How to help an alcoholic father

Last updated on August 15, 2018

2018-08-15T15:32:20+00:00

Alcoholism can be detrimental not only to a person’s health, but to interpersonal relationships and the family dynamic. Although it’s common to drink to celebrate a holiday or major event, at family dinners, or when dining out with colleagues, some people drink alcohol regularly just to be able to go about their daily lives. Alcoholics don’t necessarily drink every day, but they physically crave alcohol and have trouble functioning without it.

If you want to find out how to help an alcoholic father, read below for more information.

Does My Dad Drink Too Much?

Alcoholism may not be easy to detect. Alcoholics tend to downplay the extent of their drinking or seem to function normally, even while intoxicated, so it may not be obvious that they have a problem. If your father drinks too much, he may exhibit some of the following behavior:

  • Drinking alone or hiding excessive drinking
  • Dramatic mood shifts
  • Using alcohol to take the edge off or to self-medicate when feeling anxious
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Driving under the influence
  • Inability to work or carry out other responsibilities
  • Recklessness

Although alcohol abuse does not necessarily indicate that a person is an alcoholic, if your father craves alcohol and needs it in order to follow his daily routine, he is an alcoholic.

Broaching the Subject of Alcoholism

If you’re thinking, “my dad is an alcoholic,” talk to your father about it in a supportive way. Don’t nag or judge him; express your concern and kindly let him know that you want to help. Alcoholics often are in denial about their condition, so be prepared for him to tell you that he does not need help. You can’t force your dad to seek treatment, but you can make him aware of some resources that might help him and give him the opportunity to turn to you or another trusted friend, family member, or professional for help.

How to Help Others Struggling with Alcohol

  • Mother
  • Brother
  • Sister

Staging an Intervention

If your father doesn’t react positively to your concern, you may wish to stage an intervention. Plan to sit down with your dad when he’s sober. Try to remain relaxed and nonjudgmental, and tell him that you feel that he needs help. If talking to your dad alone seems daunting, bring along a family member, or stage the intervention under the guidance of a counselor or therapist. Give specific examples of times your dad’s alcohol use negatively impacted him or the family and be prepared with information that explains where he can go to seek treatment.

Offering Positive Support

When dealing with an alcoholic father, don’t assume that support means helping him cover up the effects of his drinking or making excuses when his alcoholism causes a problem. If he does not have to deal with the consequences of his behavior, he may not be motivated to seek treatment. If your father is an alcoholic, he can seek treatment in the form of support groups, rehabilitation centers, and counseling. Do some research before you confront your father to make it easy for him to reach out and seek treatment immediately. You can also find support for yourself or other family members through counseling, therapy, and by meeting with other children of alcoholic parents. Alcoholism affects the entire family, and supporting your father involves helping yourself and finding ways to cope with his addiction.
If you want to learn more about how to help an alcoholic father, call us. This confidential hotline is free and provides information about resources for alcoholics and their loved ones. You will be able to reach someone at any time of day, making it easy to find your father the help he needs.

www.alcohol.org

how to help an alcoholic father

Alcoholism can be detrimental not only to a person’s health, but to interpersonal relationships and the family dynamic. Although it’s common to drink to celebrate a holiday or major event, at family dinners, or when dining out with colleagues, some people drink alcohol regularly just to be able to go about their daily lives. Alcoholics don’t necessarily drink every day, but they physically crave alcohol and have trouble functioning without it.

Drinking Statistics for SingaporeIt is believed that 4.3% of males and 0.8% of females regularly drink alcohol in Singapore. In this case regular drinking is defined as consuming alcohol on more than 4 days per week. One of the most dangerous patterns of drinking is binge drinking. This is where people consume an excessive amount of alcohol in a short time period with the intention of becoming inebriated. It is possible to be a binge drinker and not a regular drinker. The number of Singaporeans who binge drink is believed to be 9% of males and 1.2% of females. The World Health Organization report from 2004 also provided evidence for how alcohol abuse is often closely associated with road traffic accidents, rapes, and mental health problems in Singapore.

