How to Help an Alcoholic Parent

No matter how old you are, it is extremely painful and challenging to deal with an alcoholic parent. Luckily, there are many ways that you can help get them on the road to recovery, even if they have to take it themselves.

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Newport Institute for Young Adults – Southern California

Santa Ana, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-604-7184

Recovery Unplugged – Austin Detox

Austin, TX

Detox

855-958-1650

Twelve Oaks Recovery Center

Navarre, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-885-1218

Northeast Addiction Treatment Center

Quincy, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-831-4406

TruVida Recovery

Lake Forest, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-717-0038

Newport Institute for Young Adults – Northern California

Sunol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-604-7184

MeadowWood Behavioral Health

New Castle, DE

Multiple Levels of Care

855-609-4051

Northlake Behavioral Health System

Baton Rouge, LA

Full Spectrum of Care

855-402-5289

Asheville Recovery Center

Asheville, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-542-1138

Cornerstone Healing Center

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-931-1105

Options Behavioral Health Hospital

Indianapolis, IN

Multiple Levels of Care

844-530-2836

Denver Recovery Center

Denver, CO

Multiple Levels of Care

855-729-4891

Sunflower Wellness Retreat

Osawatomie, KS

Multiple Levels of Care

888-411-9183

Boca Recovery Center – Florida

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

888-608-4977

Riverwalk Ranch

Mansfield, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

866-634-7479

Recovery Unplugged Austin Treatment Center

Austin, TX

Full Spectrum of Care

844-291-5968

United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-586-7043

Dana Point Rehab Campus

Dana Point, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-944-2609

Recovery Unplugged Austin Rehab Center

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

844-817-9493

Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry

Columbus, OH

Multiple Levels of Care

866-439-6540

Delta Med Center

Memphis, TN

Outpatient

877-235-0382

Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-589-1547

Lakeview Behavioral Health Hospital

Norcross, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-337-9509

Steps Recovery Center – St. George

St. George, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

844-919-0017

Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab

Calistoga, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-766-4576

Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital

Tukwila, WA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-419-6205

Wellness Counseling & Residential Detox

Stuart, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-937-0191

Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems

Lafayette, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

888-494-6620

Acadiana Treatment Center

Sunset, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-548-6273

The Camp Recovery Center

Scotts Valley, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-282-5771

Azure Acres Recovery

Sebastopol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-872-7360

Newport Academy – Teen Rehab Center

Bethlehem, CT

Multiple Levels of Care

866-604-7184

The Haven Detox

West Palm Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-409-5866

Indiana Center for Recovery

Bloomington, IN

Full Spectrum of Care

866-657-4490

Sierra Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-889-6553

Oasis Behavioral Health Hospital

Chandler, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-338-0838

Trustpoint Hospital

Murfreesboro, TN

Multiple Levels of Care

888-925-9448

Beachside Rehab

Fort Pierce, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-452-3049

Burkwood Treatment Center

Hudson, WI

Residential

844-251-2961

White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-638-3697

Life Healing Center

Santa Fe, NM

Multiple Levels of Care

844-285-2916

Moonlight Mountain Recovery – Nampa

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

855-248-2193

Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-8937

Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-6578

Southeast Addiction Center

Atlanta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-614-6174

Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway, NJ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-628-9076

America’s Rehab Campuses

Tucson, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

877-484-7367

Timberline Knolls Treatment Center for Women

Lemont, IL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-200-8406

The Poseidon Method

Mykonos, Greece

Full Spectrum of Care

202-370-7462

Huntington Creek Recovery Center

Shickshinny, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-892-1288

Oceanside Malibu

Malibu, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

866-275-3956

Northbound Treatment Services

Irvine, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

877-918-9085

Steps Recovery Center

Payson, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

877-696-0054

Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

866-831-4706

New England Recovery & Wellness

Concord, NH

Multiple Levels of Care

844-408-1433

Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-965-6726

1st Step Behavioral Health

Pompano Beach, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

844-334-8400

Bedrock Recovery Center

Canton, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-401-1084

Right Path Addiction Treatment Centers

Virginia Beach, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-982-0704

Bayside Marin Treatment Center

San Rafael, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-886-6071

Harbor Oaks Hospital

New Balitmore, MI

Inpatient

866-468-6148

SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

888-341-1174

Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-769-9928

Starlite Recovery Center

Center Point, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

855-349-1116

Southwest Wellness Group

Phoenix, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-518-1067

Silver Lining Recovery

Huntington Beach, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-940-0031

The Refuge, A Healing Place

Ocklawaha, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-990-1029

Recovery Unplugged Nashville

Nashville, TN

Full Spectrum of Care

877-463-0080

Recovery Unplugged Fort Lauderdale

Fourt Lauderdale, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

855-900-6613

JourneyPure – Florida

Melbourne, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center

Ball Ground, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-498-9407

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Westcoast

Beverly Hills, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Recovery Unplugged Lake Worth Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Center

