When one or both parents drink too much, their behavior negatively affects everyone in the family. Not only does drinking too much alcohol cause severe health problems, but it can also create financial, legal, professional, and relationship problems, too — in addition to burdening children with tremendous worry.
Why People Drink
There are many reasons why a person becomes an alcoholic. Untreated depression and anxiety often co-occur alongside alcoholism. Some may drink to feel less shy, or because everyone else is doing it. In the most serious cases, a person drinks to avoid the withdrawal symptoms that occur when not drinking.
Alcoholism can also run in the family. This means a person who is related to another who drinks too much is more likely to drink too much herself. Keep in mind that not everyone who is related to a person who drinks too much will become addicted. There are many who struggle with alcoholism but aren’t related to anyone with a drinking problem.
You’re Not Alone
Although children of alcoholics often feel alone, the opposite is the truth — millions of people in America and around the world suffer because someone they care for drinks too much. It’s normal to feel embarrassed, angry, upset, and disappointed. Alcohol abuse also causes people to do and say things they normally wouldn’t, so your parent might lose her temper frequently, or even her job. You may have tried to hide alcohol or do other things to prevent your parent from drinking. Unfortunately, if your mom drinks too much and has become addicted to alcohol, she is no longer in control of herself and will often deny a problem exists. If you’ve tried to help your parent quit without success, it is not your fault.
You’re Not Helpless
The good news is that you can get help for yourself. If your mom or dad drinks too much, there are many support groups that can help you and your family members stay safe; you may even be able to arrange an intervention for an alcoholic parent. Support groups are filled with people just like you, who may not feel safe or relaxed at home. The adults who run these groups have tremendous resources that can help you stay strong and teach you what to do if you feel afraid. You can also ask about how to get your parent into an alcohol rehab treatment program.
What Happens During Rehab
During rehab, qualified medical staff will help your mom or dad feel better when quitting. With help, your parent will stop drinking, sleep better, regain appetite, and start figuring out how to live life sober again. Hopefully, your parent will be anxious to make up any time that was tainted by alcoholism with a fresh start.
Photo: Rich Books