My Daughter Has A Drinking Problem

JC: Great story Janice!  I can only imagine the difficulty in having tough love with your daughter because of her drinking problem.  With her husband being an alcoholic too, that’s a mixture for difficult times ahead. Here’s the thing though, in the midst of the storms within this situation, I know that God is working. On the surface it always appears as though things will never change, but in many instances  “suddenly” things do. You have to be prepared for the suddenly moments. Keep learning all that you can on having tough love with an alcoholic,  setting boundaries and detachment from an alcoholic. Your miraculous intervention could be today!

praying momGuest Post By: Janice

I left my alcoholic husband 33 years ago when my daughter was 3 years old and never looked back. Only looked forward. He was emotionally abusive, telling me that if I left him no one else would have me because I was fat and ugly. I bought into that mentality and stayed and tried to make it work. But, all of our money was going for alcohol. We went from being financially comfortable (I was able to be a stay-at-home mom and loved it) to my having to get a job and a babysitter so that I could pay the bills. I found out that he was messing around (Unfaithful Alcoholic) with other women and also men, and decided that my daughter deserved better even if I didn’t.

My mother graciously offered her home to us (she lived about 200 miles away) so that I could get on my feet and eventually make a home for myself and my daughter – which I did! It was the greatest feeling! It took about a year and a lot of prayer, but I eventually was able to buy a house and make a home. My ex-husband tried to woo me back, but there was no way I would ever go back. He also faked a suicide attempt. I guess that was supposed to scare me into thinking “Oh no – he is going to kill himself. I’d better go back.” Didn’t happen. He later wrecked his company car while driving drunk and ended up in the hospital. Of course, he had his brother call me so that I would be filled with sympathy. That didn’t happen either.

I had a full-time job and a daughter to raise. He was an adult and I couldn’t raise him too. And I didn’t want to. After the divorce, he was supposed to pay child support of $125 per month and never paid a dime. He did have visitation rights and did see our daughter a few times, but soon lost interest in that and finally stopped contacting me altogether. He told people that I would not let him see our daughter, but that is not true (alcoholics tell lies). I would not let him drive her anywhere because of his history of drinking and driving, but I would have taken her to his grandmother’s house or other family member’s houses to see him if he really wanted to see her. He just didn’t care about her but, true to alcoholic form, played the victim. I later married a man who was not an alcoholic, but turned out to be extremely abusive. That marriage lasted 9 months and was horrible! I really thought I loved this man, but he was a Jekyll & Hyde and after the honeymoon, Hyde appeared. So, I dragged my daughter through another mess as I managed to get free from him.

I had to plot and plan and rat-hole money in order to get away from him, but get away we did!

couple holding handsFinally, FINALLY, after swearing off romantic relationships forever because obviously I had a serious flaw when it came to choosing a husband, I accidentally met someone who is my best friend, my soul mate, and the love of my life and we have now been married 26 years. He had custody of his children from a previous marriage and so we were a real-life version of the Brady Bunch. Our home wasn’t perfect, but there was a lot of love, laughter, school activities, church activities and just regular things that families do.

Today, my daughter is a full-blown alcoholic. She is married to an alcoholic. She has a daughter from a previous marriage and two children with her current husband. She exhibits a lot of behaviors that I dealt with from her biological father. She is very detached from her children, she is irresponsible with money, she thinks nothing of drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car, is sexually promiscuous and is extremely critical of anyone who doesn’t endorse her behavior. She is very passive-aggressive towards me, though. She says very ugly things to and about me, but always as a Facebook post or an e-mail or a text. She doesn’t want to say anything to my face. Her comments are all-inclusive, irrational, and mostly just lies. I used to cry my heart out, then apologize to her for what must have been my shortcomings as a mother and we would “make up” until she had her next meltdown. Well, for some reason, her last meltdown was the last straw for me. I have only touched on the tip of the iceberg.

