Dear Annie: Parents at wit’s end over adult daughter’s alcohol addiction

Dear Annie: I have never written to an advice columnist before, so please pardon my ignorance.

We have a beautiful 29-year-old daughter with a serious alcohol problem. She has gone through one marriage and several boyfriends. Now she is living at our home. Her current boyfriend is a good fellow. She makes excuses and finds alcohol somehow. We stopped funding her completely. Today, she stole from her boyfriend and drank. He is pretty upset.

She has been to a number of rehabs for help. Her liver was very damaged, and she saw a liver specialist for a possible transplant.

We have spent a lot of money already since she was 18. We are getting older -- ages 67 and 63. We are both physicians.

We are at our wit’s end. Any suggestive help is appreciated. My wife and I have lost all our peace of mind as to how to deal with her. -- At Our Wit’s End

Dear Wit’s End: I am so sorry that you and your wife have had to live through the nightmare of your daughter’s disease. The truth is that everyone involved is at their wit’s end because of her drinking -- including your daughter. That will continue to be the case until she hits bottom and decides to get help. Stay the course and continue to be a loving and supportive parent while making sure you do not enable her behavior. Look into attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in your area. There are many others who have loved ones who are suffering from this disease.

Dear Annie: A few years ago, my son’s wife decided to divorce him because she didn’t love him anymore. We accepted that and showed our support for her despite her decision. Shortly thereafter, she was arrested for a heinous crime that I won’t elaborate. It impacted her children.

My son does not keep her parents from attending events that the kids are in because they are their grandparents. The issue that we are dealing with is: Her parents are ignoring their daughter’s crime and constantly talk about her to us. My son is now dating a wonderful woman, and she’s been a victim of these conversations as well.

Is there a polite way to tell them that we do not want to hear about their daughter as she awaits her trial, which has been delayed because of COVID-19? -- Former Daughter-in-Law’s Parents

Dear Parents: The polite thing to do is to say directly that you don’t feel comfortable talking at length about their daughter. Change the subject if they continue. You can also use body language and give them a cold shoulder. Remember you are giving them the gift of your time by listening to them, and that is something they should respect. If you feel uncomfortable, then walk away; just as their daughter walked away from her marriage to your son.

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