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Alcohol support

Can I do anything for my DF/DM ?

7 replies

lockdowngandt · 12/05/2020 13:36

Sorry if this isn't allowed on this topic. I do not have alcohol issues myself but my DF and potentially my DM do.
I would definitely describe my DF as a functioning alcoholic although it has taken me years to accept that term. I still often second guess myself and wonder if I'm overreacting by labelling him that way.

When I still lived with them a lot of behaviours were excused or portrayed as normal and I never really questioned it or brushed off odd episodes of extreme drunkenness as "one offs" and often excused as work stress/health issue (DF had back surgery a few years ago but continued to work in a manual job) /insert other reason here. My DF would often say how sometimes you just need a drink to help you think through things both when talking about himself or DM having a drink/getting drunk.

I haven't realised how bad it is since moving out 6 years ago but my DBro has been keeping me in the loop recently, DF has sometimes gone 3-4 days drunk, he drinks in secret and there's bottles hidden all around the house and garden (DBro sent me a picture of an empty vodka bottle in a drawer of the spare room and said it wasn't there when he was looking for something the day before).
DM has been told by doctor to cut out any alcohol she might be having due to some test result yet she will still drink with DF and will brush off her horrendous hangovers and after effects as being caused by "xyz" rather than the alcohol she has been advised to stop consuming. DBro says her hangovers usually put her out of action for the day after with sickness/headaches and generally staying in bed - even if she has had a relatively small amount of alcohol.
She definitely does not drink as much as my DF but she shouldn't be drinking at all.

She tries to cover for my DF and is very tight lipped about it all.
we generally don't talk about the alcohol issue and they try to be very put together and proper when I visit with my DCs. Probably because they've been making notions about having them overnight/babysitting (not that me and DP would allow it) but again I never give a straight answer and avoid those subjects.

My DF has been known to drink drive in the past and call relatives and family members (including myself) when drunk either giving little monologues that don't actually have a point at the end/ trying to give unsolicited advice about any issues he knows they have or asking advice about his ideas/plans for potential business ventures which has recently come to the attention of my DGPs who have basically told them both off and told them to get help and maybe go to AA.
But they live hours away and can't really do anything else, they have been keeping tabs with my DBro about how my parents are doing and DM has asked my DBro to lie and fell out with him when he said he won't.

There's always a reason of what's causing them to drink it's usually general unhappiness cause by some outside influence. I think they both have MH issues and inferiority/insecurity complexes but I might be wrong.
I also realise they might be in complete denial about it when/if I bring it up.

There's more but I am very aware how long this post is already.

I am hoping for some insight and maybe advice on wether I should try and address it with them but I'm concerned it will just create a bigger rift between us and make it all very strained.

Has anyone dealt with something similar or perhaps was maybe on the other side of the problem?
They are only late 40s so potentially still have so much to look forward to including my wedding which I am at the moment seriously concerned about given the current situation.

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lockdowngandt · 12/05/2020 18:56

Hopeful bump..

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babbi · 12/05/2020 19:02

Sorry .. this is very stressful for you .But the short answer to this is you can do nothing .
They need to face up to their problem and tackle it .
They know they have drink problems which is why you hear protracted stories about why they do it .
It’s over to them really .

I’m sorry ... I’ve been there with alcoholics in my life ... you are helpless and can only watch .

If they themselves won’t admit there’s a problem nothing will change .

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lockdowngandt · 12/05/2020 20:59

Thanks @babbi

I guess I was just wondering if I should tell them straight that I know/it's obvious as I haven't really ever talked to them about it and maybe offer that I'm there when they are ready to do something about it?

They probably wouldn't attend AA as English isn't their first language but to be honest I feel like they should probably focus on their MH first as its probably the root cause of the drinking...

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AFitOfTheVapours · 21/05/2020 09:36

Hi OP
I know your post is a few days old but sorry to hear you are going through this. It is really tough. My husband was a high functioning alcoholic, so I can understand.

First of all, please stop questioning whether you are overreacting in labelling your parents in this way. You are not! Trust your (very sound) instincts. Unfortunately, this is what the alcoholic’s denial does to those around them- it makes us question ourselves and that on term damages our self-esteem. Don’t fall into that trap.

Your main question is what, if anything, you can do for them. The sad but short answer is nothing, at least not unless they decide they need the help. Your suggestion of telling them how it is and offering to be there is a good one. BUT, please be ready that the response you get will probably be a very angry one. That is not your fault, it is their denial.

Next, you then need to detach yourself from the problem and there is help for you to do that. Alanon is like AA but for families of alcoholics. Nacoa helps the children (adult children included) of alcoholics. Both have lots of info on their websites and support lines you can call.

You mention you have a DBro still at home with them? Is he old enough to take care of himself? If not, he needs help. Even if he is, he too would benefit from these two organisations.

Good luck and remember the three C’s:

You didn’t Cause this
You can’t Control this
You can’t Cure this

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AFitOfTheVapours · 21/05/2020 09:38

Ps if you know your DF drink drives, please report him to crime stoppers. You can do this anonymously online if you want. It might feel disloyal but, if he gets caught as a result, you have helped everyone else he is putting in danger but it might also give him the wake up he needs to get help.

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lockdowngandt · 21/05/2020 10:49

Thank you @AFitOfTheVapours I'll note down the organisations. My DBro is an adult but tangled up in it as he's working for my DF. He's got a short temper with it all now and is sick of talking about it though and I know their relationship is strained most of the time... But also I think he's fallen into the trap of being too comfortable as he has very few outgoings and they ask for a very vsmall contribution. He had a rental lined up to view but it all fell through due to the lockdown so he's still at home.
There's only so much I can do for him and I know his mindset has been affected by being in that environment all the time and he's generally very negative and very quick to shut down conversations he doesn't like.

I don't know if my DF drink drives anymore as I know he has my DBro drive instead if he needs to go somewhere. I know that he definitely did in the past though.

It's all very mind boggling though as they can be so so normal especially when you don't see them often. They are both talented and knowledgable about lots of practical things and have a lovely house and do great with the garden/their own veg my DM always bakes their bread from scratch and from the outside it actually all looks so wholesome if you didn't know the truth. Whenever I talk to DM on the phone I end up thinking I got it all wrong...

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AFitOfTheVapours · 21/05/2020 12:35

Oh it’s so hard, I know. The thing is, they are good and normal people and so will behave like good and normal people a lot of the time. They are also alcoholics with this horrible problem and it is very hard being confused by the existence of those two extremes of them. It is why a lot of us stay a very long tome engaged with husbands, fathers, wives...

There are some who think the term high functioning alcoholic should be replaced by low visibility alcoholic and I think that is so much more apt.

Maybe you could persuade your brother to look at Alanon/Nacoa too? It is exhausting and depressing watching family members drink themselves into the ground and I’m not surprised he’s become negative towards the situation. You and he can help yourselves and be ready to help your parents if and when they get to a point of wanting it.

Take care

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