Al-Anon helps parents of problem drinkers

Published by at 10:45 am under Alcoholic Child

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

How to locate a meeting

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


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

  1. Chsckldy says:

    What about a parent who has custody of a 6 year old and 9 year old who is a alcoholic? We are Grandparents living in the home basically raising the children however can’t take the drinking any longer. We feel like we need to stay because of the children. There is a Mother who they haven’t seen in four years.

  2. Scared parent says:

    My wife and I are lost! Our 24 year old daughter is an alcoholic and will also take other substances as well. We just concluded another 2 hour fight with our daughter in which she was totally blitzed on vodka and wanted to leave the house, which we would not let her do in the fear that she would injure herself or someone else. She finally passed out. My wife and I have discussed our plan, have her voluntarily enter rehab, or leave. We suspect she will just leave. The dilemma is I am ready for her to leave and face the world on her own, sink or swim. My wife on the other hand is making herself sick with guilt on what could possibly happen to our daughter if she leaves ( she looks a lot younger than she really is) Anyone else who has had to face this, I would appreciate insight. Don’t know what else to do this is making our home life a constant battle and is affecting our two other children as well.

  3. Emma says:

    My 35yr old daughter a mother to two young girls she had with a vile abusing man (who has those girls in his care?) is an alcoholic of 5 years. Over 6 hospital admissions due to collapse when drunk off her face. Seizures, detox, stage 2 liver disease, distended abdomen, swollen spleen and kidney failure, revived 4 times. Hasn’t held down a job for 5 years worth talking about but had a hugely successful career and is university educated..worked as a model in her late teens and was a mentor to children throughout Uni. A merry go round of 3 months drinking…2 months sober etc etc…for years.
    This latest episode, first responders brought her back. Three weeks in hospital detoxing a multitude of drugs for all damaged organs. 65 days sober and off the wagon again for 5 days. BACK to the usual BS of lies, blaming and off radar nightmare. I am so sick to death of the worry she’s caused me, nothing works. Contact. No contact. Money. No Money. Promises. No promises. Blackmail thrown at me left, right and centre. The whole family worried constantly whilst we all dance to her sick tune. EVEN now she has the NERVE to say she’s not drinking on the phone to me when it’s 100% clear she is. BLAMING some guy for the reason she decided to buy a bottle 5 days ago. Keeping a toe in my water by sending stupid email each morning then goes off radar for 24hrs…so insulting I can’t begin to tell you. Had her living with me for months on 2 occasions over these years – she walked out the door and drank. She landed a great job in Malaysia – I paid for her to be there – she didn’t make it through the airport without buying a bottle of vodka…4 months sober with me otherwise I would NEVER have financed any of it. Off radar missing for 3 days before arriving drunk in KL. Admitted to hospital there and was detoxed…walked out and drank again. I have a dozen horror stories like this. I am cleaned out of cash and have none left for her to burn. Still trying to work a part-time job and keep a roof over my head whilst falling apart…emotionally and financially.

    NOTHING will stop this. Not her girls. Not me. Not her liver specialist or any other care worker she’s in contact with. Watching her slowly commit suicide over these years has been and is horrific on every level. I imagine identifying her remains in a mortuary and wonder how the hell I get through that. I despise what she’s become, lies roll off her tongue constantly. HER CHOICE to drink again. HER CHOICE to put us through hell on earth. I WILL NEVER FORGIVE HER FOR THIS…

    Waiting for that phone call again – the one where she’s breathing her last and I’m supposed to do the hospital dash feeling sick to my stomach AGAIN. I’M NOT. I CAN’T.

  4. peg says:

    My problem is just like all of you. I don’t know what to do.

