10 Ways To Protect Yourself if Your Parent, Husband or Wife Is An Alcoholic

  1. Make sure there are boundaries: Maybe you still want your parent to be involved in your life and the lives of your children but you are not comfortable with putting you and your children in potentially harmful situations. Make sure you set boundaries and discuss them openly with your parent. For example, you can tell them that if they are acting in a manner that shows they are drunk and out of control, you will leave or you will tell them to leave. Make sure you make your parent understand you are not there to fill the role of handling their problems and always ensure you and your loved ones are safe.
    1. If you ever feel like you or your families safety is jeopardised, you are allowed to make sure that you protect your family at all costs. If this means no visits, then so be it.
    2. Do not have any interaction with your parent while they are drunk and make any family get togethers completely alcohol-free. If you are aware that they drink after a certain time of the day, avoid contact with them altogether.


  1. Understand the tension that alcohol will cause: The more a parent tends to drink is usually in direct proportion to how much problems exist within a family. Once children of parents who drink get older, they can become extremely sensitive to alcohol overall and any little thing can trigger that whether it means seeing their parent drinking or even seeing other members of the family going overboard.
    1. Always make sure that you can get out of a situation if you are not comfortable and need space.
    2. Even though it can be hard to accept the family situation in this way, it is impossible to think that you will change your parent or their behaviour with alcohol.


  1. Talk to your parent with realistic expectations: At some point you are going to realise that you are not going to stop them from drinking. And even if you have heard many times they will quit, it is up to them at the end of the day to kick the habit, or rather to want to kick the habit. Do not allow yourself to be too hopeful when it comes to promises made or else you will just keep on feeling let down.
    1. What you can do is talk to them (while they are sober) about how their behaviour makes you feel or how it affects you. Give them examples of particular incidents which may have occurred if they are not able to understand where you are coming from.


  1. Stop taking responsibility: As much as you might feel like you want to take care of your parent or help them by stopping them from drinking, your actions can cause even more hurt for you later on. While you think you are helping them by pouring their stuff down the drain, this can make them even more angry and often things only get worse. Please understand their behaviour (ie the drinking) is NOT your fault. You are not the reason for their drinking problem and therefore nothing you will do can solve this for them.


  1. Accept how you feel: There will be many different emotions you are going to experience and it is important to remember that you accept all of it for what it is. Conflicting emotions are more common than you think but there are ways to process your feelings so they do not affect you.
    1. Journal your feelings in all their rawness, get it out.
    2. Write a letter that you will never send and just let it all out there as if the person was right in front of you.  Note – I have personally found the act of writing forgiveness letters an amazing way to help people experience their feelings and deal with them so that they do not manifest into anything harmful.


  1. Find ways to cope: Look for ways to cope with stress in a healthy ways. Things like exercise help you to let go of stress and leave you feeling lighter. Start a dance class and shake off the problems. Join a hiking group and experience your surroundings.
    1. do things that you enjoy on a regular basis, it is so important to take that time for yourself to clear your head.


  1. Talk to someone: There is no reason you need to keep all this to yourself. Talk to someone you trust about what you are feeling and what you have experienced. You will feel better and more importantly you will not feel like you are facing this situation alone. This can make all the difference.


  1. Create meaningful relationships: Having a parent who has a problem with drinking can result in their children going on to find it difficult to have meaningful relationships. Constantly needing to feel reassured as a result of how your parent may have treated you can have dire consequences on relationships. You may also look for the things you feel you never got from the relationship and land up attracting the wrong type of person into your life which will only cause you more harm.


  1. Reach out to a support group: You can be assured that you are not the only person who is experiencing this and this is why joining a support group can be really helpful on your journey to healing. It’s a great way to share your feelings, connect with others who have experienced similar things and can give you the support you need while you also give others the support they need.


  1. Consider therapy: Being a child of an alcoholic parent can lead you to feel depressed, have low self esteem of experience feelings of isolation, shame and emotional distress.



I have helped countless adults rebuild their self-esteem and confidence after having a parent who’s drinking affected them. Getting the right support to increase your self-worth can impact all areas of life in a tremendous way.


Those I have worked with have noticed after healing the past and increasing self-worth, they have the confidence to go for that promotion, they look and feel healthier and are more motivated to pick up habits and drop unsupportive habits. They have attracted relationships that serve them both friendships and romantic partners and set healthy boundaries against toxic people.


You see, our current relationships are always a mirror of how we see and treat ourselves. We attract people into our lives based on how much we love and view ourselves. Having counselling online or in person can free you from the past and help you to work through your emotions, change your mindset in how you approach your family and/or your parent, and help you to build skills to cope with your alcoholic parents behaviour without it draining and consuming you.

Nicola Beer offers addiction counselling services in Dubai across the UAE and online. Individual therapy includes alcohol counselling Dubai, addiction counselling Dubai, addiction hypnotherapy Dubai and online, food addiction, anger management as well as couples therapy and hypnotherapy Dubai, UAE and online