Question: Dear Luise: Yesterday, I bailed my son out of jail for his second DUI in less than six months. He is a smart young man (25) with a lot of knowledge of the computer. He finished last May with a Batchelor’s Degree in Digital Design. Last November, his wife of two years left him and he appears to be hibernating in his apartment. He has not accepted a job. All his life he has been a good child up until now. We have a Christian home and I am at my wits end. His father and I divorced when he was 14 months old and he never really bonded with his stepfather. He has asked to move home, but I am afraid for him to and I’m afraid for him not to. What should I do? S.
Answer: Dear S. I looks to me like your son definitely needs help but like you, I doubt that moving him back home would be the answer. That would openly establish dependency when he is educated and prepared to be self-supporting. I have heard more than once from parents who did that out of sincere concern and sympathy…and then couldn’t find any way to reverse it.
The fact that your son has not bonded with his stepfather, even though he probably can’t remember life without him, is another red flag. Having him living with you again could possibly damage your relationship.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol followed by repeated DWIs points to alcoholism; whether acknowledged or not. The only resource I am aware of is
Al-Anon. It is an organization specifically set up for family members and friends of people who have serious problems with alcohol. Your situation will be a familiar one to them and they will help you to love your son without enabling him.
Enabling is the common mistake that always makes things worse instead of better for everyone concerned. Go to Al-Anon meetings faithfully whether you like them or not. Listen, whether you want to share or not. And don’t give up…Al-Anon is your lifeline. Alcoholism is a disease and they believe that God is the cure.
Hold firm regarding not taking your son in. It is up to him to decide to help himself when he’s ready. Blessings, Luise