Family is the first and last place to turn for help when you get into a bad situation. The other side of that coin is that family may, and should feel at ease, asking for your help. As parents, we nurture and raise our kids in hopes they in turn can go off and raise their own families while providing them a better life than we did. There are times that our children might stumble and fall in that journey, and it is up to us as parents to help them get back on the right track. Finding out your son has a problem with alcohol is a painful experience, but it is much worse on your son and his pride. It is not a reflection on your parenting, as people from all walks of life succumb to addiction regardless of age, color, or profession, just like cancer. But, what you can do, is help your alcoholic son get sober.
This is a time when you, as a parent, may need to reassert yourself and reclaim an active parental role in order to help your alcoholic son. He may fight and balk at it, but on his own he didn’t make wise choices and wound up in a bad way. Gently remind him of his value as a man, point out his successes and achievements to soften the blow and then firmly state that you plan to step in, and help him get sober. In order to help him, there are things that you may not know but should and the single best place for anyone in this position is to find an Al-Anon meeting and learn about the disease of addiction and its various manifestations.
How to Help Your Alcoholic Son
The first change you must make so you can help your alcoholic son is getting him off the booze. Hopefully his problem is not so bad that he requires medication to treat withdrawals, but be aware that physical withdrawals from alcohol can kill a person. If he is physically dependent, medical supervision will be necessary which may include medications to ease the physical symptoms of detoxing. Your life will also require some changes as you need to take an active role in his recovery, just as you would if he was diagnosed with an illness. Remember, addiction is a disease, and it has many causes like genetic, environmental and other psychological factors.
There is a fine line between the types of approaches you may need to take. Adopting a tough-love approach does not mean you cannot be there to help him, it will require your help to provide the best opportunity for success. Pulling strings with a cop friend to help your son avoid a DUI charge might seem like a good idea, but that type of behavior is enabling. These are the type of questions that people at Al-Anon meetings can help answer because they have experience dealing with it and can answer your questions based on their real-life experiences.
Initially, you may wish he stays at your house and if that will be the case, remove all alcohol from your home. That includes you as well, even when going out to dinner. There needs to be a moratorium on all alcohol in his presence. Any family gatherings, especially during holidays, can be volatile settings even without any alcohol and the rest of the family should understand and respect that at least for now, zero alcohol is permitted.
If he gets calls from that happy-hour barfly crowd asking where he is, then changing his telephone number may be necessary. If he maintains those friendships then he will likely be back with them in short order, so make him change his mobile number and instruct him not to give it to anyone who isn’t from work or involved with his recovery. Simplifying his life helps focus on recovery by removing distractions which lead to frustration and more drinking.
If this has helped create some breathing room for him, make a suggestion to find a new place to live, especially if some old neighbor hints at throwing a “Welcome Back” keg party on his return to the neighborhood. Once he stabilizes and has a fresh start, a new home can help by virtue of no old memories or triggers of past events.
Maybe he hits a bar for happy hour after work every day, instead get him to join a gym or go swim laps, something physical besides 12-ounce curls. Implementing a new routine will keep him away from temptations while he is fresh into his sobriety, and it also serves to build a new routine, one that does not revolve around alcohol. Places whose main function revolves around serving alcohol, can and likely will trigger those cravings for a drink and worse, they are frequently places where drugs can be found.
Hopefully you are not faced with this, but if you are in this situation where you need to help your alcoholic son, then as his parent you need to be the catalyst for action. Start by seeking out a support group, just as your son will hopefully form new friendships while attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, you will benefit from the Al-Anon program as there will be someone there with a similar experience to whom you can relate.
Alcohol Rehab in Texas
Even if you do absolutely everything correctly, there is a chance that your son might backslide and start drinking again. The dangers of this are that many times after a failed attempt at getting sober, alcoholics who pick up a drink again wind up drinking more this time around. If this happens, it does not mean you failed, addiction is an insidious disease and even with treatment it can come back, just like cancer. If your son needs more help than you can provide and needs residential treatment contact Casa Colina, a men’s-only residential treatment facility located just outside of Dallas, TX. Call them at 844-974-CASA or, click here to send them an email.