Hello elephant journal! It’s me, Tyler, your soulful advice columnist.
Here is my response to another question I received at www.teawithtyler.com:
“My dad (who I idolize) is an alcoholic. I don’t think he is aware or is ready to recognize this. How do I best support him through this process?”
I am not trained or qualified to advise you about alcoholism. There are many groups that offer education and support, AA and Al-Anon being the most prominent. What I can offer is compassion. I too have people in my life that I love and look up to who are alcoholics. It is a hard issue to deal with. My suggestion is first deal with your feelings surrounding your dad being an alcoholic.
What does it mean for you? What does it mean about your relationship with him? Does it elicit fear, sadness, worry, confusion? Take your time and get clear with the answers to these questions. Then, the next step is to look at you.
Since we cannot control others, the only way for us to make change is to change ourselves. Are there any similarities between you and your dad that you can change in you? I’m not implying that you are an alcoholic at all. What I am saying is that, often (especially with our parents) we have similar “styles” or “traits” in handling life. And even though the behavior may or may not be different, it can have the same effect on someone else that loves you.
So, whenever I am really upset or passionate about someone else’s behavior, I look at myself to see if in some way I do that, too. I like the illusion of control, and this makes me feel like I have some. Because the very sad and frustrating truth is that you can’t force your dad (whom you love so very much) to change. You can tell him, but you cannot control how he will react. You cannot control how he will proceed with the information. And no amount of love for him will change that.
So, I say, change you. And pay attention to how your behaviors affect the people you love in your life. We are not perfect and never can be, but having awareness for yourself and others is the best we can do. Your dad is just human, as you and I are. I say do some soul searching, seek help or advice from a professional, be the change you want to happen, and just love him as you already do. If you come to terms with his disease then you will be out of your own way, and able to be there for him in whatever capacity he needs you.
My intention is to introduce myself through these questions I have already received, but ultimately to get an elephant journal dialog going. Ask me a question, and let’s have some tea! [email protected].
Thank you for having Tea with Tyler!
editor: Greg Eckard
Hi, I’m Tyler Stroebel, and I am Tea with Tyler. I’m a mother, wife, business owner, healer, and reverend, passionate about providing comfort in a sometimes uncomfortable world. www.teawithtyler.com is a free online soulful advice column.