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My 22 Year Old Son Lives at Home and Admits He Is an Alcoholic.

My son is 22, lives at home, works, and is taking on-line classes. We found out several years ago when my husband and I came home from vacation that he is an alcoholic. He was very drunk when we walked through the door, and he explained he got drunk on purpose so he could tell us he thinks he is an alcoholic.

He insisted we go to his car and look in the trunk. It was full of empty cans and bottles! My husband nor I drink or ever have, and this was very hard to comprehend. Since then, we have tried different approaches, but usually it is a loving approach. We have been trying not to talk to him when he is drunk because we have found out it does no good, although when he is drunk he acts desperate for a way to quit.

When he becomes sober, he will admit he needs help, but is more reserved about it. He takes meds for depression and sees a psychiatrist for this. He tried an alcoholic counselor for a short time but he didn't "click" with the counselor. His psychiatrist has prescribed antabuse for him and he was recently sober for 50 days, but has now started drinking again.

I’m sure in a few weeks he will try hard again not to drink as this is his pattern, but it won’t last. He takes the antabuse during his work week so he doesn't miss work, and then stops taking them in time for his days off. He needs counseling for the alcohol abuse, he admits it, so the other night we offered to help pay for the counseling. ( He pays for all of his own bills except rent. This is our agreement since he is going to school).

My son agreed, and was suppose to call his psychiatrist's office to inquire about the possibilities of receiving counseling from him, as he thinks a lot of him. When we got up the next morning he was missing, ( he does this when he is on a binge), and is missing again this morning, his days off.

To us it feels like a slap in the face, and that perhaps he is telling us he doesn't want help after all. We are on the verge of asking him to move out as we feel we may be enabling him since we have not been harsh at this point. It is also hard on my husband and I watching his every move.

We asked him to be home this evening so we could talk, and he is not. Do we give him more time to make the call to his psychiatrist? If we kick him out he will probably not be able to finish school, but I wonder if that is even an issue at this point.

It is difficult because when we wait until he is sober to talk to him, he is very pleasant and agreeable, and it will be very hard to actually kick him out. Are we on the right track? Should we go through with it? Answer

It's a difficult decision you're faced with because on the one hand you don't want to kick your son out and potentially jeopardise his studies/future - but on the other hand what kind of future will he have anyway if he doesn't do something about his alcoholism?

Forget trying to talk to him when he's on a binge, so while he's obviously disappointed you in not coming home to talk as promised, know that when he's on a binge you're wasting your time in trying to communicate and its better to wait until it's over and he's sober again. Best not to take it personally.

So the best thing to do is wait until he's back at work and sober - and then sit him down and talk to him - and agree to a plan of action at the same time. And of course there must be no imminent off days pending so that he has the opportunity to back out.

Now while psychiatrists do provide a valuable service, we're not convinced they're your best best in dealing with something as specialised and complex as addiction/alcoholism. So the ideal scenario would be to get your son into an in-patient alcohol rehab facility. Time away from everyday pressures and temptations, coupled with an intensive and specialised treatment program, will provide your son with the best possible opportunity to get his life on track and overcome his alcoholism.

Missing some classes and getting time off work is in the long run a small price to pay to try and properly deal with his problem, otherwise it could just end up dragging on and on. Alcoholism is also progressive so unless he really deals with it now, it's only going to get worse over time.

So you need to sit your son down when he's sober and tell him that this ongoing cycle of his has to end. And that the way to do that is he goes to an inpatient treatment facility and commits to turning his life around. If he does that you'll do all you can to support him. If however he refuses, because you love him and can't watch his cycle of self-destruction continue, you're going to have to kick him out, until he's really ready to do something about his problem.

And the other benefit to going through a treatment program is that they deal with dual-diagnosis disorders so will look to help him for his depression at the same time. Try and contact some rehab facilities in the meantime to get your son provisionally booked in, so when you talk to him and should he agree, he needs to go almost immediately. Because if you leave it too long and he has another opportunity to go on a binge, he might change his mind.

So there is plenty help available out there. It's just a matter of getting the right/best help available - and then the rest is up to your son and how committed he really is to turning his life around. Best of Luck

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