Is there anything you can do when your adult child drinks too much?
Parents who think their young adult children are problem drinkers are in a difficult place. First, they generally don’t want to believe their child has a serious problem. Secondly, by the time they realize they should reach out for help, most parents have already gone through many cycles of “crisis-rescue-new crisis” with their children.
If the parents reach out to Alcoholics Anonymous, they are often guided to attend Al-Anon, a support group for people whose lives have been affected by another person’s drinking.
Ways you can help
You can’t make a child get sober, but you can talk to them and influence them, writes Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, in Psychology Today. Interventions can be effective in letting the son or daughter see how their drinking affects everyone in the family and in helping the rest of the family start to move forward in their own recovery, Degges-White writes.
She offers a few other suggestions for parents of alcoholic children:
Buy them a bag of food instead of giving them money, if you are afraid they aren’t eating.
Offer to help them find support services, but don’t blame yourself if they don’t use the services.
Remember that you can’t rescue them and that they are adults with autonomy.
Al-Anon member Joe, who was also interviewed on the First Steps to Recovery podcast, offers one more suggestion:
Remember that recovery is one day at a time.
Support, without enabling
“When (my son) came out of the rehab, I said to him, ‘You’re cured now. Don’t ever come back with a drink or a drug or you’ll be thrown out of the house,’” Joe says. “As I realized that alcoholism was only arrested a day at a time, I took back those words. And I was able to say, ‘If you ever need help, come to me first.’”
Don’t let addiction tear your family apart. Help is right around the corner – in your neighborhood. Call or text today 1.706-867-0006.