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to ask for your help in stopping my dad from killing himself.

(48 Posts)
jellybelly701 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:16:49

My dad is a hard core drug addict, name a drug and he had either taken it in the past, currently taking it in the present or is on his way to buy it. He's been this way since he was about 21 he's 53 now.

Every penny he has goes on drugs and its been this way since as long as I can remember. Which is the main reason why him and my mum split up, she found used needles hidden amongst the toiletries in a basket in the bathroom! I was around 5/6 at the time.

I've noticed now for the past year or two that he is looking just so old and ill, you can tell he takes drugs just by looking at him. He is scruffy and doesn't care about the way he looks. He looks like a bloody hobo! His eyes are sunken and his skin looks grey, you can see all of his bones on his chest and he is skinnier than me and I weigh just 8 stone.

About 9 months ago I got a very random phone call from him. He basically just came out with " you know I'm not going to be around forever right? I have a feeling that I'm going to be here one day but gone the next" and then put the phone down! I thought hard about this and wondered whether he knew something I didn't. My grandma let slip he has been to the doctors around that time but even she doesn't know what the doctors said.

I saw a photo of him last night which has inspired me to ask this, he looks so frail and ill. His cousin was commenting telling him he is a mess and needs to stop the drugs, other friends were commenting about how ill he looks and concerned they are.

He is dying I know it and I'm just not ready for that, I doubt he will make it until my 23rd birthday (I'm 21) I don't know what to do! My gran has offered to pay for rehab but he says its pointless because he will just buy drugs when he is out. He doesn't want to stop taking them and this hurts me because he is my dad and he is killing himself right in front of my eyes and there is nothing I can do.

Being around to see me grow up isn't a good enough reason to stop, being around to see his grandson grow up isn't a good enough reason to stop. Leaving me without a father just isn't a good enough reason.

I just don't know what to do.

jellybelly701 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:18:09

By the way I'm not new, I name changed because anyone who knows me could identify me by this post.

HowLongTillBedtime Wed 06-Aug-14 08:20:39

I am so sorry jelly , but the truth is you can't do anything to help him if he doesn't want to change .

It is so difficult to feel so impotent but if he won't stop then nothing anyone else says or does will make a blind bit of difference .

AbsolutelyCrushed Wed 06-Aug-14 08:24:42

When someone tells you who they are, listen to them.

He doesn't want to stop drugs. He will know the damage that he's done to his body. He will have been offered help - and your gran has offered again, but no one can help him without his permission. He'd need a lot of willpower to quit this, and he doesn't have that.

Enjoy him while he's here, and make lots of memories. There's really nothing else that you can do.

Altinkum Wed 06-Aug-14 08:24:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Whitershadeofpale Wed 06-Aug-14 08:25:45

No I'm sorry but unless he wants to stop you can't help him . I went through the same with my dad who was a chronic alcoholic, although he actually committed suicide in the end.

Have you got support for yourself? When I was younger I found Alateen and Alanon helpful to meet other people in the same situation and to learn how to detach and accept that I couldn't save him and that I'd never be enough to make him stop.

madmomma Wed 06-Aug-14 08:30:02

jelly this happened to me with my beloved Dad (alcohol). He killed himself under my nose, despite family and friends who loved him dearly and supported him.
I want you to know that there is nothing you can do to prevent it.
It sounds massively flippant but this isn't about you or your son. You mustn't take it personally or think that you're not enough. Addiction can only be cured by the addict.
Make sure he knows that you love him and then focus on your little boy and on looking after yourself.
It's such a hard, horrible experience for you and you're so young. My heart goes out to you. Focus on building your own life sweetheart. God bless xx

jellybelly701 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:35:31

I want to create lots of memories with him but I don't want to build up a relationship between DS and himself if he is going to dead within a matter of years.

I feel like shit knowing that he would rather take his drugs and risk dying rather than getting clean so he can be there for me, to watch me grow up. To walk me down the isle when I get married. I can't risk DS ever feeling that way because of him, I just couldn't do that to him.

bakingtins Wed 06-Aug-14 08:36:08

I'm so sorry jelly it must be awful to stand by and watch him slowly destroying himself, but until/unless he wants to change there is nothing anyone can do. He already has lots of family who love him and have offered help, and it's not enough in the face of an addiction that has lasted more than thirty years. Would it help you to write him a letter telling him what you told us - that you love him, that it is hurting you and your family to see him damage himself, how you feel about the effects on you. I would only do it if it is cathartic/helpful for you though, not in the real expectation of change. Addicts tend not to care who is damaged in the process sad flowers

HowLongTillBedtime Wed 06-Aug-14 08:40:33

jelly , I really don't think it is as simple as you not being a good enough reason to stop . His addictions are nothing at all to do with you . His addictions and actions are his and his alone . I have been through similar but with alcohol rather than drugs and honestly we did everything to try and help and absolutely nothing helped because the other person didn't want to stop .

