“In the wee hours of the morning, I’d cower in bed listening to my drunken, alcoholic father falling over furniture. If he wasn’t falling around, he was arguing with someone who wasn’t there. Other times, I’d hear him singing along to one of his many favorite songs, over and over, all night long. Sometimes, he would make Mama cry. He couldn’t work those days, so we didn’t always have enough money for things we needed. Most of the time, I was afraid to invite friends over because he might be drunk and that would embarrass me and my friend. It was sad for me because it was like having two Daddys; a good one and a bad one. I tried to help by pouring the whiskey down the sink, but he’d just get mad at me and go by some more. I felt useless and helpless. If I was a better daughter maybe he wouldn’t get drunk.”
The above story could be told by countless children across the world today. Millions of children live in a home with alcoholic parents and many of them blame themselves. Unfortunately, in the homes where alcoholism is present, there is usually a spouse that enables the alcoholic to inflict their misery with no repercussions. An enabler will lie for the alcoholic, assume all responibilities for paying bills, earning money, taking care of the kids, etc. He or she will also begin drinking in an effort to escape the turmoil and develop an addiction of their own.
In most cases, kids are the ones who suffer the most. They need someone to talk to. They also need someone they can trust. But most of all, they need someone to love that loves them back. Every child of an alcoholic wishes they could do something to help their parent or parents stop drinking and live a normal life.
What Can a Child Do to Help an Alcoholic Parent?
It is important for a child of an alcoholic to realize that this is not his or her fault. The parent’s alcoholism is a disease that needs professional treatment. This is not something a child can solve. An alcoholic drinks because of many reasons. Low self-esteem, history of child abuse or alcoholism in the family, or depression are just a few of the reasons a person drinks. These problems only get worse as the person continues abusing alcohol and fails to address the issues. Unfortunately, they gain a whole new list of problems to deal with as a result of their drinking.
An older child might feel that they need to do more and be the adult in the family. This helps others in the family, but the problem of the alcoholic parent still persists. Some teens try to talk to the parent or parents or put them on a guilt trip. This doesn’t usually work, either.
So, what can a child of an alcoholic do to help? One thing to try is to talk to a trusted adult friend or family member. Other help could be found by talking to a school counselor or favorite teacher. It’s important not to feel guilty about talking to someone outside the family. This may be the only way to help the parent acknowledge that there is a problem.
Other Ways a Child Can Help
If talking to a trusted adult didn’t get the desired results, there are organizations a child can contact that will offer advice and assistance. Some of those organizations include:
- D.A.R.E. (Drug & Alcohol Resistance Education)
- Alateen (Al-anon)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- NACOA (National Association for Children of Alcoholics)
If you are a child of an alcoholic parent, there are plenty of people that can help you. Please call this toll-free number today if you would like more information on how to help an alcoholic parent.