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My 40 Year Old Daughter Is an Alcoholic and Is Losing Her Family. What Can I Do?

She has had a drinking problem for a couple of years but now it is out of control. She was in rehab at a county rehab for 8 weeks. She got out last Thursday and went home and started drinking again. She has a 16 year old daughter, 14 year old son and 13 year old daughter.

Her husband has tried to help her for years. Her childhood was tough (I divorced, wasn't a great mother because I had my own issues). I feel so horrible and I want to help her.

She can't seem to stop drinking and drinks whenever she stays with me and lies. My 16 year old granddaughter called me tonight and said her mom is in a motel (2 hours away from us) and after tonight has no money. She can't drive for 2 years (DUI) and her husband took her credit cards away from her since all she does is buy liquor. He has decided to file for divorce.

No one in the family will help her. Her father (my ex) is a recovering alcoholic and refuses to talk to her anymore because she won't listen. I can't stand the thought of her on the streets but every time she comes here she drinks and lies. She has a disease plus has Celiac and a bladder disease. She is not healthy and feels lost.

She has told me she wants her family but alcohol keeps winning. I am so sad and scared for her. My son told me she has to do it herself and that I can't do anything for her. I can't sleep and worry all the time. Is there anything I can do? I don't have money to send her to a rehab and her husband sent her a year and a half ago and won't pay again. She went to county but left. I don't want her to feel abandoned by her family since that is all she has left. Answer

Your son is right, she has to want to help herself before anyone can help her. And if she isn't prepared to do that, there isn't a lot you can do. She's had the opportunity to turn her life around by going to rehab, but clearly just isn't committed to doing anything about her alcoholism.

That usually means she hasn't reached her rock-bottom and so needs to keep living with the consequences of her addiction no matter how bad things get, to hopefully reach the point where she's had enough. Because until she reaches that point and becomes desperate, she isn't going to be prepared to put in the work to change.

Feeling sorry for your daughter isn't the answer either, because all you'll the end up doing is enabling her alcoholism even further. She has to understand that she is responsible for the choices she makes, and that her well-being is entirely in her hands.

Alcoholics thrive on playing victim and justifying why they drink. Because it absolves them of having to take responsibility. So don't fall into that trap either. Your daughter may not have had the ideal upbringing, but that's no excuse for her behavior. So don't feel guilty or blame yourself for what's going on.

Right now your daughter needs to know that she can't keep on making excuses, and that if she ever wants to get healthy and be a good mother to her children, it's up to her to make it happen. Yes there are people out there who can help her, but that will only be possible once she is ready to take full responsibility for her life and the situation she now finds herself in.

So you need to be firm with your daughter and convey the message that while you love her, it's time she starts loving herself and commits 100% to beating her alcoholism. That's all you can do. Then you have to let go and make peace with the fact that your daughter's destiny is out of your hands, and that what will be, will be.

Best of Luck

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