If you are the child of an alcoholic, you are suffering from this disease as well. More than likely you have lived with the pain of a broken family that is full of secrets and shame. Seek help for yourself through your EAP, Al-Anon or a trained professional. For many years, adult children of alcoholics have joined together to form support groups. An Internet search will provide many helpful Web sites.
You may have been in denial about your parent’s addiction. This is not uncommon, and you are not to blame for your parent’s actions.
There are several things to keep in mind when and if you decide to help your parent:
- Never confront a person who is drunk. This is not the time to address the problem, and besides, he or she will most likely forget anything you say.
- If you decide to confront your parent, do it lovingly.
- An intervention, composed of friends, family and perhaps a professional trained in the process, may be your best chance to engage your parent in treatment.
- If your parent is close to losing a job or spouse, these may be external motivating factors that will push him or her into treatment, even if he or she is not ready.
- If you feel that your parent is a danger to him- or herself or others, do not hesitate to call the police or send him or her to the emergency room. They will know the protocol for involuntary admission in your state.
- If your parent is elderly, remember that medical symptoms may mimic addictive behavior and vice versa—seek the advice of a qualified physician.
- Remember that nursing homes may not have the staff to detect signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse—they may even conceal them from you. There is no substitute for your concern and love.
- Elderly people consume a disproportionate amount of prescription medication, and many of these medications are addictive.
Gold, M. (2006). My Parent Has a Problem with Alcohol. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/my-parent-has-a-problem-with-alcohol/000263
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.