It is heartbreaking but it just isn't in your power to fix this .

juliascurr Wed 06-Aug-14 08:41:35

for alcohol problems, but it's the same principle
my mother was an alcoholic
it's very hard, but you must detach - you can't stop him

you didn't cause it
you can't control it
you can't cure it

jellybelly701 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:42:27

baking I have a letter that I wrote whilst pregnant but I never gave it to him because I think I would feel so much worse knowing that he knows how I feel and how much I'm hurting and yet still doesn't stop.

I would much rather bury my head in the sand and kid my self into believing that he simply doesn't realise how much he is hurting me because if he did he would stop because he is my father and he loves me.

crashbandicoot Wed 06-Aug-14 08:43:15

my sympathies jelly. my dad died from an OD when i was 21.

one thing to say is, sadly, i don't think you can stop your dad if he is set on a particular path. it is terrible watching a car crash in slow motion.

one thing I would urge you to do is to contact Families Anonymous. they have a helpline and meetings with other people in the same position as you. I wish I had contacted them before my dfs passing as I would have been more prepared and less in denial. I would have made better decisions about what contact to have with him and what to say.

One thing I wish I had done before my df passed was to write him a letter saying how I felt. Perhaps you could write him saying that it pains you to see how unhappy he is, that you feel powerless but also that you love him. that is the most important thing you can say/do now. especially as he is refusing rehab.

and know that the way he is is not the way he is because of lack of love for you and your ds or that you are not 'good enough' for him to save himself.

so sorry you are going through this xx

ikeaismylocal Wed 06-Aug-14 08:44:57

I'm sorry your going through this sad

My dad is similar but with alcohol and some drugs, he also has mh issues. I realised a few years ago that I would always come second to alcohol and it really really hurt.

I have a toddler ds who has never met my dad, in many ways I want to take my ds to see my dad as I think it would be nice for my dad, but I never want my ds to feel second best to alcohol.

I think becoming a parent myself has made me realise how much my dad let me down, I couldn't imagine putting myself in the situations my dad has put me in.

Unfortunately my emotions towards him are now disappointment and pity, my coping mechanism is to concentrate on the loving supportive members if my family, you can't save addicts, they either have to save themselves ( or not) all you can do is protect your children from their behaviour and to an extant from becoming too attached to the addict.

HowLongTillBedtime Wed 06-Aug-14 08:48:02

The thing is even if you gave him the letter or confronted him about how you feel it really wouldn't make a difference .

In truth all it would do is give him another reason to take drugs that day to make him feel better .

Now I don't mean that it would actually be a reason but he would use it as an excuse .

That is what they do !

I am happy = will celebrate by getting off my face
I am sad = will cheer myself up by getting off my face
I am pissed off = will forget by getting off my face

You get the picture .

You concentrate on the people in your life that make it better , if he ever changes then fab but don't put your own life on hold waiting .

crashbandicoot Wed 06-Aug-14 08:48:52

x post re sending the letter. Just don't expect a reply or for him to change as a result. things have gone beyond that. what you could do is explain you love him but that you have to keep your distance in order to protect yourself and his dgs.

jellybelly701 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:51:49

Thank you so much for your replies they are very much appreciated.

crashbandicoot Wed 06-Aug-14 08:53:22

feel free to pm me x

Poshsausage Wed 06-Aug-14 08:55:32

Ah sweetie poor you .

Unfortunately , this is not your real dad , and you may have to let him go

It is no reflection on the daughter or mum that you are. Being the best person you can be is the best gift he could ever have and is the best gift you can give yourself .ill net deep down he is so proud of you .

He is probably quite unreachable . Their true selves can get buried deep under years of drug abuse and living that alternative life style

Drugs change your entire world . If he could flick a switch and not take them then I bet my last penny he would . But he can't and no amount of money or talking or rehab or cuddles or understanding or meetings or methadone or prison or love will work .

