of experience in this field and have first hand experience with what I was going through. IOP is outstanding and really built up a ton of great relationships and found this program to be a ‘breath of fresh air’.”

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