However, no one’s mother is perfect. Behind closed doors, many people struggle to help an alcoholic mother whose addiction changes her into someone unrecognizable.
If you’re looking for ways to deal with an alcoholic parent, here are some tips you can use to communicate better and stay emotionally healthy.
When you want to solve a problem, the best thing to do is research. When it comes to helping your mother, this means you should start by studying the signs and symptoms of alcoholism.
Substance abuse comes in many different forms, and there are different types of alcoholics. If you know what type of drinking problem your mother has, you’ll be able to offer the type of support she needs.
Observe and Discuss
Before you confront your mother, observe her behavior for several days. Note how much she drinks, how her mood changes before, during, and after drinking, and how often she drinks. You can relay this information to family members, a professional, or your mother herself.
Talking to a substance abuse therapist or attending an alcoholic family support group may benefit you. There you can get tips and support for dealing with an alcoholic parent.
Wait for the Right Moment
One of the most important things to remember when trying to help an alcoholic mother is timing. A lot of family members are afraid that confronting an alcoholic will only make them worse.
This isn’t something to worry about if you approach them at the right time.
For starters, don’t talk to your mother when she’s drunk. People who are under the influence react instinctively rather than logically; your mother may become angry, dismissive, or hostile.
Arrange a time to meet; a time that’s convenient for both of you. Knowing the date in advance will also allow you to prepare for the conversation.
For every negative thing you say, list something you love about your mother. The goal of the conversation is not to lecture or demean her; it should be a two-person dialogue with acceptance and willingness to listen on both sides.
Offer Support, Not Control
Many people who try to help an alcoholic step into the role of caretaker. This makes the person who needs treatment feel helpless and ashamed.
Your mother is an adult who has an addiction. She may need assisted treatment, but she does not need someone to make decisions for her.
Talk to your mother about the idea of treatment. If she seems interested, let her know that there are plenty of options — she doesn’t automatically have to spend 30 days in a rehab clinic.
The most important thing to remember when dealing with an alcoholic parent is that despite their shortcomings, they’re still your parent. No amount of alcohol, fights, or pleasantries can change that.
Keep your mind focused on the prospect of recovery, not just the harshness of addiction. You may not be able to cure your mother of her addiction, but you can certainly be there for her as she works through her issues.