DEAR HARRIETTE: My father is a recovering alcoholic; he was six months sober. Last week, I lent him my car to go to work. When he didn’t arrive back home following his shift, I called his phone and learned that he had been in an accident while intoxicated. He broke his arm, and my car was totaled. I am drowning in bills and have a family to take care of. I’m so angry. I am thankful that he is safe, but he needs help and care. I want to support him through his addiction, but I can no longer risk my family situation. I want to check him into a rehabilitation facility to protect him and get him the help he needs. How can I explain this to him without upsetting him? -- Help My Dad
DEAR HELP MY DAD: Your father has to help himself. As much as you love him, you cannot enable him anymore. He will get upset when you recommend that he get help for his addiction. But you should recommend it anyway. Tell him how saddened and compromised you are because of his actions. Of course you are grateful that he is alive, but at what cost? Be frank with him. Tell him that you need him to get help because his addiction is taking over his life and the lives of you and your family.
You should consider going to Al-Anon (alanon.org), an organization that supports the families and loved ones of people who are suffering from alcoholism. Your father’s addiction directly impacts you -- and I’m sure it has for a long time. Perhaps talking to others who are having a similar experience may help you to gain some tools for your own sanity.