How Do I Stop Enabling My Alcoholic Son?

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Parenting an alcoholic son can be a devastating and emotionally draining experience. It is common for parents to feel a sense of blame and humiliation, and to grapple with the best way to provide assistance to their child. Unfortunately, enabling actions, like offering financial aid or making justifications for their child’s actions, can inadvertently extend the addiction and make it more difficult for the child to get the help they need.

It is vital for parents to establish distinct limits, look for help for themselves, and become informed about successful ways to assist their children. Continue reading to find out if you are enabling your alcoholic son and if so, learn how you can stop.

One way to stop enabling your alcoholic son is to set clear boundaries and consequences for their drinking, while also seeking support for yourself through therapy or support groups.

What is Enabling?

Facilitating is a form of conduct in which someone, such as a mother or father, partner, or companion, unknowingly enables or helps to keep up another person’s addiction or unfavorable conduct by making justifications for them, assuming obligations for them, or concealing them. This can incorporate giving financial help, finding pardons for them, or downplaying or disregarding the destructive impacts of their conduct. This inevitably stops the person from confronting the full ramifications of their activities and can prolong their dependence or negative behavior.

It is essential to recognize that enabling behavior is usually a result of good intentions, like shielding someone from danger or keeping turmoil at bay. Nevertheless, it can have the opposite impact of prolonging the addiction or bad habits and making it more difficult for the person to accept accountability for their decisions and acquire assistance.

Signs That You Are an Enabler

Enabling an alcoholic is a serious issue that cannot be ignored. It is important to recognize the signs of enabling an alcoholic so that appropriate measures can be taken in order to help them. The following are signs that you may be enabling your alcoholic son:

You Make Excuses for Them

A mother or father may try to explain away their child’s drinking by making comments such as “he’s just in a difficult situation” or “he’s under a lot of pressure.” This can make it challenging for the son to accept accountability for his behavior and get treatment for his problem with alcohol.

You Take on Their Responsibilities

The parent may attempt to explain the son’s behavior to their employers and social circle, or take on extra duties at home if the son is unable to do them because of his alcohol consumption. This can make it simpler for the son to persist in drinking without facing the entire repercussions of his decisions.

You Financially Support Them

Parents may think they are helping their son by providing them with financial aid, settling their bills, or rescuing them from repercussions due to their drinking. However, this kind of help can be detrimental in the long run, since it lessens the severity of the consequences for the son and therefore makes it easier for them to stay addicted to alcohol.

You Cover For Them

Parents of an addicted son may act in ways that can conceal the negative effects of his drinking. Such behaviors can include covering up his whereabouts or how much he is drinking, or even tidying up after him when he is inebriated. These activities may give the son a false impression that their addiction is not having a major effect on their life.

You Downplay It

A parent might think that their child’s drinking isn’t as bad as it appears or is convinced that the child will eventually put an end to it without help. This could prevent the son from understanding the necessity of seeking professional assistance.

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How Do I Stop Enabling My Alcoholic Son?

It can be hard to stop enabling someone, particularly when it is a person that you love who is having difficulty with addiction. But ceasing to enable can be a vital move towards assisting a son with alcoholism to acquire the help that he requires in order to recover from his addiction. Here are a few actions that a parent can take to stop enabling their alcoholic son:

Seek Help For Yourself

Seeking professional help for yourself is of utmost importance as a parent dealing with an alcoholic son. It can be difficult to handle the situation without proper guidance and support, and a therapist or counselor can provide such assistance for you to better manage the challenges. They can also aid in helping you identify and modify any enabling behavior that you may have. Taking care of one’s own emotional and mental well-being is essential for healthy coping.

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Set Boundaries

It is essential for parents to be firm when it comes to setting clear boundaries and consequences for their son’s behavior. It is important for the parent to explain why these boundaries and consequences have been set and communicate them in a clear and consistent manner. Doing so helps emphasize the importance of adhering to expectations, as well as illustrates that there are real-world consequences for not following the rules. By setting clear boundaries and consequences, parents can help guide their son to become a responsible adult.

Encourage Treatment

It is essential for a parent to be an advocate for their son’s recovery and to provide encouragement to seek treatment and professional help. This support can range from attending appointments with him, and helping him research different treatment options, to providing emotional support and understanding during his recovery process. It is important for the parent to be available and present during this time in order to create a safe and supportive environment for their son’s recovery journey.

Stop Trying to Control the Situation

One of the most difficult parts of being an enabler is understanding that you cannot directly control your son’s actions. While it is natural to want to protect your child and help them make positive decisions, you must come to terms with the fact that ultimately they must make the decision to change themselves. It is important to remember that you can only control how you react to your son’s choices. Therefore, it is essential for a parent to detach from the situation and let go of the need for control over their son’s life.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles, CA

If someone you love is dealing with an alcohol addiction, it is essential to seek help right away. At Launch Centers in Los Angeles, our mission is to offer assistance to those battling substance abuse. Our dedicated specialists can assist you in overcoming addiction, and help you reach your desired goals through our unique program fusing career, educational, healthcare, and therapy components.

Our programs are designed to guarantee a successful recovery and a healthy, sober life. If you need guidance and would like to know more about the assistance and treatments we can provide, contact a Launch Centers specialist. We will be there for you all the way. Call us today.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

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