Q. My step son is an alcoholic. He has been in the court system for the past 3 years. He is 40 years old. our son destroyed his car while drunk, hitting another car at high speed. The Fairfax court system only sent him to an ASAP program even though this was his 3rd DWI. He admits he is an alcoholic. He was informed by us that drinking was not allowed in our home. He claims he is diabled and cannot work. He is in dire need of mental health assistance. Monday he tried to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills and then he cut his wrists. When he tried to stab himself in the throat I took three knifes away from him. We called the police and medics. They took him to Alexandria hospital which has no mental health facilities, where they pumped his stomach, then relased him to walk home. Our son needs an in house program to treat his disorder, but he will not admit to his need. He states we are selfish and trying to get him out of the house. He is jealous of our cat, our house and states that I only love him because of his mother. We are scared that we will be his next victim, he will burn the house down, or kill us and the cat. Where do we go for help. He is a great con artist and can tame a rattle snake.

A. The situation you are describing is not uncommon. He needs an intervention. I would suggest that you conduct research and contact a good drug and alcohol program and yes, he does need to be committed to the program for weeks to months. It does you no good to make rules in your home such as no drinking when you have no power to enforce those rules or no desire to enforce them. You have great leverage over your stepson. He does not have a right to live in your home and a simple call to the police would have him removed from your home. When you are involved in his drug and alcohol counseling, you will come across the concept of the enabler. And yes, both you and your wife have been his enablers. You have enabled him to live without making money, you have enabled him to get the money to buy the alcohol and both you and your wife should most definitely get counseling to learn how to deal with your son. This may be part of his drug and alcohol program or you may seek it out independently. I would also suggest that you read a book on tough love. The concept of tough love is that if you really love someone there are times when you need to be very tough to help them or to protect them. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Jun 2005

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2005). What should I do with my stepson who is an alcoholic?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2005/06/03/what-should-i-do-with-my-stepson-who-is-an-alcoholic-2/