How to Approach an Alcoholic Parent about Seeking Professional Treatment

Talking to a friend or co-worker about an alcoholic problem may seem like a challenge, but perhaps the biggest challenge of talking to someone with a substance abuse problem is when a child must speak to their parent about seeking treatment.

Many parents may dismiss their children for not understanding what they are going through or explain that it is none of their business. Other times, the child will not express their feelings, which will lead to hurt feelings or arguments. There are a few ways to approach an alcoholic parent about seeking professional treatment.

A Sober Talk

When the mother or father are drinking, their emotions are heightened and they may not be able to think clearly. The best time to talk to them is when they are sober so that the message is received when they are in the right state of mind.

It is also a good idea to time it after a problem that is related to their drinking, such as divorce, family arguments, loss of a job, etc. This way they will consider what to do about their drinking problem and the solution will be suggested by someone they love most.

Consequences without Lecturing

Alcoholic Parent

Make sure to choose a time when your parent is sober to discuss their alcoholism.

When discussing the problem, it is important to discuss the consequences without making it sound like a lecture. Talking about how the drinking is hurting themselves puts a focus on the psychological distress and emotional turmoil that he or she is likely to be feeling.

A lecture may make them feel worse about their problem or lead into an argument, which will do nothing to help convince them to seek professional help. According to the NLH, denial is one of the most common symptoms of an addiction but those who are treated with respect and support are far less likely to be in denial than someone who is confronted or ordered to seek treatment.

Try to Avoid Judgment

Oftentimes, people let their panic get the better of them and will start a confrontation with the thought that it will help their cause, but it is more likely to do more harm than good and convince them to resist or deny their problem harder.

According to the SAMHSA, the experience of addiction can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, fear, loss, isolation, and grief. By using nonjudgmental and non-blaming language, the child is far more likely to show their support for the alcoholic’s recovery.

If he or she should not label them as an alcoholic or make orders, but instead state their concerns and encourage them to seek treatment.

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Call a Professional

If every attempt to convince the parent to seek help has failed, it may be time to call in an interventionist. These professionals are trained and experienced in helping addicts to realize the consequences of continuing with their addiction and the benefits of seeking treatment. For more information on how an interventionist can help, call 800-839-1686.

Convincing an authority figure to seek treatment is very difficult and denial may be the hardest thing to beat but there are ways of convincing the alcoholic to seek professional treatment. By talking when they are sober, explaining the consequences without falling into a lecture and avoiding judgment responses, the child is far more likely to convince their parents to seek the treatment they need to become sober again.

It is unimaginable to have to convince the people children look up to to seek treatment, but without the right help, the alcoholic’s life can take a turn for the worst.

If your parent(s) are suffering from an alcohol addiction and needs help, call 800-839-1686 to speak with someone who can help.

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