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Drug & Alcohol Addiction For the Families

How to Help Your Alcoholic Parent

It can be confusing as a child to live with an alcoholic parent. Their drinking can affect their behavior, their health, and their thinking. They can have mood swings and be very different people depending on the time of day. For a child living with an alcoholic parent, they know all too well how uneasy life can be inside of the home. It is common for many children to want to help their alcoholic parent, but it is often unclear just how to do so.

What Does Alcoholism Look Like?

If you find that your parent drinks too much and is a different person afterwards, your parent might be an alcoholic. If it seems that once they start drinking, they can’t stop, or that they have to drink to feel normal, they are probably an alcoholic. But for children of alcoholics, descriptions of an alcoholic aren’t needed, because it’s obvious.

Alcoholism can affect anyone of any race or social standing, and it isn’t entirely proven just where it comes from. Some research shows that alcoholism is genetic, and some people are predisposed to the disease, whereas sometimes there is one black sheep alcoholic in a whole family. The disease remains a mystery. The only thing that is certain is the destruction that it leaves among the families and loved ones of sufferers.

Helping your Parents at any Age

The most important thing to remember is that alcoholism is no one’s fault. It has nothing to do with what kind of child you were or how you behaved or what grades you get. It is a disease of the mind and can get worse over time depending on if the person receives help or not.

The most troubling aspect of dealing with an alcoholic parent is really that there is not much you can do to help them. We can really only come to terms with the disease of alcoholism and learn how to cope with our parent and their behavior. There are ways to connect with your alcoholic parent on a day to day basis that can sometimes be helpful in moving towards potential sobriety for them, but understand that it will be based on their willingness to make a change rather than the effort you put into it.

  • Talk to your parent while they are sober – while there is no guarantee that your words will be able to create a massive change in their behavior, having a calm and honest discussion with your parent during a moment of clarity can be helpful. Talking about your feelings only, rather than their actions, will create a forum for them to potentially open up to you and to also see how they are affecting you.
  • Avoid arguing with a drunk parent – this one can be tricky sometimes as it seems that arguments can arise out of nowhere. However, for many people who suffer from alcoholism, they experience frequent blackouts and cannot control their emotions and actions while intoxicated. Arguing with a drunk parent will just lead to hurt feelings and resentments on your part.
  • Stick to your word, even if they don’t – parents as a whole, are supposed to be the caregivers. However, when a parent is an alcoholic, the roles tend to become reversed and the child can often be the one picking up the slack. If you find that you are the one paying the bills or loaning your parent money to get drunk, stop, and mean it. While they are sober, let them know you aren’t going to enable their habit anymore and stick to your guns. If you go back on your decision, your parent will know they can manipulate you again in the future.
  • If things get too crazy, get out – There is nothing wrong with separating yourself from the situation if your safety and well-being are on the line. If you have younger siblings, find a relative close by or an understanding family friend. Your absence could be a huge sign to your alcoholic parent that their behavior will not be tolerated.

woman drinking alcohol

The most important thing to remember when helping an alcoholic parent is that none of it is your fault. Sometimes, when they are drunk they might make us feel like we are the problem, but that is only a defense mechanism that alcoholics use to diffuse the blame from them. It is common for addicts and alcoholics to displace their own issues onto someone else as it is very common for these people to not even see the severity of their problem.

Never let an alcoholic parent make you feel like you have to follow their route. It is far too common for the children of alcoholics to pick up drinking themselves as a coping mechanism, despite the negative consequences they saw their parents go through. Again, this is why many people believe that alcoholism is a genetic predisposition, so if possible, try to abstain from alcohol on any level to safeguard your own future.

In the end, it will be up to them to turn their life around and get sober. The hardest part about alcoholism is that most people will continue until they hit rock bottom, and sometimes that means losing their loved ones in the process. A huge key to helping your alcoholic parent is to never enable them.

