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Help with alcoholic father and how to get the best outcome

(5 Posts)
SESthebrave Wed 10-Dec-14 19:59:45

My Dad is 71yo and has been an alcoholic for over 30yrs.
The short story is that yesterday he was on his annual Christmas meet up with old colleagues and today one of them phoned my mum as he was concerned about my Dad. Whilst at the do yesterday it seems he twice had an episode where he fell of his chair, blanked out and the second time had a minor fit. The guy that phoned my mum was really worried and had said to my dad that he wanted to phone my mum. My dad clearly told him not to as he didn't want to cause any undue stress or anxiety for mum but the guy chose to call anyway as he believes my dad needs to be checked over. My mum phoned me to share and as she didn't know what to do now.

Now some more background:
My dad is still with my mum who had her own health issues too and a history of being very controlling to him and my 2 brothers. Not sure what came first, his alcohol problem or her controlling tendencies. Doesn't really make much difference now.

About 15yrs ago he'd got to the stage where he'd drink from waking at about 5am to bedtime. I don't know how much he would drink but he would hide it. He would keep a bottle of vodka or gin in his locked briefcase. We knew as we could feel it on shaking the briefcase. I remember doing this in front of him and he denied anything was in there despite the sound of a bottle, as he knew we didn't have the combination code to open the briefcase.

Around that time he was taken ill one day at home with vomiting and a fit. Mum called for an ambulance and he was taken in to hospital and kept in. After a couple of days it became clear that he wasn't good for himself and would refuse medication so he was sectioned. He was in hospital about 3 months during which time he had obviously stopped drinking and was given a support programme through mental health team and invited to work alongside other mentally ill patients. He went along with it but wasn't keen as the other patients were all of a different background, not like him(alcoholic).

After a year, he stopped going. He had remained sober all that time but somehow had it in his head that he had been told not to drink alcohol for a year. As a result, after the year, he started drinking again. Initially beer and then wine and then occasionally spirits. He has never gone back to how he was at his worst but does go to the pub every day for about 3 pints whilst he reads his newspaper and if out for a meal, he will have wine and sometimes a G&T.

Although he is an alcoholic, he's my dad and he is shy with very low self esteem. He finds it hard to express his emotions. I feel for the man.

It certainly hasn't been easy for my mum but she does seem to exacerbate the situation at times with her controlling nature and constant (but understandable) disapproval. My dad is like a child in his own home, for example he will ask mum's permission if he can let the cat in from the garden.

Sorry this has got lengthy but I guess it's thinking about the best course of action to take now. If we speak to him about the phone call from his friend, he is likely to dismiss it and refuse to see a Dr. However it doesn't feel right to to nothing.

Any advice please?

Gumnast2014 Wed 10-Dec-14 20:06:38

Tricky one. I would say something but you can't make him go to the doctor,

Unfortunately alcoholism is a disease of denial and until the alcoholic sees it they likely won't listen to anyone

Have you tried Al anon for support?

SESthebrave Wed 10-Dec-14 20:22:58

Whenever I've looked at Al Anon, it looks like support meetings which tbh I'd feel a bit uncomfortable with never mind juggling it with work and little ones. If they had an online forum, that'd prob be more useful but I can't see anything.

I think mum feels she would always blame herself if she didn't say anything and something happened. As well, they are due to be travelling about 6hrs to the other end of the country for Christmas, to my brother. Mum is worried about something happening on the journey.

CornChips Sun 14-Dec-14 07:45:37

Oh *SES how difficult and awful for you. I am not sure is AlAnon have online support, but they may as AA do. Or you could ring their hotline and talk it over with them. It is confidential and a regular number, not a premium rate number.

They will have alot of experience with this. My intitial thoughts is that your dad could do with some counselling if his self esteem is entwined with al of this, but that would be a long process.

Can you keep us posted? thanks

Lucy2610 Tue 23-Dec-14 19:28:10

SES There is an online community called - which isn't affiliated with the Anonymous organisation but you could get online support from them as they have an AlAnon group. Just a thought. Plus have you tried ringing Drinkline to see what they advise?

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