John and Katrina think their 29-year-old daughter, Melissa, has a drinking problem. She may not be a full-on alcoholic—yet—but she’s showing signs of it: coming in late to work, hanging out with scruffy characters, letting her hygiene go, ordering more than one cocktail at lunch, and even nodding off at the dinner table. What should Melissa’s parents do?
--Wait until she hits rock bottom and then get her into rehab?
--Join a group for parents of alcoholics?
--Say they’re going on the wagon for health reasons and ask her to join them?
The Panel Weighs In
Susan: AA tells parents to go to Alanon, where they’ll get the direction, tools, and support they need. They will also learn how to stage a successful family intervention guided by a professional therapist.
Tony: Saying they’re going on the wagon is a bad idea because it’s not authentic. Waiting until she hits rock bottom is chancy at best; she could die or hurt someone while driving drunk. They need to have a frank talk with Melissa NOW.
Nancy: I don’t think it’s so bad to go on the wagon as a show of solidarity. At least you feel you’re doing something and your child knows she’s not alone.
James: Detach, detach, detach! The parents can’t make Melissa’s failure their failure or three lives will wind up being ruined, not just one.
See POGO article, “Staging an Intervention.”
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