Alcohol Abuse in Singapore
Alcohol abuse in Singapore is not only damaging to the individual and their family but also to society as a whole. The dangers of this type of behavior include:
* Those who abuse alcohol are more likely to engage in crime.
* It can lead to depressive symptoms and suicide.
* It may mean that the individual is unable to take care of their family – it is often children who suffer the most.
* People who abuse alcohol tend to be less effective at work. This means that their employer will be getting less productivity which can be damaging to a company – there might also be senior employees who make bad choices because of their substance abuse.
* A great deal of crime is associated with alcohol abuse.
* This type of behavior is associated with domestic violence and sexually abuse.

Does My Dad Drink Too Much?Alcoholism may not be easy to detect. Alcoholics tend to downplay the extent of their drinking or seem to function normally, even while intoxicated, so it may not be obvious that they have a problem. If your father drinks too much, he may exhibit some of the following behavior:
Drinking alone or hiding excessive drinking
Dramatic mood shifts
Using alcohol to take the edge off or to self-medicate when feeling anxious
Interpersonal problems
Driving under the influence
Inability to work or carry out other responsibilities
Recklessness

Although alcohol abuse does not necessarily indicate that a person is an alcoholic, if your father craves alcohol and needs it in order to follow his daily routine, he is an alcoholic.

Broaching the Subject of Alcoholism
If you’re thinking, “my dad is an alcoholic,” talk to your father about it in a supportive way. Don’t nag or judge him; express your concern and kindly let him know that you want to help. Alcoholics often are in denial about their condition, so be prepared for him to tell you that he does not need help. You can’t force your dad to seek treatment, but you can make him aware of some resources that might help him and give him the opportunity to turn to you or another trusted friend, family member, or professional for help.

Staging an Intervention
If your father doesn’t react positively to your concern, you may wish to stage an intervention. Plan to sit down with your dad when he’s sober. Try to remain relaxed and nonjudgmental, and tell him that you feel that he needs help. If talking to your dad alone seems daunting, bring along a family member, or stage the intervention under the guidance of a counselor or therapist. Give specific examples of times your dad’s alcohol use negatively impacted him or the family and be prepared with information that explains where he can go to seek treatment.

Offering Positive SupportYou can also find support for yourself or other family members through counseling, therapy, and by meeting with other children of alcoholic parents. When dealing with an alcoholic father, don’t assume that support means helping him cover up the effects of his drinking or making excuses when his alcoholism causes a problem. If he does not have to deal with the consequences of his behavior, he may not be motivated to seek treatment. If your father is an alcoholic, he can seek treatment in the form of support groups, rehabilitation centers, and counseling. Do some research before you confront your father to make it easy for him to reach out and seek treatment immediately. You can also find support for yourself or other family members through counseling, therapy, and by meeting with other children of alcoholic parents. Alcoholism affects the entire family, and supporting your father involves helping yourself and finding ways to cope with his addiction.

Treatment of Alcoholism in SingaporeThere are a number of treatment options available to people who have developed an alcohol problem in Singapore including:
* The National Addiction Management Services offers advice on all types of addiction problems. This service is located in Buangkok View and can be contacted on 6389 2387.
* Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who support each other in an attempt to quit alcohol. There are meetings in a number of places in Singapore and they can be contacted on 6475 0890.
* There are many Singaporeans who decided to travel further afield in search of help for their addiction. The Drug and Alcohol Rehab Asia is the leading destination for those looking for quality treatment in Asia.
* We Care Centreoffers support for anyone affected by addiction in Singapore. They can be contacted on 6471 5346.

Sources:

http://alcoholrehab.com/alcoholism/alcoholism-in-singapore/http://www.alcoholic.org/research/how-to-help-an-alcoholic-father/

Image courtesy of koratmember / Freedigitalphotos.net

www.mummysg.com

As a child, you may not feel it’s your place to comment on what your father does with his life. However, as time goes on, you’ve undoubtedly realized that something needs to change.

