I don’t know what to do




There is so much to my story that I could write a book, so I am going to try and make this as short as I can. There are things that led up to my father’s alcoholism but I am going to start where it really started messing up his life. In 2014 my father admitted to having a problem and checked himself into a detox program. He was there for 2 weeks but he never got any help after detox other than talking to his doctor and getting a prescription for Valium. Just replacing the alcohol with a pill. After about 2 weeks he started drinking and taking the pills. This led to him crashing his ex-wife’s car and being arrested for DWI. I picked him up from jail that night and he has lived with me ever since. Within a month of him moving in with me, he got divorced, lost his house, lost his job and started the spiral he is still in. It took a year in court but he also lost his license, he had a CDL and had to cash in his retirement to pay the fines, fees and his lawyer. I have tried being nice and letting him that he has a problem but because he only drinks beer now and hard liquor it’s ok. I also get “I’m a grown man and it’s my life, I’ll do what I want” It’s not only me talking to him about his drinking, my son does as well, who just turned 21 and does not want to drink because of watching his grandfather over the past 7 years. No one else in my house drinks, so he is drinking alone and acts really stupid when he drinks. He slurs when he talks, he stumbles around and he tries to act sober and attempts a conversation but, he makes no sense in what he says and can’t remember what was said to him. He acts as if no one can tell he has been drinking and will deny drinking. He sneaks out to go to the store and get a 12 pack. I know he has a problem and I have been trying for the past 7 years to help him, help himself. I am mentally and emotionally drained. I have depression and anxiety. I have emotional breakdowns and panic attacks daily because of this. My father sees this and says I am causing it myself because he don’t have a problem. I just recently applied to a job for the national office for the company I work for and it’s a good chance I will get the position. This means I will need to relocate. There is nothing holding my father here and he has agreed to move with me but he wants to stay here. I am to the point that I want to tell him fine, you stay here and figure it out yourself(he depends in me for everything) At the same time, I know he can not make it without me and I don’t want him to end up on the street begging for money to get that bottle. I can’t take him drinking anymore but I also can’t just leve him to fend for himself. I don’t know what to do.

  • listener

    Hi there,

    I am so sorry to hear all that you've been going through with your father's alcohol problem and everything surrounding this. It sounds like a very hard situation to be coping with.

    Living with your father must make things even harder as you're faced with the problem all of the time. You are under so much pressure and carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders is having a huge impact on your own wellbeing.

    It's a difficult decision you're faced with in terms of relocating if you get the new position. You understandably don't want to leave your father given that he is dependent on you for everything. Although I can't advise on what is right or wrong, I can say that making your own self a priority is very important. Taking the time to think about what it is you need and want is not being selfish or disloyal - you're clearly already doing so much for others.

    Do you have any support around you at the moment? This is an enormous amount to go through alone. Reaching out for support could make a huge difference to how you're able to cope.

    Please know the Nacoa helpline is there for you if you'd like to talk.
    helpline@nacoa.org.uk Mon- Fri 12-9pm
    0800 358 3456 Mon- Fri 12-7pm

    I really hope these message boards are useful and take good care of yourself.

    • nacoa17

      Hi there,
      I see my colleague has responded but I would like to take some time to respond too.
      I am so sorry you are going through this situation, I'm sure you feel extremely pressured to take care of your father, and the dynamic of looking after a parental figure can be very difficult to navigate and come to terms with. I will start by saying that although it may not feel like it, you have dealt with the situation well. Unfortunately, until your father decides he would like to get help, the problem will continue occurring, so just take solace in understanding that you are not the problem, and that you cannot control an addict's actions, no matter how much they love you.
      As my colleague mentioned, self-care is of the utmost importance especially when you have a dependent, regardless of if they are family or not. Whatever choice you make regarding the relocation, make sure you are putting your needs first. This does not make you traitorous to your father, simply that you are just as important in your life as he is. I hope you do have a support system, or someone you can confide in about this situation because it sounds very taxing and must be tough for you.
      You are always welcome to contact us here at NACOA, either by email or phone call, however many times you want. We can provide you with support, referrals, or even just offer a nice chat to relax you from this tough situation.
      I hope you are keeping well and safe,

  • abzi2021


    I can totally understand what you are going through. I am in a similar position. A grown up man with family and an alcoholic father in the house.
    My father is in denial & lies.
    I too get very upset.
    I just keep telling myself that there is nothing I can do.
    I focus on my little family.
    My advice will be - take your assignment and if your father is happy to move with you, then take him along. You make your own life with friends & family. Do your duty as a son. You have no choice but Let him drink, as long as he is drinking in the house he should be safe.
    Just think he is stay for few more years, and do your bit.
    I have started writing poems and i post them on Nacoa message board. I hope people can read and empathise. You are not alone brother. Take care.

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