How to Set Boundaries with an Alcoholic Parent
If you have an alcoholic parent, it may have taken you a while to realize he has a problem. It may take you even longer to figure out what to do about it. There really isn't anything you can do to help stop him from drinking, but you can stop his drinking from affecting your life in such a big way. It may feel harsh to do at first, but protecting and loving yourself is the first step toward building and maintaining a healthy relationship with the other, functioning members of your family. An alcoholic is under a bottle, and he isn't feeling too much. So go ahead and make a few rules for yourself. You should make sure your life stays as stress-free and lovely as possible. Get out of unpleasant situations. You don't have to listen to his excuses. When the alcoholic parent starts going on about his problems, find a way to get out of the room. Even if he seems pathetic, don't waste your time trying to solve his problems. Drinking is his problem, and you aren't going to be able to fix it. Go out and do something happy for yourself. Join Alanon or Alateen. These groups can be comforting and supportive. They are full of people who are going through the same things you are. Stop lying to protect your parent. When you lie to protect him, that does nothing to truly help your parent. In fact, it makes you an enabler. If you've been lying in the past, tell him that it is no longer something you are comfortable doing. Do not back down, and do not re-consider. Make steps, take action, and stick to your actions. Surround yourself with good friends and functioning family members. Lean on people who can help you. Tell the truth about what is going on at home. Focus on your own life and your own pursuits. Explain your boundaries. Talk to him seriously when he is sober. Let the alcoholic know how you will refuse to watch him kill himself with alcohol. As long as he is drinking, you can't be invested in that nightmare. You will be focusing on positive things instead of him. When he gets into a program and takes responsibility for his drinking, you will be glad to be supportive once again.Tell them you love him, and he is missing out on someone great--you.