My Dad is not an alcoholic but . . .

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My dad is not an alchoholic but once in a while maybe i guess you can say twice a month, he would like take the car and drive off with his paycheck and spend the whole paycheck on drinking. He has been doing that for the past 20 yrs and it is getting worse. He would be gone all day and come back at 5 in the morning. He would be very rude and ignore and say he did not drink but he did. I cannot trust him anymore. Its at the point where we do not let him drive anymore. I just wish he would change. He has betrayed us so much. What could i do?

A: It sounds like your Dad is a binge drinker. He may not be alcohol dependent, but he is certainly abusing alcohol. Drinking his paycheck twice a month for 20 years is very, very serious. I’m concerned that you (and probably the rest of your family) are so used to your Dad’s bouts of drinking that you minimize how often and how serious it really is. He is jeopardizing his health and his safety and he has lost your trust and respect.

Sadly, there’s not a thing you can do to change him. He has to want to change himself. What you can do is find an Al-Anon meeting. Al-Anon was created for the family members of people who abuse alcohol. During meetings, you will learn how to avoid enabling your Dad’s drinking and how to cope with your Dad’s behavior. Most important, you will have the support of others who are going through the same thing. Check out their web site at www.al-anon.alateen.org

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Nov 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). My Dad is not an alcoholic but . . .. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/11/19/my-dad-is-not-an-alcoholic-but/

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