If You Have an Alcoholic Father

If You Have an Alcoholic Father


If you have an alcoholic father then there is not a whole lot you can do about it.  You certainly cannot just ask someone to stop drinking alcohol and get results from that.  And in most cases, you cannot force someone to stop drinking either.  The whole family could confront the alcoholic and say “We are leaving you unless you stop drinking right now,” and in most cases this will change nothing.  The alcoholic might try to stop for a while but before long they will be right back at it.  No matter how much pain and punishment you can dish out to the alcoholic, they can always mask it by drinking more.

So if you have a father who is alcoholic or either parent for that matter, your best bet is to get some help for yourself. Now you might be saying “wait a minute….I need to get some help for my father, not for me.”  But you have to understand, you cannot help your father.  Not directly anyway.  It is not possible to force him to change.  You are not going to persuade him in any sort of direct manner.  The best you can do is to get help for yourself and learn about how to behave appropriately around your father so that you are not enabling him any further.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jsmjr

Where can you get this help?  Depending on your age, you should go to either Al-Anon or Ala-teen.  These are meetings that they have regularly where people get together to support and help each other.  What kind of people?  Friends and family members of alcoholics.  So they are people who are in the same situation that you are in, only they have been attending these meetings for a while and they have more experience and knowledge about dealing with this sort of situation.  They can help you.  They can help show you how to behave and what you should say and do in different situations so as not to further your father’s drinking.

Now going to these Al-anon meetings are not going to force your dad to stop drinking. But if everyone in your family attends these meetings, then this will get everyone on the same path as far as not enabling your father and moving things in the right direction.  The idea is to nudge them closer to change–not through nagging them–but through taking the right actions and consistently refusing to enable the person.  In this way you can move them closer to change, but it takes a family effort.

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