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How to Handle an Alcoholic Parent

Handling an alcoholic parent’s drinking requires reaching out to others, as well as taking care of yourself.


  • Step 1: Realize it’s not your fault Realize that you didn't cause your parent's problem and that you can't control it.
  • Step 2: Find an adult Find an adult you can trust. Talk to them about the problem -- get your feelings out and you’ll feel less alone.
  • Step 3: Seek out help Reach out to local organizations such as Alanon, Alateen, or AACA (Alanon Adult Children of Alcoholics). You can find them in the telephone directory or by contacting Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • TIP: If things get rough at home, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE or dial 911 for help.
  • Step 4: Leave literature around Leave support literature around the house to encourage your parent to seek help.
  • Step 5: Don't get in the car Never ride in the car if your parent has been drinking.
  • Step 6: Pursue activities Get involved in activities such as sports, after-school clubs, and hobbies to ease your worry.
  • Step 7: Don't panic Remember that just because your parent suffers from alcoholism doesn't mean you will too. Most children of alcoholics do not become alcoholic themselves.
  • FACT: One in four young people is exposed to family alcoholism or alcohol abuse.

You Will Need

  • An adult you can trust
  • A phone book
  • Support organizations
  • Support literature
  • Good sense
  • Activities

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