No one wants to accept the fact that a beloved family member—especially a son—has an alcohol use disorder. But avoiding denial, offering support, and refusing to enable can be the actions your son desperately needs to turn his life around and break free of addiction. If you’re wondering how to help an alcoholic son, read on for more concrete actions you can take to support your child and help him gain access to the support he needs.
If your son needs a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for him. Contact us and learn how we can help.
Don’t Blame Yourself
First, you must realize that you shouldn’t blame yourself if you think your son has become an alcoholic. This is very common, but completely unproductive. Shame and guilt are commonly experienced by parents, and this is totally human. But the truth is, there comes a point when you aren’t responsible for your child’s decisions. You can, however, be a gentle intervention that could positively change your son’s life for the better.
Is Your Son an Alcoholic?
The most important question to consider is, is your son an alcoholic? There are certain tell-tale signs can help you determine this. For example, consider the following:
- Does your son drink every day?
- Does he binge drink (does he drink 5 or more alcoholic beverages in 2 hours or less)?
- Has he created social issues for himself as a result of alcohol, such as lost friendships or fights?
- Does he experience mood swings when he doesn’t have alcohol?
- Has he brought legal or financial troubles upon himself because of his alcohol use?
Considering these questions can help you determine if your son is abusing alcohol. If you’re still unsure, consult with a medical professional about your concerns. They can provide you with resources to help you and your son.
Don’t Enable Him
As a parent of an alcoholic, it’s important that you don’t enable your child. This means that you should avoid, at all costs, making it easy for him to continue abusing alcohol. Don’t make excuses for him in any context to help him cover up bad behavior or mishaps that result from his alcohol abuse. If he finds himself in legal or professional trouble, don’t bail him out or help with legal fees. He must feel the consequences of his drinking in order for him to realize he has a problem that needs to be addressed.
It’s also important for you, as a parent, to avoid being in denial, as this will not help your son. Alcohol use disorders are serious health issues, not phases that will be grown out of or an issue that will just go away on its own. Address the situation head-on and as soon as possible for your son’s sake and for the sake of those around him.
Ask For Help
Realize that there is no shame in asking for help, for yourself or your child! Rather, it’s a sign of strength. A medical professional or counselor will be able to provide resources like residential our outpatient treatment programs and sober living homes, as well as individual and group counseling/support groups.
Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation
Now that you know how to help an alcoholic son, it’s time to take action. The best thing you can do as a parent is to be a supportive, listening ear that encourages healthy recovery. You can help him access the treatment he needs, rather than enabling or ignoring the problem altogether. Reach out to our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation for assistance.