How to help my mom who drinks daily
by Debbie Davis
How can I help someone close to me that I feel has a real problem with alcohol? I am referring to my Mom who drinks on a daily basis starting about 4:00 pm every day.
It is very hard to watch someone you love struggle with a drinking problem. It can leave you feeling helpless and worried. It’s usually very difficult to get the loved one to see that they have a problem or admit it even if they do see it. Your mom may either be in denial or she may not be ready to get help. For this reason you are wise to be cautious in your approach towards her.
It’s important to remember that you can’t force her to change. She has to choose to make positive changes in her life. She will not do this until she admits there is a problem and feels a desire to fix it. If she is willing to admit a problem, it’s important to get her some professional help. Recovery is very difficult to do alone. Depending on the severity of her drinking problem, she may need treatment, support, and new skills to maintain her abstinence.
First of all, let’s talk about the things that are NOT helpful. Do not try to reason with her. Do not try to guilt or shame her into stopping. Do not enable her by providing her with alcohol. Do not make excuses for her. Do not try to be her rescuer and savior.
The most helpful thing you can do is tell her that you love her and that you are worried about her. Tell her how her drinking affects you. For instance, does it cause you to worry about her health or safety? Does it cause you to be afraid because of her behavior when she drinks? Does it make you sad? Angry? This is not laying a guilt trip but merely telling her the facts about the impact her actions are having on you. Also, tell her that you believe she can improve her situation and that you will support her in doing so.
First and foremost this has to be her decision; however, sharing your feelings may motivate her to take an honest look at herself and evaluate her choices. If she chooses to continue drinking, you need to set appropriate boundaries to protect yourself and continue to educate yourself on alcoholism.