sadnessThere are hundreds (not exaggerating) of times in the past that my husband and I have pulled her out of the muck and she expressed gratitude at the time, but it was soon forgotten when I didn’t jump through the next hoop to her liking. She faked a suicide attempt to try to get her alcoholic husband to pay attention to her, but all she did was alienate herself from her oldest daughter (who was 15 years old at the time). Her daughter was extremely hurt, confused, and felt abandoned. She was also very angry because she couldn’t believe that her mother would do something like that without even thinking about how it would affect her children. The suicide attempt was what really brought the truth of my daughter’s alcoholism to my face. Since we do not have an Al-Anon group in my community, my husband and I sought Christian counseling and it was the best thing we ever did for her because we are leaning how to help her without enabling her. I also ordered the CDs  on how to deal with alcoholics  from this website, and listened to them in the car. The last nasty e-mail I received from her was, I decided, going to be the last. I responded by telling her that if  I really was such a horrible mother, then she should find comfort in the fact that she had repaid me exponentially. I ended my response with “It’s over. I’m done. Have a nice life.” I then changed my e-mail settings so that future e-mails from her will be deleted before I ever see them (how to set boundaries with an  alcoholic). She unfriended me and blocked me on Facebook right after she sent her last nasty e-mail, so I didn’t have to do that. I went through a period that was very much like grieving the death of a loved one. It was horrible, but I did get through it with the help of my husband and a lot of Christian friends & family who were praying for us.

I see my grandchildren by visiting them at school. They are always happy to see me and the hugs and kisses I get from them helps more than anything else. My husband thinks there is still going to be a big confrontation between us and my daughter in the future and he may be right. I don’t know. I just know that alcoholics and addicts are users. They will use alcohol, drugs, family, other people – whatever it takes – for their own self-gratification. Some people have told me that alcoholism is a disease just as cancer is a disease. I beg to differ. People don’t make the choice to get cancer. Alcoholics choose to drink. Alcoholism is 100% curable. Cancer is not.

14 comments to My Daughter Has A Drinking Problem

  • Sandy

    Wow Janice . . you have really been to hell and back; and look where it’s got you . . a wonderful man and a life where you are taking care of you. It must have been the hardest thing in the world to cut your daughter off but good for you – I am a true believe in tough love and I do feel if an addict is going to wake up . . 9 times out of 10 tough love is the only way to make it happen . . I had to call the cops on my AH and have him put in jail for domestic abuse to wake him up . . he’s 4+ months sober now and doing really well . . I know nothing about you and your family, but I do believe you will hear from your daughter again . . I’m hoping and praying it will be to tell you she’s quit drinking and turned her life around . . miracles do happen as you know . . God bless . .


  • C

    Am so sorry to read about the terrible turmoil you have been through. Hopefully, you are able to enjoy your life because you deserve to have peace and happiness.

    We learn here that we can’t make someone stop drinking or expect them to tell the truth about anything. It’s almost like every alcoholic is exactly the same.

    Hope you are strong enough to not have health problems from this situation.

  • Rhonda

    So glad I clicked on your story and read it. I too have a daughter who is an alcoholic. Your story could have been my own when it comes to her behavior and your daughters behavior. It is so hard and beyond anything I have experienced. Very hurtful. I so understand!! I have let go of the relationship as well. She is 31 now and continues the same behavior. I too have stopped all communication. I think the only way I have been able to endure and have a peace of mind is my relationship with God and seeking out educating myself on the disease. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rick

    Thank you for sharing, I feel for you and am strengthened by your faith and courage to leave. The situation with your daughter, i would think, harder than that of your husbands. I hate to imagine. You should feel really proud of yourself. I’m not there yet.My AH wife of 20 years and i are still together raising our two beautiful children, but we have nothing for each other. She has not had a drink in 3 years and thinks she is well, but her thinking is the same as it has always been. Some reason to be upset and depressed everyday. I want a loving marriage like you have found.I hope that someday i can have the courage to leave, but i keep waiting for God to work a miracle.
    I guess that is my craziness. Anyway, know that people have never met you, are touched and encouraged by you.

