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Help for a Alcoholic & Drug Addict
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Turtlesforever posted:
My father-in-law has been having problems with drinking and substance abuse for about two years now. My mother was once an alcoholic and because of this I could tell my father-in-law needed help from the beginning. Howewer, my attempts to persuade him and his wife to get him help came to no avail. They seem to listen and agree with me at the time (at least he does when I can catch him sober), but they just will not take the advice. I've given them resource information, counseling information....everything I can think of and have been very patient with them the entire time. Well, here recently my father-in-law was arrested multiple times for DUI and possession of Marijuana and narcotics. He is in court-forced AA and is on house arrest with an ankle bracelet. He is abusive both mentally and physically and I fear for my husband and in-laws. His wife wants him to get help but she is a HUGE enabler. We agreed a detox/rehab facility in Ohio would be best for everyone, because for some reason, he does not trust the facilities in our home state. If anyone can help me and my family at all, it would be GREATLY appreciated because the way things are going, I'm afraid this situation will turn into a tragedy soon.
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Betty Ford Center
A Thomas McLellan, PhD responded:
From your description of this situation, it sounds like you are correct in thinking your father-in-law has a substance use problem. It is not possible to know from the description how serious his condition is — either immediately or over the longer term. Since only about one in every 20 drunk or drugged driving incidents leads to an arrest, it is likely that his condition is serious and his arrest could be an important teaching moment if used properly.

I have one positive and one negative suggestion. Negative first: I do NOT think the man needs a "detox in Ohio." If he did, he no longer did by the time this message was received. Also, detoxification is only the beginning of treatment and not useful by itself. Based only on this brief description, your father-in-law needs long-term, continuing care - probably mandated as part of his eventual sentencing or added to the existing sentencing.

This is the basis for my positive comment. It may be difficult to talk with your father-in-law directly, so I suggest talking to his parole/probation officer if he has already been sentenced - or speaking directly to the judge if he has not yet been sentenced. Prior to that, I suggest identifying 1 - 3 good outpatient treatment programs near where he lives (which could be the specific recommendations used by these authorities.) I have found good reception by parole officers and judges under similar circumstances. It does not matter if he wants to go at this point; motivating him is part of the role of the parole officer and the treatment program. I expect a good outcome from this situation.


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