What can I do to help my dad stop drinking?

Or how to send him somewhere that can help him, something like The Baker Act.

Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
Social Worker, Psychotherapist

More information would be needed for me to accurately answer this question, such as your age, whether you live with your dad or not, and what other family members live in the household. 

Something like this, alcoholism, is a whole family disease. In other words, family members often unknowingly contribute to the alcoholism and enable the alcoholic to continue the destructive behavior.

First of all, you can’t make your dad do anything, and constantly nagging him or begging him to stop is just going to make him defensive and make this worse. Nobody can change another person. What you can do is change how you react to him and the things that you and other family members do for him. 

Research codependency. There’s a great book called Codependent No More. There are a lot of articles on the internet that you can read. In short, you have to stop enabling him. Like I said, you cannot control him, but you can control yourself. This means do not buy his alcohol. Do not make it easy for him to get. Don’t loan him the car keys or pay any household bills for him. Don’t call in sick to work for him or make excuses for him in any way. Do not bail him out of jail when he gets arrested. He needs to be responsible for himself. This may mean losing his job or losing his driver’s license. This may mean that he loses his family if he doesn’t stop. 

What you and your family can do is set boundaries about what you will put up with. It is his choice to drink, but it is your choice to put up with the behaviors of his drinking. A lot of people go into rehab because their spouse said if they don’t then they are getting a divorce.

If you are an adult and you don’t live with your dad, then the best thing you can do for him is STOP doing things for him. If you are a child who lives at home with him, then this could be a case for child protective services. In my state this is called DHS. A report is made to this organization for child abuse or neglect. Substance abuse in the home qualifies. Of course, alcohol is legal and when consumed in moderation, there is no problems. The problem will be the result of his alcohol consumption. Does he drive with children in the car while intoxicated? Is he left to care for minors while in an intoxicated state? Are there any domestic violence issues due to his drinking? This could be a reason for the authorities to step in. 

You can look for a local meeting for family members of alcoholics. They are similar to the AA meetings that an alcoholic should go to, but are for the family members. They can help you. 

Your dad needs to be aware that he has a problem and be willing to make some changes in order for him to be motivated to stop.  Often times individuals will be forced to stop when they were not ready.  Remember we can not ever make someone do something they do not want to do.  There needs to be at least a little willingness on the other party to make some changes.  I would encourage you to reach out to your family or other loved ones and have a conversation with your dad regarding your concerns. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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