Should I turn my father over to his military superiors?


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My father is an alcoholic in the military. He and my family live on the other coast from me. I feel helpless and as though I can’t do anything to help my father. So I decided to write him a letter telling him to admit that he has a problem with alcohol, because he is in total denial. My strategy against my very intelligent father is to put his career in jeopardy by writing his commanding officer and pleading to him about this problem, but I gave my dad an option to shape up and get help on his own or have the military give him help.

My question is if they will discharge him after an investigation is done, or if he will be demoted or loose his chance for promotion. I know that the military does take alcoholism seriously especially in the case of DUI’s (my father has not had one). Could you tell me what will likely happen if I do send that letter, I only want to do it to save his life and have him get professional help. Do you think my letter is a good idea even?

Your friend, Sylvia


I don’t know what the military will do to your father. But to threaten (potentially) his career is probably not a good way to approach him initially. You need to begin talking to him in a much less threatening way. You could try to tell him about your concern. Or you could simply ask about his drinking – what it means to him, whether he considers it a problem, etc. You don’t say anything about your mother’s reactions (or those of other family members). I would do more research and groundwork, and make a more gradual effort, before turning your father over to impersonal military authorities. If you are familiar with the military, or other governmental bureaucracies, do you expect them to be more concerned or helpful than the people who love him?


Stanton Peele

Stanton Peele , recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts by The Fix, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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