Maybe your father has been drinking for as long as you can remember. Or maybe he only became an alcoholic the past year.

Every addict’s story is different and so is their recovery. In order to help an alcoholic father, you’ll have to let go of any anger over time lost and start thinking about time to be had.

The Right to Choose

Family members of alcoholics must accept that their addiction is a choice. At the end of the day, no matter how much someone says they want to get sober, it’s up to them to take action.

No amount of talking, yelling, crying, begging or anything in between will convince your father to change if he doesn’t want to.

This isn’t to say that all hope is lost and you should just give up on him; but it does mean that you should learn to let go of any negative emotions you’re harbouring over his addiction.

Instead, accept your father as he is. Realize that there is a difference between being angry at a person and being angry at their behaviour.

Accept that you can’t always help an alcoholic father quit drinking, but you can always love him.

Be Honest

It’s uncomfortable to confront someone about their drinking, but the best way to help an alcoholic father is to tell him exactly how you feel.

He may not respond the way you like, but for your own peace of mind, you have to do it. Sit down and tell him exactly how you feel. Let your father know that you love him and it’s because of your love that you want to see him at his best.

Even for functional alcoholics, drinking places a barrier between who they are and who they could be. Let your father know how much you believe in him and the active role you want him to play in your life.

Don’t use emotions as leverage. Put down your guard and be completely open. Don’t blame yourself for anything he says in response; you’re doing this as much for you as you are for him.

Don’t Support His Addiction

Many older parents who fall into alcoholism don’t have enough money to support their drinking. If your father often comes to you for money or simply asks you to buy alcohol, it’s time to put your foot down.

If the closest to rehab you can get him is cutting off his access to alcohol on your end, then that’s a step in the right direction.

No matter what happens, stay vigilant, stay honest and, most importantly, stay hopeful.

canadiancentreforaddictions.org

Explore this Article Asking the Person to Stop Drinking Being Supportive Questions & Answers Related Articles References

This article was co-authored by

Paul Chernyak, LPC

. Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.

There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Watching a friend or family member’s life be destroyed by alcoholism is deeply distressing and frustrating. Usually, someone needs to enter a rehabilitation program to get help with an alcohol addiction. If you want to help, you first need to determine if the person is actually an alcoholic. Then, help your friend get the right treatment.

Part 1 Asking the Person to Stop Drinking

  1. how to help an alcoholic father Look for signs of alcoholism.

    Someone who has an “alcohol problem” may not have crossed the threshold into full alcoholism. An alcohol problem can be addressed and overcome by someone on his own, but alcoholism is a disease that cannot be cured. This requires outside intervention to control. Alcoholics usually show these signs:

    • Problems at work and school, such as showing up late or not showing up at all due to hangovers.
    • Frequent blackouts after heavy drinking.
    • Legal problems due to drinking, such as arrests for being drunk in public or drunk driving.
    • Inability to leave a glass of alcohol half full or to be around alcohol without drinking it.
    • Planning schedules around drinking and hangovers that follow.
    • Relationships that have been harmed due to the person’s alcohol use.
    • Craving alcohol first thing in the morning and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking.
  2. how to help an alcoholic father Practice what you’ll say.

    Once you’ve decided to talk to the person about his or her drinking habits, practice exactly what you’ll say. Keep it brief, non-judgemental, and detailed. This will keep the other person from zoning off if you talk too long and keep him from feeling as though you’re emotionally ganging up on him.

    • Try to remember a few key sentences that are important to you. For example, you could say, “I love you and I’m worried that you’re hurting your health by binging on the weekends. I’ll support you in getting the help you need.”
    • It may also help to have a group of trusted friends to help you talk to your loved one. Be careful that they do not feel ganged up on, however.
  3. how to help an alcoholic father Talk to the person.

    If you’ve noticed some signs of alcoholism, have a talk with the person and tell him that you’re worried.

    Explain that his behavior is affecting other people and that it’s time to stop drinking for his own good and the good of the family. Tell him about the problems that his drinking is causing.

