How to Deal with an Alcoholic Parent

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Figuring out how to deal with an alcoholic parent can be challenging. When a parent drinks too much, it can affect the whole family. Whether you’re a child, teenager, or adult living with your alcoholic parent or somewhere else, their drinking may impact your life.

If you’re not sure if your parent has a drinking problem, we can help you spot the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction. We’ll also show you ways to manage an alcoholic parent to help the whole family cope with the effects of the addiction.

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Let’s setup a call and figure out the best treatment options for you or your loved one. Our detox specialists will get back to you immediately.

Signs You’re Dealing with an Alcoholic Parent

It can be hard to tell if your parent has a drinking problem. Here are some signs that may indicate they are an alcoholic:

  • Drinking frequently: They drink alcohol often, even when they are alone.
  • Hiding alcohol: They hide bottles of alcohol around the house.
  • Mood changes: They have sudden mood swings, becoming angry or sad quickly.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: They ignore their duties at home, work, or school.
  • Drinking in the morning: They start drinking early in the day.
  • Memory problems: They often forget things or have gaps in their memory.
  • Health issues: They have health problems related to drinking, like liver damage.
  • Financial problems: They spend a lot of money on alcohol, leading to money issues.
  • Relationship problems: They have conflicts with family and friends because of their drinking.

If you notice these signs in your parent, they may have an alcohol problem. Seek help to manage the situation and support your family.

How Do I Help My Alcoholic Parent?

Helping an alcoholic parent can be challenging, but here are some steps you can take:

  • Talk to them: Find a calm time to talk to your parent about your concerns. Use “I” statements, like “I feel worried when you drink.”
  • Encourage treatment: Suggest they seek help from a doctor, therapist, or support group. Offer to help them find resources or go with them to appointments.
  • Set boundaries: Make clear rules about what behavior you will and will not accept. For example, you might say, “I won’t be around you when you’re drinking.”
  • Seek support: Talk to other family members or friends about what you’re going through. You can also join support groups for families of alcoholics.
  • Take care of yourself: Ensure you look after your needs and well-being. Do things that make you happy and healthy, like exercising, spending time with friends, and getting enough sleep.
  • Stay safe: If your parent becomes aggressive or violent, make sure you and other family members are safe. Have a plan for where you can go if things get out of control.
  • Be patient: Understand that recovery can be a long process and there may be setbacks. Show support and encouragement, but also take care of your emotional health.

Helping an alcoholic parent is not easy but taking these steps can make a big difference.

image representing how to deal with an alcoholic parent as an adult

How to Confront a Parent on Their Alcoholism

Talking to your parent about their drinking can be hard, but it’s important. Here are some steps to help you confront them:

  • Choose the right time: Find a moment when your parent is sober and calm. Make sure you have privacy and enough time to talk.
  • Be honest and caring: Speak with kindness and concern. Use “I” statements, like “I am worried about your drinking because I care about you.”
  • Share specific examples: Tell your parent about specific times their drinking has caused problems. For example, “Last week, you missed my school event because you were drinking.”
  • Listen to their side: Give your parent a chance to talk and listen to what they say. They may not realize how much their drinking affects others.
  • Offer help: Suggest ways they can get help, such as seeing a doctor or joining a support group. Offer to help them find resources or go with them to appointments.
  • Stay calm: Your parent might react with anger or denial. Stay calm and avoid arguing. Repeat your concerns and your willingness to help.
  • Have a backup plan: If the conversation becomes too difficult or your parent refuses to listen, plan for what to do next. This might include seeking help from other family members or a professional.

Confronting a parent about their alcoholism is tough but taking these steps can help make the conversation more effective.

What Resources Are Available to Help My Alcoholic Parent?

There are many resources available to help your alcoholic parent. Here are some options:

Doctors and medical professionals

  • Purpose: Provide medical advice and treatment.
  • How they help: Doctors can assess your parent’s health, prescribe medications to help with withdrawal and cravings, and refer them to specialists.

Therapists and counselors

  • Purpose: Offer mental health support and therapy.
  • How they help: Therapists can help your parent understand why they drink and teach them coping strategies. They can provide individual or group therapy sessions.

Rehab centers

  • Purpose: Offer intensive treatment programs.
  • How they help: Rehab centers provide structured environments where your parent can focus on recovery. They offer inpatient (living at the center) and outpatient (visiting the center regularly) programs.

Support groups

  • Purpose: Provide peer support and encouragement.
  • How they help: Groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) offer meetings where people share their experiences and support each other. Al-Anon is a support group specifically for families of alcoholics.


  • Purpose: Offer immediate help and support.
  • How they help: Hotlines like the National Helpline for Substance Abuse (1-800-662-HELP) provide free, confidential advice and can connect you with local resources.

Online resources

  • Purpose: Provide information and support.
  • How they help: Websites offer articles, forums, and tools for understanding and managing alcoholism. They can also help you find local treatment options.


  • Purpose: Educate and provide guidance.
  • How they help: There are many books available that offer advice on dealing with alcoholism. These can be helpful for both the person struggling with alcohol and their family members.

Community centers

Purpose: Offer local support and activities.

How they help: Many community centers provide support groups, counseling services, and activities to help your parent stay engaged and motivated.

EAPs (employer assistance programs)

  • Purpose: Provide support through the workplace.
  • How they help: Some workplaces offer programs that help employees with addiction issues, including counseling and referrals to treatment programs.

Using these resources can help your alcoholic parent get the support and treatment they need. It’s important to reach out and take the first step toward getting help.

view from california detox deck depicting how to deal with an alcohol parent in denial

Get Help for an Alcoholic Parent at California Detox

If you need help getting your parent into rehab for alcohol addiction, call our friendly recovery team today for expert assistance. 

Our experienced team is equipped to help you set up an intervention, provide an insurance coverage check, set up FMLA leave from work, or provide any other help you may need. 

Kickstart your recovery with a supervised medical detox program to streamline cravings and withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. You can then move directly into one of the following treatment programs: 

  • Inpatient programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Dual diagnosis treatment programs (for co-occurring disorders)

At California Detox, the treatment team will create an individualized treatment plan that combines science-backed and holistic treatments that include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Family therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Holistic therapies
  • Aftercare

For immediate help getting an alcoholic parent into rehab, call 949.779.3891



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