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Alcohol and My Child

Alcohol and My Child

I felt so powerless to help my son with his addiction
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I sat in the back row of the courtroom as the officer read the charges brought against Kyle, my oldest son. The alcohol Kyle reportedly consumed before he drove could have stocked an executive's mini-bar. The judge looked at me and said, "Your son is an alcoholic."

This wasn't my first courtroom experience with Kyle or the first judge who had spoken those words. I fought back tears, desperately wanting to help my son but feeling powerless to do so. What did I do wrong? Could I have prevented this? How did I fail as a parent? Unlike the jail Kyle frequently was incarcerated in, mine was not made of iron bars and concrete walls. My prison was in my mind. Guilt, fear, and shame kept me captive in a dungeon of despair.

My life had not always been out of control. God blessed my husband, Steve, and me with four healthy sons. Our greatest desire was to raise our children to love and follow the Lord. We faithfully attended church and asked God to give us wisdom as parents. As former teachers, we decided to homeschool our boys, hoping to give them a strong Christian foundation and the wisdom to resist the temptations that deceive young people today.

However, when Kyle was seventeen, we realized our plans had failed. The phone rang in the middle of the night and my heart stopped. It was the police! Kyle had been drinking at a friend's party and had been arrested for possession of marijuana.

We went to the jail, bailed Kyle out, and hired a lawyer. The judge sentenced him to 250 hours of community service, which he had to complete within five months. Unable to accept the seriousness of Kyle's situation, I minimized the problem. It's only an adolescent stage, I told myself. We treated the party as an isolated incident and hoped our son had learned a lesson.

Kyle finished his community service and headed overseas for a six-month performing arts program. However, what seemed like a great step for his acting career only accelerated his addictive behavior. He stayed in youth hostels where alcohol was the beverage of choice. Drinking became his way to make friends and influence people. Days and nights melted into a never-ending party.

When he returned to the U.S., the party ended. Living in a small town, he was soon labeled a troublemaker by the local police. Kyle was a misdemeanor magnet. He got arrested for shoplifting, disorderly conduct, underage drinking, giving alcohol to a minor, fleeing arrest … the list went on. He would hardly finish with one probation officer before he would get a new one. He was frequently in and out of jail. We knew the bondsmen on a first-name basis.

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Displaying 1–3 of 4 comments

Trena

July 14, 2012  11:04am

I was reluctant to read this articule, because I too am going through a similar journey with my son and have found that a lot of my Christian friends (prior to finding AlAnon) do not understand what we are going through and the advise they offer comes across as simplistic and judgmental. I was pleasantly surprised to find that AlAnon was the solution. I too have found such love, acceptance, healing and hope in AlAnon. I am also glad to know that I am on the right road to recovery for myself as I pray that the rest of my family finds the same relief as I have in AlAnon-a program centered around seeking God first.

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Linda Fisher

July 13, 2012  9:03pm

After attending all kinds of AA meetings and reading all I could find on substance abuse for years in an effort to be a good support to my addicted brother, I was heartbroken when my son began to show signs of addiction in his very early teens. When my brother died 4 years ago of an accidental overdose, I couldn't conceive of anything hurting any worse. By then our son was 20, and after years of treatment programs and ourtrageous behavior, we had really stepped back and begun to implement the things we had learned. We knew he already had the facts, so we waited confidently, knowing God would deliver him. My husband believed he had a word from the Lord that our son would be whole. As a result, when he died of an accidental overdose 3 days before Christmas of 2009, we were shocked. He was showing signs and speaking words we had waited for for years. Two and a half years later, we are still reeling. As Christian parents, this is the hardest road we have ever walked.

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Juli

July 13, 2012  7:26pm

As someone who is struggling with a father who has chosen alcohol to fill the void in his life at the age of 60......I thank you. My father was never an addict until recently. God has been talking to me as well about not 'rescuing' him at every turn. It's haed....especially for one who wants to help. But God is in control. He knows my dad even better than I do. I pray every day for him to choose God over alcohol.

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