Dear Coleen: I’m so worried that my daughter is becoming an alcoholic – just like me

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I went to get a DVD from her room and noticed dozens of empty spirits bottles under her bed

Dear Coleen: I'm so worried that my daughter is becoming an alcoholic - just like me

Dear Coleen

I’m 58 and a recovering alcoholic. For about 10 years, until my early 30s, I don’t remember a thing that happened and can’t even recall my mother dying or her funeral.

Things changed when I met my wife. I’ve got a great career and a lovely and have only fallen off the wagon five times in 25 years.

However, I’m worried about my 20-year-old daughter. While my son enjoys a few drinks at the weekend, she’ll come home two days later inebriated, and drinks at home as well.

I’ve never seen her have a glass of wine or can of cider – it’s always neat rum or gin. I was given real cause for concern when I went to get a DVD from her room and noticed dozens of empty spirits bottles under her bed.

Do you think she’s an alcoholic, too? She must remember some of the states I’ve been in when having a slip-up, so I can’t understand why she would want to drink alcohol at all.

I’m really worried about her because I know exactly where she’ll be heading. How can I broach this with her? I know from experience that she’ll insist she doesn’t have a problem until it’s too late.

Dear Coleen: I'm so worried that my daughter is becoming an alcoholic - just like me
Dear Coleen: I'm so worried that my daughter is becoming an alcoholic - just like meUse yourself as an example when it comes to booze dependency
(Image: PA)

Coleen says

As her father you have to speak to her, but you must avoid coming across as if you’re lecturing her. In my experience, it’s the fastest way to get a young person to do the exact opposite of what you intend.

And use yourself as an example – tell her that people were concerned about you when you were in your 20s, but you told them to get lost and thought you knew better. She knows how you ended up.

And go armed with research. I think a lot of young people have a stereotypical view of alcoholics as down and out, and on the street. Perhaps because she doesn’t see herself as that person, she doesn’t think she has a problem.

I had a who was a functioning alcoholic and managed to have a and a job, but also had a very serious drink problem.

Tell her you’re bringing it up because you love her and worry about her and you don’t want her to end up like you because those years lost to alcohol were the worst of your life.

Let her know she can come to you if she ever wants to talk about anything and you’ll understand, and do your best to her.

As a parent, I would be worried, too. But even if she turns round and says
“I don’t have a problem and mind your own business”, at least she knows you’ve picked up on it.

She’ll also know she has somewhere to go if she does have a problem.

More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, health and relationship problems

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