You have a grief and loss to deal with while he is still here unfortunately which is impossible to deal with as he is probably all over the place and pops in and out of your life

But be proud of yourself and your child and the person you are

jellybelly701 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:55:33

I think I'm going to have to have a one to one with my grandma. She has already lost her daughter to drink and feels like a complete failure because of it. I'm scared about how she will cope if he goes too.

crashbandicoot Wed 06-Aug-14 09:16:00

your poor family. did your gran ever visit an al-anon group? she can still go even.although her daughter is no longer here.

you could perhaps ask if she would be interested in coming to families anonymous with you? if not, she will benefit if you go come it thinking/feeling stronger. addiction is such a complex that it is so hard for individuals to make sense of it on their own.

TheGhostOfGordonWay Wed 06-Aug-14 09:18:56

Jelly, I'm so sorry you are going through this.

I have similar problems with my own father, although in his case it is food and alcohol. He is heavily overweight, drinks far too much and has already had one heart attack. He has had a stent put into one of his arteries because it was so clogged up, and is on warfarin and beta blockers. He finds even mild exercise difficult.

I spent years listening to him talk about how he was losing weight and getting healthy, not drinking in the week etc, and every time nothing changed. I spent hours talking to my brother about what we could do or say to make him realise what he was doing to himself.

When my DH and I started trying for a baby, I realised that I had to let it go. I have my own life to live, and am going to have another human being to look after and bring up. I wrote my father a letter telling him how I felt about his health and his attitude to it, saying that I wanted him to be healthy but I was tired of being let down and that I was leaving it with him now.

The letter was more for me than him. I did it because, if he does eventually die of preventable heart or liver disease, I can look back and say, 'I did what I could. I was honest, and clear, and I couldn't have said anything more to shock him into sorting himself out'. Now I can be at peace about it.

Maybe the same tactic might help for you. As others have said, don't do it because you think it'll make him change (that's not in your control), but so that you will know you've said what you needed to say, and whatever he does then is his choice and his choice alone.


MeerkatTargaryen Wed 06-Aug-14 09:26:21

Another one who knows how you feel. My 'dad' is an alcoholic. I put 'dad' as he just isn't one. You might be able to catch my read dad for a short time in the morning but as my mum and dad split when I was 10 it's been a long time since I've seen him (I'm 37 now).

Anyway, I've done all the 'please stop for me if no one else' but it just doesn't work. I am NC now and have been for years. If I heard he had died I don't think I would feel anything anymore. We had an awkward situation the year before last when he managed to get sectioned. I am an only child so his nearest relative in legal terms. I hold power to decide on someone's medical treatment when I don't even know how this person has their tea ffs.

I've learnt that people won't change unless they want to change for themselves. You can't do anything unfortunately and do have to just distance yourself. I don't think it's healthy for me to be emotionally detached from my dad but it's how I deal with it. I can't see any other way.

Thinking of you (unmumsnety hug)

jellybelly701 Wed 06-Aug-14 10:04:55

Yes, I think I might suggest that my grandma and I go to some kind of group together. My father dying within the next few years is, I think, a guarantee. I would rather my grandma be as prepared for that as possible. Poor woman, I feel so bad for her. She is so anti-smoking, anti-drinking and anti-drugs, always has been. She tried her very best to raise her children to the best of her ability, to set them on the right path of life.

I think I will give him the letter. ghost makes a brilliant point, I don't think I could forgive myself for not doing absolutely everything I could to help him.

TheGhostOfGordonWay Wed 06-Aug-14 11:03:33

That was my feeling, jelly. It had got to a point where the only thing to do was to tell him exactly how I felt, and if that didn't make a difference, then so be it.

But also, it was to extract myself from the game-playing that was going on. My father was putting me in the role of 'nagger', and he knew damn well what he was doing and what I really wanted to say but was holding back out of politeness. The game was that he would ring up and tell me about a health problem - I would make helpful, mild suggestions about exercise and diet - he would dismiss me - I would be left thinking 'I must try harder'.

I felt for years that we were following a sort of bizarre dance, in which he invited me to try to intervene, and then dismissed me.

The letter put a stop to all that. It brought everything out in the open, put the ball firmly back in his court, and allowed me to stop asking him about his health. Now if he rings up and tells me something's gone wrong, I don't feel the need to make suggestions or try to change him. I can just leave it. It's freedom.

It sounds like your dad might be doing something similar, with this phone call in which he implied he was going to die. He's left this grief and anger with you, and hung up so you can't talk about it. That's not fair.

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