Alcoholism is a disease that is characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol. In the United States, approximately 1 in 8 adults is an alcoholic. Alcohol is easily the most widely abused mind-altering substance in the country, as is consumed by people of all ages. But what happens when your adult child is one of the millions of people struggling with alcohol use disorder? How can you cope with your adult child’s alcoholism?
When you have a child, regardless of if you are the mother or the father, your whole entire world changes. You are now responsible for raising a human being and keeping them healthy and happy. The pressure to succeed in doing this can feel overwhelming at times, but with perseverance and resiliency, you can get the job done. What most parents don’t think of while caught up in the midst of soccer practices, homework, and making nightly meals is what life is going to be like when their children are grown. In fact, most parents wake up one day and wonder where the time went.
But now that your child is an adult, your role changes significantly. You are no longer the sole provider and protector of them, nor are you able to have much (if any) control within their life. And while you hope that the lessons you have taught them over the years keep them on the right track for a lifetime, sometimes that is not how it shakes out. If your adult child develops a problem with alcohol, your whole foundation of your being can feel like it has been rocked — and then some. Learning how to cope with your adult child’s alcoholism is critical in order to keep yourself as well as possible during this difficult time.
Coping with Your Adult Child’s Alcoholism
Parents, especially mothers, can find it nearly impossible to feel content or settled if they know that something is wrong with their child. When your adult child’s alcoholism is taking over, you might be overcome with feelings of needing to help in any way possible. You might even engage in enabling behaviors that do not help your adult child at all but not even realize it. This is completely understandable. But it is absolutely critical that you find healthy ways to cope with this distressing situation so that you do not increase the overall suffering of the family unit. Some of the ways that can help coping with your adult child’s alcoholism can include the following:
- Get help for yourself — Addiction is a hard disease to experience, whether you are the one using or not. There is absolutely nothing easy about it. Therefore, it is vital that you get professional help for yourself during this time. Reaching out to a therapist, local support group, or both can help you process your thoughts and emotions in a safe, healthy space. You can also spend time working on yourself, allowing you to better handle your adult child’s alcoholism.
- Utilize your support system — All too often, people with a family member with an addiction go inwards and try to make everything look like it is normal. This is not the time to adopt or continue that behavior. You certainly do not need to broadcast your situation, but letting close friends and other confidants in can make a world of difference. When your adult child’s alcoholism is taking over, you need to be able to turn to people you trust. In them, you can confide your thoughts and feelings, as well as benefit from the sound advice they respond to you with. Your friends can be an element of your emotional outlet.
- Set boundaries — You may instinctually want to do everything you can to keep your adult child from experiencing harm. But, if you do not focus on setting healthy boundaries, you and your child can suffer even more. Setting boundaries is not designed to keep your adult child out of your life, rather it is designed to keep him in your life in a manner that is acceptable. A common boundary between parents and their adult children is not allowing the adult child to visit when under the influence. This helps keep your home a safe space, but also shows your child that their addiction is out of control. You can continue to meet with your child, but maybe now you do so in other spaces. When you are setting boundaries, make sure you are creating them to help, not to harm.
- Let go of the guilt — All parents know what “parent guilt” feels like. It’s that feeling where you have done something that decreases the quality of your child’s life and you have difficulty forgiving yourself for it. When your child is an alcoholic, you will likely think of a thousand reasons why you are guilty for his actions. Letting go of this guilt is critical, as hanging on to it can consume you and erode at your mental and emotional wellbeing. Spend time learning about addiction as a disease, focus on thinking rationally, and move forward in ways that increase your understanding of this disease.
There is no right way to navigate through this. Every single person’s experience with addiction is different. The best you can do is prioritize your physical and mental health so that you can be a solid source of support for your adult child should they reach out for help.
Alcohol Rehab in California
If addiction is taking over your life and you need help, reach out to us at Launch Centers right now. We understand how cancerous addiction can be within a family unit, but want you to know that we can help.
If you are ready to take that first step and ask for help, call us right now. We will connect you with one of our compassionate admissions specialists who can give you as much information as you need.
Do not wait. Your life if worth saving. Call us now.