  5. Kelly says:

    Ihave a 22 year old son that came out today to visit a cooking school. He was so messedup that i am on babysitting duty. Sad but true.we have a nice condo he could stay at while attending school but we argued and now luckily he passed out. He has friends in social media but i think today’s generation, there’s a problem. They are consumed with that. Not going anywhere without their phones. Anyway i am exhausted from his antics. Entitled kid…

  6. Lorri says:

    Hi my daughter is 22 she moved out about 6 months ago with her boyfriend he was in prison for three years for drugs alcohol and stealing when she met him after he got out they dated for awhile he was a very nice young man had a very bad child hood they lived with us on and off now they are living with her dad’s mom her grandmother whom who has always enabled my daughter’s dad in drugs and always enabled my daughter’s behavior growing up her dad and I split up when she was 2 over his drug use i am in church she was also raised in the church she had told us she was on marijuana when she turned 18 she was staying with friends then when she got in with this boy he tried to quit drinking wanted to turn his life around but my daughter would in order to get him to do things for her buy him beer he has had a job for 3 years but is into drinking and pills and she informed me she was doing meth as well as him at one point she texted me telling me she wanted help and that she had planned on ending her life several times I tried to get help for her but no success she is 22 she cuts me off at times won’t talk to me for months then will text asking to see her dog she stood me up mothers day it broke my heart I will text and text her but she won’t respond I love my daughter with all my heart and soul but her behavior is destroying my life I put my everyday life on hold for her texts calling me or wanting to come up or see her dog and when I don’t text her for several days she will text me out of the blue and I drop everything I am doing and run home it is hurting my relationship with my husband and family members whom do want me in there life seems when i do get strength to pull away she pulls me back in with her lies and manipulating how to I once and for all get strength to pull back and not let her control my life.please help!!!I

  7. Tracie says:

    My son is 22. He doesn’t recognize that all of his problems are the result of him putting alcohol into his body. He has ruined his chances to go to college. He has wrecked 2 cars. He is violent and destructive. Fortunately, he doesn’t live with me anymore. I have seen him try to quit on his own. It’s too big of a problem for him to solve alone. He needs the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous to successfully quit his insanity. I know this because that is how I quit drinking 7 years ago. I have suggested that he should go to a meeting with me. When I do he becomes frightenly argumentative. I miss who he truely is with out booze. I sometimes see rare glimpses of his true self when he is trying to quit alone. I am heartbroken over his struggle.

  8. Sharon says:

    My ex husband has just sent me an e-mail to say that our son Tom 36 is going to be kicked out of his flat. His flat mate has had enough of his drinking. I am in a state. I Live in Holland Tom has lived here a couple of times. The last time resulting in the police coming to my house as my Dutch husband could not cope with Toms drinking anymore. There is so much to say I blame myself I left him with his Father when he was 9. Things were OK in the beginning I had two daughters so my two sons loved them and we saw each other every month but eventually Tom got addicted to weed and then secretly alcohol. Things were getting difficult here so he went to live in Italy with his Father. But he was drinking there, so when he got run over after being drunk I brought him back to Holland to live. It was OK for a while until he started secretly drinking again. My husband did everything in his power to help Tom but it was pointless. Eventually he went back to the UK. Again problems, Tom actually blacks out he cannot function normally and goes through job after job. The last time Tom was homeless he came back to Holland and he got a job as a concierge, things were going well until he had a black out at the work place and instant dismissal. This last occasion meant that my husband was not responsible for his actions so police gave my husband a warning. Even though Tom is my son violence doesn’t help. It was either Tom leave or my husband. Tom went back to the UK. It has been on and off for 4 years. When Tom is sober everyone loves him, but he will kill himself and there is nothing we can do. I am desperate to know what to do next. He will be on the street.

  9. Chris Latam says:

    We have a 37 year old son who has been an alcoholic for 20 years. He has not worked for 5 years. He lost 2 out of 3 homes he owned to foreclosure as he was not taking care of business due to his alcoholism. He owns only one rental property now that we manage for him. He went to Thailand a year ago and his girlfriend there is also done with his drinking. We had been sending him $700+ monthly money ($400 profit from his rental and the rest supplemented by our pension money) but have now told him we will no longer supplement his living there, not being able to work there, and in a visa overstay of more than a year. We’ve told him we will only send the rental profit money of $400/month….and that he’ll have to make that work. We know that we are enabling him but he does have money money, in this property, that we’re hesitant to sell and give to him as we know what he’ll fo with it…drink and likely die. Cutting off all money and leaving him in Thailand is scaring us. We’ve tried everything to get him to return to Canada where he can work. He lies and strings us along. The difficulty is he’s in a foreign country…and he does have money that is his, in his property rental. What do we do?

