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Fatal Denial That Love Cannot Fix

answered 06:14 PM EST, Mon September 17, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
Im a mother with a middle aged son who drinks hard liquor. he has been drinking every day for 20 years but recently we conviced him to at least drink every other day. he doesnt feel he has a problem. lately, he has changed and now becomes incoherent and mean. im worried about the physical damage this had done, as well as mental. when he doesnt drink, he s a great person. i noticed his stomach seems to be getting seriously distended, could that be liver damage? we don't have any money or health plan, what can I do to get an evaluation or medical help?

Florence Cameron Says...

Dear Mom,

Your story is becoming all too familiar. I wish that love alone could stop the heartache of all the parents who have children that are lost in addiction. I'm very glad that you are reaching out for help. However what I'd like for you to hear over everything else that I say is this, "You didn't cause his addiction.... you cannot control his addiction...nor can you cure him. It's time for you to let go and take back your life and stop allowing your son to hold you hostage and disrespecting you".

There are nonprofit treatment programs that are state-funded and charge their patients on a sliding-scale based on the cumulative income of the family. Sometimes a patient can enter a residential substance-abuse facility for as little as $100 for a 28-day treatment program. Please look in your local listings for the nearest facility in your area. Then give your son the telephone number and have him call and make the necessary arrangements for his admission.

You did not state whether your son was living with you, but from the state of his condition I can only assume that he is in no shape to hold down a job. If in fact he is living with you and you are providing him with free rent and food and sustaining his habits, then you are inadvertently enabling his behavior. Yes mom that is what I'm saying, you are loving your son to death. It is time for you to let go and let your son face the consequences of his own behavior. Then, and only then will he be forced to make a change in his life, a change mom, that I'm afraid you cannot make for him, nor can you force on him. This may be the best gift that you can give your son, and it may be the gift that saves his life.

If your son is having liver problems, as a result of his disease, then this too is something he must face as a result of the consequences of his behavior. Alcohol induced cirrhosis of the liver does not happen overnight, and it's the most serious type of liver disease. It's also not surprising that your son denies he has a problem as that is part of the disease, for one to deny that they have it. However, if your son's stomach is beginning to distend it could very well be a symptom of liver damage and means that the liver has already begun to try and repair itself, only to replace the damage with scar and fibrous tissue leaving the liver unfunctionable. This kind of damage can begin occurring after 10 years of heavy drinking and you stated that your son has been drinking over 20 years. I am not a physician, but I can tell you that unless his drinking is arrested, and his condition can stabilize it will be much more painful for you to set and watch him waste away. I do not have to tell you that this disease is life-threatening and irreversible.

I hope that you and your husband will seek help through Al-Anon, where you will find other parents and loved ones going through very similar situations such as yourself. Understand that this is your son's fate, his choice, his life, but it doesn't have to be yours. I hope that you can find a treatment program and that your son will willingly admit himself into it. Perhaps the facility can arrange an intervention to help you and your husband convince your son how necessary it is. There are also wonderful resources on the Internet such as choosehelp.com where you can read other familiar stories, as you were not alone in your struggle. I hope for you all the best.

Jeannie Cameron, LMHC


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Page last updated Sep 17, 2012

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