Moms and dads spend enough time worrying about their kids in general, from the day they are born until they leave home. Even after they’re grown, every parent wants their child to be healthy and happy. If instead, they have found themselves lost in the world of alcohol addiction, parents want to know exactly what to do. We’ve put together a guide for how to deal with an adult alcoholic son to help you out.
Remember That Your Child Is Sick
It can be easy to look at addiction to alcohol as a failure on the part of your child or your own parenting. Remind yourself that alcoholism is a disease and responds to professional treatment. Treating your son’s addiction as stubbornness, rebellion, or moral failure misses the big picture.
Millions of people deal with addiction to alcohol, and the origins of the addiction vary from person to person. The common approach that works best in most situations is to treat your son as someone with an illness who needs treatment.
Do Not Enable When Dealing With an Adult Alcoholic Son
While it’s important to keep in mind that your son is sick, it’s equally necessary to make sure you are not enabling him. While certain acts can feel like you are helping your child, they can easily cross the line into enabling. Keep in mind that helping someone involves providing a service or doing a favor for them because they do not have the capability to do it. Enabling is about doing things the person is capable of doing and should be responsible enough to do themselves. It can also involve providing excuses and ways for them to hide their addiction.
How to deal with an adult alcoholic son often involves taking stock of any enabling behaviors and putting an end to them. These behaviors can include helping your son hide his drinking, providing excuses for why he drinks and even buying alcohol for him. Enabling your son can also mean agreeing with him that he is not ready to get help or has valid reasons to postpone getting treatment. Enabling may feel like providing an act of kindness, but it’s really just partnering with your son in keeping him sick.
As long as he feels his parents will accept his excuses to stay in an unhealthy comfort zone, he will likely continue to drink and buy as much time as he can before he admits he needs help and gets it. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your son is to hold him accountable for his condition and his need to reach out for treatment.
Learn About Alcoholism and How It’s Treated
How to deal with an adult alcoholic son involves understanding what he is up against. The first step in treating alcoholism usually involves going through a detoxification program. While detoxing from any addictive substance comes with the risk of difficult and sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms, alcohol withdrawal can be particularly dangerous. Enrolling in detox or other residential programs allows your son to be supervised 24/7 by medical and psychological professionals who can provide ways to reduce and eliminate many alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Step-down programs that come after any initial residential treatment include outpatient programs that allow a person to attend treatment sessions during the day and return home at night. A lot of people benefit greatly from transitioning into a sober living house before going home. Sober living houses provide safe, comfortable houses in which the residents are all in recovery from addiction. They learn to live life in sobriety before returning home, which often increases their chances of staying sober.
Family therapy offers you and other loved ones the chance to attend therapy sessions with your son that benefit the entire family. Old patterns can be changed, healthy new ways of communication can be established, and each family member can learn their role in helping your son in recovery stay sober.
Offer to Help Find Treatment
A big part of how to deal with an adult alcoholic son involves helping him find the treatment he needs. Many people lost in their addiction lack the ability to think clearly and gather the treatment information they need. As his parent, you can step up and look for programs that fit your son’s needs. Gathering names and locations of treatment centers and specialists, determining what options they offer, and how long the programs last can take a huge burden off your son.
Making phone calls and keeping notes of what you find out helps you present ideas for the first step in recovery that won’t overwhelm your son. You can also find out details of what each program costs if they accept the insurance your son or family has, and options for paying out-of-pocket, if necessary. You can explain in simple detail how your son can enter the right program, what to expect from it, and answer any other questions he may have.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles
If you have an adult alcoholic son who needs treatment, we can help. We provide sober living housing and life coaching for men struggling with alcoholism who need a way to put their addiction in the past and become responsible adults who are excited about life again.