How should a 15-year old deal with an alcoholic father and should they include them in adult life?

I am fifteen years old and for as long as I can remember, my dad has struggled with alcoholism. When sober, my dad is an intelligent, level-headed and sensitive man. He was my hero as a little girl. However, the past several years have had me questioning his sanity, my trust in him, and whether or not I should include him in my adult life.
When my father drinks, he is prone to become violent in his speech and actions. There isn't a day that goes by when his voice isn't raised, nor is there a threat that I can barely distinguish as empty or meaningful. That being said, there isn't a day goes by that I don't see a drink in his hand. He's laid his hands on all of us, excluding my four-year old sister. He is especially violent towards my mom when his intentions are so. Over the past year, he was arrested in his intoxicated state on weapons charges. Believe it or not, it was only tonight that he hit a driver with his car, got into a violent tiff with the man he hit, fleeing the scene before cops arrived just to pass out on the kitchen floor next to his shrine of Busch cans. My mom had left earlier at the time for Christmas shopping, leaving me to babysit three younger siblings. My dad left after an argument from my mother, ending up with her in tears and him speeding down the road. Mind you, this occurence is common. It is hard for me to see my father as he used to be. In fact, he doesn't make an effort to change his alcoholic ways, even though he's watching himself destroy each relationship he has. A month ago, he had claimed to me (and only me) that he was suicidal. I debated calling an ambulance out of fear of my father's safety until my mother arrived home. He told me I was "the only one who listened and helped him in this family." From the years of abuse I've recieved from him, it makes me question whether or not this is a manipulative ploy or a man really reaching out for help in the wrong places.
I turn sixteen in a few months and I am excited about my future. I am excited to leave my town for college. But I don't know if I can keep the man who beat me and my family down all of these years in my life. I struggle with Major Depressive Disorder and anxirty and am currently on medication for it, and I don't know whether or not keeping my father in my life is good for my well-being. I love him dearly. But I don't know if he is good to keep around. I have to move forward with my life, but I'm not sure how or if I should help him.
Asked Dec 24, 2015
This is a tricky one. Let me just say that if he's physically harming you or any other people in any way you need to get help from the authorities.
Answered Mar 31, 2016
I know that has to be a very difficult situation to be in. Be assured that you are not alone, because many of people go through what you experience. There is a book that I found to be very helpful to many young people. It is entitled Questions Young People Ask- Answers that Work volume 1 and 2. You can go to select Bible teachings and then teenagers or you can go to publications then select books and go to display and scroll to the books. This is just one of the chapters and its entitled What if my parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol? I have enclosed some of the chapter I hope you find this helpful:

MILLIONS of youths endure the daily turmoil of living with a parent who’s hooked on drugs or alcohol. If one of your parents is enslaved to such an addiction, he or she may embarrass, frustrate, and even anger you.

Mary, for example, was raised by a dad who seemed to be a nice person when in public. But he was a closet alcoholic, and at home he subjected his family to profanity and abuse. “People would come up to us children and tell us what a wonderful father we had and how fortunate we were,” Mary recalls bitterly.*

If one of your parents is addicted to alcohol or drugs, how can you cope?

Behind the Addiction
First of all, it helps to gain some insight into your parent’s problem. “A man of understanding is the one who acquires skillful direction,” says Proverbs 1:5. So it would be good for you to learn something about what addiction is, who gets addicted to alcohol or drugs, and why.

For instance, an alcoholic isn’t simply someone who overdrinks on occasion. On the contrary, he has a chronic drinking disorder.* He’s preoccupied—even obsessed—with alcohol and cannot control his consumption of it once he starts drinking. His addiction causes painful problems affecting his family, work, and health.

While certain people may be physically prone to alcohol addiction, emotional factors also appear to be involved. In fact, many alcoholics often harbor negative feelings about themselves. (Proverbs 14:13) Some of them, in fact, grew up in families where their own parents were alcoholics. For such people, drinking may numb the pain of childhood emotional scars. The same factors might be involved when a person is addicted to drugs.

Of course, drinking or taking drugs only compounds a person’s problems; his thinking and emotions now become even more warped. That’s why your parent may need considerable help from a trained professional to break free from his addiction.

Modifying Your Expectations
Granted, understanding why your parent behaves so badly doesn’t make the problem disappear. Still, having some insight into his addiction might allow you to view your parent with a measure of compassion.

For example, would you expect a parent with a broken leg to play a game of soccer with you? What if you knew that the injury was the result of your parent’s own foolish actions? No doubt, you’d be disappointed. Nevertheless, you would realize that until the injury heals, your parent’s ability to play ball with you would be severely limited. Grasping that fact would help you to adjust your expectations.

Similarly, an alcoholic parent or one who is addicted to drugs is emotionally and mentally crippled. True, the “injury” is self-inflicted. And you may rightly resent your parent’s foolish conduct. However, until your parent seeks help to heal his addiction, he’ll be severely limited in his ability to care for you. Viewing his addiction as an incapacitating injury may help you to modify your expectations.

What You Can Do
The fact remains that until your parent straightens out his life, you must live with the consequences of his behavior. In the meantime, what can you do about it?

Don’t take responsibility for your parent’s addiction. Your parent—and your parent alone—is responsible for his addiction. “Each one will carry his own load,” says Galatians 6:5. It’s not your job, then, to cure your parent, nor are you obliged to shield him from the consequences of his addiction. For example, you don’t have to lie for him to his boss or drag him off the front porch when he’s fallen into a drunken stupor there.

Encourage your parent to get help. Your parent’s biggest problem may be admitting that he has a problem. When he’s sober and calm, perhaps the nonaddicted parent along with the older siblings can tell him how his behavior is affecting the family and what he needs to do about it.

In addition, your addicted parent might do well to write down the answers to the following questions: What will happen to me and my family if I keep drinking or taking drugs? What will happen if I give up my habit? What must I do to get help?

If trouble is brewing, leave the scene. “Before the quarrel has burst forth, take your leave,” says Proverbs 17:14. Don’t put yourself at risk by getting in the middle of a quarrel. If possible, retire to your room or go to a friend’s house. When the threat of violence exists, outside help may be needed.

Acknowledge your feelings. Some youths feel guilty because they resent an addicted parent. It’s only normal to feel a degree of resentment, especially if your parent’s addiction prevents him from giving you the love and support you need. True, the Bible obligates you to honor your parent. (Ephesians 6:2, 3) But “honor” means to respect his authority, in much the same way as you are to respect that of a police officer or a judge. It doesn’t mean that you approve of your parent’s addiction. (Romans 12:9) Nor are you a bad person because you’re repulsed by his drinking or drug abuse; after all, substance abuse is repulsive!—Proverbs 23:29-35.

Find upbuilding association. When life at home is chaotic, you can lose sight of what’s normal. It’s important, therefore, that you enjoy the association of people who are spiritually and emotionally healthy.

Seek help for yourself. Having a mature, trusted adult with whom you can share your feelings really helps. So don’t be afraid or ashamed to go to them for comfort and advice.

Write here which of the above six steps you will try to apply first. ․․․․․

You may not be able to change the situation at home, but you can change the way you’re affected by it. Rather than trying to control your parent, focus on the one person you can control—you. “Keep working out your own salvation,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Philippians 2:12) Doing so will help you maintain a positive outlook, and it might even prod your parent to seek help for his addiction.
Answered May 23, 2016
Edited May 23, 2016

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