For those people who grew up in a home where father is responsible, supportive, caring and loving, it can never be difficult to love and respect such father. But what about in the case where the parent especially father live in a way that isn’t responsible, probably addicted to alcohol or some other things, verbally and emotionally abusive to you, your siblings, or even your children (for adult children of alcoholics)? Should this kind of father be respected? What does it mean living with alcoholic father? How do you honor and respect a father who is a dishonor and irresponsible even to himself?
Living with alcoholic father- important steps how to respect him
One of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:12 says “Honor thy father and thy mother” and it came with the promise that the Israelites would live long in their land. The word “Honor” means to show great respect. Respect means treating others the way you want to be treated yourself. It means being considerate of others or showing attention to them by respecting their emotions, opinions and wishes.
Respect helps keep the peace. But doesn’t mean that we should accept something we know is wrong. We should treat others with courtesy and dignity instead of ridiculing and hurting.
Alcoholism in the family causes severe damage, some alcoholic fathers emotionally and physically abuses their children while others neglect their fatherly role such as counselling, supporting and encouraging their children. Alcoholism destroys family bonds and creates an environment that is chaotic and unstable. Children with an alcoholic parent often feel rejected, lonely, depressed, and burdened by secrecy. Many times, the children in these environments learn to raise and feed themselves which includes finish school assignment on their own, care for their siblings, help care for even their parents, and shoulder-high level of responsibilities. These children are called (ACOA) when they are grown because they “Adult Children of Alcoholics” have so many issues from being raised in a chaotic environment and has experience living with alcoholic father.
These and many other problems are trending today, yet as Christians who love God, we must obey His commandment. The following Bible books- Ephesians 6:1 Exodus 20:12 Colossians 3:20 say “Honor your mother and father” not only because it’s the right thing to do or it’s commandment but it is pleasing unto the LORD. Although in Colossians 3:21 the same scripture says “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, let they be discouraged”. This shows there are certain things the father can also do to cause anger in the lives of their children, thereby discouraging the children. Just as we all know that alcoholic father can never be depended on to behave normally or appropriately and often the cause of chaos, arguments, and abuse in the lives of their children as well as their own. Living with alcoholic father is really difficult.
The alcoholic fathers may even blame their action on their children, while some children may think that they contribute to the reason why their parent drinks. Many teens who believe they are part of the problems may move out of the house or work harder to address the issue. One thing you need to understand is that irrespective of the situation, you are not to blame for your father’s alcoholism. Most people are addicted to drinking due to various reasons.
Most Often Causes of Alcoholism
A person becomes alcoholic when excessive intake of alcohol throws certain chemicals in the brain out of balance. There are many factors responsible for alcoholism. Some studies say it is situational while some say it is a habit influence from friends or family members or due to social and environmental factors. It is often interpreted as being hereditary. Like in a high society, to maintain the status you need to drink and that continues and becomes a habit. A person who has family problems and feels the lack of moral support also starts to consume alcohol.
- Environmental factor. For instance, people who grew up in an alcoholic home is more likely to become an alcoholic or marry an alcoholic.
- Certain stress hormones promote alcoholism. Violence, stress, depression and agony can cause a person seek peace in alcoholism. Such addiction grows out of mental turmoil.
- Situational/Social factors. Moving with ungodly friends or being close with people who consume alcohol increase the risk of falling to alcoholism.
- Heredity. Research gives an evidence of biological factors and genes promoting alcoholism. Inheritance of D2 dopamine receptor gene in a specific form may make a person vulnerable to alcoholism.
- Lack of self-confidence. Many people drink to escape insult and shame. Certain studies also show that youthful drinking of alcohol may lead to addiction in the future. The earlier a person starts drinking, the more he is at the risk of becoming an alcoholic.
Living with Alcoholic Father: Steps to Respect and Support
Alcoholism is a disorder in which the person has trouble controlling his or her drinking habit and still continues to drink despite negative consequences such as health, financial, broken relationships problems.
Proverbs 20:1 say, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise”. Alcohol is not only a problem of the person that drinks but a transmittable disease which extend to the other members of the family. Do you see your father as an alcoholic person? If it is a problem for you, then you need to deal with it in a respectable and ideal way that won’t affect your own life.
