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Sheneedshelp 03-16-2011 09:55 PM

I think my daughter is becoming an alcoholic
So I'm going to try to make this as short as possible and still be able to share what I want to share. My oldest daughter Amber is 18. She was a great kid when she was younger 4.0, always did the right thing, volunteered, she's absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't have asked for a better daughter. As a mom I felt proud of my parenting that I raised such a good daughter. Her hard work paid off she got accepted into one of the best colleges in the area.

Amber never drank in high school except for at special occasions like weddings we would let drink a little wine but never anything major, she was never drunk. I excepted her to have no troubles in college, she always worked hard, made the right choices and handled herself well.

Well it came as just a shock to me when a month and a half after she went away to college I recieved as a call from the school saying Amber had been warned by the schools board of discipline after her and another girl were reported by another student to be running around at 2 am, drunk. They were said to be loud and rowdy, but the the main thing they were reported for was they would knock on students doors then moon them when they opened it. They gave her a sobriety test and she fell over trying to walk the straight line according to the person that called me. Her blood alcohol level was around 1.2. I talked to Amber about it over the phone. She said she hardly ever drink and that she really just lost control off herself. I believed her I had no reason not to, she didn't ever lie to me.

Well I checked her grades a little while after and her gpa wouldve been a 2! Now I didn't expect a 4.0 but I know she is better than that, I asked what was wrong and she said the work was harder than she imagined and she was having trouble adjusting. Again I believed her.

Until my younger daughter showed me Ambers facebook page. She showed it to me because Amber and friends posted a picture where they got in a little and were all mooning the camera. I looked through Ambers pictures and there were tons of her from several different parties, drinking, in racy posses. It was disgusting to me and shocking. To see my daughter like this. There was a picture of her with two big gulp culps filled with beer, one of her standing in a hottub soking wet in her underwear. Her bra was yellow and you could kind of see through it and of course she was holding up a vodka bottle in one hand and a beer can in the other. The worst that she posted I think though was one wear she is sitting in the snow, pants pulled down, her hand is over her lady parts but she is doing a beer bong with her bare butt in the snow. Those are the worst of them, I saw them and it just made me cry my daughter drinks a ton, she was turning into a ****, and she was posting pictures on the Internet, I don't think she realized her 15 year old brother can see that.

I called and she gave me some crap about how she's just having fun and it's what all college kids do. I told her I wanted it stop she's underaged and it was affecting her grades. Well about three weeks later I checked her grades and her gpa wouldve been up to a 2.6 it was postive improvement and I liked it, until the school called me again.

She was facing discipline again this time for run though the hallways and yelling for people to come out and party with her. School authorities said they asked her several times to put the booze away (apperently she was carrying a bottle with her) and go to her room before some of her soberish roomates pulled her back. She was given probation by the school.

She finished with a 2.4 gpa and over break I straight up told her, the drinking had to stop it was affecting her grades and was taking over her life. She got mad at me but me and her dad had to take a stand.

Well I was a little fraustrated with the fact she had a 1.8 in February 2 months into the new semester I tried to contact her about it but she stopped answering my calls except for one time she answered at 9 pm on Wednesday and she was already drunk.

This is the tipping point though, towards the end of last month I got two phones. One from the police and one from school. The police Amber was arrested for public intoxication underage drinking and disturbing the peace. She went to wendys in a bikini and drunk...and kept asking the clerk for a frosty, he said she was saying she had to "cool herself down" she had no money and was trying to seduce the clerk into paying for her frosty. They called the police when she threw up on the desk, even though they shouldve done it the second she walked it. The school got word of it and she violated her probation, she recieved some fines, she spend a night jail, and got 2 week school suspension. Me and her dad yelled at her when she got home to serve the suspension but it's clear she doesn't care because she is in the last of week of the suspension and last night I caught her drinking in my basement.

I really don't know what do with her, it's clear she has a drinking problem that causes her to do destructive things. It's not good for her, another discipline problem will get her kicked out of college, her grades are in the toilet. Not to mention she has no control of herself when she drinks and could easily kill herself or get pregnant. I thought I raised her so well and in the last year everything changing. I feel like a terrible person and need to help her I just don't know where to start, she was such a good kid and I don't even regonize her anymore. Where can I start

Cyranoak 03-16-2011 10:25 PM

Somebody will be along to talk about this in awhile... the meantime, welcome to the boards. Read many of the stickies at the top of the page, and maybe do a search on "alcoholic daughter" and see what threads come up.

I have a 15 year old daughter who has tons of alcoholics in her gene pool. I may be, someday, where you are now and I feel for you greatly.