  • Janice

    Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. I am so sorry for the grief that you have suffered as well. I agree and believe that God is working on my daughter because that is my daily prayer and He has never let me down. My counselor says she will mostly likely have to “hit rock bottom” before turning her life around. My husband and I also revised our wills and her share of any inheritance will go to her children, with my son as trustee of those funds as long as the children are minors. We worried about putting him in such a position, but he assured us that he is okay with it and that he will just follow the instructions in the will and refer her to that when she protests. I hate to put him in that position, and am selfishly thankful that I won’t be around to know about it. Thank you all again for your comments and I am adding you to my prayer list!

  • John

    Rick, that’s wonderful thing that your wife’s sober. I cannot help but wonder if there is a way for you and your wife to have “something” for each other. I guess it’s probably hard to communicate with her about working on the relationship together since she still has that alcoholic thinking going on. Does she have a relationship with God?

    I have three daughters, ages twenty one to twenty nine. I thank God none of them has a drinking problem. That’s a miracle because alcoholism is spread throughout our family tree.

    I do know what it is like to have to set boundaries though with an addict. A very close friend of my recently relapsed and it has been hell on earth. It’s so hard to practice having tough love with her. Like Janice, I too ordered the audio lessons from this site. They have helped me tremendously in my dealings with my friend.

    I want to jump in and rescue her, but I learned that won’t help her reach a bottom. I’ve been doing my best to express unconditional love and at the same time detach from all of the drama. Thankfully, she hasn’t been angry or aggressive so our relationship has remained in tact. I do worry about her often though. She seems to be gradually getting more and more depressed.

    Janice, I did want to say that I do believe that alcoholism is a disease. I’ve attended many AA meetings and have heard alcoholics share about how they had an awful struggle quitting after having a relapse. Here’s a good video on what researchers have discovered: I don’t want to get off topic, but I feel it’s important to understand that if an alcoholic gets sober and tries to drink again, they will go right back to struggling with drinking. Once they quit, they can never drink again. If we grasp this, we could be in danger of contributing to them relapsing by telling conveying the message that they are cured and can handle drinking in moderation.

  • Janice

    John – your point about alcoholism being a disease does make sense. It really doesn’t have a cure – it can only be controlled. Maybe I shouldn’t compare it to cancer. Maybe it is more like diabetes? It’s still not a good comparison, because a diabetic really can eat small amounts of sugar occasionally and keep his/her diabetes under control; yet an alcoholic must abstain completely in order to maintain control.

    Thanks for all of the great comments! I am learning from you all as well!

  • Debbi

    Janice–You are such a strong person to have survived 2 relationships of abuse and took such good care of your daughter during those ordeals. Not speaking or having contact with your daughter is heartbreaking I’m sure but every thing you did, you did it correct and with love. I am sure your actions now of setting those boundaries will start to have some effect on your daughter and soon you will see things start to turn–keep us posted & you are in everyone’s prayers.

  • Mum

    I am struggling with detaching with love from my A daughter mainly because she is seriously ill with liver disease and in hospital now. She is only 25 and will not live much longer if she continues to drink. I asked her to leave my home as she refused to stick to my no alcohol rule at home. All that has done is make her health deteriorate even more. She has a court case coming up for refusing a breath test when she passed out at the wheel if her parked car. I live alone and struggle every minute of everyday to understand how to detach from the wee person I carried for 9 months. I know it’s the disease we are supposed to detach from but putting it into practice is hard


  • Janice

    Oh Mum – my heart breaks as I read your comment! 25 is so young! It’s so hard to understand how people can love this stuff called alcohol (or drugs)so much because it doesn’t love them back. It only destroys them. I pray that the judge will order your daughter to be admitted to rehab or other treatment center. The sad truth that I have had to face is that I cannot help my daughter. You would think that the person who carried this child for 9 months would be able to help, but we can’t because they will not let us. We can only pray. But, never forget that prayer is the most powerful tool in the universe and we all have access to it. I’m putting you & your daughter on my prayer list!

  • Janice

    Thank you Debbi, for your words of encouragement! I struggle with feelings of failure every day and your comment really helps. God bless you!

  • Mum

    Thank you Janice prayers most welcome as she is having a blood transfusion right now. I take great comfort in reading all the posts on here and realising I am not entirely alone.

    God bless you and yours too


  • Pattio


    Just read your post, you and your daughter will be in my prayers. Please try to get sone support for yourself, it’s important x

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