Parents anticipate many different milestones and obstacles when they have a daughter. Some are to be expected, like her first heartbreak and getting her license. Others are much darker.One such unexpected challenge is alcoholism. Substance abuse is not what we're taught in health class growing up; the majority of teenagers and young adults will experiment with alcohol without plunging into addiction.No one picks up a drink and suddenly loses control. Instead, addiction slowly creeps up on you. Most families — and even most addicts — aren't aware of a problem until they're caught in the middle.As a parent, you'll feel the obligation to help an alcoholic daughter whether she's in early 20s or married with a family of her own. Although it may be harder to assist someone you don't live with or see every day, it can be done.Below are a few tips to help you communicate effectively with your daughter and deal with her alcoholism yourself.
Discard any preconceived notions you have about addiction. Alcohol is more widely used and accepted in our society than ever.You may be surprised to discover that the stereotypical alcoholic of the past — an angry drunk who can't hold down a job — is rarely the case nowadays.In fact, there are multiple types of alcoholics, and many of them are functional. This means that they can still go through their daily lives and keep their addiction concealed from family, friends and coworkers.First, learn the definition of alcoholism. There are many signs of alcohol abuse
that you may not have noticed before such as neglecting responsibilities.If your daughter has changed her routine since she began drinking, this may be indicative of a problem.
Alcoholics often feel embarrassed or guilty about their drinking, so it's not uncommon for them to cancel plans and spend more time alone.Alcohol is an escape. The less responsibility an addict has in their life, the more time there is to focus on their addiction.
Parents instantly go into protection mode and want to keep their children safe — even if their children are the ones creating the danger.Because you love your daughter so fiercely, it's natural for your emotions to drive the conversation when you talk to her about her drinking. You might flat out demand her to quit or threaten her with ultimatums.Instead of telling your daughter to stop drinking, first ask her why she does.
Listen to her talk about her problems. Place yourself in her shoes. You may think her problems aren't extreme enough to need alcohol to cope with.If that's the case, do not tell her that her struggles aren't a big deal.
Instead, realize that her problems are very real and stressful to her, just like every other human being.Don't minimize your daughter's pain but instead offer to lend a hand in finding a healthier solution.
When it comes to rehab, the best way to help an alcoholic daughter is to introduce the topic and see how she responds.The goal should always be to work with her where she's at mentally, not where you think she should be, and to love and support her along the way as much as your emotional wellbeing allows.