How to Help an Alcoholic Parent
One of the best things you can do for an alcoholic family member is to learn as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism. Most alcoholics deny that they have a problem and will staunchly defend their right to drink. It’s important for you to stop pretending there isn’t anything wrong when you know there is.
Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is more than just drinking too much. It means physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. Your alcoholic parents may or may not drink on a daily basis, but they probably can’t stop once they start. They continue to drink in spite of negative consequences such as losing a job, having problems with friends and family or getting into legal trouble.
They may neglect their appearance, gain or lose weight, and they may need to drink to do the simplest of chores. They probably try to hide how much they are drinking, but often smell like alcohol.
Ways to Suggest Help for Alcoholism
When the alcoholic in your life is one or both parents, it can be difficult to get them to listen to you when you try to tell them that they need help. They are likely to let you know that they are the parents and you are the child, and that you can’t tell them how to live their lives. You may try to suggest that you would be willing to attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous with them, or that you would be happy to stay with them while they call a doctor or treatment center. Try to get other family members to join you in being direct with your alcoholic parent rather than pretending there isn’t a problem.
If your parent denies having a problem with alcohol but other members of the family are united in recognizing alcoholism, contact an interventionist who is experienced in working with alcoholics. With the help of a doctor, other family members and addiction professionals, there is a good chance that sooner or later your alcoholic parents will agree to get help.
Helping an Adult Family Member or Friend with a Drug or Alcohol Problem