What Are the Negative Consequences From Using and Abusing Alcohol and Other Drugs?
Dear Dr. Steve:
My daughter is twenty-seven years old. Shes been wild her whole life. She started
drinking when she was thirteen. She started smoking marijuana at the age of fifteen.
Promiscuous sex has led to three abortions. She got married when she was nineteen and
pregnant. She was divorced by the time she was twenty-five. Her ex-husband divorced her
because she wouldnt quit running the streets and settle down. They have a six
year-old daughter that her husband has sole custody of. She lost custody because her
ex-husband was able to so thoroughly demonstrate how irresponsible and dangerous she was
because of her alcohol and drug use. Her drunken binges coupled with extra marital affairs
transformed her marriage from love and genuine affection into one of deceit, deception,
and betrayal. She recently turned up positive for marijuana and cocaine on a random drug
test performed at her workplace. As it turns out this was the third time she had a
positive test result and so she was terminated after having been suspended six months
earlier for her second positive test result. If it wasnt for me, she would be
homeless by now. I have given her more money than I care to think about. She tells me she
needs it to pay the rent but I know where the money is going. She has a legal case hanging
over her headthe charge being possession with the intent of distributing. I
dont see how shes going to avoid doing some kind of time for this offense.
Despite all of this, my daughter refuses to seek treatment, insists that she can take it
or leave it when it comes to her use of drugs and alcohol, and that she flat out
doesnt have a problem with alcohol and other drugs.
Based solely on the facts that you recited in your letter,
your daughter clearly has a problem with alcohol and other drugs. Your letter lists negative
consequence after negative consequence that your daughter has experienced as a
result of her alcohol and other drug use. An alcohol and other drug problem by definition
is continued consumption of alcohol and other drugs despite experiencing negative
consequences to ones financial, legal, occupational, familial, interpersonal,
emotional, psychological, physical, and/or spiritual well-being as a result of ones
consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Examples of this would be:
health e.g., withdrawal syndromes, liver disease, TB, neurological disorders, immune
system problems, gastrointestinal problems, anemia
2.) Psychological functioning e.g., impairments in cognition, changes in mood and
3.) Interpersonal functioning e.g., impaired social relationships,
relationship problems, family problems, inability to get along with people at work, child
4.) Occupational functioning e.g., problems at work or school,
5.) Legal e.g., DWI, arrested for criminal behavior related to sustaining
alcohol and other drug use
6.) Financial e.g., overextended credit, inconsistent job history leading
to insufficient income, bankruptcy
7.) Spiritual e.g. alienation from Self, others and divine creator
It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love as much
as you love your daughter self-destruct before your very eyes. The feelings of
powerlessness that your situation is evoking can be overwhelming. Theres an old
saying, when the student is ready, the teacher shall appear. Although that saying
offers little comfort to your current situation, theres little that you can do until
your daughter surrenders. Until then, the best thing that you can do for you and for your
daughter is take care of yourself. Learn as much as you can about the disease of
alcoholism and drug addiction. Learn as much as you can about Recovery for the friends and
family members of people who have a problem with alcohol and other drugs. Attend
Al-Anon meetings. You can contact Al-Anon at:
Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, Va. 23454
Tel # 757-563-1600
Fax # 757-563-1655
1-888-425-2666 for meeting information
Monday-Friday, 8am to 6 pm ET except holidays
how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of
chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. series of
Insanity to Serenity.
1.) Consult with a qualified healthcare provider in order to assess and evaluate the
extent to which youve been affected by your daughters alcoholism and drug
2.) Contact your local chapter of Al-Anon.
3.) Read as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction.
4.) Read as much as you can about Recovery.
5.) Meet as many people as you can at Al-Anon meetings.
6.) Integrate the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon into your life.