Question: Dear Luise: I have a beloved son, 31, who is an alcoholic. We work
together in the natural products industry. (I say this so you’ll know
we understand natural and alternative health care. My son writes a nutrition
column and doctors consult with him and send their patients to him,
too. I don’t know how to help him. I had no clue until two years
ago. He is exceptionally intelligent and has so much to live for.
Instead of living with joy and gusto, he is destroying himself. Can
you recommend a place for him to go to? He thinks he can handle this
on his own but cannot and I cannot help him either. My request: A place he can go and not be drugged, but get the leg up he needs to start on the road to recovery. Thanks in advance. Heartbroken Mom
Answer: Dear H.: As you have clearly acknowledged, alcoholism isn’t a condition that can be addressed intellectually. Addictions are “logic-proof.”
The recommendation you seek needs to be predicated on many factors. The most important of which is that your son must be the seeker. However, to ease your mind, please take your questions to your doctor or an addiction counselor. They will research your son’s options for you. Then, all you can do is pass the information on.
What your son wants to do, where you live, what your financial circumstances are and what has been tried previously are just a few of the questions an informed health professional will ask. The solution that works for one person is often of no help to someone else.
One of the hardest things to face and accept is that you can do very little to help. It is your son’s illness and he has to be personally motivated to be able to move in the right direction. As long as he thinks he can handle this himself, your hands are pretty much tied. You can be supportive, and it is clear that you are already on board in that capacity, but it is his issue.
Since he is a health professional himself…and since he apparently knows he is an alcoholic, he can actually find his own resources and solution when he is ready. He may find your research, if you choose to go that way, useful or it may put him off.
Whatever your course of action, it reflects your love for him whether he will be able to see that or not. Do it for your own sake. And while you are at it, look into a support group, like Al Anon, for yourself to help you through the deep anguish this is causing you. Blessings, Luise