For countless people, having children is one of the greatest joys of their entire life. The love a parent has for their child is arguably one of the most powerful emotions known to man. No matter what the challenge may be, most parents can see past the tough times because of how strong the love for their children is. This is true with most anything, including addiction.
There is no doubt that addiction is one of the most insidious, catastrophic diseases anyone can experience. It is a disease that does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, location, or financial income. Even the most well put-together individuals can be facing a battle with addiction behind the scenes. But what happens when the person who is addicted to alcohol happens to be your very own son? The gravity of this situation can be so overwhelming that it can completely consume you. You may struggle with feelings such as anger, resentment, guilt, shame, and hopelessness. And try as you might, getting your son to accept help may not be as easy as you thought it would be. What are you supposed to do when the world around you stops once you realize that your son is an alcoholic? By keeping a level head, you can prepare yourself to deal with having an alcoholic son in the healthiest manner possible.
How Do I Deal With My Alcoholic Son?
If you have an alcoholic son, the very first thing you probably think of is how you can help him. It is only natural for a mother or a father to want to do anything to help their son when he is dealing with something difficult. But addiction is a no holds barred kind of disease that makes even the most sensible things seem crazy, so thinking of anything else but helping your son first can seem insane. It is imperative, however, to take care of yourself first in order to deal with your alcoholic son.
Take care of yourself
When your son is struggling with alcohol use disorder, you will do more harm than good if you don’t keep your proverbial side of the street clean. Therefore, it is critical that you practice good self-care at this time. Self-care can include eating well, getting enough rest, and exercising as often as you can. When you take care of these needs, you are protecting your immune system, your energy levels, and your cognitive abilities, all of which help you in dealing with your alcoholic son. Ignoring your needs only lowers your resiliency, causing you to be less effective in managing this crisis.
You are not the only parent in the world with an alcoholic son. In fact, you probably are not the only parent in your community with an alcoholic son. Alcoholism is so pervasive that it happens all around us (even if we do not see it). To help process the emotional toll that your son’s alcoholism has caused on you, seek support from others in your community. One of the best ways to do this is to attend Al-Anon meetings. Al-Anon is the sister group to Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. In these meetings, people impacted by a loved one’s drinking gather together to include the Twelve Steps and Traditions into their own lives. The goal of Al-Anon is not to learn how to fix your alcoholic son, but how to cope with the effects his alcoholism has on you. You can share your own stories, listen to the stories of others, and engage in conversation that helps strengthen your resolve and heal some of your wounds. As your son continues on in his alcoholism, having a place to go and get support (such as an Al-Anon meeting) can be priceless.
In addition, Discovery Place also offers support for families including workshops and meetings we host. In these support groups family members can ask questions, connect with others, and gather tools to strengthen your piece of mind.
Detach with love
The word “detach” probably never comes to mind when you are thinking of your son, however in this case, detaching with love can be one of the best ways to deal with his alcoholism. When you detach with love, you release yourself from the responsibility of your son’s actions and allow him to experience the consequences of his own actions. For example, say your son comes home in the early hours of the morning after being out all night drinking. He stumbles in the house and passes out asleep on the floor. Rather than trying to move him off of the floor or take off his shoes, you put a blanket over him instead and walk away. This is detaching with love, as you are still showing your care for your son but you are not saving him from the consequence of waking up on the floor with a sore back and a hangover. This can be highly beneficial, as letting go of the need to be responsible for your son’s actions alleviates you of unnecessary mental strife.
If you are not familiar with the disease of alcoholism, take some time to educate yourself on how alcoholism impacts the brain and body. As you learn more, you will have an easier time separating the disease from the person (in this case, your son). It is also helpful to set boundaries with your son if he is still drinking. Doing so can help you maintain as peaceful of an environment as possible as well as avoid enabling him in his addiction.
How Can I Help My Son?
Learning how to deal with your son’s addiction is much different than figuring out how to help him get the care he needs. As you work to deal with your son’s addiction in a healthy way, you can also look into ways to get him professional treatment. You can do this by:
- Talking with members of your Al-Anon group to see if they have suggestions for treatment
- Contacting your local treatment facility to learn more about their services and if they have any space available in their programs
- Getting in touch with an interventionist who can help facilitate an intervention for your son
At a time when everything seems hopeless, remember that there are things you can do to help your son look forward to a sober future.
Treatment For Alcoholism in Tennessee
If your son is struggling with alcoholism, do not let another minute pass you by without picking up the phone and calling us right now. We know how challenging it is when a parent is trying to help their child to no avail, which is why we encourage you to call us. At Discovery Place, we provide long-term treatment programs and family programs that can help provide you with the support needed to overcome this dark chapter in your family’s life.