The only advice I have to give is for you to find yourself an Alanon meeting and see what it's about. It saved my life, and I know many people there who have alcoholic children.

Good luck,


RollTide 03-17-2011 01:04 AM


I second what Cyranoak said. Please find an Alanon meeting.

And also you will find a lot of good information in the sticky posts.

reefbreakbda 03-17-2011 02:13 AM

Hi there,

Sorry you are going through a tough time and no doubt your daughter is living a pretty crazy life right now.

This might not make it any easier to take her behaviour, but when I was at college me and my mates were pretty crazy and drank ourselves stupid many nights. We grew out of it. This was the U.K. but the culture of drinking amongst 18 -21 year olds was rife.

I'm not saying she is not an alcoholic but I'd be more worried if she was hanging out on her own, isolating, manipulating and lying. What I see, and it must break a mother's heart, is a rebellious student, making a mess of her education having a riotous "good-time" with her pals.

For yourself though get some help and you may find it easier to handle.

Take care

TakingCharge999 03-17-2011 03:20 AM

Hugs sheneedshelp,
Welcome to SR, keep reading and posting..there is much to learn
Remember the 3 Cs

You can't cure her
You can't control her
You didn't cause her behavior

It is possible -essential- to keep our peace regardless of what others do, even if its our family. There are a few here that have learned to dettach from their own sons and daughters - how incredibly hard - but , you did your best, now her life is starting to be in her hands.... I really hope its just a stage and she is not an alcoholic..........

Anyway Alanon, therapy, reading and sharing here has helped me a lot. Among the books we like here there is "codependent no more" by Melody Beatty. And also "The Language of letting go" by the same author is excellent.

LexieCat 03-17-2011 05:16 AM

Hi, and welcome.

Her behavior sounds a lot like the female version of my first husband, whom I met in college. He was, and is, most definitely an alcoholic, but he got sober in AA at age 21 and hasn't found it necessary to have a drink in the past 31 years.

I've been in two relationships with alcoholics, and am now sober two and a half years, myself, and I can tell you that it won't stop until she is ready to stop.

I second the suggestion of Al-Anon for you and your husband. One thing you CAN do is to make it less easy, fun, comfortable to drink. I don't know how much you are paying for her to hang out and party with her friends (because it sounds like that is what you're paying for--not an education), but that might be one consequence of her drinking.

My suggestion is that you learn a bit about alcoholism, go to some Al-Anon meetings, and decide what you are willing to support/tolerate in terms of her behavior. You aren't required to pay for an education she is not pursuing. If she wants to drink, she can support herself and her habit.

I know it's terribly upsetting when it's your child, but when it comes to alcohol, we can't control the disease, nor the alcoholic. All we can do is to take care of ourselves, offer assistance in the form of detox/rehab if they will accept it, and refuse to make it easy for them to continue to destroy themselves.

Stick around here--you will get a lot of support.

tjp613 03-17-2011 05:22 AM

Hi there. I'm the mom of an addict who also spiraled downhill quickly during these same years. I understand your feeling of desperation. Been there.

We, too, just hoped he would 'snap out of it' and kept giving him another chance, another semester, another school, etc. We're out $30,000 and he has 2 YEARS of failing grades to show for it. We also sent him to rehab (another $10K) and he relapsed within a week of being home. (Allowing him to come home was another mistake.)

If I had the chance to do it all over again I would pull him out of school after that first failed semester and set up rules and boundaries at home for him to continue living there while he got a job and would be allowed to take 6 hours at school. If he broke the rules or failed the courses, he would have 30 days to find other living arrangements. And, here's the hard part... I would have never backed down or wavered in any way about these conditions and boundaries. I would not have bailed him out when he got arrested nor would I have hired an attorney (Another $7,500).

Just sayin.....

TakingCharge999 03-17-2011 06:14 AM

From Lexiecat

You aren't required to pay for an education she is not pursuing. If she wants to drink, she can support herself and her habit.

Well said! I can just imagine how expensive college is....
And now that I read this thread again...

My "college party times" did not involve failing exams due to parties and did not involve the police.

And yes, I knew others who partied a lot but Daddy was paying for everything, extra semesters, new cars when they crashed, and bailed a specific person out of jail because he was speeding and ran into a woman. He killer her, left 2 kids without mom. Did he stop drinking and driving? nope.

My XABF told me that story, we were in the same university. I knew the guy. He is still the same person nowadays. And XABF still drinks and drives superdrunk, without a care. Because "it won't happen to him".

