Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Alcoholic father - can anyone offer some advice?

(26 Posts)
LittleMilla Sat 29-Oct-16 21:28:20

My dad has been a boozer for most of his life. However, my step-mum left him almost two years ago (due to his drinking) and he's spiralled to the point where we are now.

At the end of the summer I had to stage something of an intervention: taking him to docs after dramatic weight loss and he was yellowing. He voluntarily signed up for help and we've been intermittently been seeing alcohol counsellors for about 6 weeks? It's been stop/start due to them allocating us a key worker and then her going on holiday. And my dad has nose-dived.

He's now stopped eating almost entirely. Drinking A LOT (beer, cider, neat vodka) and I found out today that he's vomiting blood most mornings (my 17 y/old half brother stayed with him for a few days at a holiday house in Cornwall). He's stopped washing and stinks of piss. He's also very yellow again.

He says he wants to get better but having spent this afternoon on the phone to 111 and speaking to him, he's said flat out that he won't go to hospital. 111 wanted to send an ambulance but he's refused. I also said I'd drive down (he's 45 mins from me) but he said he'd 'run away' so I couldn't find him.

I'm at a complete loss about what the fuck to do with him. He's going to die, soon, but I cannot do a thing. We're meant to be having an assessment on Tues for his detox place but I am now worried that's in jeopardy.

I have two DSs who are 3 & 5 and have said from the start that they will always come first. He split with my mum when I was six and has been a pretty shite dad my whole life if I'm honest. So this is all very hard when you factor in the relative non-relationship we've had for years.

He's such a selfish bastard I feel so angry. But I also don't want him to die. Not least because I feel like his family hold me responsible for him (I live closest to him).

HELP!

HopeClearwater Sat 29-Oct-16 21:35:28

I have some advice. I have been in exactly this position.

You can't stop him. You already said 'I cannot do a thing' and you are right. He cannot see a life without alcohol and he is ready to take the consequences. He is telling you this. Never mind others holding you responsible - you are not and can not be.

Leave him be now.

So sorry. flowers

LittleMilla Sat 29-Oct-16 21:43:14

Thanks for the reply HopeClearwater. Dare I ask if your family member is still around?

My dad looks like a dead man walking, I fear we're weeks away from the inevitable and the feeling of powerlessness is keeping me awake at night. It's more my 17 year old brother I'm worried about. Poor poor kid is devastated.

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Sat 29-Oct-16 22:11:27

Oh darling. My heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry to say this, but your dad is very much on borrowed time - the symptoms you're describing are those of end stage liver disease (cirrhosis). In his situation, continuing to drink is the equivalent of pouring petrol on a roaring fire. The weight loss, the jaundice, and the numerous variceal bleeds - the blood he's vomiting will most likely be coming from burst veins (varices) in his oesophagus - are all signs that his liver is failing at an advanced rate.

You are NOT responsible for him. Don't let anyone convince you of that. Your dad sounds as if he's very much made his choice flowers

PaperdollCartoon Sat 29-Oct-16 22:16:32

No advice but didn't want to read and run flowers

kateshair Sat 29-Oct-16 22:27:27

Hi been in same position also. Dad on neat vodka, wine in public... Yellow skin it's awful. I remember my dad stunk too of piss and looked like a tramp... Awful, awful .... Only thing was my dad wasn't a bad man weak and selfish of course .... Bloody addiction... I understand the powerless feeling !!

tinkletinklelittlestar Sat 29-Oct-16 22:28:06

It's very hard to know what to do or say in these situations. Maybe he's so entrenched in his position that he doesn't know how to change.

From experience of having an alcoholic parent, there is very little that you can do (to make them change) but, try and get him to go to the appointment on Tuesday. One of my parents was in a bad state (yellowing skin, not eating, having seizures etc.,) for a while and it took time for them to get some help that worked - I think it gave them a few more years and a better outlook on life. They died after a fall but this was not related to alcohol abuse.