  10. Leslie says:

    My son is 29. I have been dealing with his drinking for 9 years – financially, emotionally, and mentally. He has had 2 stints at rehab, several times detox facilities, and living in a Recovery house. Tonight he relapsed yet again. I have to be finished at this point. I have never tried Al Anon meetings but I have to. I am definitely an enabler. Even this evening, he has no money, worked for two days so obviously will lose his job, got kicked out of the Recovery House, and in his drunkenness called and said where can I go? He is 6 hours away. What was I going to do? But I of course figured it out and put him in a hotel for 2 days. My question is what now? Do I just let him figure it out? Do I drive 6 hours and pick him up bring him home then live like a prisoner because I don’t know who will show up at my house? What will disappear? Absolutely no alcohol in the house. Obviously I need help.

  11. Tammie says:

    I have a 24 year old son who has been struggling with alcohol addiction for 4 years now. We paid all his living expenses so he could graduate from college and after college we let him move home with us for 6 month. We forbid him to have alcohol, see friends and just wanted him to work. Unfortunately this didn’t work. He hid his drinking, our rules were more laxed and everything was just back to his normal drinking. We told him he had 1 month to move out. He moved in with a friend 3 weeks later and has been living there for 3 months. He lost his job and is now being evicted from his verbal lease. He has no where to go and still no job. I told him he can’t move back home because I would just be enabling his behavior. We have tried to get him help with no commitment on his end. I don’t know what to do. I’m heart broken that I won’t let him come home. This situation has made me numb, depressed and feeling like a failure. I don’t know what to do anymore!

  12. Nina says:

    All these stories sound like me. My 35 year old adult alcoholic daughter lives with me after a year in prison for a fifth dui. It has been a year and for awhile she seemed to have changed. But lately her drinking is out of control. I am moving in a few months and I told her she can’t go with me when she’s not sober. Generally she’s a lovely girl but she becomes a mean drunk when she drinks. I don’t know what to do I have no other family or friends as support. My heart is broken I worry about my daughter whAt will happen to her.. Mostly I feel trapped and resentful of her bad choices.

  13. Kathy says:

    I am responding to Micheal’s post above…Thank you, Micheal! I am the parent of an 18 year old daughter that struggles with drug addiction (or alcohol–depending on what is available to her at the time). We have done all that we can to help her–counseling, rehabs, calling the police to arrest her when she has become violent, etc.

    She is currently in a situation where, after breaking her probation, her PO has given her the choice of jail time (up to 90 days) and having a criminal record, or rehab (a 12 month Christian program is what has been offered unless she can find something else and pay for it) with her record being hidden. We have heard of (personally) many people who have been to this particular rehab program with amazing long-term success, and of course would like her to choose that option. As of now, she is deciding on jail.

    She is currently living with us, after being kicked out of a friend’s family’s house about a month ago. Our home was so peaceful and enjoyable when she was not living here, and we were able to enjoy our day to day lives (as was our 15 year old son). We don’t want to let her move home after release from jail. We know if we let her come here, she will refuse to leave, and will continue to disrupt our lives and have no motivation to get herself healthy and independent.

    Because she is so young (and the vulnerability that comes with being a girl), this is so scary to me! I can’t think of anywhere that she can go besides a homeless shelter or sober living home, or something of that sort. My alanon family tells me that this is what she needs to do to take responsibility for herself and grow up, and I believe that is true, but it is going to be so hard! I am holding on to stories like Micheal’s, and I know I need to trust God to protect her and reach her…allowing her to move back home will just delay her chances for recovery.

