Unsure what to do next




Read a few messages and it is reassuring to hear people with similar feelings but it still doesn’t feel good.
My dad is going round in circles with alcohol, being admitted to hospital after being unwell or falling, then comes straight out to drink again. Doesn’t want rehab. Doesn’t feel he has anything to live for which is sad being his daughter but he’s never actually been bothered about us. Very negative and narcissistic man all his life and in any conversation has no empathy at all. Has pushed people who loved him despite him being horrible away.
At times he calls me constantly to talk but I feel guilty not answering as I know I can’t give up on him completely, but it can be so upsetting and exhausting hearing him repeat the same conversations again and again from 20 years ago when we were kids, or just be negative about anything I try tell him about my life. I feel selfish for not answering when he calls me sometimes.

We’ve tried every avenue to get him help but he doesn’t care. I’ve tried so hard to have a good career and build a life but it feels like a failure that I can’t help him at all and that we’re essentially waiting for him to die.
If he was suicidal and overdosing on drugs he would be sectioned, but him slowly killing himself with alcohol isn’t severe enough for sectioning?

Maybe other people have had similar thoughts or can relate.

  • zeebee

    Hey, going through a really similar thing, my mum will probs be homeless in the next few months as well. Tried absolutely everything , exhausted all avenues. Spent money time, resources and have driven myself into the ground trying to save her. I've decided I'll no longer intervene and have accepted this is the path she's chosen and she'll have to take responsibility. Most of my anxiety revolved around what other people (family, strangers) will think to my decision. What we need to all remember is that just because we are their children, it doesn't make it our responsibility anymore than the next person. It's living hell and I'm sending so much love your way. Brighter days lay ahead for us, but we have to make that happen for ourselves instead of waiting for them to pass. I'm sorry you are going through this and take care of yourself

    • sunbear123

      So sorry it's familiar to you but you have clearly been so strong and should be proud of the efforts!!!
      That's interesting to hear you say that you also feel like that about other people's perceptions, I have thought that too. I know I'm not selfish but it really makes me feel like that. Especially when I've just bought a house and if he gets made homeless It would feel terrible that I wouldn't allow him here. But I keep reminding myself that he hasn't supported us at any point and that will never change, he would just continue to drain me of everything. The worst part is the family members saying "he's still your dad"... But I'm still his child and he hasn't done any "dad" things for me at any point in my life.
      Lots of feelings of guilt that I hope will pass.
      All the best, thanks for sharing.

      • zeebee

        You're anything but selfish. It's taken three months of therapy now after coming back from seeing my mum in Ireland in November and having to be signed off work from PTSD, to finally realise I'm the victim here, and so are you. I know it's difficult but you must stand up for yourself - this isn't your responsibility, no matter how wretched it gets. It will eat you alive if you let it, and the sour truth is, no body wants to deal with it so will try and pass him from pillar to post. It's grim, but it’s just that no body else can be bothered dealing with it so they will try and lay those expectations on you. You have to be strong and remember who you are - good, selfless person who has simply had enough. There's only so much you can take. You write up some responses (letters, texts, emails) for next time you are expected to step in and you explain why you no longer will do this. You deserve the life you want to create for yourself. Sending all the love and strength I possibly can