You would think the tragedy and loss of a life would change something. Not in this case.

Alcoholism is madness, denial, insanity. If she is driving your cars I would take away that privilege too.

Sara1956 03-17-2011 06:47 AM

Are you paying for college? If you are, her job is to get good grades. You have every right to tell her that if she can't maintain a certain GPA and behavour that you are done paying. Maybe if she gets kicked out, she will learn a valuable lesson. Sorry for the tough love.

Sara1956 03-17-2011 06:49 AM

PS - Then you can evaluate if she's an alcoholic. It might be the environment, and newness of being away and free to do as she pleases.

SoloMio 03-17-2011 07:49 AM

I agree with Sara and others who have said to pull her out... No matter what the reason, if I'm paying for my child's education and they're not performing, I pull the plug. That may help realign her priorities, and if she still has difficulty with that, then you know you have to explore alcohol as a root cause.

FindingPeace1 03-17-2011 08:42 AM

Welcome! You're in the right place, that's for sure.
The tough part about having it be your daughter is the responsibility you feel to her at any age. I get that.
Nonetheless, she is an adult and you can't force her to stop. You can protect your assets, as has been mentioned. You can counsel her if she asks you. You can set boundaries for yourself. But you can't make her stop.

It hurts so much, I know. My aunt has two sons (out of seven) that are drug addicts and alcholics. They live on the streets. (They are in their 40's) It is painful for ALL of us to see that and not HELP or try to CHANGE them or FIX it.

Unfortunately, they are adults that get to make their own choices. We have made it clear to them that if and when they ever choose to recover, we are all 100% behind them. Until that day, we choose to love them from afar.

Take strength and hope from the fact that while we can't change your daughter, you can learn to lessen your pain and we will support you in that.

Take care,

Buffalo66 03-17-2011 09:28 AM

I would pull her out of school, and stop paying for it.
If she wants she can apply for scholarship, then what she squanders is her responsiblity.

You did parent her well, and now she is an adult learning adult lessons.
Does your family have alcoholism running in it?

She may benefit from some education about it.
She may not want to hear about it, and just continue on.

Truthfully, if you are making it comfortable for her to continue living in this manner you are doing what they call "enabling".
We enable alcoholics by softening the blow of their consequences, by allowing them to drink on our dime, in our homes.By paying for their messes, cleaning them up figuratively and literally.
We also can enable by perpetuating denials about how serious the problem is or has become, by not letting them feel the emotional distance we really feel as a result of their disrespect.

I am not sure whether this is a normal college phase, or an addiction problem. I dont know her, or your family history ( on both your and your husbands' sides), but many of my friends drank in college, sowed wild oats, made mistakes, drank too much, but...then reeled it in, and buckled down.

Many of them, though, did NOT GEt ARRESTED, or suffer sanctions from the University. So, what I am saying is that this definitely sounds extreme.

Alanon, and online reading can teach you a little about what it means to enable, how to detach, boundary making, and you can find support here and in alanon for the pain that comes with letting your loved one hit a bottom.

Hitting a bottom happens when the consequences of the addicts behavior and substance abuse become greater than the benefits of continued use.
This is different for everyone, but she will not realize that things are dire and falling apart, unless you let them fall apart, and even then, she may not realize.

This is a tough one. I am sorry for your pain and sense of helplessness. She is your daughter.

My Aunt and Uncle had an issue like this with my cousin. He went to college, and so did his sister. She is doing great, he fell into the drinking, his grades were awful. He is 21, now, and they stopped paying for his schooling, because he was squandering it.

HE came home, lived with them, and continued to drink. They put him out. They said, "if you feel adult enough to choose to drink all night, every night, then you are adult enough to get yourself a place, keep a job, etc."

He moved out, and sturggled for a year or so, but eventually he had to pull it together, because he had to. Got a job, enrolled in community college. HE plans to transfer to state school in the fall. He is angry at them, but that will pass. He is a good kid. The family looks at it like he needed to learn to be grateful. He needed to take responsibility for his own education. And they will heal their relationship over time. But, i wonder what would have happened if they just let him go on at school, doing the minimum, drinking all the time?

Please keep posting, and keep us posted!

Sheneedshelp 03-17-2011 12:19 PM

Thanks to everyone for the support. Helpless would be a great description of how I am feeling right now.

Most of college was paid for up front by scholarships since she did so well in high school, we are chipping in the rest but it's not a finicial burden or anything. I don't want to pull her out because I honestly believe if she figured out her crap and focused on her schooling she would easily be able to succeed there or at any school. I don't want to give up my little girl yet.

I know drinking is part of the college culture but hers has gotten extreme. I would drink once every few months in college. My husband was good for maybe every other weekend. I don't know exactly how she's drinking but it seems to be anywhere from 2-4 nights a week and she's getting out of control drunk. Like I said she's one strike away.

There is little cases of alcoholism in her family. My husband has a brother that went to rehab but that is the only real case of alcoholism. Hardly anyone on my side drinks and my husbands sister and dad are the only ones that do anymore on his side.

I really just don't know what to do with her, she goes back to school Saturday then I can't make sure she is handling herself properly anymore. It's really hard for me, I feel helpless watching my daughter tear herself apart like this

nodaybut2day 03-17-2011 12:24 PM

The reality is, your "little girl" isn't so little anymore, and there's nothing much you can do to force her to "figure things out for herself", aside from yanking what funding you are putting towards her schooling. Right now, because of her past academic successes, she's got a "free pass" to school, but if she keeps up her partying, she'll get kicked out. At that point, it'll be up to you and your husband to decide how much you'll keep enabling her.

tjp613 03-17-2011 01:00 PM

Originally Posted by Sheneedshelp (Post 2901268)
Thanks to everyone for the support. Helpless would be a great description of how I am feeling right now.

Most of college was paid for up front by scholarships since she did so well in high school, we are chipping in the rest but it's not a finicial burden or anything. I don't want to pull her out because I honestly believe if she figured out her crap and focused on her schooling she would easily be able to succeed there or at any school. I don't want to give up my little girl yet.

Pulling the support has nothing to do with whether or not it is "a financial burden" -- it's a statement that says, "We will support your success, but not this out-of-control behavior."

Does she drive a car that you've paid for and is in your name? I'd yank that car so fast it'd make her head spin. If she kills someone while driving in that condition, you can be assured of one heckuva lawsuit. As owner of the car YOU are liable.

I can almost guarantee that any amount of lecturing is not going to make any difference in her behavior. She's already been suspended and arrested! It's clear that she is in complete control and can get you to do whatever she wants. She's invincible.

If you really want to help your daughter I will suggest that you make the consequences as "painful" as possible for her and FAST. It was the ONLY thing that made my son pay attention. He had to be homeless, jobless and moneyless before he took notice. It may come to that for your daughter as well. That's the cold, hard reality....and I wish it weren't so.

I"m sorry :(

Sara1956 03-17-2011 01:16 PM

Scholarships, especially Merit scholarships, require that you maintain a certain grade point average.
Athletic scholarships give you a LITTLE more flexibility but not much.
She earned the scholarships but her job to maintain the scholarships and I hope she knows that.
If she can not be responsible, the college will give her a consequence.

I agree with clear expectations and consequences.
This is the way of life.

Sara1956 03-17-2011 01:24 PM

PS - Check the scholarship requirements for renewal
My daughter's merit scholarship required a 3.5 GPA
My son's athletic scholarship required a 2.5 GPA (but his mother required more)

kiki5711 03-17-2011 01:25 PM

I really just don't know what to do with her, she goes back to school Saturday then I can't make sure she is handling herself properly anymore. It's really hard for me, I feel helpless watching my daughter tear herself apart like this
"DOEs SHE"? see herself as helpless or just having a ball? I bet you, she and all her friends are talking about her shananigans and she's the center of attention, cause she's funny and does darring things and oh, look at what she did! wow, man........can you believe it...ha ha may even find her in her party mode on youtube. I wouldn't be suprised.

it's not funny to you, but I'm sure they're all laughing.

Shellcrusher 03-17-2011 01:38 PM

Tough one.

First off, welcome to SR. There's a ton of knowledge and experience to be found here. I can't offer too much to help you. I was a madman in college. There was a certain amount of mayhem caused by me and I paid the piper.
I did not have scholarships. I did not play sports. College was payed for by my parents. I got in enough trouble that they took away my car. I had to prove receipts for my expenses before any money was handed over. So, there are ways to pull the plug on bad behavior.

Those scholarships are not paying for her to buy booze. So where does she get the money to buy it? Not all college students will hand over a bottle of booze. Even to a girl.

As you've experienced, if you feel like you can't do anything, the school will. They'll kick her out. They can make her take alcohol classes. Cops do get involved.

It was a phase for me. I graduated with very high grades. I received an education and I'm thankful for it but man I was bad.

You know, everyone used to sneak out back and smoke a cigarette. Some would sneak around and play doctor. Nobody knew. Secrets were told. Spit was swapped. Along came facebook and in my opinion it's ruining the social structure of our world.

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