JLoTheAstra Sat 29-Oct-16 22:34:00

Wrote a long message but it does t seem to have posted - here's the short version (sorry).

While ideally you'd step away, I understand it's not that easy. I still live with the irrational guilt that I didn't help my alcoholic mum more before she died of liver failure.

Keep trying but for you, so you know you've done all you can . Your dad has been taken over by this disease and the prognosis isn't good so whatever you do is unlikely to help him , but it might help you cope better once he's gone to know that you did all you could.

Hope that makes sense and flowers

Wolfiefan Sat 29-Oct-16 22:44:54

I'm so sorry you poor thing.
There is nothing you can do. You aren't responsible for another person.
He says he wants help but his actions show otherwise.
Keep yourself and your kids safe and away from him. It's really all you can do.
Alcoholism is a bitch. It really is.
flowers

baconandeggies Sat 29-Oct-16 22:53:39

I'm really sorry - there's nothing you can do and you've tried your absolute best. My father died from alcoholism but he chose to completely hide the full extent of his drinking from us. By the time he went into jaundice it was too late; he couldn't walk, multi-organ failure and hours later he got pneumonia, which he never recovered from.

You're not responsible for him. Alcoholism is an illness but it's his choice to refuse help. I'm sorry flowers

Are you in touch with Al-anon for support for yourself and your family?

dalmatianmad Sat 29-Oct-16 22:57:45

I'm so sorry op, there's nothing you can do whilst your dad has capacity (decision making ability). it's so bloody awful to standby and see your loved one go through this flowers

beardedladydragon Sat 29-Oct-16 23:08:20

Unfortunately I have been in a very similar situation to. My father was an alcoholic which resulted in a significant amount of time being NC with him. We got back in contact but I almost had to accept that it was his choice to live like that. He died of pneumonia in the end but this was related to his alcoholism. I was there to support him in the last months of his life and although I wasn't there when he died I do take comfort in the fact that I did everything I could for him. My sister wasn't able to do the same and suffers horribly with the guilt. You can't force him into doing things he doesn't want to do but you can be there and offer him the support, for your own sake as much as his.

idontlikealdi Sat 29-Oct-16 23:11:14

My dad died 11 years ago from a heart attack but the secondary reason was chirrosis.

We did everything we could to help and it was incredibly traumatic but ultimately if he won't access and take the support on offer there is nothing you can do.

flowersflowersit is a whit situation and I'm sorry you're in it now.

WeAllHaveWings Sat 29-Oct-16 23:31:59

My FIL was a clever, kind, generous man, a successful businessman and also an alcoholic. He was beyond help and died age 58, penniless and alone in a rundown bedsit above a pub.

Alcoholism is such a cruel incurable disease, and there is very little anyone can do to help.

HopeClearwater Sat 29-Oct-16 23:49:10

So sad to read all the posts on here.
LittleMilla no my dad isn't around any more. He was adamant that he would live his life the way he wanted to, as if he was making a choice, but really, he was truly terrified of a life without alcohol. Or even a day without alcohol. I'm not sure that feels like much of a choice to an alcoholic. I understand why your dad said he would run away - that reminds me of mine.
We like to think we are free to do as we want in this world. Unfortunately that often means we are free to make the 'wrong' decision.

peanutnutter Sun 30-Oct-16 07:10:27

Hi OP sorry you are going through this. It's 15 years ago yesterday my Dad literally dropped dead from alcoholism. It's the hardest thing to do but you have to let go and accept that he is the only one that can save himself. My dad knew he was going to die and he still didn't stop drinking. Look after yourself x

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 30-Oct-16 07:24:17

The 3cs re alcoholism:-

You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

The only person who can help your dad is him, familial interventions as well rarely if at all ever work out. You are not responsible for this man, only he is. Words are cheap, looks at his actions instead. He neither wants a hospital nor an ambulance but says to you that he wants to get better (and then says he would run away from you as well). The detox place should now go to someone else who actually wants it.

