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How Long Should We As Parents Provide Financial Help To a Son Who Has an Alcohol Problem, Lies and Has Job Problems?

by Dorothy
(San Antonio, Texas USA)

Our son is 37 years old and we have been helping him financially since he lost one job about 6 years ago. He has held various low paying jobs since then but is depressed and "stressed out" much of the time.

He has his own apartment but we have helped him with rent for the majority of that time and helped with his other bills as well. He has taken over most of his bills now and has had a job for almost a year but we worry every day that he will do something to mess that up.

He had a DWI about 11 years ago but the last several years he has been drinking again, mostly at his apartment and we thought he had learned his lesson. Recently on two occasions he has gone to a bar and then driven home. The last time he did this he blacked out and had an accident.

By some miracle it did not involve anyone else and he made it home with just the damage to the car. We have just about had our limit with the lies, drinking, helping with his medical bills, other bills and on and on. We don't know what to do but nothing we say seems to get through to him.

When he is not drinking he says he won't do it again. But when he is drinking he is depressed and full of the drama. How do we let go because he mentions doing something to himself to put himself out of his misery and I am afraid if we tell him he is on his own he will doing something drastic. ??? Answer

Hi Dorothy, all your son is doing is emotionally manipulating you into supporting him financially etc. because in doing so he doesn't have to take respnsibility for his drinking problem.

So by playing his game all you're doing is further enabling his behavior. You can't let him use emotional blackmail to make you feel responsible for the poor choices he continues to make.

He's the one making those choices, and until he has to start living with all the consequences that come with them (no matter how bad), he's never going to be sufficiently motivated to change.

So it's time you cut him off financially. He needs to start being held accountable. Let him know you love him and that if he agrees to professional help and treatment for his drinking problem you'll be supportive ... but that he needs to start taking responsibility for his life.

He will no doubt get angry and be very upset with you, but remember this is ultimately for his benefit. Because as long as you keep providing him with a financial lifeline, he has no real incentive to address his alcohol problem and amend his ways.

As parents you also need to learn to let go and accept there is only so much you can do. You've done your best and if your son wants to continue wrecking his life, then you have to let him do that, knowing that he chooses to do so.

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