    • Pick a time to talk when the person hasn’t been drinking. Speaking in the morning is usually best. It’s alright to talk if the person is feeling hungover. Bring up the fact that the person is harming his body by making it sick day in and day out.
    • Be prepared for denial. Alcoholics typically deny there is much if any problem with his or her alcohol intake. He or she is unlikely to acknowledge the issue, or take it seriously until he or she is ready. While you should keep attempting to bring truth and reality to the person, be prepared for the fact this is unlikely to be the day.
  4. how to help an alcoholic father Avoid argument, judgement, or nagging.

    When you’re talking to the person about his drinking habits, don’t start by accusing or judging the person. Avoid constantly nagging about the drinking problem, since this could just make it worse. Arguing will make it harder for the person to open up to you about the reasons for drinking.

    • Be warned this will likely trigger a personal attack or personal criticism. Part of an alcoholic’s defense against fully recognizing what negative effects his or her behaviors are having is often by making other people the reason he or she drinks. As a result, commonly any comment that there is a problem will be countered that the “problem” is the issue (such as work or spouse), not the person.
    • Try listening honestly and be reasonable. This, of course, is much easier said than done. But it is hard to get angry at someone who is being pleasant, accepting, and honest.
    • You do not have to accept blame or abuse. Healthy boundaries are important in dealing with an alcoholic, as often this is lacking with a person dealing with alcohol issues. Even if there are problems that have contributed to alcohol issues (relationship issues, for instance), ‘you did not cause the alcoholism’. Nor is it acceptable to act in an cruel, manipulative, irresponsible, or otherwise abusive way.
      • You have every right to walk away or otherwise disengage from an alcoholic acting in such a manner.
      • This is not “being mean” or “abandoning” the person. If the alcoholic does not have to face that such behavior has a negative effect on his or her life, he or she is likely to keep drinking.
  5. how to help an alcoholic father Try to understand the person.

    When you’re talking about his drinking, be sure to ask if there are problems or things that stress him, leading him to drink. You should also find out if the person has a good support system. If not, you may want to suggest getting group help.

    • The person may not want to discuss the issue that leads to the drinking or might deny there’s even a problem.
    • Understand, however, that alcohol use fundamentally changes a person, often to the point it is hard to know what is due to drinking, and what is the real person inside.
    • Alcohol can cause irrational behavior, poor decision-making, and muddy thinking. This can still continue even when an alcoholic is not currently swigging a drink. Asking an alcoholic “why did you do that?” may not yield useful answers. The “answer” may simply be “because of the alcoholism.”
    • It is OK if you still do not understand. You may not be able to, and you may not be in the best position to do so. Just loving a person a lot does not mean you can fix them. For example:
    • A 14 year old may not be able to understand the world the way a 41 year old can.
    • A person who has not been in combat cannot fully comprehend what it is like to see a comrade die in battle.
  6. how to help an alcoholic father Do not try to force the person to stop drinking.

    Alcoholism is a complex disease, and one of the difficulties is the paradoxical nature of it; “forcing or or trying to shame the person into sobriety is unlikely to work.”

    In fact, it may actually lead the person to drink more.

    • You need to understand that you cannot stop the person from drinking. But you can suggest and assist the person in finding help.
    • This does not, however, mean you help the person get alcohol, or condone him or her using it.

Part 2 Being Supportive

  1. how to help an alcoholic father Do not drink around the person.

    Drinking around an alcoholic, like it or not, puts up a “you drink, why can’t I?” argument for the alcoholic–it does not matter if you can handle drinking because he or she cannot.

    It may also lead to unhealthy drinking habits within your own life. You can help the other person by meeting and spending time in places that do not serve alcohol. This will make it easier for the person to stop drinking.

  2. how to help an alcoholic father Talk to others.

    Ask people closest to the person if they’ve noticed any concerning behaviors or if they think the person has a problem. Avoid telling them the person is an alcoholic and be careful not to tell anyone who doesn’t need to know. Don’t risk destroying the person’s privacy.