I would back right off now and protect your own family unit. Your 17 year old brother could also do with talking to Al-anon now; they are helpful to people affected by another person's drinking. Alcoholism as well is a family disease and one that does not just affect the alcoholic.

kateshair Sun 30-Oct-16 10:23:17

I hope your ok op ?
It really is unfortunate that they just can't be sectioned and made to dry out then offered full rehabilitation.
Think that would save some but of course not all lives.
It's bloody awful x

GrumpyDullard Sun 30-Oct-16 10:35:01

My mum is an alcoholic but joined Alcoholics Anonymous when I was a young adult, over 20 years ago, and hasn't touched a drop since.
Of course, having grown up in an alcoholic home, I went on to marry an alcoholic. I started going to Al-anon in the hope I'd learn how to stop him drinking, as most of us do, but eventually found the acceptance that it wasn't my fault and there was nothing I could do except focus on myself and not allow the alcoholism to drag me and our DCs down too. I eventually found the courage to leave him.
It is a terrible disease and affects everyone around the drinker, not just the drinker themselves. You drive yourself crazy trying to solve the problem that can't be solved by anyone except the drinker themselves, deciding to get help and stop drinking.
There is absolutely nothing you can do, except try to detach. It sounds harsh but it's a loving thing to do, really. Being sucked in to the madness doesn't help the drinker, whatever they may think.
No solution for you here, I'm afraid. But a lot of sympathy. It's shit.

Gabby99 Sun 30-Oct-16 10:49:23

You poor thing. I know how hard it is. My Dad insisted he needed his nightcap of vodka to "sleep", he then started getting up during the night for top-ups and finally he started drinking during the day. It was having a terrible effect on my elderly mum, she tried but couldn't cope with him. We went down all the usual routes, GP, Counselling, pleading etc. As a last resort, I moved in with my parents for a few months. I removed all alcohol from the house and I agreed on a daily allowance with him for his nightcap. He sticks to this and is improving, eating, gaining weight, watching TV, going for short walks ... all things he no longer did when he was in the grip of alcohol. I call in daily now to do his nightcap and make sure they are ok. I am under no illusion that he could relapse at any time but for now he is good and in the land of the living again. I know your kids are young and you live a distance away from him so this isn't an option for you. Does he have any family near him who would be willing to help out?

baconandeggies Sun 30-Oct-16 14:27:04

Gabby99 Well done, but your intervention only worked because your dad wanted to accept help. The OP is in the opposite situation.

Gabby99 Sun 30-Oct-16 15:52:57

Yes, i agree, the person must really want to get better or it will never work. It's an awful thing for a family to go through, it affects everyone.

karigan Sun 30-Oct-16 16:28:42

I'm so sorry for you. It's horrible.

My FIL died from cirrhosis of the liver at 48. My husband was devastated. I think what made it worse was the multiple wake up calls his father had, then the multiple relapses. I went with my DH to see him.in hospital and he must have weighed only 4 stone- lots of relatives begging him to cut down, stop the alcohol and take the rehab being offered.

Hopefully your father will take the help that is being offered. Either way, I'm sorry for the pain you're going through. X

ByeByeLilSebastian Sun 30-Oct-16 16:33:18

Sorry op but I agree with the others. The only way he can be helped is if he wants to help himself.

I do feel for you though, I've been there and wouldn't wish it on anyone flowers

midcenturymodern Sun 30-Oct-16 16:44:26

I'm 25 years on from this. I was living with my Dad but it wasn't my fault. My eldest brother got a bit snarky in the few weeks after his death because I was still at home and so should have done 'something'. All my siblings went away to uni and never came back to help but my bro conveniently forgot that and thought that I, at 17, should have born it all alone. (He probably didn't really but guilt makes you say stuff).

I honestly don't think you can do anything that will change the outcome significantly. You are at the point of palliative care, so food, making sure the heating is on, encouraging him to wash and change clothes, keeping him comfortable. My Dad was admitted to a liver ward after he lost consciousness at home. He lay in hospital for 4 weeks before the end. I'm sorry it's so crap.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now