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He Doesn’t Think He Needs Any Treatment—He’s Out of His Mind!


rlabib was feeling hopeful, with his son back home and not using for several months…but now, relapse…and Dad doesn't know where to begin.

"I have had it with my 38 year-old-son, he was almost hit the ground in Houston, TX. and through a good member of our family in Houston, we booked him a one-way ticket to come here and stay with us at our home. He is an alcoholic, but his first three months went well, eating and sleeping and walking around the house, no cash in his hand, we buy cigarettes for him. Couple of days ago he started going to the 7-11 and hanging out there talking to other bums and asking for a beer and came home drunk. He is married with a three-year-old daughter.

I am not sure how to handle it anymore, I am not aware of the best action and course to take. Please help and direct me to the right path. He has no medical insurance, he thinks he does not need any medical treatment. He is out of his mind. I am not talking to him any more and told him that I will not support or help him anymore. I am sure there is a more suitable plan for handling such cases, but I am not aware of the right plan. Please help and guide us in our crisis. Thanks"

We have several family members on this site going through something similar: an adult son holed up in your home, using drugs/alcohol and refusing treatment. Please take a look at our response to their situation (click on a member's name to see their profile and the recent history of their comments):

1delapisa — and this post we wrote in response:

Ivy2015 — and these posts we have published in response:

Is.54:10 — and this response:

In your case, I would first note the incredible effort your son has made to stay sober for three months after arriving at your home. It doesn’t sound like he left the house or received any treatment or support during these three months. Without much else to support sobriety, he relapsed by hanging out with people outside the 7-11.

One has to actively prevent relapse. The default in someone with addiction is to use. Sitting at home with large patches of unstructured time is a time bomb.

I hear how fed up you are. Your son is older, 38, and his addiction has probably been affecting you and his family for years.

I would imagine your son loves his little daughter and that he is not thrilled with living with his parents and little hope on the horizon.

I suggest you look at the communications module (Learning Module #4) and script a request. Look at Learning Module #8, a planned talk, to help craft your request for treatment.

You will need to decide what you are able to do, in terms of support, before drafting the request. Our suggestion would be “the daybed and locker”, combined with several treatment options that include: Crisis stabilization service (several-week inpatient program paid for by the state if there is no insurance), daily peer support groups, (you’ll need to figure out his transport), and a good therapist.

Please don’t give up on your son. What we suggest on this site is proven to unblock the situation and help move your son to treatment. Your son is going to need your help detailing an action plan and providing support to carry it out.

Leaving Houston and staying sober for three months in your home strongly suggests that 1) he knows he has a problem and 2) he has motivation to address it. Whether or not he "admits" to having a problem or needing help is beside the point.  These are not useful conversations to have with him.

Getting sober has its false starts. The Learning Modules lay out the stance a family can take to create the best environment around a Loved One. So: deep breath, look at these modules, and recommit to addressing this illness in your family. There may well be support groups for you as the family member, in your area. Connecting with others that are going through this will empower you and lower your stress. Our best to 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"...)

  1. Still having a quiet time. Guess Im waiting for the relapse. How will I handle it. I read, I learn. My approach to him when wanting to say something…I dont have that solid plan. I’m very grateful for this website.

    1. rlabib:

      Some telling remarks in your post … “He is an alcoholic..” This is a difficult diagnosis to levy on someone. Even AA literature distinguishes between “problem drinkers” and real “alcoholics.” I agree with Dominique that engaging in a back and forth with someone who has not accepted whether they are alcoholic or not, is fruitless. Another telling comment – “hanging out there talking to other bums.” Once we characterize people this way, we are using a broad brush. He sounds like he is unemployed, which is debilitating in its own right, and having to rely on other people for a place to live when you are 38 and a father of a child you cannot support, removes any sense of self-dignity.
      Perhaps a discussion about what his intentions were when he asked to return home, presuming there was a conversation about that. Right now, you are defining his problem… What does HE think his problem is, and what does HE identify as barriers preventing him from addressing this. Boredom and the sense of feeling useless… these are difficult psychic barriers to overcome. Parents increase their sense of helplessness the more they try to control behaviors they have little influence over. When communication shuts down, little can change. I would suggest a discussion about what his goals are, leaving the diagnosis of his alcoholism for him to uncover, and see if some opportunity to become gainfully employed leads to behavior change.