Dear Fiona: My son drinks too much and gets aggressive

05 April 2022

The problem…

“My son is 22 and since leaving school, has found it very hard to find and keep jobs. I think the reason for this is that he drinks too much – and when he does, he gets aggressive with everyone. It doesn’t matter if he’s in work or on benefits, he still manages to find money for drink every day.

“Some days he is so drunk he just stays in his room, and he’s lost more than one job this way. On days like this, I find it hard to cope, especially if he has been abusive or aggressive with me. On quieter days I have tried to explain to him that he can’t go on like this, but he refuses to accept that he’s an alcoholic and says lots of people drink as much as he does. However, I often find empty vodka bottles in his room, and I know he must be getting through one of these every few days.

“His father was a violent drunk, and I fear my son may be heading down the same path. He hasn’t hit me yet, but sometimes he looks so angry that I am scared he will. I love him and want to help, but what can I do?”

Fiona says…

“He may or may not be an alcoholic – but if he’s getting through multiple bottles of vodka a week, I think he might be close to becoming one, and if his typical response to drinking like this is to become abusive and aggressive, then he most definitely has a drink problem. What’s more, if he’s starting to direct any of this behaviour at you, then you have a problem too.

“I don’t doubt that lots of people drink like your son, the past two years have been stressful for everyone. Many people have turned to alcohol as a way of coping – but just because others do it too, that doesn’t make it right, acceptable, or healthy. Indeed, he is likely already doing damage to his physical and mental health, so please continue to encourage him to get the help he needs.

“In the first instance, I suggest he talks with his GP, who should be able to suggest an appropriate source of help. Alternatively, he could approach something like Alcoholics Anonymous (, who he could call or email for advice. There is also a chat service available through the website. He may also find it useful to contact Drinkware (, which offers a lot of useful support and information.

“If he refuses to listen to you, is there someone else that he trusts or respects who could talk with him? If that doesn’t work, I’m afraid there is probably little else that you can do at this stage. To recover from this, your son must firstly accept that he has a problem, and your letter suggests that he is still some way from this.

“Watching someone you care about harm themselves is never easy, and you may need help yourself to get through this. Al-Anon Family Groups ( offers support and understanding for families and friends of people with a drink problem. I would definitely encourage you to contact them, as you could do with some help and support to get through this too.”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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