The relationship between a parent and child is one that changes and evolves throughout the years. During childhood, it may feel as though a mother or father can do no wrong. As the years progress, however, it can be difficult to realize the problems that our own parents face — especially if one of those problems is alcoholism. When parents have alcoholism, they feels compelled to drink despite the negative consequences it causes to themselves and their families. It most cases, they are unlikely to stop drinking without professional help.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), approximately 17 million people in the U.S. Over age 18 had an alcohol abuse disorder of some kind in 2012 alone. Many of those people are parents. Unfortunately, even parents of young children abuse alcohol, with the NIAAA reporting that one in 10 children lived with a parent who abused alcohol.
Discovering that a parent is abusing alcohol can lead to many different emotions, as well as confusion. You may experience anger or even blame yourself for your parent’s choices. It can also seem intimidating to approach the subject and instead much easier to ‘sweep the issue under the rug’. But avoiding a parent’s alcohol abuse can only complicate matters, ultimately leading to more dangerous consequences in the future. Few people get the help they need for alcohol addiction. It could be your concern and action that motivates your parent to seek help and begin the path to sobriety.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
A parent with alcohol dependency may choose to drinking over participating in other more important activities. In many cases, this means missing major events in a child or grand child’s life such as little league games or even a high school graduation. It can also mean missing work due to frequent hangovers or continued drinking. Your parent may either deny or confess to having a problem. Admitting alcohol abuse may initially lead a parent to try quitting on his or her own, only to fail and fall into old patterns again.
Your parent may also have a history of alcohol abuse if he or she begins exhibiting tolerance to high quantities of alcohol. Ultimately, more and more of the substance becomes necessary to achieve the desired effect. Your parent may begin spending greater amounts of money trying to procure alcohol and more time drinking it.
Other Signs of Potential Alcohol Abuse
It can be difficult to know for sure whether a parent is abusing alcohol or consuming responsibly – especially if you do not live with him or her. However, there are questions you can ask yourself that will help you make a determination. If you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, your parent may need treatment for alcoholism.
- Does your mother or father become offended when approached or criticized about alcohol consumption?
- Is your parent often found drinking at gatherings when others are not consuming alcohol?
- Does your parent ever express guilt about drinking?
- Does your mom or dad ever drink in the morning or at other inappropriate times, such as on a lunch break during a work shift?
- Does your parent ever hide or lie about alcohol use?
- Does your mother or father exhibit out-of-control behavior around you or others when drinking alcohol?
- Do you ever feel compelled to cover for a parent’s drinking habit?
Remember, you can never expect a person – even a parent – to stop drinking on his or her own without professional help. Despite personal desire to quit and strong incentives, most people who abuse or are dependent on alcohol are unable to walk the path to recovery alone.
If someone you know is showing signs of alcoholism or dependency, it may be time to seek help. Alcoholism can have detrimental effects and may become a perpetual problem that persists for many years. Do not be afraid to organize an intervention for a parent regarding his or her addiction and your associated concerns. By addressing the problem head-on, you can present a clear plan of action to helping your parent get treatment for alcohol abuse and dependency.