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How To Help My Jailed Alcoholic Son?

Question:

I am in need of help for my son. He has no insurance or job, and no way of paying for help. I am in no position to help him. My son was drinking and driving when he had an accident, which killed his brother who was also his best friend. Since then he has started taking drugs, destroying his marriage. I brought him home with me, and while my husband and I was asleep, he stole my credit cards, and my truck. He is now in jail, but he needs help. I am getting help because of my depression, and have not been able to work. Which I am sure has not helped him. Please, please help.

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Answer:

I’m glad to hear that you are getting help for your depression. You’ve lost a son in this tragedy, and you are likely grieving angry and furious as well as depressed. Your other son has an alcohol and drug problem, and may have been traumatized himself by the crash. He is acting out of control, and it looks like he will self-destruct without help. I don’t blame you for being upset and depressed.

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p> Regarding your son, please keep in mind the old proverb, “you can bring a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink”. It sounds like your son has had a substance abuse problem for a long time. That he ended up killing his brother in an accident that is directly tied to his drinking is likely to have been traumatic for him, and with his already poor coping skills, it is not terribly suprising that he saw fit to escalate his drug use rather than clean up his act. He sounds like he has been on a mission to self-destruct and oblivious to the damage he might cause others. In this sense, it is a good thing that he has been apprehended and put into jail. Jail will interrupt his rampage, and may connect him up with an drug and alcohol rehabilitation program which he desperately needs. He also desperately needs to go to an AA or NA program so that he can get help for becoming sober.

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p> No amount of counseling or other help will likely do your son any good until he has a little sustained sobriety under his belt. Twelve step programs like AA are free (no cost) and commonly available in many towns and cities at many different times during the day. People cannot benefit from them if they are not motivated to go to them, however, and it doesn’t sound like your son has been all that motivated to do anything rational lately. Please do not blame yourself overly much. Even if you had a bunch of money there is little that you can do to make your son better. Your son will have to do that work himself. You can help him by loving him, and by learning how to support him properly, which will include urging him to become sober and to take advantage of AA and NA. You yourself might want to attend some Al-Anon programs which are intended for support of family members of alcoholics as they will be able to teach you something about “tough love”.

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