Lake Worth, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-283-0199

Keystone Treatment Center

Canton, SD

Multiple Levels of Care

855-417-3666

Life Center of Galax

Galax, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-428-7940

SUWS of the Carolinas

Old Fort, NC

Residential

844-811-2644

Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-692-1694

Pacific Grove Hospital

Riverside, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-801-1534

Recovery Unplugged – Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-734-4364

AION Recovery

Lantana, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-222-8954

Mount Regis Center

Salem, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-539-2026

Park Royal Hospital

Fort Myers, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-763-3294

Asana Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-899-6056

Ambrosia Treatment Center

West Palm Beach, FL

Inpatient

866-970-0918

North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-870-8069

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Northeast

Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Riverwoods Behavioral Health System

Riverdale, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-246-8017

Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care

855-336-7623

Wilmington Treatment Center

Wilmington, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-257-1203

Wish Recovery

Northridge, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-933-2789

Bowling Green Brandywine

Kennett Square, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-797-7507

Bluff Plantation

Augusta, GA

Inpatient

855-331-2490

Clear Life Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-638-7182

JourneyPure – Tennessee

Knoxville, TN

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

The Recovery Team

Lake Park, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-999-2545

Annie’s House – A Steps Recovery Center

Draper, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

866-922-0448

Does My Parent Have a Drinking Problem?

Alcohol use disorders, more commonly known as alcoholism, affect approximately 17.6 million Americans. Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused substance in the United States. Alcoholism can severely and negatively impact an individual’s personal, professional, social, and financial life.  Unfortunately, alcoholism doesn’t just impact the alcoholic. It can also cause crippling effects on the alcoholics loved ones, especially their children.

Alcoholism can lead to emotional, physical, mental, and financial abuse and neglect of children of all ages. This is especially true of children who still live with or nearby their alcoholic parent. Although less damaging, alcoholism can also cause a parent to act in ways that are extremely embarrassing, or even humiliating, to their children and themselves.

Even when alcoholism doesn’t lead to severe harm or distress, it often leaves children feeling unloved, un-cared for, and unimportant. Many children of alcoholics struggle with self-esteem issues, as well as issues with the alcoholic parent. It isn’t fair that children have to take on the role of an adult in the family, which can lead to bitterness and resentment. What causes the most stress for many children of alcoholics is the constant fear and worry. “Is my parent going to come home safe. What kind of mood are they going to be in? Are they ever going to find help?”

One of the most common issues that children of alcoholics struggle with is blaming themselves, or at least thinking that they could be doing more for their parent. This is especially true when the alcoholic drunkenly (and falsely) blames that child to their face. The guilt can be overwhelming for some. This is not only incredibly untrue, but unfair. No one is responsible for someone else’s drinking problem, and it is certainly not their fault.

Some children have dealt with their parent’s alcoholism since the time they were born. Others either don’t notice it until many years later, or perhaps their parent didn’t develop a drinking problem until later. This is becoming especially common as alcohol abuse is a growing problem among seniors. Luckily, no matter how old an alcoholic is, or how long they have had a drinking problem, help is out there.

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Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol and alcohol addiction impact everyone differently. Some alcoholics exhibit many signs, while others exhibit very few (this is especially true of high-functioning alcoholics). However, some signs are common to many, if not most, alcoholics. Here are some of the most common.

  • Blackouts and memory loss
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Excusing drinking and bad behavior
  • Prioritizing drinking over other obligations
  • Isolation from friends and family members
  • Increasing difficulties at work or with finances
  • Drinking alone or secretly
  • Frequent hangovers
  • Changes in appearance, behavior, and social circle

How Do You Approach Your Parent About Their Problem?

You cannot force someone to change. You cannot make them quit drinking, or even drink less. You cannot make them go to rehab. You can’t even make them see that they have a problem. The best thing you can do is to bring to their attention the fact that you think that they have a problem.

If you are concerned that your parent may have a problem with alcoholism, you might be terrified to bring it up to them. You might fear them getting angry, yelling at you, or getting violent. You may feel they will make a scene in front of others, embarrass you, move out, or either use more or more secretly. These are all things that have happened to others, but they don’t have to happen to you. Included below are a list of guidelines that may help you improve the outcome of any conversation with your parent. Remember that unless violence is a concern, the risks of having this conversation are generally far outweighed by the potential benefits. If you are genuinely concerned about a violent reaction, however, it is best to not have the conversation alone. Always have someone with you.

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  • Remember that the point of the conversation is not to convince them that they have a problem, but to let them know that you are concerned that they might.
  • Don’t initiate the conversation when your parent is intoxicated.
  • Don’t initiate the conversation when you are intoxicated.
  • Unless violence is an issue, establish a time to have the conversation on a one-on-one basis, just the two of you.
  • Start the conversation by saying that you’re doing it because you care about them.
  • Continually emphasize that you’re having this conversation because you’re concerned about their well-being.
  • Always come from the perspective of yourself, not a general perspective. “I am concerned by how much you are drinking. I have noticed that your behavior has been different. I think you are putting yourself at risk.”
  • List behaviors and incidents that you’ve observed and why they concern you.
  • If you feel it may benefit the conversation, discuss how their behaviors have impacted you and how that has hurt you.
  • Make sure the discussion is a two-way conversation so that they don’t feel cornered or get defensive. A good way to do this is to ask open-ended questions.
  • Keep on the main point. Don’t get sidetracked with speculation, judgment, or an explanation for why.
  • If the person denies there is a problem, try to get them to agree to have another conversation in the future.

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What to Do If Your Parent Refuses Help?

A Young Girl Helping An Alcoholic Parent Who Passed Out On A Couch Bench

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options available to you for your parent if they refuse help. If you are underage and your parent’s alcoholism is causing them to physically abuse or neglect you, then you can (and probably should) report them to a family member or school or law enforcement official. You can turn to friends and family of your parent as well, to see if you can get them to help convince your parent to seek help. You can also seek out the services of a professional interventionist, medical professional, clergyperson, or other professional to help your parent see the light.

Find a treatment provider who can help you discuss treatment options for your parent.

There are, however, many options that you can take for yourself. Just because your parent is refusing or unable to change does not mean that you cannot dramatically improve your own life, emotional wellbeing, and physical health. There are many resources and support groups out there that specialize in helping the children and other family members of alcoholics. These resources and support groups can provide you with a great deal of help for yourself, including emotional support, college scholarships, help getting over grief, and tips to getting through daily life.

What Resources Are Available to Me?

Al-Anon

Al-Anon is the largest and most well-known support group for families of alcoholics. Modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon includes a 12-Step program for members to follow to help them cope with their family member’s alcoholism. Al-Anon holds regular meetings in all 50 states and in many countries around the world.

Nar-Anon

Nar-Anon is based off the the Al-Anon model, only Nar-Anon is complementary to Narcotics Anonymous. Although Nar-Anon is primarily focused on helping those whose families have been impacted by drug use, they also offer support for family members of those impacted by alcoholism.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is one of the leading alternatives to AA, and is especially popular with alcoholics that have issues with AA’s spiritual focus. While SMART recovery is focused on alcoholics, the organization also has resources for friends and family as well.

Co-DA

Co-Dependents Anonymous is a support group that is dedicated to helping those who struggle with co-dependent relationships, both those that have been impacted by alcohol and drug use and those who have not. Co-DA is a 12-step group where members support each other as they try to not only survive, but thrive.

Schools

Schools of all levels, from elementary schools to universities, have numerous resources available to help students cope with the substance abuse of their parents.

Mental Health Professionals

It may be beneficial for you to seek help from a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. They may be able to help you understand, cope with your feelings about, and improve your mental state over your parent’s situation and the impacts that it has had on you.

The Internet

There are hundreds of websites and organizations with websites on the Internet that are dedicated to helping the families of alcoholics. While some are significantly more helpful than others, many will be able to provide with information and resources, and many others have communities of members who can provide a great deal of support.

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If your parent is struggling with alcoholism or other substance abuse issues, help is out there waiting for you. Contact a treatment provider today who will help you find a rehab facility that will get your parent back on the road to recovery.

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