Al-Anon helps parents of problem drinkers

Published by at 10:45 am under Common Concerns

Welcome to “First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery” from Al-Anon Family Groups. This is a series of podcasts to discuss some common concerns for people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Ellen, Joe, and Sharon are with us today. All are active Al-Anon members. They are willing to talk about how Al-Anon helped them deal with their children’s drinking.

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60 comments on “Al-Anon helps parents of problem drinkers”

  1. Cindy says:

    My son is trying to stay away from drinking. He needs help. He is 28 and has had a problem since he was 18. He dropped out of college. More recently he lost a high paying job because he went to work drunk. He has another job and so far has missed one day due to bingeing on a Sunday night.

    He and his 2 sons live with us, my husband and me. The grandkids’ mother is incarcerated for drug problems. He also had a drug problem, but has cleaned up. He turns on me when drinking and I have to threaten the law on him. I am so sick of the abuse. I have always cleaned up his mess. He has lost so much.

  2. Susan says:

    There are too many people in turmoil over their child’s drinking. I am one of them.

    I live in Ontario in Canada. My 24-year-old son has messed his life up. He is a miserable drunk. He was charged with assault with a weapon–hit his girlfriend in the eye with his cellphone to get those charges. He missed a probation date and is up on a charge for that. We have paid the legal bills, bailed him out, and are now his surety, which basically feels like we are in prison, not him.

    He was intoxicated, delusional and I called 911 for paramedics to take him to the hospital for a psych. consult. He panicked and thought I had called police, despite the fact that we repeatedly told him we had called paramedics. He went out the upstairs bathroom window, jumped off the roof and shattered his left heel. In the hospital he was abusive to staff, had to be put in restraints. He yelled and told them not to tell me anything as I lie and I am a bitch.

    I stayed up there all night in another waiting room, hoping to talk to a doctor from psych. It became all about his heel and all about getting him out of there. A nurse, not a doctor from psych, evaluated him and said he was fine to go home, no immediate danger to himself or others. And they sent him home with Percocet after I begged them not to.

    They escorted us out with police. I was utterly humiliated. Our health care system is broken to pieces. The family doctor got a report about this, took him off of antidepressants and is trying to get him into a psychiatrist, which could take up to six months where we live. What is wrong with this picture?

    His parole officer set him up with appointments so he could get social assistance and he has started drinking now that he has some money. He owes us 5 thousand dollars in legal fees alone. He stole my jewelry, took money from his father. We now have a safe.

    Tonight he is drinking vodka that he must have had delivered to the house while we were at work. He is calling me names and putting me down. We need a babysitter for him. His counsellor told us they will never take him into rehab like this.

    I want to give up his surety, which means he will go to jail until his breach of parole charge is taken up by the court. I have very little hope, and feel completely tormented. Our daughter moved out just because of his drinking. She could not take the turmoil in our home any longer.

    If he goes to jail/correctional facility, I fear it will only help his already terrible self esteem to go down further, but on the other hand, we cannot live like this anymore. I wonder how a parent kicks their child out to jail, and to the street.

  3. Wini says:

    My older son finally admitted to me last night, after years of drinking, that he can no longer get off of alcohol like he used to, he must keep drinking or go into shakes, vomiting, maybe worse. I’ve been in Al-Anon 9 yrs. & have a measure of peace & serenity that I never had before. I’ve put him in his Higher Power’s care. I still love him, still worry about the complete destruction this addiction has on his life. But we continue to have a relationship because of Al-Anon. I am so grateful for that.

  4. cindy says:

    My son just lost another job, getting kicked out of his new place that I got for him. Now he wants to move back with me. I told him no, I feel so bad for him. I don’t know what to do. I am at a loss. I feel like I have abandoned him. He has lost everything because of his drinking, and not the first time. It’s over and over again. I hope I’m being strong and doing the right thing.

  5. christine says:

    My son has lost everything and doesn’t care. I don’t want to lose him, but he is on self-destruct. People say leave him go to rock bottom. As a mum, I don’t know if he will survive. My family is ripped apart because I support him. I am at a loss as to what to do.

