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Forgiving an Alcoholic Parent

The ability to move past anger and into forgiveness is a healing experience. Unfortunately, the process of forgiving can be very difficult, especially when someone has hurt you time and time again. If your parent is an alcoholic or drug abuser, that experience can alter your perspective and lead to anger and bitterness.

Growing up in a home with an addicted parent has a significant impact on children. You may deal with feelings and situations no child should have to face. Whether taking care of an intoxicated parent or enduring emotional and physical neglect or abuse, it’s completely natural to have feelings of resentment.

If you can find the power to forgive your recovering alcoholic parent, you will feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

The Power of Forgiving an Alcoholic Parent

Most people don’t truly understand what forgiveness is. You may believe forgiving an alcoholic parent is impossible after all you’ve been through. However, forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget, and it’s not about reconciling.

Forgiveness is a personal choice you make for your own well-being. When you forgive, you let go of the past and all resentment you may still have inside. You release your parent from the debt they owe you for all the pain they caused.

When you hold on to unresolved anger, these feelings can begin to hurt you. Anger can cause fear, mistrust, bitterness and psychological and physical ramifications such as depression or anxiety. Some individuals even take on the addictive behaviors of their parent. If you find yourself wallowing in the hurts of the past, unable to move forward with your life, try to understand the immeasurable benefits you’ll discover by choosing forgiveness:

  • Less stress
  • Better relationships with others
  • Decrease risk of depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of substance abuse

How to Forgive a Recovering Alcoholic or an Alcoholic Parent

Forgiveness is not easy. It’s a process you live out day by day. After all, the things your alcoholic parent did were inexcusable. Although learning how to forgive an alcoholic parent is difficult, it will allow you to live a fuller, happier life. With that in mind, here are some suggestions that may help you move past anger and into a life of forgiveness:

  • Actively choose to forgiveness: Forgiveness is a choice. Whether you say it out loud or write it in a journal, you must make a deliberate choice to forgive. You can’t wait for your parent to apologize as it may never happen. You may have to choose forgiveness every day until it sticks.
  • Learn to understand: Substance abuse disorder is a disease. If you’ve never struggled with it, you may have a hard time understanding where your parent is coming from. It’s important to try to understand to forgive. Do some research and reading about addiction to learn why it happens and the impact it creates. This may help you feel more compassion for your parent.
  • Learn to detach with love: When you can let go of responsibility for your parent’s thoughts, feelings or behaviors, you can focus on yourself and your forgiveness journey.
  • Remember the good times: While your parent’s alcoholism caused a lot of trauma and loss, there may have been times when your parent was happy or caring. Hold on to these memories and the feelings that accompanied them. This will help you move closer to forgiving your parent.

Stop the destructive cycle of alcohol addiction today by learning how to forgive an alcoholic parent. If you or someone you care about needs help with addiction recovery, we are here. At Gateway, we specialize in holistic, life-saving treatment using evidence-based practices. Our team of medical professionals will be with you every step of the way in your recovery journey. Contact us today to learn more.

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