How to Help an Alcoholic Father
Alcoholism can be detrimental not only to a person's health, but to interpersonal relationships and the family dynamic. Although it's common to drink to celebrate a holiday or major event, at family dinners, or when dining out with colleagues, some people drink alcohol regularly just to be able to go about their daily lives. Alcoholics don't necessarily drink every day, but they physically crave alcohol and have trouble functioning without it.
If you want to find out how to help an alcoholic father, read below for more information.
Does My Dad Drink Too Much?
Alcoholism may not be easy to detect. Alcoholics tend to downplay the extent of their drinking or seem to function normally, even while intoxicated, so it may not be obvious that they have a problem. If your father drinks too much, he may exhibit some of the following behavior:
- Drinking alone or hiding excessive drinking
- Dramatic mood shifts
- Using alcohol to take the edge off or to self-medicate when feeling anxious
- Interpersonal problems
- Driving under the influence
- Inability to work or carry out other responsibilities
Although alcohol abuse does not necessarily indicate that a person is an alcoholic, if your father craves alcohol and needs it in order to follow his daily routine, he is an alcoholic.
Broaching the Subject of Alcoholism
If you're thinking, "my dad is an alcoholic," talk to your father about it in a supportive way. Don't nag or judge him; express your concern and kindly let him know that you want to help. Alcoholics often are in denial about their condition, so be prepared for him to tell you that he does not need help. You can't force your dad to seek treatment, but you can make him aware of some resources that might help him and give him the opportunity to turn to you or another trusted friend, family member, or professional for help.
How to Help Others Struggling with Alcohol
Staging an Intervention
If your father doesn't react positively to your concern, you may wish to stage an intervention. Plan to sit down with your dad when he's sober. Try to remain relaxed and nonjudgmental, and tell him that you feel that he needs help. If talking to your dad alone seems daunting, bring along a family member, or stage the intervention under the guidance of a counselor or therapist. Give specific examples of times your dad's alcohol use negatively impacted him or the family and be prepared with information that explains where he can go to seek treatment.
Offering Positive Support
When dealing with an alcoholic father, don't assume that support means helping him cover up the effects of his drinking or making excuses when his alcoholism causes a problem. If he does not have to deal with the consequences of his behavior, he may not be motivated to seek treatment. If your father is an alcoholic, he can seek treatment in the form of support groups, rehabilitation centers, and counseling. Do some research before you confront your father to make it easy for him to reach out and seek treatment immediately. You can also find support for yourself or other family members through counseling, therapy, and by meeting with other children of alcoholic parents. Alcoholism affects the entire family, and supporting your father involves helping yourself and finding ways to cope with his addiction.
If you want to learn more about how to help an alcoholic father, call us. This confidential hotline is free and provides information about resources for alcoholics and their loved ones. You will be able to reach someone at any time of day, making it easy to find your father the help he needs.