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Help Alcoholic Parents

By Edited Dec 25, 2013 3 3

Drunk

Alcoholic Parent

 

When you have alcoholic parents life isn't going to be easy. The worst part is in childhood when you don't understand what's going on. There are little ways that you can help when they're really drunk and can't do things for themselves or when they have a hangover, but for some reason this seems normal or perhaps you just get used to it.

When you grow up with alcoholic parents everything is subject to change this includes them being Jekyll one day and Hyde the next. As a child you basically raise yourself, because they're not capable. If you're the oldest, as I was, you also become overly responsible since you are the one who has to do everything.

In addition, I took care of my little brother, so I was a little mommy. I also did most of the household chores and made sure we had clothes to wear. Many times I walked to the bars to try and find my parents, sometimes I did and other times they would be gone for day's maybe weeks.

As the years went by I helped my parents in the physical sense whenever I could. It still had not registered in my mind that I had alcoholic parents. That is, not until things got way out of hand one night when they were fighting and my mother shot my dad.

She had to do a little jail time, but they ruled she did it in self defense and let her out. Now, things were different there was no way to stay in denial. My mother started going to Alcoholics Anonymous and I would take her to meetings. Sometimes, however, she would relapse and be worse than ever.

I joined Al Anon which was the single most helpful thing I could do. It was there that I learned how to help my alcoholic parents in the emotional sense. My dad was still drunk most everyday and would come by my job and ask me for money to buy alcohol. It was hard to tell him no, but I did.

I learned how to be supportive and to use tough love with both of them. As an adult child of alcoholics I knew I had a strong tendency toward codependency, so I had to stop myself from being an enabler.

If you have alcoholic parents there are some very important things you must do for them and for yourself. First of all, everyone in the family needs to be in a recovery program. AA and Al-anon are free, so there's no excuse. Additionally, if there are young children they can join ala-teen.

Furthermore, it's vital to have a sponsor and actually work the 12 steps. You need to learn about codependency, tough love and detaching with love, as well as enabling. This way the entire family can begin the healing process and discover how to have healthy relationships.

It's amazing how relationships change and heal when alcohol is taken out of the picture. This is true of any addiction, because as long as there's an addiction the focus is always on it and nothing else. The only hope for alcoholic parents and the entire family is to focus on healing and let the past go. It's a chance to start over and have a better life.

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Comments

Jan 29, 2010 6:41am
JHKersey
Great article on how to help alcoholic parents.
Aug 26, 2010 4:57pm
jpwriter
"It's amazing how relationships change and heal when alcohol is taken out of the picture."
-this is so true, and the only time healing can really happen

Sonni, thanks for using your personal story as a way to help others. I "get it". My family is generations of drunkenness. It's sad. Taking care of ourselves first though is part of the solution. Thanks.
Jun 18, 2011 7:35am
Venetia
Sonnie - thank you for sharing your story...Education is the only way to overcome addiction. Your life was not easy but now "the circle" will be broken and you can rest easy knowing that YOU were pivotal in that break for the generations that will follow in your family. Good job.
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