Find A Way to Forgive
There is a possibility your father doesn’t see anything wrong nor feel sober for what he did to you, your mother or siblings as a result of his addiction. If he thinks all the problems in the home is your fault. The ideal reaction for the saved adult who was wronged by their father when they were a child is to forgive him just as Christ has forgiven him or her. It’s pretty hard to respect someone you detest. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you forgive him without holding grudges and ask for patience living with alcoholic father. Remember that you heavenly Father also forgives you when you hurt him, and so must we his children.
Never Encourage Bad Behavior
Having respect for one’s father does not require you to tolerate and condone unacceptable behavior. Let the alcoholic know that you respect and care for him but it is the addiction you hate. And because you hate the addiction so much you are unable to be around when he drinks. When you honor and respect someone, you want what is best for him/her because you value them enough to care. If loves his drinks more than you, sometimes the only option is to leave them and salvage your life. Hopefully, with your firm boundaries and God’s help, your alcoholic father will give it up someday and set to live to love you and eventually learning to love even himself.
Don’t Take Abuse
Never tolerate abusive behavior toward you or your siblings and children. Don’t allow someone who is high or intoxicated in your home, because such fellow will disrupt your home and not respect your boundaries. Honoring and respecting your parents does not mean allowing them to do anything they want in your home and to you. It simply means that you treat your parents as people who you care about and value enough to make a stand for what is right and what is good for your long-term relationship. God’s intends for us to have a loving home and caring parent, not the abusive ones. You are commanded to respect but not commanded to take abuse in any form.
Address Issues With Love and Respect
Learn to communicate with your father in a kind, gentle and sympathetic way, he may respond in a more positive way. You might be tempted sometimes and want to confront him with resentment and anger, but rather try to control your emotions and speak to him when he is sober. Talk to him alone rather than in front of other people. Let him know that the problems are hurting your relationship and that you want the relationship to be better if not best. Most importantly, know that every adult has the right to make their own choices. Don’t try manipulating or threatening him. Don’t disrespect nor treat him abusively or with contempt. Exodus 21:17 says “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death”.
Set Boundaries if Requires
Romans 12:18 says “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men”. When you feel you may not be able to get along with your father’s behavior or habit, it’s better to set a boundary. Plan and set boundaries for your father if he tends to be insulting or abusive. Likewise, you may set a boundary on yourself. For instance, maybe you tend to overreact and you need to set boundaries on yourself about the topic to discuss and the ones you do not talk about. You can as well include your children in your boundary, simply because you don’t want a re-occurrence of event when they stay with your parent. Remember forgiveness does not totally mean forgetfulness. Many relationships thrive when boundaries are implemented. Some folks may have very difficult personalities. Draw the line and set a boundary to help you living with alcoholic father in peace.
Get a Divine Intervention
Do remember your father in your prayers and never underestimate the power of prayer. Ask Jesus to help you detach with love from the alcoholic. Continue praying for him because God does listen and answer his children’s request. He knows the suffering and pain you are passing through each day. This is precisely why you need to go to Him and ask for the strength and faith you will need to cope with loving, respecting and living with alcoholic father.
Be Supportive and Get Support
If your alcoholic father is sober and ready to enter a recovery program, let him know it’s a great step to take. Encourage him more in your statement to make him feel more confident and sober. Give a more supporting hand and help him explore different treatment options. Alcohol treatment programs use psychotherapy or behavioral therapy and medical maintenance to help alcoholic become sober and live a happy, healthy life.
Ensure you also get self-care it’s very important. One of the best programs for adults and teenagers who have been affected by an alcoholic in their lives is the “Al-Anon Family Groups” also known as Al-Anon and Alateen, they offer free, non-judgmental support and guidance to people regardless their age. They are available worldwide. Contact them to find out what they can do to help detach from alcoholic and live a healthy life.
Probably you never for once experience perfect relationship with your loved ones, nevertheless, try to do things in God’s way, obey His words, forgive, learn to love and respect them, take it to God in prayer, and don’t forget to set boundaries if that’s the only way to get peace in your relationship living with alcoholic father.