    • If you think the person is an alcoholic, the time has come to get others involved. The problem is too big for you to tackle by yourself, and you must get outside help for the alcoholic as soon as possible.
  3. how to help an alcoholic father Talk to the person.

    Remind him that you’re worried, that you care about him, and want him to get help. Share your thoughts on what you’ve noticed and ask what you can do to help. Be prepared if the person doesn’t want your help or avoids you for a while.

    • If the person is open to getting help, offer to put him in touch with a professional. Have a list of resources ready to hand to the alcoholic. It should include contact information for local Alcoholics Anonymous groups, the names of therapists and psychologists who specialize in helping alcoholics, and a list of rehabilitation centers.
  4. how to help an alcoholic father Try to involve a professional.

    If the alcoholic refuses to go into treatment or even consider it, try to involve a therapist.

    A therapist will have experience dealing with different types of alcoholics, and will work with you to create a plan for the alcoholic.

    • A professional therapist will know how to handle defensiveness and other behaviors that may upset or confuse close family members.
  5. how to help an alcoholic father

    Be encouraging throughout the treatment period. If the alcoholic does agree to go to treatment and take steps toward sobriety, make it clear that you’re supportive and that this is the best thing the person could be doing. Curb the person’s feelings of guilt or embarrassment by showing that you’re proud of him for getting help.

  6. how to help an alcoholic father Be prepared to support a relapse.

    If the person attended a rehab center and has completed a course of treatment, he may be vulnerable when he leaves. For most people, treatment is never over and alcoholism is something the person must constantly deal with. The alcoholic’s family and friends should continue to support the person, even if he relapses. Relapse happens with almost every alcoholic.

    • Come up with non-alcoholic activities to do together. Very often, when an alcoholic has made drinking so much a part of his or her life, finding activities that are alcohol-free can feel unnatural. Being a good role model and friend can mean rediscovering that one can have fun, socialize, and relax without a drink.
    • Encourage the person to attend AA meetings frequently and to get counseling when needed. Let him know that you’re there to talk if he needs you.
  7. how to help an alcoholic father Take care of yourself.

    Being a close friend or family member of an alcoholic is exhausting and can lead to feelings of helplessness and despair. Alcoholism is often called a “family disease,” since its effects go so far beyond the life of the person with the alcohol problem. Take time to do activities that make you feel good and bolster your confidence and self-esteem during this time.

    • Consider getting therapy. It might be helpful to have someone to talk to about your feelings during this emotionally difficult time.
  8. how to help an alcoholic father Spend time with other friends and family members.

    You need to take breaks from dealing with the person’s drinking problems. While you’re focused on the well-being of your alcoholic family member, spending time with other people in your life can help take your mind off of things and restore your energy.

    • Make sure you’re dealing with your own personal issues during this time. Avoid focusing so much on the person with the drinking problem, that you hurt other relationships in your life or develop dependency issues of your own.

Community Q&A

Add New Question

  • Question

    My husband is drinking too much. How can I stop him? Is there any medicines to stop it?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    There may be some medically beneficial drugs for that issue, but you can’t fully stop someone from drinking. First, it’s their choice. Then you can help. Suggesting options and helping him are the next best thing even though it’s as difficult as anything could be.

  • Question

    What can I do as a daughter to stop my father from drinking?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    When there is a quiet time, the day following another ruined event, look into his eyes and tell him: “Dad…I just don’t know what to do anymore.” Please know: It really is a disease. He probably wants to stop drinking with every thread of his being and hates himself for not being able to stop hurting the ones that love him the most. The moment he accepts the fact that ‘he can’t do it’, and asks for help, the miracle begins to happen. It’s different for everyone but tell him you’re there for him and he doesn’t have to go through it alone.

  • Question

    What do I do if I’m a daughter and I want to stop my mum from drinking?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Talk to her and tell her how you feel about her drinking. Try to understand her if she says she’s trying to stop, but she can’t. Maybe she doesn’t know you have a problem with her drinking! Talk to her and hopefully she’ll try stopping!

