Dealing with an addicted family member can make even the strongest-willed person feel helpless. Those of us with addicted parents are particularly vulnerable, especially when we’re young and trapped in an alcohol-ravaged household.
Growing up in an “alcoholic family” is painful. It sounds cold, we know. The problem seems simple, as does the solution: they’re drinking too much, and they have to stop. Alcoholism is much more complicated than that. It’s a compulsive, self-destructive cycle—a rabbit hole. When you try to control someone else’s alcoholism, you slip into a role that consumes you. What can we do about it?
While there are some measures you can take to get your loved one into treatment, first comes first: Take care of yourself.
Be Sure You’re Safe
Having an alcoholic parent who is violent—either physically, mentally, or emotionally—can be especially scary and traumatizing. Alcohol abuse drives a significant chunk of teenage runaways, many of which end in homelessness or drifting. If don’t feel safe at home, speak with a counselor or another trustworthy adult. This is something you should do anyway, in fact, even if you’re just feeling stressed.
The hard truth: We all have a deep-rooted need for comforting, unwavering support, and most of us get it from our parents. They’re not the only ones who can provide it, though. Most children with alcoholic parents remain at home in the situation remain at home, where they constantly fret and stress about disappointing, angering, or enraging their mother or father. It doesn’t have to be that way; let someone else in. Add a neighbor, relative, clergy person, or a teacher to the list.
Maybe you’re so shy or reserved that establishing an adequate support group feels impossible. That’s okay, because formal group meetings are a useful tool that you should utilize anyway. Ideally, programs like Al-Anon or AlaTeen are where young people learn to relate and open up to others again.
Understanding that your parent’s problem is a disease is key. The knowledge that this isn’t your fault, that you aren’t alone, that there are steps you can take to better your situation — it paves way for progress on both ends. There is a massive amount of literature on alcoholism and its effects on families—lots of professional tips on improving your outlook and making use of it to get your parent the right help, the right way.
For help with addiction, call Treatment Now today: 844-438-8689