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Is my Daughter an Alcoholic?

My daughter is 21, very sweet girl. Her father is a 3rd generation alcoholic and tries to recover but not sucessfully. She has always been a hard child ... not very happy with herself.

She has been in College for 3 years. Makes ok grades, anything that doesn't go her way is everyone else's fault. She has anger issues and has been through a lot of room-mates ...

Freshman year she side-swiped and totalled her car ... not drinking. A month ago messed up tire rod and about totalled front end and said she hit a curb. Got a call today and she flipped her car and doesn't remember how? Was taken to hospital and released. Thankfully not injured and no one else was involved.

She begged me not to be mad and said she had a problem. I was definitely not mad, I am just sick. I don't know what to do. It is a blessing she was not hurt and I love her so. I did tell her she needed to go to AA and I loved her.


I'm glad to hear your daughter is okay! In a way this accident could actually be a blessing because no one was hurt and it seems like it has given your daughter a real wake up call, and made her realise she has a problem.

Whether you define her problem as one of full-blown alcoholism or simply alcohol abuse at this stage shouldn't matter - because her problem is serious enough that it needs addressing before she hurts herself or someone else.

I think your approach has been spot on in the fact that you didn't get mad and were loving and supportive. But at the same time you need to be firm and create boundaries for her by telling her that she needs to get help (which of course you will support her totally in doing) and if she doesn't stop drinking you'll take her car away.

Then I would suggest you go and see a local Addictions Counselor together with your daughter and together decide on the best form of help/treatment for your daughter, e.g. inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, one-on-one counseling etc.

It may turn out that her current drinking habits are just a phase and that she responds well to whatever treatment/help she gets and is able to modify her behavior without much trouble going forward.

Or if her problem is more severe, and she is likely an alcoholic, she will need to undertake a recovery program that will help her create and live a new life of sobriety. Here 12 step programs like AA will help her do that.

With your daughter still being so young, it is difficult to say whether her current problem is in fact alcoholism. The warning signs of alcoholism are there, but like I said, it may be a phase she outgrows. (With alcoholism being hereditary and her father being an alcoholic - does place her more at risk)

She does need help at this point no question. So help her get that, and in doing so, it will become clearer whether her alcohol problem is a deeper one, or something she can overcome quite easily.

Either way, the fact that she's admitted to a problem and seems willing to do something about it is a great sign. You've done a great job handling this so far, and I'm sure everything will work out for the best.

God Bless

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Sep 07, 2009
by: C-P

You daughter may be an alcoholic, but whether or not she is, isn't the most important thing right now, because it does seem she has a problem without question. Get her help as suggested and hopefully her problem will be nipped in the bud before it gets worse. She's been lucky, which I think she realises, so hopefully that gives her the determination to do everything she can to address her problem with alcohol, and so overcome it successfully.

All the best

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