One simple mantra to tell yourself on the day to day when dealing with an alcoholic parent is; Take it as it comes, never take it personally, and accept them as they are. You can choose to engage or you can just as well choose to detach. If you think you have done all you can, you can leave. Never be afraid to protect yourself, and never feel that you have to be the sole companion. You have your own life to lead that does not need to be reliant upon the condition of your parent.

Getting Help at Wayside House

If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as programs for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.

Testimonials

  • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

  • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

    Alexandra N.

  • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

    Amanda O.

  • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

    Amy G

  • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

  • “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    Allen S.

  • “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    Rita P.

  • “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    Katrin O.

  • “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    Jan S.

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    Delray Beach, FL 33483

    What People Are Saying

    • “I have always supported Wayside House — I know women who have come through their program and support all they do. If you don’t know about this fabulous place I encourage you to become involved and find out more — they are an anchor in Delray Beach and their history speaks for itself.” 

      Nancy S.

    • “I went through Wayside House & it was the first place that actually felt like home to me. The staff actually care about their clients and their sobriety. I worked through so much here without fear of being judged. I love wayside & it will always have a special place in my heart along with ALL the amazing women who work there.”

      Mandy W

    • I so wish I could tell the girls how much Wayside saved my life,  and after 31 years sober, it still is just “One Day at a Time” and “The Serenity Prayer.” I will always remember those first days of being at Wayside and how the girls , the counselors , and the House put me back on track to living a fulfilled and Sober life . I followed the AA steps, got a wonderful sponsor and have followed that path ever since. — Pamela R.

    • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

    • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

      Alexandra N.

    • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

      Amanda O.

    • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

      Amy G

    • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

    • Allen S.

      “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    • Rita P.

      “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    • Katrin O.

      “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    • Jan S.

      “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    • Leah J.

      “I just wanted to thank you for how you and the team make the world a better place.  I won’t claim to understand the things you sacrifice, but you are truly wonderful for doing so.“

    • Janine T.

      “I  highly recommend Wayside Women’s in Delray Beach. My daughter completed their wonderful program, she’ll have 2 years July 1st. They have an active alumni. I couldn’t say enough good things about them, they’ve been doing this since mid70’s.”

    • Stacy J.

      “ Thankful for my sobriety and for Wayside! “

    • Susan B.

      “Wayside House was and is an amazing place to me. I am on a journey that is better than I could have ever imagined. The strength of the women that came before me, that are beside me, and those that are there now teach me how to live “.

    • Lisa D.

      “Wayside saved my life and I will never be able to repay them for everything they have done for me.”

    • Dolores A.

      “Wayside house saved my daughter’s life. She transformed into the beautiful woman I knew she could be. It’s only been a few months but one day at a time she and I are enjoying her recovery journey!!!”

    • Jeanne H.

      “We appreciate all that you do to help individuals in recovery, demonstrating God’s love in our community. Your staff at Wayside House continue to help in so many ways, women and their families that need the love, care and support that you are able to provide. Thank you so much for all you do for them.  May God continue to bless you, your staff and your volunteers each and every day for the light you provide for our community.”

    • Susan C.

      “ Wayside is “the light”! Congratulations on the article in the Palm Beach Post
      for all you do to make the commitment to help those in need.”

    • Lynne B.

      “I will always be grateful to Wayside for giving my daughter the tools and knowledge to live a sober life on the outside. You changed her life thank you thank you thank you, may all the people that pass through your wonderful cozy house succeed in sobriety as well.”

    • Katy B.

      “I am sober and happy today thanks to Wayside.”

    • A.D.

      “Having the opportunity to go to Wayside was the best thing I’ve ever done. They lovingly deconstructed my life so I could put it back together. They are a serious program that gave me the ability to understand myself in a way I never thought was possible. They didn’t baby me and they taught me how to be beautifully authentic with myself and those around me. I really can’t thank them enough.”

    • Susan T.

      “Please keep up your wonderful work; the kids of south Florida need you.”

    • Jaimie K.

      “I am making this donation and thank you for all you do!”

    • Pam H.

