Ask Sam letter


To Sam

What should I do?

Hey, so my boyfriends dad died of an alcohol problem when he was small, (we're 15 now by the way) he isn't that well off, but he isn't poor either. He is very down recently, and he has admitted to me, (and i have noticed) that his mum has a serious alcohol problem. She drinks every night, and although she is lovely, and doesn't hurt him physically, she always ends up crying or having a go at him or even just being silly because she is drunk. I don't think its fair for him (and his brother) to have to live with an alcoholic mum, or is that too over protective of me? He is just so worried and he hates it when she gets drunk, he has tried to talk to her but she doesn't listen, i think she may be in denial. My boyfriend blames himself of course, and he feels he should be doing more to help but he doesn't know how. Another thing, my boyfriends younger brother(14) is a complete idiot. He is constantly skipping school, being rude, aggressive, horrible to his mum, (which could be the result of the drinking problem) and just causes so much unnecessary stress within their family, this is also bringing my boyfriend down as his mum and his brother are constantly fighting. He is stuck in the middle and i don't know what to do or if i should do anything, but its making him so sad and i do care about his family so much as they're so nice, what can I do to help?
PS: the negative family life also has a bad effect at school and his grades are dropping and he is just so down sometimes. Yours thankfully, S
Ask Sam


Hello S,

It’s really clear that you are concerned about your boyfriend. It’s great that you want to find a way to support him and help him as best as you can. You’ve done really well to explain the situation that he’s experiencing, and it’s great that you are there for him at this time and want to help him.

It can often be very difficult or upsetting to have a parent or guardian with alcohol and/or drug problems. You're right that it's not fair that your boyfriend has to cope with this. You described how your boyfriend and his brother seem to react in different ways to what is going on with their mum’s drinking. Everyone copes with stress or difficulty differently, and this could be what is happening with them. It's important for both of them to remember that they are not to blame for their mum's behaviour, although it sounds like that might be hard for your boyfriend to believe at the moment.

You said that the stress at home is affecting your boyfriend's grades at school. I wonder if he's thought about speaking to a teacher, or another adult at school like the school nurse? Staff at school have a responsibility to support the young people they work with and anything that is affecting their safety and wellbeing at home.

If your boyfriend (or his brother) wanted to prefer speak to someone in confidence first, they could talk to one of the counsellors at ChildLine. There are several ways to getting in touch including phoning 0800 1111, logging in for a 1-2-1 chat, or sending an email. It’s important for you to know that you too are welcome to contact them whenever you want to talk.

Your boyfriend might find it helpful to look at the Parents and alcohol page in Explore. He could also look at the message boards. These contain questions, ideas and experiences shared by other young people about a variety of topics, including home and family relationships.

Another resource that might provide some support to your boyfriend and his brother is a service called Alateen. They are part of an organisation called Al-Anon, a service for people who have someone in their lives who has issues with alcohol. Alateen is specifically for young people and you can take a look at the Alateen information on the Al-Anon website

I hope this information helps. Well done for sharing and for showing concern about someone you care about.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter