What to do as a parent of an alcoholic
It is understandable that as a parent, you’re going to be grief-stricken and distraught. You may even be angry, but it is important to remind yourself that the first and foremost thing your child wants from you in his/her current state is love and support. While it’s hard but it is important to be practical than emotional. Your son or daughter doesn’t know how to get help – they need your help. Even if they know what to do, they don’t have the strength to get any help. That’s where you can play a huge role in helping them deal with it and get into the best alcohol detox center. Give them the perspective they need and give them courage. You can try your level best to help but if they refuse, you cannot blame yourself.
Having a child is one of the greatest joys in life. To watch them grow, learn, prosper and settle down could be life’s richest experiences for a parent. Conversely, watching them fall into the abyss of addiction is a hugely traumatizing experience. No parent is ever ready to face such a challenge in life, and alas, it is true for many parents whose adult/adolescent children have fallen prey to the all-consuming illness of alcoholism.
Parents always feel a great level of responsibility toward ensuring that their children have a prosperous life, and becoming an alcoholic can feel antithetical to that, so it hits them really hard. Watching an adult child slip into active addiction is truly devastating. When a child is young, parents are in control – they can take things away, assign chores or discipline them in a number of ways. Regardless of whether they achieve the outcome they intended or not, they know at least they were able to do something to help. When a child becomes a grown adult, parents don’t have that same power or control – although they continue to have the same worries and instincts for them. And when the adult child slips into drugs or alcohol abuse, they feel a greater burden and sense of responsibility for them, but often times it feels they there is very little that they can do to help. But there is a lot they can do. Identifying the problem, facing the reality and getting professional help early are the key steps to take.
Each case is different – you might be a parent living with your son or daughter suffering from addiction, or you may be in another location, having to handle things remotely or visiting them often to help them cope with the myriad challenges that alcoholism brings with itself. No matter what the arrangement, you are invested in the care and well-being of your child and will want to do anything and everything in your power to help them. The key thing is to know what to do and keeping yourself mentally stable and strong as you do it.
First of all, address the issues of alcoholism with your son or daughter but don’t confront them. The first step is to understand what your child is dealing with – and what options they have. Addiction is a complex mental disorder, and there are mental issues at its core that need to be understood in order to have a good chance at helping someone recover from it. Secondly, do not blame yourself. Nobody’s perfect and it is likely that you can think of times where you think could have made better parenting decisions, but it is important to not fall into that trap and blame yourself. There are many factors that go into this complex condition and no one is singularly responsible. Also, it is a fallacy to think about what could be and how it could have been different. It’s important to focus on is now and deal with how things currently are. You can’t undo or redo anything. A very important step in coming to terms with this difficult situation is to realize and accept that your child is an adult, and as an adult they make their own decisions and are thus responsible for their actions. Therefore, it is not fair to squarely put the blame on parents for alcohol addiction.
Throughout this process, learn to take care of yourself first. Don’t let yourself get stricken with grief, don’t let the hopelessness throw you into depression.
You have to try and deflect the negative feelings so that you have the mental fortitude to help them. You can’t help them if you are suffering yourself. It’s easier said than done, and it’s not practical to not worry about your child who is suffering a great deal. But you have to channelize your concerns into productive support as opposed to letting it bog you down. If your positive with yourself, that’s the only way you’ll be positive toward them, and they need that from you the most. Getting them professional help is the most responsible thing you can do for them. Helping them go through recovery, providing emotional support and then helping them stay the course with abstinence would make the world of difference in their situation.
This is such an important thing to keep in mind that recovery programs factor in the mental health of the loved ones. They make sure that parents, spouses, siblings, partners who have faced the social brunt of addiction, get assessed for mental health as well. It is common for these loved ones to be depressed and anxious. Parents can commonly suffer from these conditions where their children are suffering from substance abuse disorders. So getting professional help for yourself as a parent is as important as getting it for your child. In fact, it is the prerequisite for the latter.
Overall, as a parent, it is an undoubtedly tumultuous situation and it is important not to blame yourself for it. Instead, you should focus on being positive and healthy so that may be able to provide them with the love, support and care your child needs in this difficult time.