When a family member is addicted to alcohol, it affects everyone including friends, family and a wider social circle. It may be difficult to know where to turn or what to do to take care of each other and find help for the loved one struggling with addiction. Learn more about family communication issues and what can be done to support a parent with alcoholism in seeking help.
When a parent has a problem with alcohol, it is likely some people are working to fix the problem to solve the issue. Children are no different in this situation as kids want the best for the family and to have a healthy parent. Fixing the problem for someone else is impossible, though children will try hard to do otherwise.
Self Care First
When someone else is suffering, it may feel conceited to focus on oneself, but the reality is nobody can change another person but that person. Alcoholism is a disease that needs treatment, not fixing. Hiding drinks, car keys or hoping there will not be a next time do not address the reality of alcoholism. The problem is not anyone else’s to fix but the person who has the addiction.
What to Do
Nobody escapes addiction’s effects, particularly loved ones surrounding the person with addiction. Each individual has the right to be healthy, happy, loved and appreciated. The following tips can be helpful when coping with an alcoholic parent to maintain safety and sanity.
- Ensure personal safety. Speak with an adult who can create a safe environment to escape. It might mean making the problem public, leaving the house or risking disapproval of the parents but personal safety comes first. Speak with a trusted individual (counselor, pastor, friend or relative) who will ensure safety.
- Find a confidante. Al-Anon and AlaTeen are great places to connect with others in similar life circumstances which are also anonymous. Find resources online or via the phone to connect with others to share stories and get support.
- Pick up a book. Lots of books have been written on growing up with a parent who is alcoholic. Tips, tools and resources are available at the local library and in self-help sections of local bookstores.
- Self-care first. Take some time to check in and ask how the body, mind and heart feel. Take some steps to remind oneself that being present matters and take care of one’s own needs first before worrying about other people.
- Practice simple prayers. The Serenity Prayer can help quell the chaos of alcoholism. Think of the words and how to apply the three elements: acceptance, change and knowledge.
Alcoholism can destroy families. Recognize that each person matters in the situation and has the right to safety and happiness. Make the choice to care for oneself before taking on the care of a parent with alcoholism.
Coping with a parent who is alcoholic can be exhausting. Find help and healing through Hired Power’s resources. We are here to provide support through this challenging time. Call us to find out how we can help you get started.