  • Question

    My friend is an alcoholic, but he refuses to admit it. What do I do?

    Aside from staging an intervention, there is nothing you can do. If your friend is unwilling to admit to his problem, don’t take it personally or feel responsible for his drinking. He may have to hit rock bottom before he sees the reality of his situation.

  • Question

    How do I stop someone from drinking if that someone is very unapproachable?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    You can’t stop someone; it is their choice. If the person likes to drink, then it is very hard, but you can try to convince the person, which is also very hard to do.

  • Question

    My sister just told me she has a bad drinking problem, like I did years ago when I lost everything. How can I help her so she doesn’t lose everything like I did?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Thank her for telling you about, and let her know you understand how she feels. Offer to go with her to a few AA meetings; it’s important to stick to just speaker or speaker/discussion meetings for a while. She’ll be helping the other women, too, by reminding them of what they felt when they first reached out for help. She’ll begin to make new, sober friends who can show her that life can be good again, without having to drink.

  • Question

    How do alcoholics drink while using Antibuse?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Antibuse can cause a severe anaphylactic reaction when an individual has consumed any amount of alcohol but alcoholics are pretty resourceful. As an asthmatic, I always had an inhaler available so as soon as I felt the tightening in my chest and throat beginning, I would take several big puffs of the Ventolin, Albuterol or Proventil. Within a minute or so, the tightening would subside and I was able to begin drinking once again.

  • Question

    My boyfriend is a high functioning alcoholic. I thought he was getting better and cutting back, but recently I’ve just been finding empty beer cans everywhere. What can I do to make home a safe environment where he can admit there is a problem and want to get help?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    Try to confront him about it, or you can give hints that you know he is hiding it.

  • Question

    How do I tell my father he needs to stop or avoid drinking, as every time he does it he gets violent?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    You need to consult a professional, try contacting Al-Anon/Alateen, a national organization that helps the family and friends of an alcoholic to recover from the effects of living with such a person. You said your father becomes violent, so don’t try to confront him about his problem alone. Just tell him how scared you are and how much you wish he would change.

  • Question

    What can I throw in the person’s drink to stop them from drinking?

    wikiHow Contributor

    Community Answer

    That is not a good idea, it will only agitate them and could be potentially dangerous. Reasoning with the person in question is more advisable, is much safer, and is more likely to have a positive outcome.

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Unanswered Questions

  • How do you stage an intervention?

  • My daughter in law is alcoholic and I believe possibly mental illness as well. I understand mental illness is often a sideline to alcoholism but I feel she drinks more to quiet the mental illness.

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Tips

  • If your friend is unwilling to admit to his problem, there is absolutely nothing you can do. Don’t take it personally or feel responsible for his drinking.
  • If this person is in any way part of your life, it’s inevitable you’ve been affected by his drinking. Try going to an Al-Anon meeting or at least look up some Al-Anon literature. They have plenty of coping tips.

Article Info

FEATURED ARTICLE

This article was co-authored by Paul Chernyak, LPC. Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.

Categories: Featured Articles | Quitting Alcohol

In other languages:

Deutsch: Einem Alkoholiker dabei helfen, mit dem Trinken aufzuhören, Português: Ajudar um Alcoólatra a Parar de Beber, Italiano: Aiutare un Alcolizzato a Smettere di Bere, Español: ayudar a un alcohólico a dejar de tomar, Русский: помочь алкоголику бросить пить, 中文: 帮助酗酒者戒酒, Français: aider une personne alcoolique à devenir sobre, Bahasa Indonesia: Membantu Pecandu Alkohol Berhenti Minum Alkohol, Nederlands: Een alcoholist helpen te stoppen met drinken, Čeština: Jak pomoci alkoholikovi přestat pít, ไทย: ช่วยคนติดสุราให้เลิกดื่ม, Tiếng Việt: Giúp đỡ người nghiện rượu bỏ rượu, 日本語: アルコール依存症者に飲酒をやめさせる

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