How to Find Support When Youre the Adult Child of an Alcoholic

There are several issues relevant to the effects of trauma on a child in these types of households. The most critical factors include the age of the child, the duration of the trauma during development, and the ability of the child to have support within the family or from an outside source. All participants attempted to control what and how much their parents drank—and anticipated how drunk they would get. Remarkably, the children learned to differentiate between the effects of low-alcohol beer, strong beer, wine, and liquor by identifying bottles, cans, or labels. The children also diluted, hid, or poured out the alcohol—another effort at control.

  • He or she may fear all people will act in this manner, becoming hesitant to get close to others.
  • Their kids, however, may find relief knowing what may have contributed to some of the issues they may face today.
  • One misconception that many people have is that their drinking is not affecting anyone else.

Children who grow up with at least one parent with alcohol use disorder can have an increased chance of experiencing negative health and behavioral outcomes. Focusing on the love of your children and how your drinking may be affecting them can go a long way toward motivating you to scale back your drinking or stop it altogether. And research shows that when parents reduce alcohol use, especially when children are very young, children do better.

How to Talk to Your Dad About His Alcohol Use

The constant lying, manipulation, and harsh parenting makes it hard to trust people. It also leaves you highly sensitive to criticism and conflict. You work hard, always trying to prove your worth and make others happy. Al-Anon is a free support group for family members and friends of people with alcoholism. Studies show that a child of an alcoholic is 3 to 4 times more likely to develop that problem than a child who didn’t.

However, the way you speak and interact with children also may lessen the impact of a parent with a SUD. Wait for a time when your dad is sober and is not suffering from the effects of alcohol use. Then, free from judgment—and with a willingness to listen—address your concerns about your dad’s alcohol use calmly.

Codependency in Families Struggling with Addiction

Remember that alcohol use disorder is a disease, not a lack of willpower. Talking to your parents about their addiction can be intimidating. Factors like pride, ego, and threats of physical violence can make it hard to broach the subject. However, if these children avoid alcohol altogether—a choice everyone should aim for, as alcohol offers zero health benefits and many risks—they won’t be playing Russian roulette with their health.

“My life is better now I no longer have a mother” – Marie Curie

“My life is better now I no longer have a mother”.

Posted: Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT [source]

She notes the children of alcoholics also have trouble allowing themselves to be vulnerable and open in relationships. “They learned they could not trust their caregivers,” Gardenswartz explains. When you don’t learn how to regulate your emotions, you might find it more difficult to understand what you’re feeling and why, not to mention maintain control over your responses and reactions. Difficulty how alcoholic parents affect their children expressing and regulating emotions can affect your overall well-being and contribute to challenges in your personal relationships. A 2012 study that considered 359 adult children of parents with AUD found that they tended to fall within five distinct personality subtypes. One of these types, termed Awkward/Inhibited by researchers, was characterized by feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness.

‘Habits’ of People Who Grew Up With an Alcoholic Parent

Trauma, such as growing up in an alcoholic home, can leave the adult child of an alcoholic in isolation and at higher risk for depression. Growing up in an alcoholic home can also lead to poor self-care routines leaving the person open for disease. Experts recommend therapy and 12-step meetings for help coping with the effects of growing up with an alcoholic parent. A trained mental health professional can offer more support with identifying unhelpful habits and coping mechanisms and exploring alternatives that better serve you. According to White, this may happen partly because children often learn to mirror the characteristics of their parents. “Adult children of parents with AUD may find closeness with others somewhat uncomfortable given a deep-rooted fear that becoming connected to someone else means a significant risk of emotional pain,” says Peifer.

growing up with alcoholic parents

This can be dangerous, as depression can lead to extreme anxiety and suicidal thoughts or actions. Getting treatment for any addictions the adult child of an alcoholic has formed is vital to healing. To continue to abuse oneself only carries on the legacy of those who hurt you and gives them power over your life even if they are now deceased. Children of alcoholic parents deserve and have the fundamental right to confront their past, speak honestly of its impact, and make a better future for themselves.