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My 22 Year Old Son's Alcohol Abuse is Out of Control, But He Doesn't Think He Has a Problem. Should We Make Him Move Out?

My 22 year old son has a 10 month old baby and he is embattled in a difficult custody case over him. His ex girlfriend (they broke up shortly after she became pregnant) has borderline personality disorder, but refuses to continue in treatment and her family thinks the devil has possessed her and they are praying over her instead of seeking any medical treatment.

He is a full time college student and had a good job working on his off days, but he lost that because he didn't show up (too hung over from drinking). He totalled his car last week and is facing a dui charge now. He is a wonderful dad - when the baby is with him - very loving, attentive hands on - he does the diaper changings and the feedings - everything since he was a newborn. He has him 3 to 4 days a week.

He lives here and we support his quest in full time parenting, however, his drinking is a big problem. We also have 5 other (younger) children, ages 17, 14, 13, 9, 6. We had to go get him at the police station last week after the accident at 4:00 AM! He never drinks when the baby is here - in fact he only takes him to the store or to his grandparents and the rest of the time they are here.

Residential rehab would result in lost custody for him and full time to the mother, and out patient rehab schedules interfere with his school schedule. These are the excuses he has given me - but bottom line is he thinks he's handling this himself. Well, he came in drunk at 3:30AM this morning - excessively drunk - and passed out in the middle of the game room on the floor.

Should we ask him to move out? I already have but I don't know where he'll go and he's not really making an attempt to go anyways. I am at a loss as to what to do. He seems remorseful when sober, usually, and he is not violent at all. I really need some advice here. Answer

The thing is, as long as there are no real consequences for your son continuing to abuse alcohol like he is, there is no real motivation for him to change. But at the same time it's a tricky situation because he's a father and there is a baby to consider.

Regular alcohol abuse isn't that unusual for 22 year olds, so maybe it's just a phase and part of him growing up while he finds his way in the world. It doesn't excuse or condone the behavior, but it is quite common and many do become more responsible with age.

So if he does get custody of the baby and does essentially become a full-time parent, he'll hopefully embrace the added responsibility and the regular alcohol abuse will fall away. That's why there isn't necessarily an obvious answer to your question.

Kicking him out may be a good thing and you do have your other children to consider. Or are there other ways to create consequences for him that will hurt if he continues to drink if you allow him to continue staying at home?

So not being there to really get a feel for your environment, it's impossible to give a definitive answer. Trust your instincts. I know it won't be easy, but your son is an adult and needs to start learning that poor choices create undesirable consequences, so whatever you decide know that your son has to start taking responsibility for his life.

Good Luck

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