How to Bridge a Stormy Relationship With an Alcoholic Parent



Alcoholism can put a serious strain on the relationship between a child and a parent. A child depends on a parent to be a good example and guide them in life. Unfortunately, alcoholism can cause a parent to fail at times. That does not necessarily mean the love still isn’t there. However, the relationship may need work. Here are some tips on how to bridge a stormy relationship with an alcoholic parent.

Thanksgiving Angst

Holidays can be very tough for any family. If you have to leave your home it may be uncomfortable to be somewhere else where you feel like you don’t have control. This can be especially difficult when you have had a difficult relationship growing up. Thanksgiving can be very difficult with alcoholic parents as the holiday revolves around food. If you are afraid about your safety or emotional health consider staying at an Airbnb or a hotel so you can leave and be somewhere without added baggage.  If you are worried about them drinking during the dinner you can have dinner at a restaurant that’s open. This way you can have the choice of going somewhere that limits alcohol or doesn’t have any.

Get Help for Yourself

Your parent isn’t the only one who will need help. You need support for what you’ve been through with an alcoholic parent. Luckily, there are resources available. Look up support groups in your area. You will meet other people who share similar experiences and can help you through your journey. You may even meet new friends who will become support for the rest of your life.

Set Boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries with your alcoholic parent to keep yourself safe and sane. You don’t have to put up with them being drunk around you. Set a boundary that they can’t drink around you. You can also set boundaries when it comes to borrowing money or staying with you. While it may sound cold, these boundaries will only help the relationship in the long run.

Focus on the Good Times

When you have an alcoholic parent, the bad memories may seem to come up first. Do your best to focus on the good times instead. Try to remember times when they did something nice for you or had fun with you. No matter how bad, there were surely good times along the way. These positive memories can help soften your attitude to your parent and make interactions more pleasant.

Be Supportive of Positive Steps

If your parent is taking steps to get better, you should be supportive. Tell them you are proud of them if they go to an addiction recovery clinic in an attempt to stop drinking, even if they’ve failed in the past. It’s important to understand that alcoholism is a lifelong disease that your parent must struggle with every day.

From personal experience, I understand how hard it can be to rebuild a relationship with an alcoholic parent. It’s a relationship worth fighting for, though. You can only be responsible for your part of the relationship, though. If they refuse to contribute to the relationship or stop drinking, don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s the healthiest thing.


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