You may think it’s not your place to bring up your son’s drinking. After all, he’s an adult. But a parent’s job is never done. Even if your son may support himself and even have his own family, there’s nothing wrong with trying to help him get sober.
As a parent, you have helped him through all of life’s greatest hurdles. Alcoholism is no different. Your role may be different in his life since he’s an adult, but the same love, support and guidance you offered as he was growing up can still do wonders.
Assessing the Situation
Understanding the signs of alcohol abuse are only the first step. After you know the definition of alcoholism, it’s important to observe your son’s behavior.
Although you can’t make a clinical diagnosis, you can take mental note of his drinking patterns and the effect alcohol has on his mood. This may be difficult if you don’t live with him, so consider talking to other family members.
Is your son married? If so, it’s likely his spouse has noticed his drinking problem too. Ask them to keep track of his drinking habits. Knowing how much he drinks and how often will be helpful later.
Know the Type
Your son could be a burgeoning alcoholic. College students who binge drink to the point of blackouts can form very dangerous habits early on. Although many experiment with alcohol in college, there is a problem when his consumption is always excessive and continues throughout the week.
If your son is an adult who works, he may be a functioning alcoholic. These people do not spend all day passed out on the couch. Many hide their addiction so well that people are shocked when they go away for treatment.
Read about the types of alcoholics. Try to estimate how far along your son’s addiction his. To help an alcoholic son, you should act as early as possible.
Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time
Rehearse the conversation with your son before you confront him. You don’t want to go in with “guns blazing” and create a hostile environment. You should also never discuss his alcoholism when he’s drunk.
Plan a meeting that is convenient for you both in a comfortable setting. When you talk, avoid going into lecture mode. The goal isn’t to make your son feel like a child being scolded.
Level with him and try to understand why he’s drinking so much.
Don’t rush to bring up the idea of rehab, either. This is a scary concept to an alcoholic that may even come off as irrational and extreme, especially if they don’t believe they have a problem.
To help your alcoholic son, the best approach is to be as informed as possible about alcoholism, his own drinking patterns and his options for treatment.
Offer him as much support as possible throughout his addiction, and be sure to express your love and belief in his strength at all times.