Alcohol use is something that’s long been normalized in our society, but that normalization does contribute to high instances of alcoholism in North America.
Statistics show that one in every five adults in America has lived with an alcoholic relative while growing up. Approximately 6.6 million children below 18 years live in households with at least one alcoholic parent.
In addition, the Covid 19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in alcohol consumption by 14% among young adults and 17% among mature adults.
Children growing up under the care of alcoholic parents or guardians may sometimes suffer from psychological and emotional problems including codependency, avoiding conflict, normalization of alcoholism, negative self-image, judgment, and criticism.
Whether you are an adult still working through similar issues from your childhood or need tips to help a child in a tough situation, here are a few tips for dealing with alcoholic parents.
Talk To Someone
Talking to someone that you trust can help reduce the stress that comes from having an alcoholic parent. It can also help you understand why you feel the way you do, regulate emotions, and give you clarity.
Having a strong support system is very helpful when you need to talk. Consider a friend or family member that you trust, or professionals such as therapists, counselors, or teachers.
Remember It’s Not Your Fault
Some children blame themselves for their parents’ alcoholism and invest a lot of time trying to prove their worth.
It’s important to remember that their choices have nothing to do with you, and you are worthy of living a happy and healthy life.
Find a Support Group
One of the most common ways of dealing with alcoholic parents is finding a support group where you can share and get assistance.
Here, you get to share your experiences and coping mechanisms with people going through similar circumstances. This allows for sharing without judgment or shame, and can help manage loneliness as you can freely express your feelings.
There are also online support groups for those that may have a challenge with physical access.
Identify a Safe Space
Alcoholic parents are sometimes abusive physically, mentally, or in other ways. Some may even have violent outbursts that could be dangerous if you’re in the same house.
It’s essential to identify a safe place where you can go until things calm down. This may be a spot in the house, a relative’s place, a friend’s house, or a school.
It’s also a good idea to have emergency contacts that you may use if you feel unsafe, like a relative or friend’s contact, the police, or other helplines that offer support in troubling situations.
Stop the Cycle
Children with alcoholic parents have a higher likelihood of becoming alcoholics. However, it’s possible to decide to make better choices from these experiences.
Therapy and support can help develop good habits and promote better physical and mental health.
Some of the emotional issues and baggage that may come from dealing with alcoholic parents can last well into adulthood, so being proactive about your own mental health is a must.
Ensuring you work through any issues will help you live the happy and healthy life that you deserve.