What would you do if your child is dating an alcoholic? What should you do?
There may be differences between us that make us seem alien to one another at times. However, the one thing we share in common as parents is the love we have for our children. When they come into this world without knowledge of anything, all we want to do is protect them.
As they grow, we begin to want things for them like an excellent education, great physical and mental health, and many vast arrays of skills. Our whole life becomes about making sure they can make it on their own, and when we finally see that dream come to fruition, it feels like we can finally breathe again.
But then comes the time where you find out that your son started dating an alcoholic. When dealing with this situation, you will have to make sure you approach it with caution because the last thing you want to do is upset or offend anyone.
Recognizing The Signs Of Substance Abuse
When our kids begin taking dating seriously, all kinds of things pop up that will make you worry.
Conversations regarding their safety are usually at the top of a parent’s list. It’s imperative to educate your child on the different scenarios they come across because they are their own last defense. Once you’ve educated your children, you can also help them by being more involved in their lives and paying close attention to what’s going on.
Maybe your son brings around a girl who seems a little off to you. She might seem extra twitchy or even irritable too often. You might notice that it’s really hard to have a solid conversation with her as she seems to have trouble focusing.
She makes you feel like she might be on something. This is when you ask yourself, is my son dating an alcoholic? Is his new girlfriend on drugs? There are signs you can watch out for to make sure your child isn’t heading down a dark path.
While seeing someone is drunk is not very difficult, telling them they have an addiction isn’t quite as simple. They can suffer from a variety of symptoms like a short temper or bags under the eyes. To notice these things, paying close attention is vital as you might not notice their subtle changes in behavior.
In more severe cases of addiction, there can be obvious signs such as shaking, constant nausea, and bloodshot eyes when the person can’t get alcohol. There are also usually signs of hygiene problems as depression sets in for the addict. Abrupt changes in health and behavior are what you’re going to want to pay the closest attention to.
Addiction is a terrible affliction that can eat away at every part of a person’s mind to the point that it changes the very way they think.
This degradation can lead them to do things they previously would have never considered. This escalation in their addiction might not only be dangerous to them but to your child, who may be blind to the problem.
Talk To Your Son
After noticing all the signs of addiction, your next step is to talk to your son about this situation.
Take your kid to the side to have a private conversation so they don’t feel pressured. Ask them if they have noticed anything wrong. Find out if their partner has been asking them for money or having financial troubles.
The key to this step is making sure not to interrogate your child because they might clam up. Be calm and understanding, even if you don’t like their answers. You don’t want to push too hard and possibly alienate them from the help that they may need.
Unfortunately, sometimes these cases reach a level of escalation that is beyond helping your kids partner. Violence can accompany severe addictions, and in these cases, your only concern should be getting your child out of harm’s way.
It can be challenging to tell if it’s happening when your kid doesn’t want you to know but talk to them and look for the signs. These signs might be random bruises appearing or a sudden behavior change. If you believe that there is no violence, then it’s up to your kid if they want to help their partner or leave.
Helping The Sick
In this modern age where society is becoming more aware of mental health issues, it’s easier than ever to help someone with an addiction.
If your child has decided to help their partner, then the best thing you can do is assist and support them. You can talk through the best course of action and help enact the chosen plan.
The first thing that must be done is a peaceful confrontation with the partner to show them you believe they have a problem. This is never an easy process as any person resists changes to their world.
It’s a well-known fact that before you can help them, they must admit and understand that they have a problem. To accomplish this, it’s recommended that you stay calm and lead with love, not anger. Patience is a virtue necessary to solving this puzzle. Once that’s done, the next step is to look into the best way to rehabilitate them.
This part can be different for everyone due to people having varying environments and emotional needs.
Some addicts can get through the worst parts of their addictions, while others may need a bit more isolation. Research is going to be your best tool to accomplish your goal.
Decide together whether they will have too much trouble staying away from alcohol in their day-to-day. If they’re worried that the temptation is too strong, rehab could be the best answer. However you go about it, they will need to follow the plan all the way to the end with as much support as they can get.
Once these steps are over, your child’s partner will be out of the darkest waters of addiction, but it won’t be over.
They will have to implement everything they learned in recovery to stay sober. You and your child can also help this situation by giving love and support. A vital part of this step is finding an Alcoholics anonymous program to enroll them in and get them a sponsor. Your ultimate goal is to help your kid, and if they really want to stay with this person, then helping their partner get better is your best bet.
The main thing to take away from all of this is support.
The best way to protect your child is to be close to them, so you will know when it’s time to help and what kind of help they need. No matter what road they take, you have to walk it with them, with the only caveat being if their safety is in danger.
You must do whatever you can to protect them without making them push you away because leaving them alone is the worst option. This can mean notifying the authorities even if your child doesn’t want you to or helping them decide on a safe plan of escape.
If the best-case scenario occurs and their partner gets better, you must remember that addiction is a lifelong sickness.
Your continued diligence with their partner is just as essential to your child’s happiness as your support of them. Watching out for old habits popping up and checking on them regularly can be very helpful in keeping them straight. Your son dating an alcoholic isn’t the end of the world if the situation is handled with care. As a unified team, you and your family can make this situation work.