How to Help an Alcoholic Parent

Having a parent that’s afflicted with alcoholism can be emotionally trying. While it’s ultimately up to the addicted to seek proper help, there are ways that you can support them while respecting your boundaries. Read on to learn how to help an alcoholic parent.

If you or a loved one need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Know the Signs of Intoxication

It’s crucial to be able to identify the signs of intoxication. This will help indicate relapse or guide you in the next steps to take. Look for the following cues:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Altered mood
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired reflexes

Is Your Parent in Recovery?

There are different ways to assist your alcoholic parent depending on whether they’re in recovery or not. If they are, take the following steps:

  • Be positive about their recovery. When they go to meetings or talk about their progress, be there to listen and encourage them.
  • Squelch hostility. As a child of an alcoholic, you may harbor some resentment. It’s ok to feel this way, and there are ways to talk about these feelings to your alcoholic parent in a non-hostile way. Hostility will only intensify the alcoholic’s sense of guilt, which is likely the reason they sought recovery.
  • Watch for relapse. Being fully aware of the cues of relapse is crucial so you can help your parent get back on track.
  • Have a plan in place. If you notice your parent has relapsed, you need to have a plan ready in advance. Know who you need to call to assist you with the situation, take away car keys, and avoid confrontation until they are sober again.

Is Your Parent Not in Recovery?

If your parent is not yet in recovery for their alcoholism, here’s how you can help them:

  • Have an intervention. With the help of close family, friends, and a therapist, plan an intervention for your parent. Interventions often help alcoholics realize they need to seek professional help.
  • Set boundaries. When your parent is intoxicated, know that you can only do so much for them. Ultimately, it is up to them to get the help they need. If they are impeding on your emotional or mental well-being, it is completely ok to remove yourself from their presence and take care of yourself first. This will help show your parent that you will not put up with their behavior.
  • Don’t accept excuses. If your parent tries to make excuses for their poor behavior, remind them of your boundaries. An excuse does not make up for the fact that a boundary was crossed. Accepting excuses will enable their behavior.

Have a Support System

If you have an alcoholic parent, you need to have a support system in place. You cannot support your parent if you’re not supported yourself. Seek out a professional group, family, or friends that you can go to for advice and openly talk about your situation.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

It’s important to know how to help an alcoholic parent, but remember, it is up to them to put in the work to change. If you or a loved one need assistance pursuing your sobriety, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here for you. A sober living environment will allow you to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help you need.