Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reaching Out

A note from Ellie:  Alcoholism impacts every single person around an addict.    Knowing how to help a loved one suffering from addiction is a lonely, frightening place.   I emailed this person back suggesting Al-Anon as a resource; I know many, many people who have found a safe community there.   We posted this message here to let others know they aren't alone, and to encourage people who may have had similar experiences - either as an addict/alcoholic or a loved one - to reply with their own experience, strength and hope.     There are no easy answers, but by talking about it openly we help break down the isolation and denial in which addiction thrives.  

***Submitted by Anonymous

My 35 year old daughter has arrived at the place of full blown alcoholism. After getting sober from drugs in her twenties, she married an alcoholic that has encouraged her to drink. He likes her better that way and she can tolerate him more when she drinks.

Over a period of several years, it has evolved from a couple of beers a night for her to being intoxicated almost every evening from wine and beer. There is a lot of family conflict involving arguments, control, manipulations, and hiding the truth. The children ages nine and six are put in the position of hearing and seeing all that goes on. Little eyes and ears have take in big impressions. I have especially noticed changes in the nine year old who already stays close to home and has become moody.

I know this is a site for those who are trying to stay sober but please tell me how to help my daughter. I rarely say anything but when I do it just seems to separate us further.

I hope you will consider posting this so your readers can advise me. Thanks!


  1. I would have to second Ellie's suggestion for you to head on over to Al-Anon, and maybe make a night of it at grandma's and take the kids to an Alateen meeting as well.

    My husband has been through detox three times, and finally this year has taken steps to go through in patient rehab and try to get sober. I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing you can do to help your daughter, she has to help herself. It is the most awful feeling in the world, that helplessness, but once you accept that you can help yourself and those children.

    The most important thing I have learned in Al-anon is one of the first things they tell you, which is "You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, and you can't control it".

    Good luck. Take care of yourself.

  2. The three C's that anon mentioned are priceless.

    You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, you can't control it.

    The best thing about my meetings (Al-Anon and Nar-Anon) are that I get to process my feelings and how I feel and I know that I am not alone.

    One thing that is suggested at the meetings I go to is that a newcomer attend at least six meetings to get a true feel for the program. Different things are said and heard on different days. Different groups have different *vibes* and different personalities.

    I hope you find what you are looking for!

  3. I grew up with an alcoholic mother. I knew she had a problem from the age of 6 until she died when I was 15 (she was 34). Now as a 33 year old woman, I do wonder why my family, her family didn't do more...why they didn't step in more? Everyone just ignored it because it was easier. Who cares if she initially shunned it...maybe, just maybe she would have listened and did something about it. Either way...if you DO say something to your daughter and she seperates from you...at least you tried because the outcome can be death either way...

  4. My main concern is for those kids. I wonder if your daughter would be open to allowing you to take temporary custody until she can stabilize her life. Children are resilient, but they shouldn't have to go through this at such a tender age.

  5. The most loving thing you can do for your daughter is take care of yourself. Alanon, as suggested above, is the best way to start. Prayers for your family.

  6. Thanks for all the comments! I really appreciate the input. I'm going to be heading to Al-Anon.

  7. I feel for you in such a deep way. I am in recovery and my daughter has had to bear the brunt of my alcoholism all of her life. She goes to Al-Anon, but I'm not sure what kind of program she's working and, of course, it's none of my business.

    My concern lately is if she is becoming an alcoholic herself. When the possiblity first presented itself to me, I struggled mightily with those feelings of powerlessness and fear over others. I'll be heading to Al-Anon myself.

    I'm so glad you're open to your own recovery as the parent of an alcoholic. Prayers for your family, especially those undoubtedly precious children. My friend reminded me the other day that children have Higher Powers looking out for them too.

    Hugs to you.

    Lisa H.

  8. Definitely get your own help. But also, please, please, talk to her kids. Let them know that they're allowed and encouraged to talk about everything with you. Even if nobody said so, they know that what's going on is scary but also is supposed to be hidden. Don't let them stay bottled up like that. I can't tell you how much it will mean to them now and for the rest of their lives.