      “Celebrating 29 years 7/22/2016. Sponsoring, 3-5 meetings a week, and forever grateful to Wayside House!”

    • Laura B.

      “I will be celebrating my 17th year clean and sober.  PLEASE share with the celebrants that I am with them in spirit even though I can’t be with them.  Wayside rocks!  Remind them to stay until the magic happens.”

    • BH alumni

      “I just want to give a shout out to the Wayside staff and alumni who organized and participated in the first annual gratitude dinner. The entire evening was absolutely devine! Wayside House saved my life and I am so very happy that you are at the helm.”

    • Brenda

      “Just walking down memory lane! I Love Wayside House! I went through twice!!
      LOL!! Clean and sober today! Love to all the women! XOXO”

    • Ashley

      “Thank you to Marlies and the Posner Center because without your guidance I wouldn’t have been pushed to pursue what I love and want out of a job and school. You’re amazing!”

    • Colletta D.

      “Proud to be a donor supporter of your efforts.”

    • Sara W.

      “Wayside House saved my life. It was a place that gave me a purpose to follow my dreams. And gave me a life that I never thought could be possible. It is a place where God lives in the lives of so many recovering women. Thank you.”

    • Andrea S.

      “So many miracles and beautiful souls are at Wayside. It’s a very special place.”

    • Phoebe M.

      “What an incredible gift to have gone to Wayside House.  Keep up the great work!”

    • Kathy G.

      “I’m so grateful to be a Wayside Winner 12/89 . One day at a Time.”

    • Christine D.

      “I have to commend Wayside House. They are a 1st class treatment center.”

    • Christine A.

      “I went through Wayside House in 1991 and have been clean and sober for 23 years. I have had four children, two grandchildren, and am happily married. The aftercare and parenting groups that Wayside had is something that helped me so very much as a new parent who was fairly new in recovery. I now have a Bachelor’s degree in social work and am working on a Master’s degree in counseling specializing in addictions counseling. If I had not been placed in Wayside House so many years ago I would have never been able to achieve the things that I have in my life. I am forever grateful for the blessing it has had in my life!”

    • Jeffrey Lane Esq., Weiner, Lynne & Thompson P.A.

      “Wayside is the benchmark by which I hold other similar facilities too.”

    • John Lehman, President FARR

      “I know many women whose lives have been greatly impacted by the quality support they experienced while enrolled and residing in your program. My first hand knowledge dates back to 1980 and I can attest to Wayside’s long tradition of excellence.”

    • J.L.

      “Wayside House saved my sobriety at a critical time in my life. My HP knew I needed to be there and surrounded by strong women who believed in me. Thank you!”

    • Evelyn H.

      “ My life has changed very deeply. I have been given the gift of life in sobriety and treating it like a present.”

    • Cynthia F.

      “I hated God & tried not to believe in any higher power before getting sober. Now I know that each day is a gift and
      that all things are possible through my spiritual connection. All of life is a miracle and for the ultimate good.”

    • Liz D.

      “I just wanted to send my gratitude and thanks for all you have done for me and thousands of women out there recovering from addictions.”

    • Sally W.

      “God bless your work at Wayside.”

    • T.P.

      “Thank you for all that you have done to make me experience Wayside and the true change in my life through this program. I am grateful.”

    • Cindy

      “To all of you fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays at Wayside, I hope you find peace and happiness.
      My Christmas at Wayside was one of the best ever as I received the lasting gift of sobriety. God Bless you all!”

    • Anonymous

      “ My children have been returned and I have found God.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House and God have given me a life I never thought I deserved.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House played a very big role in treating our daughter. We will be forever grateful for you and our blessings from the Lord.”

    • Anonymous

      “ I have restored relationships with my family and learned how to love others. I am accountable, help and trust others and enjoy living life. I have peace and I don’t worry. I know that everything is going to be OK. I also attend three meetings a week and sponsor several women.”

    • Anonymous

      “ By spending time with my awesome God every morning who saved me by touching my life while at Wayside. God continues to draw me close to him.”

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