Help for Son with Alcoholism
Joseph Lawson Asks ...
Hi...I live in CT....my adult son (37),,lives in Holly Hill Fla with my exwife...he has a serious drinking problem...I recently..last weekend...had to call the local police there..because he was having a phycotic episode and was hearing voices..I was in fear of him hurting himself or his mother...the police took him to the local hospital..he was held overnight and given fluids since his potassium levels were dangerously low and sent home the next day!...He called me today and seems to be hallucinating again...he has no insurance..we have no money...is there any help available..I am living in fear of the worst and dont know what to do ..living so far away..please help and advise..thank you
Anna Deeds Says ...
Thank you for you question. I'm sure you are very concerned for your son. He clearly needs treatment for his alcohol problem. He may need mental health treatment as well although his mental health symptoms could be caused by the alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, he is an adult and you cannot make him get treatment. You can continue to call the local police when he is behaving oddly but unless he asks for help with his alcoholism, they most likely will treat the immediate problem and let him go. You can try to convince him to get help but if he doesn't want it, you cannot make him. I would point out how miserable he is with his life and that treatment can help him have a better quality of life. Ask him what he has to lose by giving treatment a chance.
What is your ex-wife doing about the situation? She has a better chance of getting through to him since she is living with him. You may want to talk to her and convince her to not enable him. She may be paying his bills, buying him alcohol, letting him live with her, etc which will only keep him caught in the same cycle of alcohol abuse. If you and other family members could get to Florida to see him, you could have an intervention. These work best when preformed by a professional. The reason this is better with a professional is because it can just turn into an argument without a professional to keep things from getting out of control. If you do an intervention on your own, you would have to be careful to stay calm and present your case without giving in to the argumentativeness of the alcoholic. The basic idea is to confront the alcoholic about their behavior, point out the effect on the family in a non-judgmental and caring way while refusing to continue any enabling. For instance, the family could insist that he enter treatment or he will not be allowed to live with family anymore. Some people question the effectiveness of treatment when it is forced but many alcoholics will begin to want treatment once the alcohol leaves their system and they can think clearly.
He could get treatment without money or insurance by going to his local hospital and asking for alcohol treatment. Hospitals have social workers who can refer him to treatment.
In addition, I suggest you go to Al-Anon meetings to help you deal with the effect your son's alcohol abuse is having on you. Good luck with getting your son to agree to treatment. I hope he gets help.