Drinking has become a normal part of our culture. The easy accessibility of alcohol sees this substance in the hands of many adolescent boys. By the time they’re 18, over half of the teenagers in the U.S. have had a least one drink. What may have started out for your son as partying, relieving stress or giving in to a desire to rebel may have turned into a struggle with alcohol dependency.
While confronting your son about this disease may be painful, it’s worth it. Freedom from alcohol addiction is possible, and there are many things you can to help your son find the road to recovery.
How to Know if My Child Is Addicted to Alcohol
“Is my son addicted to alcohol?” These six words are terrifying. However, answering this question is the first step to getting your son the help he needs.
Alcohol use disorder is a complex, chronic disease. It’s important to have a basic understanding of the signs of addiction so that you can confront the problem before it gets worse. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your son drink alcohol for days in a row or drink to get drunk several times a week?
- Is he frequently hungover?
- Has he blacked out or experienced memory loss due to his drinking?
- Does he spend a lot of money drinking or going to bars?
- Is he able to tolerate large volumes of alcohol?
- Has he shown signs of withdrawal, such as shaking, nausea or mood swings?
- Does he avoid situations where alcohol won’t be present?
- Has he been missing school, work or other responsibilities because of his drinking?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, your son might have an alcohol use disorder. Treatment is the best way to protect his health, his security and his future.
Advice on How to Deal With a Son Who Is Addicted to Alcohol
Whether your son is an adult or a teenager, alcohol addiction cannot be ignored. It’s best to confront this issue head-on. As a parent, it’s up to you to be a source of encouragement and motivation when your child is making a mistake.
Your son does not have to hit rock bottom before turning his life around. While he may try to deny his addiction or get angry at you, this conversation may be what gets your child to understand that he needs help. Here are a few things to keep in mind before talking to your son:
- Emphasize the importance of choice. While your son’s choices may have led him toward addiction, his choices can also help him break free. Encourage him to choose health and sobriety.
- Avoid enabling behavior. Enabling a son who is addicted to alcohol is an easy trap to fall into. Your behavior may come from a desire to help, but it prevents your son from seeing how his drinking is affecting himself and those around him. Instead of bailing him out every time he gets into trouble, allow the consequences of his addiction to serve as an incentive for change.
- Avoid anger. Your son is likely to recoil if you confront him with force or anger. Instead, choose empathy and understanding. Chances are he feels ashamed, guilty and weak because of this disease.
- Love yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of guilt. Accept that you have limits and that you are not responsible for the choices your son is making.
- Search for personalized treatment. While there are many alcohol addiction treatment facilities, it’s crucial to find one that can address your son’s specific needs. Whether he’s a student using alcohol to cope with the stress of school or he’s suffering from a mental health disorder, like depression or PTSD, he needs treatment that will address the underlying issues impacting his alcohol addiction.
Learn How Gateway Foundation Can Help Your Son
Alcohol use disorder is a dangerous disease. Finding effective treatment from professionals who understand the physical, psychological and emotional ramifications of this disorder is essential to your son’s recovery.
Over our 50 year history, Gateway Foundation has seen individuals of all backgrounds find hope and healing. We will walk beside your son every step of the way as he breaks free from alcohol dependence and develops the tools he needs to face life’s problems without drinking.
If you would like to learn more about our safe and effective evidence-based treatments, contact us today. We want to help your family heal from addiction and find a better tomorrow.