  6. Andrea says:

    I don’t know what to do. My disabled mother has given up on life and is killing herself with alcohol. I had to move in with her when my child was born because I found out I had cancer. This is before she got disabled. My child is ten now and I am finally in remission.

    My mom got diagnosed with spinal stenosis and became unable to be a nurse anymore. She is on social security and I’m on disability. For the past two years since she retired she has become a heavy alcoholic. This is a bad situation for her, for my health, and especially for my daughter who has been having fits of rage. I am afraid if I leave my mom she will drink so much she doesn’t remember taking her pain meds and overdose. I keep track of her medicine and try to hide the bottle, which gets the three of us in a huge fight.

    I was an alcoholic and have been sober for eleven years. I totally understand her wanting to drink, but she doesn’t see how it’s destroying our family. I’m totally exhausted, financially spent, and don’t know what to do! I need help but I don’t know where to turn. I’ve wanted to go to Al-Anon but I’m so afraid something will happen if I leave for even an hour.

  7. Barb says:

    Ohhh, I need help. My son has been self-medicating for his anxiety, panic, with alcohol and is in an awful place. I am agonized over this and it is killing me.

    Been battling this for a year and a half and things just get worse. He decided to quit cold turkey at home, had the shakes, vomiting, etc., until I found him having a seizure, called 911 and he spent less than 24 hrs in the hospital with iv’s and meds. Two days later he gets in a single car accident, not hurt, and a DUI. While still on probation from his last one.

    I had told him if it ever happened again that he was not allowed to stay here. This was the hardest thing for me to do. I feel so guilty and awful, like I have abandoned him. He is now at his dad’s, and is sneaking alcohol, but not fooling anyone.

    Since he has terrible panic attacks, he takes Ativan and mixes it with alcohol. He is a train wreck. Refuses to get any help or admit he has a problem. I am dying inside.

  8. christine says:

    I feel so guilty and wonder what is the right thing to do–leave him to it, or hide the alcohol.

  9. caz says:

    I am worried , scared and in pain – I love my daughter and our relationship is good most of the time , but recently I have started to become resentful because she seems to have no idea of what she puts me through.

    I reckon she does not even remember most of what she puts myself and her son through and ‘loses days,’ but I don’t lose them. I am there watching and experiencing the nightmare which is drink.

    I take care of her 6-year-old son who has special needs when things get bad, but because I do not want to leave her on her own in a drunken state, I stay and look after both of them.

    Her drinking has gotten worse since a sudden, double bereavement in the family, which is not surprising, but after 6 weeks of looking after her and my grandson on my own, I am exhausted, stressed and generally ill myself, not sleeping or eating well etc. and I reckon it is time to take care of myself now.

    I have the worry of my grandson, who I adore, being taken away from us, but I try to trust and believe it will not get to that, as she has admitted she has a problem and has taken steps to get help for it, as she does not want to lose her son, too, or have this life which comes with the drinking when she realises how things are so much better when she is not drinking.

    One of the main triggers at the moment is her boyfriend, a heavy drinker who does not admit he has a problem, so he drags her down and brings tons of stress into her life, which she could definitely do without, but it is her choice to be with him and have him in her life, even though it is very hard for me to accept that she is making that choice.

  10. claire says:

    Having observed my son’s alcoholic drinking for the past 10 years, I went to my first Al-Anon meeting. I was impressed with the acceptance and courage of the participants and I left the meeting feeling stronger and more able to cope.

    That very week his drinking went from bad to worse. I have not slept in a week and he is drinking in a local bar night and day. He is also driving drunk and it is only a matter of time before he kills someone. I find it impossible to turn off agonizing night and day about the possible catastrophic outcomes.

    I am currently on holiday from work but am due to return shortly. I am worried about how I am going to cope when I return to work in a high-powered stressful environment, where I manage a department. Up until now my son has been working in other countries, but he has left or been fired from yet another job and is living in the family home. His drinking and his morose personality are affecting everyone in the home.

    My husband is in favour of taking a tough line with him, but I feel so sorry for him and I know that somewhere, given professional help, is a good decent person. I am also worried about my son’s mental state, as he has become so withdrawn and we only see him when he’s drunk and the rest of the time he spends in his room, hungover.

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