Ask Amy if the alcoholic daughter needs support

Precise News

Dear Amy: I have a 49-year-old daughter who is an elementary school teacher.
Her father died from cirrhosis of the liver due to alcoholism at 57, and I’m scared I will lose her, too.
– Scared Mom Dear Scared: Your daughter is aware of the worst-case outcome if her addiction spirals, untreated, and if she is unable to attain and maintain sobriety.
Aside from therapy and Al-Anon (or another “friends and family” support program), my suggestion is to love your daughter through this.
Maintain frequent contact, spend time together, and maintain your relationship as well as you can, aside from her addiction.
Don’t let her alcoholism run your life.
Offer to support her recovery, but don’t enable her addiction.
You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O.


To Amy, my 49-year-old daughter works as an elementary school teacher. During COVID, she developed an alcohol problem. She’s been with her partner for nine years, has a gorgeous home, and a master’s degree.

Because she drinks so much, she will lose it all.

She won’t go to AA, and my suggestions of inpatient rehab haven’t worked.

It is so painful for me.

I fear I will also lose her because her father, who was an alcoholic, passed away at the age of 57 from cirrhosis of the liver.

She is the brother’s twin.

Other than Al-Anon, what recommendations do you have?

Mother was scared.

To Scared: Your daughter knows what will happen in the worst situation—if she is unable to achieve and sustain sobriety and her addiction spirals out of control. She is aware of this since she has personally experienced the losses and repercussions of end-stage alcoholism. Your entire family has experienced the peril of this addiction firsthand.

However, she is a drug addict.

To love your daughter through this, in addition to counseling and Al-Anon (or another “friends and family” support program), is my recommendation. Aside from her addiction, try your best to stay in touch, spend time together, and preserve your relationship. Provide her with a safe haven free from judgment so she won’t feel alone, and support her in getting treatment without allowing her alcoholism to take center stage in your relationship.

You can take care of her in that way.

You ought to set some boundaries for yourself. In your home, do not serve her alcohol. Never offer her an explanation. Don’t let her drinking control your life. Don’t encourage her addiction; instead, offer to help her get well. “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself” by Melody Beattie (2022, Hazelden) should be read or reread.

Amy Dickinson can be reached by email at askamy@amydickinson . com, or by mail at Ask Amy, P. o. PO Box 194, Freeville, New York 13068. She is also available to follow on Facebook and Twitter under the handle @askingamy.

Amy Dickinson ©2024. Published by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

scroll to top