When do you Give Up on an Alcoholic Child?

by Patsy
(Fort Myers, FL.)

I have a 47 year old Alcoholic Son. He has been drinking since he was 18 years old. He has lost three wives, three children and two homes, not to mention many jobs. He has periods of sobriety, because of Rehab and AA, but no more than a year, off and on.

His son, 22 years old, committed Suicide two years ago and my son hasn't drawn a sober breath Since! Our Family has done all we know how to save his life, and nothing helps.

He is now sleeping in a tent in a homeless camp and he has developed physical problems.

Just when do we Give Up On Him? Do we just allow him to die in the woods, like an animal?


Reply



This is a very sad situation. It can be challenging to know when or if to give up on someone who is lost in addiction. I cannot, unfortunately, give you the answer to that. This is a decision that you have to make as an individual. He is your son. It would be completely understandable if you never stopped trying to save him, and it would be equally understandable if you decide that you cannot ride the “roller coaster” of his addiction any longer and need to break free. The best advice that I can give is to do what feels right to your conscience. It is a delicate balance between making a decision that you will not regret and, at the same time, taking care of yourself.

You cannot force him to be sober if he does not want to be. There is no guarantee that he will ever achieve sobriety and live the life that you desire for him. It is important for you to accept that there is only so much that you can do and come to terms with that. You need to know that you did the best that you could. That knowledge will help you deal with whatever the future holds. The serenity prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” This is a wise prayer because it keeps you from extending yourself unnecessarily to try to change things that you cannot change.

Based on the fact that he has given up so much in the name of alcohol (wives, homes, children, jobs, etc.), it is obvious that this addiction is the most important and powerful force in his life right now. After thirty years of living this way, he is unlikely to change unless he decides that he wants it and commits to seeking resources for sobriety. If you are able, you can continue to encourage him in that direction, offer your support if he chooses it, and remind him of how much you believe in him. This will give him a foundation should he ever decide to take the steps toward a different life. If he is open to counseling, it could be of great benefit to him in his grieving process over his son as well as helping him to make a plan for getting sober.

Comments for When do you Give Up on an Alcoholic Child?

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Jun 22, 2019
Serenity Prayer
by: Anonymous

Realized for the first time, struggling to help my adult daughter ADMIT she is an alcoholic, that the Serenity Prayer works both ways ... for the person who is the alcoholic and the people in their lives struggling with them being one. My mother was a recovering alcoholic that I was able to get involved in AA, and it saved her. I have been unable, to this point, to get my daughter to even admit she has a problem. I have a sense of guilt that she came by it through genetics which makes it harder to stand by and watch her destroy herself, but I know she has to first admit to herself what is going on.

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My son has given up, should I?

by John R.
(USA)

My son is an alcoholic, and homeless. He drinks and doesn't care about anything else. I've tried to help him, but he refuses my efforts. What should I do?

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