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.