Alcoholic Parent? What to Do?

Closeup empty glass bottles. On background homeless drunk woman is sitting on cardboard on floor in abandoned house. Addicted teenage girl drunkard is drinking beer. Alcoholism, alcohol abuse concept.

When a parent is using alcohol, it can be very difficult for a child to know what to do. As adults, you may recognize just how worrisome alcohol use disorder is. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that in 2019, 14.5 million people over the age of 12 in the U.S. had alcohol use disorder. That’s a profound number, but when it’s your parent, you’re likely unsure what to do.

Signs a Parent Needs Help for Alcohol Use Disorder

You may be unsure if your parent has an addiction or if they just like to drink. Addiction occurs when a person realizes that continued use of a drug is dangerous. At the same time, they cannot stop using even if they try to do so. Also important is dependence. Dependence occurs when a person tries to stop using drugs or alcohol and has intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that make it impossible to stop. A person with addiction may want to stop using, but they may be unable to do so.

Common signs of addiction and dependence include:

  • Being unable to meet responsibilities, such as being late often, poor performance at work, or the inability to maintain a job
  • Changes in behaviors, often withdrawing from family and friends as well as activities they once enjoyed
  • Feeling intense cravings to drink and being unable to refuse drinks
  • Drinking often, sometimes every day, and drinking at odd times or at work
  • Developing health problems related to alcoholism such as liver, kidney, and heart problems

If you see that your loved one is suffering from addiction to alcohol, it’s time to take action. In many cases, a person with an alcohol use disorder can’t stop using on their own. It’s estimated that 95,000 people die around the world from alcohol-related causes, according to the National Institute of Health. Doing something to help your loved one is critical.

How to Talk to a Parent About Alcoholism

It’s not likely that you can force someone to stop drinking or to enter rehab. You cannot force them to do so in most cases. However, you can show them what’s happening and work with them to show how things can improve.

  • Find Them Help: A good starting point is contacting an alcohol treatment center to discuss your loved one’s needs. Ensure they have the ability to help.
  • Have a Conversation: Sit down with your loved one and perhaps a few close family members. Discuss what you’re seeing – what are they doing specifically that is worrying you? Provide examples of missed responsibilities or other scary occurrences.
  • Ask Them to Get Help: Tell your loved one that you are there to support them and have a treatment center ready to help them. Don’t scream, yell, or threaten them. Simply ask them to get help.
  • Be Prepared to Say now: If your loved one refuses help, make it clear that you can no longer support them, lie for them, provide money, or be around them. Make sure you hold true to anything you promise.

For those under the age of 18 and facing problems with a parent with alcoholism, be sure to reach out to other family members or your school for help. Law enforcement can help you to help them with what’s happening.

Take a moment to call Hickory Recovery Network today to learn how we can help you.

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If you have tried to stop using alcohol or drugs on your own, you may feel that sobriety and clean living seem far away. However, with the help of caring staff members and a safe, structured environment, you can receive the guidance you need to fight cravings and regain control of your life.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our admission staff or learn more about our healing programs.