Content warning: Alcoholism, physical and psychological violence.
My cousin just called me in tears. Again. She shared her fears with me about her parents drinking too much, even when they have to drive. She wanted to know what she could do to prevent her parents from driving when they're drunk (which is basically everyday).
Her mom (Elizabeth) and dad (Jack) have three daughters: her (19y.o.) and 11-years old twins. They've had to struggle with alcoholism for as long as I can remember. Their couple has been a mess for five years now, and they drink heavily every day to forget about their pain. After my grandfather died at the beginning of 2018, Elizabeth wanted to get sober and to get a divorce but was discouraged by my grandma, who told her "one does not divorce, no matter what you're going through, once you're married it's for life". So she gave up on both ideas.
Not only my cousins have to deal with their parents calling names and getting verbally and physically violent at each other, but they're in danger every time my aunt and uncle drive them somewhere, as they're basically drunk all day. I fear for their lives, not because of the violence (they wouldn't physically hurt their daughters), but I'm afraid I get a call someday telling me that they died in a car accident.
I've been wanting to talk to Elizabeth about that (I'm not close enough with Jack). To show her she can confide in me (I'm old enough now not to be hurt by what she could tell me), and to help her realize that she and Jack are putting their whole family in danger. The thing is, we're from a family where one doesn't talk about their feelings (she never mentioned her marriage troubles to anyone, we only know because we see how they behave with each other and their daughters, and because my cousin calls me at least once a month because of it). I've broke the implicit "no-feeling-talk" and extensively talked about the situation with my grandma and my mother (Elizabeth's sister) and told them I'm worried, but they won't talk to Elizabeth unless she mentions it first.
My aunt and uncle are miserable in their marriage and have been extensively drinking to forget about their pain. Their drinking habit puts my cousins in danger on a daily basis and I'm afraid they get hurt and/or lose custody should they have an alcohol-induced car accident.
How to talk with Elizabeth about their drinking problem and help them realize that they're putting their daughters in danger when they drive drunk? I can see she's in deep pain but we were both taught not to talk about our feelings so I don't know how to bring the topic up without making her feel like a terrible mother.