How To Deal With an Alcoholic Relative

Question: My son drinks heavily and keeps telling me that he doesn’t want to live any longer. He says, “I’m going to hang myself. I’m desperate.” What should I do? Please help me. Tatiana.
Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok
Answer: You’ve got to find out the original reason for this if you want to fight your own sin and help your loved one in his struggle with his sin. He drinks and doesn’t want to live because he doesn’t see any meaning in life. He doesn’t know why and what for he has to keep going. He doesn’t recognise the value of his life. That is why he chooses to muffle his senses with alcohol to forget about everything. It’s self-deception.
There is a spiritual component of my answer to your question. You have to pray for your son and go to church and take communion as often as possible. You should believe and hope that God can help your son. In addition, you should be talking with your son. Talk with your son and try to persuade him that life does have a meaning; that a sober life is worth living; and that there is a real purpose in life.
Of course, it’s unlikely that you will be able to accomplish this without God’s grace and solely by willpower. However, if you persist in your dialogue with your son; if you don’t condemn him, judge him, or yell at him but instead, show him your understanding and sympathy; if he sees compassion and love in your eyes — then he will surely listen to you and you’ll be able to bring him to church for a confession. Hopefully, he will agree to pray to the Mother of God and read the Akathist to the Inexhaustible Chalice icon. By doing so, he will turn a new page of his life. It isn’t easy, of course, because he is used to sinning already; he has a habit of living in the drowsy and insane state of intoxication.
You will need a lot of humility, a lot of patience, and a lot of hard work. God can hear your every word. Spiritually advanced people say that a mother’s prayer can raise her child even from the bottom of an ocean.
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  1. Approaching our relative about the original reason why they became an alcoholic might be our best first step. This way, we can all help them as a family figure out what they need to do to make sure it never triggers and ruins their life again. We’ll work on that for sure once we find a sober living community for our relative so they can get the treatment they need.

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