Learning How to Deal with an Alcoholic Parent and How to Take Action
The stress and emotions brought on by dealing with an alcoholic parent can be overwhelming to an adolescent. Because adolescents tend to lead by example and crave structure, watching a role model struggle with the disease of alcohol addiction can be difficult and confusing. Many children in this situation have trouble learning exactly how to deal with an alcoholic parent. Gathering the strength and courage to bring awareness to the problem is hard enough on a child; but not knowing how to confront an alcoholic parent can be even more difficult.
If your parent has a drinking problem, you’re probably well acquainted with the emotions of anger, sadness, helplessness, and frustration that occur when you witness your parent intoxicated. Living with the fear that your loved one can make harmful choices or end up in trouble is stressful, but be aware that help is available to you.
Sometimes, the problem is obvious and the parent recognizes that there is an addiction. However, in some cases, the parent may brush the problem off as a way to deal with stress or cope with issues at home and remain unconvinced that there is a true addiction present.
If you have tried to talk to your parent about his or her behavior and it was to no avail, here are a few things to remember if you are not only struggling with how to deal with an alcoholic parent, but also trying to figure out how to help an alcoholic parent in denial.
Keep your stance and admit your parent’s addiction
Even if your parent fails to admit the addiction, it’s important for you to remain firm and admit that there is a true problem in your household. Try talking to a family friend, teacher, coworker, drug addiction counselor, or anyone else you feel you can confide in. There are organizations that provide support groups for people in your situation, so you’re not alone in this struggle.
Be aware of how your parent’s behavior is affecting your life and act accordingly
When it comes to learning how to deal with an alcoholic parent, one of the most important things to do is recognize exactly how your parent’s behavior makes you feel. Learn healthy ways to deal with stress, so that you never have to deal with alcoholism yourself. Deflect the negative influence you, unfortunately, have at home, and surround yourself with other positive role models, such as a coach or teacher.
Know that you have the power to stop the cycle
Although genetics and environment are factors in addictive personality, it’s important to realize that your parent’s coping mechanisms don’t have to be your own. Many rehabilitation facilities offer counseling to family members of addicts to decrease the chance of the following in your loved one’s footsteps. Be aware of the possibility of addiction in your family, and do everything in your power to avoid it.
How to Help an Alcoholic Parent in Denial
Knowing how to deal with an alcoholic parent is challenging for any child. Another added stress for a child living in a household of addiction is coming up with exactly how to help an alcoholic parent in denial.
Perhaps you’ve tried one-on-one talks hoping to reason or convince your parent of their issue. Sometimes, no matter how much your parent loves you, the grip of addiction may be so tight that they can’t see the bigger picture. Performing an intervention with the help of loved ones may be your best bet. Find the appropriate time (when your parent isn’t intoxicated), gather your support group, and attempt an intervention. Encouraging your loved one to seek professional help in a group could force he or she to realize the impact alcoholism has on everyone.