Can children help their parents out of alcoholism?

I agree with the previous answers but feel like your specific question of whether or not "children can help your alcoholic parents out of it" has not been answered.

It is important to understand the answer to your question is emphatically no. The only person who can help an alcoholic decide not to drink is the alcoholic. I know that choosing not to drink seems simple to those of us who are able to pick up a drink then walk away after just one, but for the alcoholic this is not possible. It is truly an illness. And it is difficult for the non-alcoholic to understand. That's where Al-anon and Al-ateen come in handy. They not only offer the information you need to understand the disease, but they also offer the kind of support you can receive from someone who has gone through the same thing you have. I cannot even begin to put that much information into this little box. The best I can do is tell you that there is nothing you can do! Asking them to quit, sharing your very rational explanation about why they shouldn't drink, hiding the alcohol, throwing it away....none of these things will ever work until they decide they want to quit and take the steps necessary to do it. It is hard to accept that you are powerless to change their behavior. The only thing you can control are your own choices. Choose to share your struggles with someone you trust and try to find a meeting. That's the only thing you can do for them right now.


Often a child will feel responsible to help their parents get out of alcoholism. Of course we want to help them as we love them. However, the danger is that a child will get dragged into being the parent. This is not healthy for children as they need to have a childhood.

As soon as children start helping, rescuing, their parents, they risk losing their childhood, losing their innocence and becoming too serious too soon.

However, there is often no escaping the desire to create peace and security in the family by rescuing one's parents, especially if the family is at risk financially or other ways because of the alcoholism.

The child that does so begins to step into a new life of responsibility. In time their inner child has been squelched resulting in an inner depression. That depression is the feeling inside of the suppression of the inner child.

Sometimes the child finds ways at times to escape the drudgery of caring for everyone else and goes a little wild. If that pattern gets extreme the medical doctors start using the term bipolar.

Even if there were ways you could help your parents out of alcoholism, it would be best to pass the load of responsibility on to others and stay focused on your own life.

By the way, almost by definition Alcoholism means that drinking is an addiction and not something that one can ‘get out of.' Pointing in the direction of the 12 Step movement - AA - is a great direction to point out for your parents. You can learn about how it works yourself.


What an interesting, sad question.

I say sad because almost every child of a practicing alcoholic will at some stage feel responsible for their parent's problems. It's so common, you could almost call it a symptom.

But a child is not responsible for solving their parent's problem - a parent is responsible for the child. However, when the parent suffers from a mental illness such as alcoholism, they are not always great at that part of family life.

Don't get me wrong - people with mental illnesses including alcoholism can be perfectly fine parents, I've known many of them. But usually they need a lot of support, especially emotionally, from a strong network.

The best way a child can help an alcoholic parent is by telling someone - a school counsellor, a spiritual advisor, another adult family member - what's going on in their home and to ask for help. For anyone helping a child cope with this situation - please make sure you tell the child they are NOT responsible for their parent's problems and that the welfare of the family as a whole should never fall on a child's shoulders.


Children can be a real strength to alcoholic parents but what's most important is that children need to be strong enough to convince their parents.

They need to be mentally prepared for all adverse situations because they would have to deal with all sorts of aggression and abuse of the parents as no parent likes to listen to their children for advises.

So to put it clear, children need to be really adamant and up for these challenges.

They would have to educate their parents how their ill acts affect the atmosphere of the house.

How it affects the sibling and the child.

They would have to let the parents know how them grooming in that ill atmosphere can damage their future.

To know more about this, see Effects of parents alcoholism on children | Wayronica

I hope the article and the answer helps you become strong enough to deal with the situation and reshape into a better future.


I understand how you feel - like if you could only do something... and there must be something... But the (perhaps disappointing) answer is that while your love and support are tremendous resources, and can facilitate recovery, your parents must find the desire to stop drinking within themselves.

If they decide (individually or collectively) that they want help, there are of course several ways of approaching the issue. I recommend going to an AA meeting, because there's good info and no financial or other commitment, but rehab works better for some.

My advice for you - is to attend some Al-Anon meetings. There's a good possibility you'll receive some very useful advice and help... it's more than a support group, and for many people the program has been highly effective. Just remember - it's not your fault, it's not your responsibility, and it's not under your control... it's your parents decision.

I wish you the very best... mazal tov.


Note, I am a 15 year old with a parent who continues to drink in excess. The parent, when intoxicated, cannot go up the stairs to their bedroom, has peed themselves, and has gone out with friends and I only hear about her status at 2 AM. I have had to prepare a ‘to-go bag' for when she goes out with friends that has things she will need when she ends up sleeping at the friend's home. This has caused a TON of stress and anxiety in my life which I am currently being treated for by 2 physicians. It has also severely strained my relationship with my parent.


Al-Anon is a ‘sister' organization for Alcoholics Anonymous. It began when the wives of the original A.A. members got together while their husbands were busy learning how to stay sober by helping others.

There are many branches of Al-Anon-Al-A-Tot, Al-A-Teen, etc. Look online for groups in your area and check them out in person. Also, learning about the disease of alcoholism can be valuable, as it is an inherited illness, and even if you don't succumb, your children might.

Knowledge is power.


I agree with Christine Langree, and I would add that if/when the child tells an adult they trust, that they ask to be taken to Alateen meetings. Alateen is the support group for teens who have family or friends with alcoholism. It is a group offered through Al-Anon Family Groups for family and friends of alcoholics.

To find an Alateen group, go to -

Alateen Meeting Search


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