    Thank you, Micheal, for sharing!

  14. Bobbi says:

    My 23 yr old daughter is an alcoholic addict. She lives with me & my teenage son, I flew her out from la to join us in Seattle where we had started a new life & are thriving. She’s been here a month & has cut her wrist, beat me up 3 times, stolen my purse, bit her brother, broken my phone & lied so much I don’t know anything anymore. Last night the cops came with dogs to track her but she got away. Im so torn as she doesn’t have any money, friends or car.. yet I’ve locked her out. I told her I’d buy her a bus ticket back to California but she has noone, nowhere to go. I’m sick with fear and grief and ptsd from her past suicide attempts… for 10 years Ive tried everything but always stayed by her side. She has been out of prison for a year but I just learned she drank baking soda to pass her drug tests so she got off the plane soun out of control. as her brother stood by with flowers. I’m laying here on no sleep have to work 8 hours today.. please God what do I do?

  15. Angela says:

    My son is 29 he’s an alcoholic. He is in denial about his drinking this weekend as I write this he’s gone out every night comes back sloppy drunk. I don’t know what to do. I try to talk to him and he can’t stand still long enough to listen – he cuss me out – this just started. He’s always angry, blames everybody for his bad choices. Hates anyone who doesn’t like him – for one reason or another. I used to be able to say things to shut it down for a few days now he doesn’t care what I say. I want to kick him out he would end up homeless. What should I do I’m planning on retiring in another year and just leaving but I cant take it now – what shall I do?

  16. Trina says:

    So glad I found you guys.


  17. Bernice says:

    Wow…I just came upon this website and have read the comments. I just started going to Alynon and heard a comment about understanding how an alcoholic thinks, which made me realize they don’t think the way a sober person thinks. I have read some articles on that tonight so I can get educated. Christmas day I had my 24 yr old daughter police escorted out of my home. I am a single mom of 4 adult children…she is my oldest. It was the hardest thing I have done. It wasn’t without warning(s). She knew I was at 0 tolerance. The ‘cake was baked’; and her behavior Christmas morning was the ‘icing on the cake’ that required her separation. I had determined that day she was not going to continue to control the home environment and steal our joy. She was making her choices and now I was making mine. I told her I am getting off this merry go round and I am not going to be a supporting actor in this drama in which she is the lead actress. My first meeting I was given a pamphlet about the ‘merry go round’ (this was a confirmation for me). I now realize I am hearing ‘our’ story through the mouths of so many others. We have so much in common. This is not unique to me/us! I am hoping, trusting and believing that she will conquer this addiction and in the meantime, I am becoming educated and getting equipped for whatever might come my direction good or bad. Since having her escorted out of my home we have much peace and it has saved my relationship with my other two teenage children (living at home) who needed to be relieved of her toxic behavior. I know I did the right thing. Some might think I should have done this sooner but I needed to know within myself that I did all I could do. She has cut communication with me, so I respect her desire to do so trusting that we will be reunited at some point. In the meantime, I have decided to open a Word document on my computer and when I feel like talking to her or think about her I will record the day/date & time and write what I am thinking or what I would like to say to her. Perhaps one day she will be able to read it. My thoughts of her are not of hate, resentment or ill will but of great sadness to know that her life could be so much better than what she is experiencing now. I realized that she is very resourceful when she needs to be and that she was using my home & me and controlling the dynamics of the household to her benefit and it continued to enable her and I realized I can’t ‘cure’ her. I was putting the welfare of my other two teenage children at risk by continuing to allow her to remain in the home. Alynon is very helpful and I am becoming informed and equipped for whatever lies ahead. Blessings to all of you. None of us realized this was the road we were going to have to travel.

