Living with an alcoholic parent is a distressing experience; observing the side effects, the energised highs to the lowest of lows, and the ongoing withdrawal symptoms is tough. Behavioural illnesses and/or mental health issues are a worrying time for anyone, never mind witnessing a family member or parent suffer with an alcohol addiction.

Whether you’re a child living under the same roof, or an adult watching your parent suffer with alcoholism, it is an experience most wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. Physical and mental health disorders are also probable, especially where significant substance abuse has been experienced, having a significant impact on your life, along with theirs.

In this situation, it’s important to understand that support is available to both yourself and your parent through this difficult time. Before reaching out, gaining an understanding of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism is recommended, along with familiarising yourself on ways to intervene; all without damaging your future relationship.

Here at Step 1 Recovery, we can help you support an alcoholic parent in the most effective way possible. See how to manage this difficult time, while considering rehabilitation options from alcohol abuse.

Signs and symptoms of alcoholism

Alcohol use disorders can unfortunately effect anyone, even your parent. Although this is difficult to comprehend, alcohol abuse can develop into a chronic drinking problem without control. It is also important to remember that a range of internal or external triggers can influence chronic alcohol consumption, with the potential to advance into alcoholism.

Although an alcohol addiction can affect individuals differently, there are common signs and symptoms to help you identify if your parent is currently abusing alcohol; and if so, the best routes of dealing with alcoholism.

Questions to consider when spotting common signs and symptoms of alcoholism:
– Does your parent drink alcohol excessively?
– Do they live with connected health problems or mental health disorders?
– Has your parent disengaged from other family members, their career or social life?
– Has your parent’s view on substance abuse changed?
– Do they drink continuously to block out withdrawal symptoms?
– Have your parent’s responsibility levels declined?
– Have they asked you to cover up their alcohol consumption?

There are many questions to consider when gauging whether your parent is experiencing alcoholic behaviours. For some, limited side effects will make an appearance. However, it is common to identify whether alcohol consumption has increased, and whether a change in behaviour has happened in conjunction with this. If you’ve answered yes to the above questions, it’s likely that your parent’s alcohol consumption may have progressed, mirroring the signs of an addiction.

If you believe your living with an alcoholic parent, it’s important to deal with this matter in a sensitive, compassionate way. Here at Step 1 Recovery, we can advise the most appropriate ways to support your parent through alcoholism.

Specialised support for children of an alcoholic parent

Being a child of an alcoholic parent can be very difficult; many will blame themselves or suffer in silence. Yet in this situation, it is important that you remember that an alcohol addiction is a habitual behaviour. Alcoholism can affect anyone in the world, from any given background. Unfortunately, there are a wide range of internal and external triggers that can influence excessive drinking. With this in mind, it is important to remember that this distressing time isn’t a result of your doings.

Although you may be scared to reach out for support, for your parent’s future wellbeing and mental health, this is recommended. We recommend that children of alcoholic parents reach out to additional family members, while also considering specialised intervention; especially when a chronic alcohol addiction is present.

Additionally, through this difficult time, it is also important that you seek support for yourself. While worrying about your parent’s wellbeing, you’ll usually neglect your own. With this in mind, it is important to maintain your own mental health, ensuring you’re strong and ready to hold the hand of your parent through the next steps. Support groups are available for family members or children of alcoholic parents, helping to ease this time; this is something we offer here at Step 1 Recovery.

Taking the first steps to approaching your parent

If you’re keen to act upon your parent’s alcoholism, it is important that you approach this in a certain way. Without following a compassionate manner, you may damage your relationship, while causing greater distress for your parent; with the potential to influence greater alcohol consumption.

With this in mind, if you’re looking to approach your alcoholic parent, you should:

– Select a comfortable and neutral environment where the discussion can happen privately.
– Use soft, compassionate language, showing your inclination to offer support.
– Use previous examples of their behaviour which has increased your concern of their drinking habits.
– Follow a solution focused approach when talking about their alcoholism, rather than fixating on their alcohol consumption this far.
– Stick to boundaries by avoiding the promotion of alcohol consumption.

It’s important to remember that when approaching your parent to discuss their alcohol consumption, denial may be present; they may even downplay their alcohol consumption. With this in mind, it’s important to show you care and support them through this difficult time, while sharing positive steps to move away from alcoholism.

Intervention and addiction treatment available to help your parent

If you’re struggling to approach your alcoholic parent, please remember there are specialists available to support you. Here at Step 1 Recovery, we have vast experience of helping children with alcoholic parents intervene through rehabilitation.

Addiction treatments, rehab programmes and emotional support is available, helping to reduce alcoholism. Likewise, support groups are accessible to children of alcoholic parents, helping them work through this draining time.

If you’re hoping to approach your parent, yet are concerned on how to do so, feel free to reach out to our team. We can advise on the best steps possible to help your parent stop drinking.

It is important to remember that alcoholism is usually unintentional. Your parent may be living with a chronic behavioural illness stemmed from innocent alcohol consumption. Yet with your support, and our addiction treatments, you can help your parent through alcoholism, once and for all.