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Depressed, alcoholic father.(14 Posts)
Not sure I am in the right place but I need advice on how to help my father who is alcohol dependant and depressed. He has never acknowledged that he has a problem until a few days ago. He told me he had a problem nd needed help. He saw the dr who has agreed he needs a residential rehab. programme and counselling. I feel slightly lost as to how I can also help. If anyone has any advice I would be grateful!
Hi I don't have any personal knowledge but have you thought of alcoholics anon for families? They should've ableto offer some guidance on what to expect and also support. Good luck
As the ex-wife of an alcoholic, my advice is to do as little as you possibly can. Your father will find all the help he will accept - there are so many organisations out there. If he calls AA someone will collect him and take him to meetings. Protect yourself and do not get sucked into saving him. He must do it himself.
Hiya. Thanks I called al anon for families and found out about meetings so may go along. It's not easy to switch myself off from my own father and I want to support him. He is very determined and ready to change.
Good I am glad you may have some useful contacts. I agree it would be difficult to cut your father off and his determination deserves some support and I am sure that AA for families will be able to give advice on when to give and when to hold back. Also they may be supportive if there are any relapses.
I can however see what Llareggub is saying in that you cannot save him and that he must do this himself.
Good luck to you all & keep us posted if it helps!
He's made an important step in asking for help but there's still a long journey from here to sobriety and a longer journey still from sobriety to comfortable sobriety. That's a journey that only he can walk.
But you can support him by realising he's a grown-up who has made his own choices and needs to face the consequences of those choices to be able to learn from them.
You can support him by not enabling him; if there are things he could and should be doing for himself, let him do them.
You can support him by being clear about what you expect from him and requiring him to be clear about what he expects from you.
And you can support him by remembering that if the right answer for you to give is "No, that will not work for me" then you can and should give that answer.
He was admitted to hospital yesterday with stomach pain and vomiting blood. They agreed to keep him in for a 5 day detox. The relief all round was enormous, my dad visibly relaxed and was so happy he was being given this opportunity. I'll go in to visit him and hopefully he will get sorted with some counselling and support when he comes out.
He's in the right place.
Do remember though that a hospital detox is simply a monitored and medicated process whereby they take someone who's heavily intoxicated and get them to a state of having no alcohol in their bloodstream as safely as possible (alcohol is one of the very few drugs which can kill simply through stopping taking it). It's a long road from "medically sober" to proper sobriety.
Another supporter of the message that detox is far from a miracle cure. Alcoholism is so very very hard to get away from. One person I met at Al Anon's wife went into treatment (detox plus many weeks/months at a time of super expensive therapy in a residential setting) 6 times before she sobered up. Many will walk out and straight back to drinking. I am so happy for you that you are feeling optmistic, but AA and treatment centres have such bad recovery rates for a good reason. Doesn't mean he can't get recovery, but the most important thing you can do to support him is to go to Al Anon meetings or your GP and find out how.
Thank you. I have been researching support options. I keep telling dad that he must have counselling and aftercare. I know he's not keen but I'll keep pushing. He is adamant he's not going to do the groups where they all sit in a circle and "say my names Jane and I'm an alcoholic" thing, so I'm looking into alternatives. Plus he works full time so it needs to be local and after work, I know support groups wil be available then but what about counselling?
Why are you doing all this research? Why can't he?
Please don't get too engaged in this. Please spend your energy at Al-Anon getting support for you. I've done 5 years of supporting an alcoholic exH and I've tried everything. I am now an anti-depressants and he is still drinking. It is a horrid, horrid disease and he needs to hear from the groups how bloody horrible it is.
Mummypig, the reason posters who have personal experience of alcoholics are sounding negative about the way you are being so lovely and enthusiastic and hopeful, is because we have all been there, done it and have huge emotional scars to remind us.
With an alchoholic, it doesn't matter how much you want them to get better, until they want it themselves nothing will change. And if your father is not asking the questions you have, and is not looking into his treatment options, and is dismissing support groups like AA without having tried them, then he is probably still in a place of denial. The chances are that through your enabling him (not making him take the consequences of his drinking, i.e. researching help for him) he will continue to drink, as he has no reason to stop. Until you learn how not to enable, through Al Anon or a lot of reading, you cannot help him and you will be in a lot of pain emotionally. Seperating yourself emotionally from his disease of alcholism is the opposite of not loving him, it is the best way to help him.
[Almost you need to think of an alcoholic as a small child trying to learn to draw a picture, if you keep doing it for them, you are being kind and really wanting to help, but not allowing them to learn to do it for themselves and they have no personal interest in the picture because they feel they had no part in it and didn't really want it to start with]. [Terrible analogy really sorry].
If you want to try and understand what he is going through, again try Al Anon meetings or you can access the AA big book online and read stories of recovered alcoholics.
Once again, many thanks for the responses, all advice appreciated. I do understand that I ought to encourage him to do things by himself, he was just so desperate for help but didn't know how to go about it. His gp has referred him to a counselling service. He can't use the internet so I had a look myself whilst he is in hospital. He is ill (physically, can barely walk, incredibly frail) so he actually needs physical help right now. In a few weeks when his physical condition improves then I'm sure he and I will feel more confident that he can tackle this alone. I totally agree he needs to take responsibility for his own actions and I'll definitely be telling him that!
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