TeenHealthFX can appreciate your concern about your father. His excessive drinking can understandably leave you in a place where you are concerned about his emotional and physical well-being. In addition, there are times when it puts you in the position of being the responsible one and the caretaker (such as in the moments where you are taking care of him while he is intoxicated), which can feel painful and frustrating.
As to how to address your concerns, you have a couple of options depending on your relationships with your parents and on what you feel most comfortable with:
· You could speak to your father about your concerns at a time when he is sober. Let him know how you feel about his drinking, what your specific concerns are about it, and how you see it affecting the entire family. And you could tell him how meaningful it would be to you for him to seek out help with this, such as by seeing a therapist or contacting alcoholics anonymous.
· You could speak to your mother about your concerns and let her know that you need her help to intervene with your father about this because of your concerns about how his drinking is affecting him and the rest of the family.
· You and your mother (and any other appropriate family members) could have an intervention with your father. An intervention brings friends, family, co-workers, and other people of support together with a skilled, professional facilitator to bring support and aid to the addicted person in an honest and compassionate way. Interventions can be very effective in terms of getting the person into treatment, as well as providing support for loved ones – they also provide a safe environment to voice how the substance abuse that has been going on has been affecting people.
· If you are unsure of how to talk about this with your mother or father, you could seek out the help of school counselor who could aid you in how to best handle the situation, and who could also intervene on your behalf with your parents.
· You and/or your mother could start attending Al-Anon meetings to get some guidance and support about how to deal with your father’s drinking. You can visit the Al-Anon/Alateen website or call 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666) for more information.
· You, your mother, and your father (or some combination of the three) could meet with a private therapist for guidance and support in terms of dealing with this situation. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.
You have some different options as how to proceed. The key here is for you not to keep your feelings and concerned bottled up inside – but to seek out the help of trusted adults who can provide you with the guidance and support that you need. Your father needs treatment to address his drinking problem, but you and your mother need help as well in dealing with this situation as substance abuse can affect the entire family – not just the person who is using.