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Drinking to Excess, Locked Away in Room

girl up late upset father in doorway

hopinheart has weathered years of her Loved One’s use, often with dramatic consequences. Living back at home again, she is in a destructive cycle of using to excess which has now spilled over into her work. She has regularly been driving under the influence. Scared about her Loved One’s situation, this family member turns to CRAFT for guidance.

Hello- our adult daughter (mid 20's) has lived with us for a year after being asked to leave by her then boyfriend, whom she lived with for about a year, the rest of the time at college or with us. She has had struggled with alcohol for about 10 years, being asked to leave her first college after 3 trips to the ER; having a DUI; losing friends, and now basically coming in here every Friday night and being incommunicado till Monday morning. One Friday morning she was unresponsive and we called 911. Her blood alcohol was triple the legal limit. She did the same at our relatives' for a holiday and had to be transported from there. It's scary and humiliating. My husband and I have been to AlAnon and she has had one stint in rehab for basically 3 weeks, 6 years ago. Read this member’s full comment here.

Your daughter is in her mid 20s and is struggling with a serious alcohol problem. She works, which provides a brief pause in her use, but that line seems to have been recently crossed when her supervisor drove her home because she was noticeably impaired.

The situation sounds serious and dangerous. To answer your questions:

1) The only purpose of searching her and her things is for information that you would use when you sit down to talk about treatment (See Learning Module 8). A talk will take time to set up, since it calls for a treatment list and other options for her to choose from (a different place to live? Alternatives to driving?). Searching her things can also help you answer the question of whether or not she is using, and what she is using, so that YOU know how to behave according to the CRAFT principles around her. The goal of searching through her things is not to prove that she is lying, or getting her to admit that she is using.

2) Not eating is a different – though perhaps related – problem, but should probably be put aside for now. We would suggest you address the drinking first.

It’s not clear whether she is drinking in her room or sleeping away the weekend. My heart goes out to the two of you. It is a very worrisome situation.

It’s important not to give up on treatment. Your daughter needs treatment, without question.

The treatment can start with something as minimal as taking naltrexone (monthly injection is called vivitrol). The drug is an opioid blocker that reduces the urge to continue drinking once you start. She will need more than that to fully address the depth of her addiction. But any movement towards treatment would be positive at this point.

Your home is her using ground. She is not able to stop herself from driving while under the influence. You can’t be her police, being responsible for protecting her and others from the damage her drinking can do. It just won’t succeed.

The Learning Modules on this site will give you a lot of important strategies and examples of how to gain back your house, your peace, and get her into treatment. These may all feel like enormous tasks, but we’re here to show you a pathway and like all journeys it’s taken one step at a time. Much of what we suggest are small things to improve upon, that together will help unblock the situation you are in.

These small steps are significant and will help you now and going forward. My issue though is that this process can take 6 to 12 weeks. I think your daughter’s level of risk calls for a more rapid intervention.

I suggest you provide Uber or rides to where she needs to go, and park her car for the immediate future. If this can be done, then dig in to the Learning Modules. We can work together to get her to help. If she insists on driving herself going forward, she is at too high a risk. I would recommend an interventionist if she is very resistant to getting help. We have discussed intervenion in other posts.. I also suggest that you look into a civil commitment (also discussed in other posts).

Start by looking at Learning Module 8, to see what is involved with making the request that your daughter go to treatment. Preparing that list – for whenever you are able to have a conversation about treatment – is something concrete you can work on. Doing this leg work pays off when the moment presents itself to discuss treatment, even if it does take the form of a planned conversation. You will have to be the judge as to what to try first…

Let us know what you decide to do next, and we will be here to help. We are here for you.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)