It can be difficult to cope with anyone who is an alcoholic, whether that individual is a co-worker, friend or relative, but it is especially difficult when they are your child. In addition to struggling with confusion over why and how their child turned to alcohol, guilt over perhaps being responsible for their child’s alcohol problems, fear for their child’s future and life and anger over their child’s choices, parents also often wonder how they can possibly help their child deal with their alcohol problems. However, while all of these emotions are normal and to be expected, the most dangerous thing a parent can do is nothing at all and therefore enable their child to continue their alcohol problem–either by assuming there is no problem or by simply being ignorant of the problem. Either way, it is important for parents to be able to determine whether their child has a problem with alcohol–even if they seem grown up enough to handle it themselves.
Determining Whether Someone Has An Alcohol Problem
One of the most difficult things to face and consider when a loved one is abusing any sort of drug substance is that their life is in very real danger, and may be cut short. Rather than denying this fact, however, parents would do better to face the reality of the situation and take action to help change it. This begins with recognizing the basic signs of alcohol abuse or alcoholism.
A sudden and dramatic change in an individual’s basic moods and behavior is one of the most common signs of an alcohol problem, but this cannot be used alone. It is important to take into account the fact that many individuals who are suffering from alcohol abuse or alcoholism are yet able to effectively lie about and hide their problem from others, including those individuals who are closest to them. An individual with an alcohol problem often feels that they need alcohol in order to relax or feel better, they are unable to stop once they start or control their drinking habits, they neglect their basic responsibilities, experience financial difficulties, have problems at work and in their relationships, experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability, tiredness, depression, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, trembling, lack of appetite and headaches and much more.
Addressing the Problem
Once a parent has determined that their child has an alcohol problem, they can take steps to address the problem. First and foremost, they must make sure that their actions are helping their child to overcome their alcohol problems instead of enabling them to continue their alcohol problems. They may ask for help because of the trouble their drinking has gotten them into, but rescuing them from these difficulties is effectively preventing them from being responsible for their situation, and is therefore enabling them to continue abusing alcohol. This is especially true of any sort of financial aid that is given directly or indirectly to the individual, whether through money handouts or even allowing the child to stay in their home.
Overcoming alcohol abuse or alcoholism is difficult, perhaps even impossible, without support and encouragement from others. It is therefore important that parents make it safe for their child to communicate openly with them about their problems, even though it may be difficult to hear what they have to say. However, being a safe, supportive individual that can be confided in can allow for parents to maintain a strong bond with their child while they direct them onto the path toward rehabilitation treatment and recovery. The most important thing is to be patient and persistent, because when your child finally decides to take back control of their life, you will be well rewarded for your efforts.