Having a parent who drinks can be painful and confusing. He may promise to stop drinking, but that day never comes. It is important to view alcoholism as an addiction and know that your parent needs to undergo professional treatment to truly change. In the meantime, deal with alcoholism by taking care of your own well-being and keeping busy. It is also possible to try to convince the person to accept the help needed to overcome the addiction.
Method 1 of 3: Dealing with Your Parent and Seeking Help
Step 1. Walk away when your mom or dad drinks
It's understandable to want to help or "watch over" a father who drinks, but his drunken behavior is not the same as when sober. Some people, when drinking, try to fight with their spouses or even with their children. To mitigate the chances of getting caught in this crossfire, take your distance.
Find a safe place where you can take shelter when your mother or father drinks heavily. A tree house, a neighbor's house, or a local park are good places
Step 2. Don't be responsible for the person's condition
After all, such behavior is his personal choice: he is the adult and should take care of you, not the other way around. Don't blame yourself for his alcoholism and don't take on the entire obligation to "fix" the problem.
- The only way an alcoholic can genuinely recover is to pursue his own rehabilitation. You cannot do this for him: the decision must come from him.
- Even if you are an adult, you are not responsible for your parent's addiction. He can only change insofar as he understands that he is responsible for his own situation.
Step 3. Talk to your father about getting help
You cannot force him to accept help, but you can convince him to do so. If he has siblings, you can take advantage of a time when he is sober to meet with him and beg him to get help. Showing concern can be the impetus he needs to take action.
- If you're still a teenager, you might say, for example, "Mom, we're worried about you. We don't want to have to live with a foster family. Can you see a doctor, please?"
- Adults with children might say something like, "Mom, I've noticed that you've been drinking more. I'd like my kids to grow up with their grandmother, but if you continue on this path, I don't think they'll have one. Can you, please, look for help?".
Step 4. Talk to a trusted adult about the situation
If talking to the parent doesn't make a difference, recruit another adult: it could be the other parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a family friend, or a trusted adult at school. Tell him what is going on and ask him to intervene on your behalf.
Step 5. Get help if you are in danger
Alcoholics can become violent when they drink. If this happens to you or your siblings, get help immediately. Call a relative or a neighbor. And if you're afraid your mom or dad might hurt you, your siblings, or themselves, call an emergency service.
- When you are in a safe place, you can call for assistance. Residents of Brazil have the Human Rights Hotline, which number is 100, and those in Portugal have the Victim Support Line, number 116-006. US residents have access to the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
- If you are an adult and your parent is behaving violently, contact the emergency services.
Method 2 of 3: Caring for Emotional Health
Step 1. Outline strategies to combat stress
A parent's alcoholism can affect the child's health and well-being to the extent that the child is concerned about the child's health, employment, and safety. Remove stress using relaxation and self-care techniques.
- Relaxation techniques such as guided imagery, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help you combat stress.
- Self-care practices such as self-massage, taking a hot shower, or watching your favorite TV show are also helpful.
Step 2. Set personal boundaries
An alcoholic parent can cross the line in a number of ways; for example, constantly asking for money and free rides, forcing you to lie on his behalf, among others. But remember that you have the right to say no to this kind of behavior and to set healthy boundaries between yourselves.
- By maintaining firm limits, you allow him to feel the natural consequences of alcoholism on his skin. Sometimes, the shortest way for someone to realize they need treatment is to face the results of their actions. If the police enter into the matter, rehabilitation can be offered during the court process.
- Tell your parent, "This is the last time I lend you money." And if he makes a new order, say no.
- Another way to set boundaries is to refuse to be close to your father when he drinks.
Step 3. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is very important when dealing with a stressful home environment. Furthermore, teenagers need to get enough sleep to ensure growth and development. If you are having trouble sleeping for eight to ten hours a night as recommended by your doctors, change your sleep routine.
- For example, if you use your computer or phone late, turn them off at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, read, do crossword puzzles, or listen to quiet music.
- If your father's late-drinking stuff keeps you awake, tell another adult. You need to sleep soundly without worrying about him.
Step 4. Exercise regularly
Physical activities help combat stress and provide emotional well-being. Endorphins, hormones your body releases when you exercise, can help improve your mood even when you're feeling low.
- Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
- If you don't participate in physical education class and don't play sports at school, try walking or running around the block with the dog, or turn on the sound in the room and dance.
- Adults can enroll in a gym to stay active.
Step 5. Keep a journal to express your thoughts and feelings
It can be good to express frustrations with the parent. Write in your journal all the things you are going through. If this type of writing is difficult for you, write as if you were confiding in a friend.
Step 6. Talk to a counselor
The stress caused by an alcoholic father or mother can affect health and academic and professional performance. Before trying to work things out, go to the counselor and talk to him. They are a trained professional to help you deal with stress and find better ways to deal with school or work.
- If you are a student, try to arrange a meeting with the school counselor.
- If you are an adult, talk to the company's human rights professional or ask your family doctor for a recommendation.
- Seek support and ideas for dealing with the problem by joining Al-Anon (https://al-anon.org/) or Alateen, a non-profit organization that offers help to people who care for someone who suffers from it. alcoholism.
Step 7. Stay away
Given this possibility, taking distance from the alcoholic can be helpful. As bleak as the measure sounds, it may be the only way to protect your health and well-being.
- If you are a child, see if you can stay with relatives or friends for a few days.
- If you are an adult, limit your visits to give yourself a break from your father's bad habits.
Method 3 of 3: Distracting Your Home Life
Step 1. Focus on your studies or work life
To distract your mind from what's going on at home, immerse yourself in studies or work. Try harder than usual at school and take time to study every day after school. For those who are adults and already have a job, one way out would be to dedicate themselves to achieving exceptional performance.
- If you have trouble studying at home, you can do it in a cafe or library. Consider looking for a private tutor if your grades are not good.
- In the event that your father's condition interferes with your professional performance, ask for a break to recover.
Step 2. Get involved in extracurricular activities
Being busy helps you cope with your father's alcoholism, because the more busy your schedule is, the less time you have to worry. Furthermore, participating in sports teams, clubs, and school or community organizations are good excuses for not being at home.
Participating in extracurricular activities is a way to surround yourself with positive people and even a possible prevention against the use of alcohol and drugs
Step 3. Seek support from friends
If you have trusted companions, try to live with them longer. Tell them what's going on in your house. Exposing all the details related to your father's alcoholism can be embarrassing, but it's important to have a safety net.
- As you share what's going on with you with your close friends, assess how they react to find out how comfortable you feel about opening up to them.
- Start by saying something along these lines: "I don't like being at home when my dad drinks. Can I come over to your house?"
Step 4. Look for hobbies
Do you already have an interest beyond school, work or extracurricular activities? If the answer is yes, spend more time on it! If you don't already have one, think of activities that you find interesting or that you would like to do.