How to Help a Parent with a Drinking Problem

parent with a drinking problem

Alcoholism is a serious but treatable illness. With the right approach, it’s possible to stop abusing alcohol and enjoy a full life. Unfortunately, people who suffer from this problem aren’t always aware of treatment possibilities. That’s where their family members come in.

Children who suspect their parent has an alcohol abuse problem can help them detox and rehabilitate. However, only a few of them know how. Learning how to approach an alcoholic parent and arrange proper treatment can change the entire family’s life.

Mental health professionals and addiction specialists can help people support their parents through substance abuse treatment. People who are addicted to alcohol and their families need professional guidance as they start the recovery process. 

How Do I Approach My Alcoholic Parent

When it comes to helping parents overcome an addiction, children have to understand that they temporarily become the adult in the relationship. While this is hard, it’s necessary to help alcoholic parents get their life back on track. It is essential that they support their parents while the person stops drinking. 

Before approaching a person with an alcohol problem, adult sons and daughters need to remember that the parent isn’t likely to acknowledge the issue immediately. They may get angry or even violent.

It’s possible to avoid the anger issue and convince the parent to get help by structuring the conversation properly. Here is how to deal with an alcoholic parent:

  • A child should set a time to speak to the parent and ensure everyone clears their schedules.
  • One child shouldn’t approach a parent alone. They should get help from a sibling, relative, or a friend.
  • During the conversation, the child shouldn’t point out the parent’s problem aggressively. It’s much more important to express concern and care.
  • The interaction should commence only when the parent is sober. While intoxicated people may seem kinder and more agreeable, they can’t make proper decisions.
  • It’s essential to stress concern and worry throughout the conversation.
  • Telling a parent that they have a drinking problem is less effective than saying, “I’m concerned by the frequency of your alcohol use.”
  • During the conversation, a child can make a list of behavior and health issues that worry them.
  • In case the parent doesn’t agree to get help, a child should try to schedule another conversation for a later date. “Let’s talk about this again sometime in the future. It’s essential to me that we talk.”
  • Younger children shouldn’t arrange interventions. Instead, they should get help from older relatives or other adults they trust.

Children and relatives should always remember that the risks of the conversation going poorly never outweigh the benefits such an interaction can bring. It’s essential to try and help a parent, no matter how daunting the task may seem.

Treatment Center for Alcohol Abuse

When a parent agrees to get assistance, it’s crucial to offer them available options. The typical treatment for alcohol abuse includes:


The first step to fighting any addiction, including alcohol abuse, is detox. Alcohol detox involves getting the alcohol out of the person’s system as painlessly as possible. The process may include taking medication and getting support from a mental health specialist.

Behavioral Therapies

Therapists and other mental health experts arrange a variety of behavioral therapies that help people fight cravings, change their alcohol abuse behavior, and return to everyday life.

The most common therapy is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). It helps the person take control of their thoughts and move away from self-destructive behavior.

Support Groups

Many support groups exist to help people with alcohol abuse problems stay sober. The most famous one is Alcoholics Anonymous. They generally implement a 12-step recovery program that helps people avoid relapses.

Meanwhile, many other support groups exist to help recovering alcoholics feel a part of a big family and address their problems as soon as they arise.


In the United States, recovering alcoholics can take advantage of several medications to help them avoid relapses. These medications are:

  • Disulfiram – makes a person sick when they drink.
  • Acamprosate – decreases cravings.
  • Naltrexone – reduces the positive physical and mental effects of drinking.

All these medications need to be prescribed by a doctor. They come with side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.

Alcohol Rehabilitation Program

Setting up a treatment program for a person requires a unique approach. That’s why many children who notice the signs of an alcoholic parent prefer to choose a comprehensive residential treatment program.

Professional alcohol rehab includes several key elements:

While some people with mild symptoms choose outpatient programs, inpatient rehab is usually much more effective. A person receives 360-degree assistance for their problems without having any opportunities for relapse.

Once the inpatient program is over, patients can continue getting assistance on an outpatient basis in group or individual therapy.

Resources Available for Alcohol Abuse

When trying to figure out how to help an alcoholic parent, children can take advantage of several resources for research and information:

  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse 
  • Centers for Disease Control 
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine

To arrange a rehab program, children can research available rehabilitation centers in the area. While many of them exist, it’s crucial to choose a reliable service provider  that offers the following:

  • Detox services
  • Rehab services
  • Inpatient and outpatient rehab
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Experienced clinical team

Once a parent completes initial rehabilitation, the rehab center can provide ongoing therapy. It’s also possible to take advantage of such support groups as:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Al-Anon and Alateen (for people whose loved one is an alcoholic)
  • Women for Sobriety,
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety

It’s important to remember that alcoholism is treatable. It doesn’t matter how long the person has been abusing alcohol. The right approach to rehab can bring their life back on track.

Alcohol Abuse Rehabilitation in Lancaster

Parents who have an alcohol problem usually need someone to help them start the recovery process. In many cases, their adult sons and daughters need to assume that responsibility.

At Bellagio RTC, we can help children provide the necessary assistance to their parents. While alcohol abuse is a serious issue, it doesn’t have to ruin any lives. We provide comprehensive rehab problems to help people start over. Contact us for more information at any convenient time.


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