  18. Sue says:

    My son is 24 – in the UK it is really hard to get help if you don’t have private medical insurance . My son is an alcoholic and nearly died – we finally got him into a 10 day detox programmed as an inpatient and when he came out he did so well – not drinking for two years. Unfortunately he has just come out of a really damaged relationship and has started drinking again. When he is drunk he is abusive and suicidal – when he is not drunk he works occasionally but generally is around the house. His attitude is awful and he asks for money, lifts to and fro and if you say no he is completely unreasonable. I am at the stage now where I don’t want him living with us but he has nowhere else to live or go to and I can’t bring myself to throw him out – he also would get violent if I tried and this scares me. If he gets violent, what do I do? Who do I call? Our house is not a happy one because of this – my husband and my relationship is suffering – he doesn’t speak to Jack – I’m stuck in the middle and feel so desperate – I feel ill. I can’t get my son to seek help for himself and I don’t have the money to support him – he is so difficult to live with – I don’t know where to turn

  19. etta says:


  20. WANDA says:

    I have a 33 year old son, that admits that he is an alcoholic. Not only is he an alcoholic, but also smoke weed every day. He would start drinking from 9 am until he comes in at 11:30 or later. I have always had problems with him since he was school. He has been arrested plenty of times and have spent about 2 years in jail. When he is sober , he is wonderful, but after the alcohol he turns into someone else. I want him out my house. He blames everyone else for his problems. I tell him to take a good look in the mirror and look at himself, because the problem is in the mirror looking back at him. I advised him to go get help and he refused to. I am tired . I have a business with in my home and I have clients on a daily basis. He comes in to my business and acts like a fool. I warn him and threatening him. It work for a week or two, but then it goes right back. My next step is to have him removed from my house by the law. I am tired . I came to the point where I even put my home on the market , so I can move out of state. I AM TIRED. Do you have any suggestions,

  21. Daisie says:

    My daughter is 36, watching her mixing zanax, anti depressant and alcohol…numbing herself
    gradually more and more often. My heart is broken, I am not able to talk to her, she denies and tells me its my imagination,,,that I am making drama when there is NO problem here. She lives with me, can’t manage her life. Already dysfunctional, she turned to alcohol in the past few years and it has gotten out of control. She is now jealous because her dog clings to me when she is out of it , I feel so alone and desperate. Her health is not good, she refuses to follow up doctor’s appointments.She has mental and emotional problem. If there is place called hell….it is right here, right now. Pray for us.

  22. Michael says:

    Im 23 years old, an alcoholic, and a son to loving parents. To those whose children are destroying their lives because of alcoholism, there is hope. A little over a year ago, my dad had enough of me and my unending BS, and told me I had 2 weeks to find a new place to live. This may sound harsh, but it was the best thing that could have happened. For the first time in my life, i was forced to face the real world, and as long as others enabled me, I continued to drink, facing homelessness, starvation, with almost no resources, I found a way to get drunk. by the grace of God I ended up in a rehab, and knowing i had nowhere to go if i left, i stayed for 9 months. sounds like a long time but compared to the years i had spent a slave to alcohol, it was nothing. after all that i came home to mom and dad and in a few short months i was drunk agan, but the seed was planted, and somewhere around 4 months later I had a God given moment of clarity, and I put myself into a sober house. Through that, and with the program of AA behind me, i have come a long way since, im sober only 4 months, but im signed up for school, im working and most importantly, im able to have a real relationship with the ones i love again. point is, with addiction, the only thing that can break the cycle is a major upheaval, and as parents you have the opportunity to make that happen. I urge you, do not wait, do not deny the alcoholic in your life the pain he NEEDS to feel in order to be openminded and willing enough to get help. sincerely Michael.

  23. Fay says:

    My daughter lost her battle with alcohol about a month ago and I lost her. She left behind an 18 year old daughter, a senior in high school.

    I know now that she is at peace but have no idea why she drank so much that it killed her. She wouldn’t talk about it. In fact she wouldn’t talk to me at all the last months of her life. She had been to 2 or 3 rehabs this year and almost died in May. She came to my house after she left the hospital and was so much better when she left here. She told me she never wanted another drink – the doctor told her when she was in the hospital that she would die if she started drinking again. Her liver was sick and she had developed “wet brain” (Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome). She stayed sober about two months and just all of a sudden started drinking again.

