How to Help Your Alcoholic Son

As a parent, you know that you are bound to face a number of challenges when it comes to raising your children. Some issues may be small and easily remedied, while others may be much more complex and require more attention. One of the most distressing experiences a parent can have is watching their child struggle with alcoholism. If you are a parent watching your son exhibit high-functioning alcoholic signs, then you are likely wondering how you can help them through this difficult time. Before you can get down to it, however, it is important that you have a solid foundation of information so that your efforts are as effective as possible. This can include determining the signs and symptoms that your son may display if he is an alcoholic. 

Signs Your Son is an Alcoholic

Parents tend to be aware when something is seemingly “off” about their children. But, when their children enter into the teen years, it can grow increasingly difficult to be able to gauge what is normal and what is abnormal, given an influx of hormones and peer pressure. If you are concerned that your son is struggling with alcohol, some of the high-functioning alcoholic signs he may be exhibiting can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Changes in academic performance (e.g. slipping grades, failing classes)
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Hanging out with new groups of friends
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Neglecting responsibilities at school, home, and at work if employed
  • Legal or financial problems

Your son, if he is displaying high-functioning alcoholic signs, may also be exhibiting the following physical and behavioral symptoms:

  • Developing poor personal hygiene habits
  • Smelling of alcohol 
  • Bloodshot, glassy eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems with coordination 
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns 

It is also possible that your son may start showing signs of depression or anxiety, as well as unpredictable mood swings. While these symptoms are scary to think of when it comes to your child, it is imperative to be aware of them so that you can identify the problem and begin developing ways to help. 

How to Help Your Alcoholic Son 

The very thought of broaching the topic of alcoholism with your son may be overwhelming, especially if he is a teenager and is going through several changes at a time. However, it is absolutely critical that you do not ignore the drinking patterns of your son, rather face them and acknowledge them openly. When you do this, you are allowing yourself the ability to begin helping your alcoholic son in ways that will hopefully bring him around to recovery sooner than later. 

Speak with Your Son

This first thing you can do is probably the simplest – speak with your son. Again, you may not have the best relationship with your son at the moment, especially if he is struggling with active alcoholism, but that shouldn’t prevent you from starting the conversation. Share your observations with your son in a non-judgmental way. Let him know what you have been witnessing and express your concern for their well-being. Do what you can not to be authoritative during this conversation so as to not cause your son to become standoffish. 

Reach Out for Help

If your son is underage, getting him the appropriate help he needs is going to fall on your shoulders. Therefore, if you notice that his drinking patterns are problematic, it is time to reach out and ask for professional help. Perhaps one of the best places to begin is at your child’s primary care provider, as they can offer local community resources and potentially some referrals to age-appropriate treatment. The more information you gather about what your son is experiencing and what treatment options he has, the easier it will be to find the right care for him. 

Be Their Support System

It can be challenging to witness the high-functioning alcoholic signs that your son may be experiencing, especially since you want to help. But, the most helpful thing you can do is be their support system, not their enemy. This does not mean that you need to do everything they say, rather be consistent in your support for treatment and offers to help your son get the care they need. If you are concerned with how to handle this situation, consider seeking professional help to guide you.

Get Help For Yourself

Addiction is a family disease, meaning that it impacts everyone who it touches. When your child is dealing with alcoholism, there is no way that you can go unscathed emotionally or mentally. You can benefit from seeking professional therapy from a mental health care provider and/or attending local support group meetings such as those offered through Al-Anon. The more skills you develop, the easier it will be to help your son.

Alcohol Rehab in Alabama

If your son is struggling with high-functioning alcoholic signs and symptoms and you are concerned for his well-being, reach out to us right now by calling xxx-xxx-xxxx. Our team of dedicated, compassionate professionals is ready to work with you to help your son obtain the treatment he needs in order to end his active alcoholism and begin living a bright, positive future.

To learn more about us, please visit our website or call and speak with one of our team members. 


  • Ian Henyon, LPC

    Having worked in a variety of clinical settings since 2008, Ian brings well over a decade of treatment center experience to the leadership role at Birmingham Recovery Center. As Executive Director, he is responsible for all aspects of BRC’s operations and provision of services. Being firmly grounded in the notion of servant leadership, Ian is focused on establishing a supportive work environment as a foundation for providing superior clinical services to BRC’s clients. Ian combines his extensive knowledge of treating addiction and psychiatric illness with the recognition that addiction is a disorder of the brain, to ensure that all clients are treated with the highest levels of respect and compassion. Ian is a licensed professional counselor. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and he received a Master of Science degree from Prescott College.


Request a Confidential Evaluation