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How to address that a parent may have a problem with addiction…even in their senior years

Alcoholism can have an impact on us in various forms throughout our lives, from it affecting us directly, to it being a problem with family members, which may travel with us from a young age right into adulthood.

Seeing parents suffer, often unknowingly, from addiction can be a difficult process to go through, particularly when it comes to confronting them. You have to think of all manner of things, from how they’re going to react to whether you want to send them for treatment. Then there’s whether you want to put them through inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment. So many questions.

However, the first step is to recognise that a parent may have a problem with alcohol or drug addiction, and then it’s about addressing the situation. Which doesn’t come easy.

There are some top tips out there to aid with addressing the situation, though, and here are a couple to help you call it right…

Gather evidence

First up it’s about gathering the evidence. When you address your parent, you need your case to be watertight, in order for them to accept the situation and see the effect its having on them and others.

It could be that you can identify a series of events that go all the way back to childhood, creating a timeline that can show the deterioration of the situation.

Involve others

The chances are, it isn’t just you that is worried about your parent’s addiction, nor will it be just you that’s being affected by it. Therefore, it can be a good idea to get those other people involved.

Whether it be siblings or other family members, friends, or anyone else close to your parent, there’s strength in numbers and they may also be able to add to the evidence.

Do the research for them

So, they accept that they are suffering from addiction and need help. What then?

Do plenty of research into their options, whether it be inpatient or outpatient services, home detoxing or visiting a rehab center. Provide all the options so that both you and they can make the best decision for them.

There are lots of types of treatment available these days, with the likes of art therapy, music therapy and the likes of yoga being instrumental parts of the process and getting your parent’s life back on track.

Build up to confronting them carefully

Don’t just one day decide you’re going to confront your parent, you need to build up to it and have everything in place to present your case effectively. By bringing it up on a whim, you open yourself up to argument more, while by setting a date in advance you can also ensure everyone who has helped you is also there.

Tension and anger can run high, but if you’re fully prepared and have plenty of support, then it could be the best thing you ever do for your parent.

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