The first time my daughter came home drunk, I’m embarrassed to say, I thought it was kind of cute. She was only 15, but she was swearing like a sailor. So I sloughed it off. But, unfortunately, it didn’t stop there and her behavior began to get more and more problematic.
For a kid who used to love school and had a lot of friends, things started to change, and by the time she was 17 my wife and I were truly concerned. When we talked to people about it, they often expressed the idea that it was just a phase that would pass, but before long we realized it wasn’t getting any better.
We tried all the usual things – grounding her, telling her she couldn’t hang out with certain kids who seemed to be a bad influence, withholding her allowance, thinking this would limit her ability to get hold of alcohol. But nothing seemed to work. The situation escalated and one night we got a call from the local police station. She had been involved in an altercation outside a popular fast-food hangout and had been taken into custody for public intoxication. Of course, she made a series of promises afterwards that she would stop drinking, but they never stuck and the merry-go-round continued.
Eventually, we got in touch with her school counselor, who put us in touch with NCADD. It was extremely hard for us to accept that our daughter had a problem with alcohol and to talk about it with somebody else. But the people at the local affiliate suggested a treatment facility specializing in adolescent substance abuse, and through this treatment center we began getting the message that alcoholism is a family disease and that we could – and should – actually get help for ourselves.
Our daughter went through the treatment program and has been back in school for a while now. It can be difficult for her at times, what with peer pressure and the way many teenagers act about alcohol and drugs. However, with the work that we’re doing as a family, she has been able to keep her recovery moving forward – and so have we.
We’ve been able to work through a lot of the hurts we all endured and have come to realize that our daughter has a disease. You can forgive somebody for having cancer; why not forgive him or her for having the disease of alcoholism?
Our family has our daughter back for the first time in a very long time. It is an indescribable feeling! -- Peter R.