My Father is a Bad Drunk, But I Want My Mother to Reconsider Divorce

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a 20-year-old woman in my junior year at university. My parents don’t get along at all and have not been on speaking terms for several years. I get on well with both my mother and father.

My father is kind to everyone and is devoted to his family but becomes a bad drunk when he drinks. When drunk, he falls asleep anywhere and often loses his belongings.

I have begged him to quit drinking time and again, but doesn’t listen and makes the same mistakes over and over again.

My mother ignores my father even when he asks her something. She makes no secret of her attitude toward him, so I ask my father’s questions to her on his behalf.

My mother has always supported our family over the years. It seems she has decided to divorce my father after I graduate.

When my mother confided to me that she wants a divorce, I could understand her point of view and blurted out, “I think that’s a good idea.”

But as my graduation gets closer, my parents’ divorce has started to feel more real, which makes me sad.

I love my mother, and I love my father when he isn’t drinking. I want all three of us to go out and have fun together like we used to. Is there anything I can do as a daughter?

U, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. U:

You say your father is a kind family man when he isn’t drinking. The fact he cannot quit drinking despite his relationship with your mother falling apart leads me to suspect he may be alcoholic. It might be worth asking a specialist for some advice.

Your mother has been forced to clean up after your father whenever he gets drunk and must be utterly fed up. I can completely understand why she feels this way.

However, it isn’t easy for someone to overcome their addiction, even if their family is angry at them or begs them to quit. The first step requires not just the person to fully recognize the situation they’re in, but also for their family to learn more about addiction.

As things stand, your mother probably can’t bring herself to support your father very much.

You need to roll up your sleeves and get the process moving as a start. Your mother may change her mind if you tell her, “I want our family to get along like we did before. I want you to give me a chance to make this happen.”

It may also help if you can show her a concrete plan on how to achieve this.

If things continue just as they are, with you graduating, getting a job and your mother leaving your father, I have a feeling that your father will hit the bottle harder than he does now.

Yoko Sanuki, lawyer