How to Help an Alcoholic Parent

Alcoholism is a serious and complex condition that affects every part of a person’s life. It can cause significant damage to a person’s physical health, emotional wellbeing, and relationships. 

Watching someone live with alcoholism can be very emotional. This is even more true if the person is your parent. You may feel angry, anxious, sad, or frustrated. It is also likely that you want to help. 

Learning about alcoholism and knowing how to find help for an alcoholic parent can help you make good choices for yourself, your parent, and your entire family. 

Signs Your Alcoholic Parent Needs Treatment

People may live with alcoholism for months or years without seeking treatment. In some cases, people may be in denial about the severity of their alcoholism. In others, they may not know what treatment is available or may not know how to ask for help. 

Unfortunately, many parents are hesitant to go to rehab because they don’t want to be away from their children and they have responsibilities to take care of. Sometimes, parents are also fearful of what their children or their friends’ parents might think.

Family members, including children, can play a vital role in helping people who live with alcoholism. The first step in helping a parent who is struggling with alcoholism or another loved one is to recognize the signs that they need help. 

Some of the recognizable signs of alcoholism include:

  • Experiencing injuries or illness related to drinking
  • Legal or financial trouble associated with drinking
  • Uncontrollable urges to drink alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking or drinking less
  • Losing interest in other activities or relationships
  • Spending a lot of time and money drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Being unable to complete tasks at work, school, or at home because of drinking
  • Continuing to drink despite negative consequences

Tolerance is another sign that someone may be living with alcoholism. This means that they have to drink more to get the desired effects of alcohol. Someone who develops alcoholism may drink large quantities of alcohol without appearing to be intoxicated. 

Recognizing these symptoms in your parent or another loved one may mean they need alcoholism treatment.

Finding Treatment for A Parent Struggling With Alcoholism

Often, finding the right treatment program starts with an examination or evaluation. This is usually performed by a medical professional or a substance abuse specialist. The results of the evaluation will help determine what kind of treatment program is appropriate.

Alcohol rehab is offered in a variety of settings and several levels of care. These include:

Once your parent has been evaluated and a level of care has been determined, you can begin to look for treatment programs that offer this type of care. 

You may want to consider any special needs your parent has when searching for a treatment program. These may include wanting gender-specific treatment, holistic programs, or a certain approach. It is important to find an alcohol rehab center that offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment. 

Convincing Your Alcoholic Parent to Get Help

When your parent lives with alcoholism, it can feel like the parent-child roles have been switched around. This can be uncomfortable for both you and your alcoholic parent. Getting your parent to agree to start treatment may feel a little overwhelming. For many people, it can be difficult to know how to start talking about their parent’s addiction.

The way you navigate this subject depends a lot on your relationship with your parent. In some cases, simply bringing up your concerns might be enough. In other cases, you may need to be more active in convincing your parent to get treatment. If your parent is resistant to treatment, in denial about their problem, or is unable to make healthy decisions about their health, you may want to consider staging an intervention.

An intervention is a planned event where friends and family members gather together to express concern about a loved one’s addiction. They may also ask their addicted loved one to start treatment right away and then facilitate admission to a program immediately afterward. 

An intervention is a supportive and effective way to provide help for an alcohol-addicted parent to get the treatment they need. It can be the first step toward a new, healthy, sober lifestyle. 

How to Support a Parent Who is in Alcohol Rehab

There are many ways to support someone in treatment. These include offering both emotional and practical support. Some ideas include:

  • Visiting them in treatment, if allowed
  • Writing or calling 
  • Helping to arrange for child or pet care
  • Putting mail on hold
  • Helping to pay bills
  • Arranging care for the house or yard
  • Offering rides to and from appointments

One of the most important things you can do is to listen to your loved one and remember that they didn’t choose to develop alcoholism. This can be challenging. Take care of yourself and consider seeking your own support as you help your parent recover from alcoholism. 

Learn More About Helping Your Alcoholic Parent by Reaching Out to Moving Mountains Recovery

To learn more about treatment options for an alcoholic parent, loved one, or yourself, reach out to the specialists at Moving Mountains Recovery. We offer a range of holistic, effective treatment programs to help people overcome addiction and live healthy, fulfilling lives. 

Don’t wait another day for the treatment you need. Reach out today to get started.

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