        • lilsam

          Oh my goodness I have just found Nacoa and this forum and your thread and I feel utter relief - I always thought it was just me having these feelings about my alcoholic mother and I have been feeling so selfish and guilty that I can’t help her anymore. My Mum is 80 this summer and I am amazed that she is still alive tbh. She has been an alcoholic since I was ten, so for over 40 years. I struggled with her in my teens (our roles were often reversed, which I resented years later when I realised that that was not normal) but then my dad dealt with her for the next 30 years. My lovely dad died 7 years ago, and since then she moved down near to me into a lovely Assisted Living complex with her own flat. Since then, she has fallen drunk (or sometimes due to withdrawal symptoms) in excess of 30 times. Each time she presses her buzzer, the paramedics are called out, and she sometimes goes to hospital (if she agrees to ). She has been in pools of blood (and other fluids :() on the floor, she has split the plaster in her hallway due to the force of falling against it, she has ruined her new bed and her new bedroom carpet because when she’s drunk she can’t clean up after herself, and her flat smells so bad that I hate going anywhere near it. Five months ago she broke both arms in two separate falls a week apart, but of course was sent home after 6 weeks in hospital. She was drinking again within two days. Today she is coming out of hospital again after spending 3 weeks there for a fractured spine. When she’s first in hospital, when she’s detoxed, she gets very confused and you would think she has dementia. For those few days she’s quite nice to be around, because she lives in the moment - rather like a child. Happy to see you, happy to see the nurses etc. But then the dementia wears off and she is back to normal, and I pull away because it’s the only way I can cope.
          To say I’m sick of it is an understatement - I am beyond a point that any words can describe. There is no answer, and like you, we are essentially jut waiting for her to die. But it looks like we will have many many more years of this yet. She adds nothing to family life, tells me she loves me in her umpteen unanswered texts (but she obviously loves alcohol more). It is overwhelmingly sad, but after she nearly sent me into a breakdown two years ago, it’s like my brain has just shut down where she is concerned. I feel numb and I wish I could just cut her off completely, but I know I won’t. I’ll do the bare minimum because I feel like I have to. If I knew that this was going to end in say 12 months I could cope with it, but the thought of another decade or more is terrifying. I resent her so much for allowing her life to be wasted like this, and for making mine worse than it should be. And yet I suppose addicts don’t want to be addicts. I just like to think that if my behaviour was having such a negative effect on my own daughter, I would do anything - ANYTHING - I had to do to get it fixed. Sometimes I feel like I hate her, but then I remind myself that it’s her behaviour that I hate.

          • sunbear123

            Thank you so much for sharing. It is nice to know you aren't alone, even if it's not a nice thing to bond over.
            I hear what you say, i often feel guilty about not wanting to see him, and I still feel bad I didn't let him come to my graduation but he smells so bad, looks worse than some homeless men and would have embarrassed me from start to finish which would have been much worse of a feeling than I feel about not inviting him. I am 26, he is 55 and I dread the idea I may have this for 25 more years, however it will be a genuine miracle if he keeps going that long without killing himself from the alcohol or an injury because of it. It feels sad that sometimes I wish he would die already to put himself out of his misery, as he openly admits to our faces he has nothing to live for... To his daughters who he has never given a care about but expects us to do so.
            He also has those moments after being in hospital where I would actually say I like him, but the drinking is actually getting worse, from cans to now straight vodka each time. When I see him sometimes I can't actually recognise him for not looking after himself.

            You are definitely not alone, doesn't make it any easier or better but at least can feel understood and that you are a good person for doing what you've tried to do. It's just trying with someone who doesn't want to be helped!

  • listener

    Dear sunbear123, zeebee and lilsam,

    I'm so sorry to hear about what you're all going through with your parents. I'm glad that hearing about other people's experiences has helped you to feel less alone.

    Please know that the helpline is also there for all of you if you would like to speak to someone. There is no limits to how many times you can call (or email, depending on what your preference is).


  • pa


    I have an alcoholic mother, for as long as I can remember, she has drank been abusive and neglected us

    I’m an adult now, after decades of trying, nothing as changed, she continues to drink and abuse me

    And I made the decision to save myself, we dont have a relationship anymore

    I feel guilty, and I still do, for not having a relationship with her.
    But I had to save myself, and the guilt comes and goes, but I have to hold my boundaries up

    You have no ethical, moral, financial or spiritual responsibility to your parents (they do to us)

    You are not alone

    • rla

      I am in the exact same situation. Went no contact a few months ago. It’s not what I wanted but I spent 30 years trying to save he and make her happy to no avail. She spent months in hospital last year due to liver disease and nearly died, I was there all the time and crying every day - then recently a few months after getting out of hospital she denied having any alcohol issue and she told me I treat her like shit, am toxic and need therapy. Couldn’t make it up!

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