    She died at her home alone and I pray she just passed away in her sleep and didn’t suffer. She had secluded herself and they said she had been dead a few days when they found her. I hoped up until the morning I got the call that she would quit drinking. I still didn’t want to believe she was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I felt I had abandoned her but no one could live with her when she was drinking.

    I know she was an adult and made her own choices. I didn’t cause her to drink and I couldn’t cure her either. But I wanted to. I wanted to fix her. The only thing that kept me from that was what I learned in my ALANON meetings. They will help you learn how take care of yourself and avoid the tornado like life that an addict will lead you to as you try to fix them.

    I hope our country will develop some long term rehab programs. 8-30 days just isn’t enough for most of the addicts

    I don’t miss what she had become but I miss my girl.

  24. Barbielanell says:

    Reading these painful posts I am again reminded that I am not alone. Nothing I could reveal here would be shocking. That fact is sadly comforting, but only in a relative manner that no one who does not live the life (nightmare) of an alcoholic’s (or two alcohics’ in my case ): parent could understand. I am in a state of humble prayer for all of us.

  25. helen says:

    my son is 42 and has been drinking since he was 17 he is a binge drinker I am a widow of 10 years and I do not want to care for my son any more I want him to move out of my home but I know he can not cope on his own what do I do

  26. Pam says:

    My son is 30 years old and an alcoholic. He was released from prison 6 mos. ago, and is on probation for another 6 mos. He is living in my trailer, and driving my sister’s car. He doesn’t drink and drive. I have always been his primary support, have always let him live with me. Recently he missed a very important appointment due to being too hung over to get up. It was with a psychiatrist, and was to recertify his Social Security disability benefits. I was so angry at him for missing this appointment I left and moved in my sister who lives nearby. I cannot support him any longer. He is verbally and emotionally abusive to me. My trailer is very small and really cannot house both of us. I am able to live at my sister’s for now. I am about to get HUD, which in CA will assist me in getting a new place. My son was initially going to get HUD through me…but I have changed that. I cannot drive him around, go to store to buy alcohol for him, get up to drive his girlfriend to work early in morning, etc. I feel like I’m being used and abused. I recently went to al-anon. My guilt is eating me up. I don’t want him to get arrested again. I need to live my own life now however….I was very stressed out when I was living with him in my trailer. I feel like I shouldn’t have let him come home to me and my trailer after his release from prison. He has a roof and a car to drive for now. I am letting him live his own life. He has another appointment with a psychiatrist coming up….I left him information about that appt. I’m hoping he makes that one, because he will lose his benefits if he misses it. He is being abusive to me with text messages. I need to turn my phone off. I know I can’t go back to trailer with him there…but its so hard! I need to find another al-anon meeting today.

  27. Mae says:

    My story is pretty much a carbon copy of all the others
    I kicked my 37 year old alcoholic son out.he don’t know his way around this city.should I leave it in God’s hands or put a missing person report.since I kicked him out.

  28. Pat says:

    My son is 39 and also a alcoholic. He recently was kicked out of my mother’s home where he was staying after getting out of jail. He spent 2 months in jail for choking me I had him artested. It was the hardest thing I had to do. I too thought after spending two months in jail that he would stay sober and be on the right path. I was wrong he started doing the same thing over and over. With no job for a month somehow he was sneaking alcohol into my mother home. He would become verbally abusive with till she had enough and asked him to leave. He begged her on hands and knees not to throw him out,but my husband and made him leave. He now sleeps in his truck sometimes that is broken outside his grandmother home. Still drinking heavy I worry about him still. Somehow I too started going to AL non meeting. I learned that I wasn’t alone that I have God for help. Somehow as a mom I wish he was a little kid again that way this pain wouldn’t be so hard.

Leave a Comment

[Do not use your full name]