Dealing with an alcoholic son — the knock on effect.

I was at work, Friday afternoon and I got a call from Sam, ‘can you come around to my house please, everything’s okay but I need to tell you something and can you please bring Jill (my wife) with you’.

As a single father I’ve always encouraged my kids to be open and honest, not only with me but in everyday life, I believe that when there are no secrets, you can sleep easily at night.

Sam, who at the time was 33 years old and his wife and little 16 month old Audrey only live 5 minutes from the office so Jill and I finished up what we were doing and made our way around there.

With some curiosity we were taken down to the back living area and sat down to hear whatever was on my son’s mind.

‘I’ve drunk ten litres of vodka in the last eight days’ … he looked bloated, red and sick. He was sick, very sick and had finally accepted that he could no longer hide it which is why he called.

I’m also the kind of guy that doesn’t fall off the chair in shock and horror at statements like this. Consistency is what is needed at this time, your children need to see that you are solid so they have something they can rely on.

‘Wow, that’s a lot of booze’ I said. ‘’Yes, I know’ was his reply.

‘What are you going to do’? I asked. The answer was not apparent but stage one was completed, it was no longer a secret and he had opened the way for help.

We game planned possible solutions and all of knew that they wouldn’t come overnight, to this point they haven’t come at all and it continues to be a problem today.

Sam is one of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet and I’m not just saying that as a father, I’m saying it as an observer. I do not know of anyone who dislikes him (although we all have a few) He is a high achiever and as a project manager, fiercely committed to any work he undertakes, often travelling long distances and working 80-hour weeks to complete his assignments.

How did it all fall apart? I’m still trying to figure this out and I probably never will. The first pointing of the finger was at myself of course, ‘I have been too lenient with him’, I wasn’t a good enough father when he was growing up’ … so many self accusations.

Fortunately I have a wonderful wife who helps me to see thing objectively and not subjectively, I know that as a 34 year old man who has made such choices as buying his own property, getting married and having children he is aware of his responsibilities but Sam has, for as long as I can remember, been a selfish person.

During one of our recent conversations I bought this up and told him that this is just a trait of his, I don’t want him to change it although he can if he wants to but I wanted him to understand that he is who he is and it would be beneficial to everyone if he could accept that and work with it.

I thought this was happening but then I found out he was lying about his drinking and hiding it from us. When he is drunk, he often talks about how much better off we would all be if he just took his own life,

I’m just a liability’ he says. Two day ago I found out he was is drinking again, I learned that her arrived at his brother’s house some 150kilometres away with a litre bottle of vodka, drank himself into a stupor, tried to pick a fight with his brother and then fell into a drunken sleep where he remained for the night.

I understand that he is driving back today, I’m worried sick about him — he is in a bad state of mind again, I wish he could understand the knock on effect of his actions on those who love him to bits.