What can I do to help my aging alcoholic father?
October 29, 2012 2:57 PM Subscribe
Is there anything I can do to help my alcoholic father? He is retired, getting older, and the issue is getting progressively worse.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am in my late 20s, and my father is in his mid-60s. He has been a mostly-functional alcoholic for my entire life. He recently retired after working for decades as a successful high-level executive. When he was working, he would be sober during the day, but would drink until the point of blackout drunkenness almost every night. He was never violent or mean - he would just ramble on about weird things until he would pass out. Now that he has retired, the drinking starts earlier and earlier in the day and he has taken to drinking in the car and secretly hiding stashes of alcohol around the house. This is all according to my stepmom - my (also adult) siblings and I all live over 300 miles away from them.
My stepmother, who has been married to him for a very long time, is at a loss as to what to do. She tried to get him to get help for a while, but I think now, sadly, she has just given up and is just waiting for him to drink himself to death. She doesn't even try to discuss it with him anymore. We always turned a blind eye to his alcoholism back in the day, but I don't want to anymore, as he is now getting older - he looks at least ten years older than he is, he has lost a lot of weight, his health is clearly deteriorating and he won't go to the doctor because he doesn't want to be lectured about his drinking (or he's afraid of what they might say about his health).
When I confront him about his issue, he acknowledges it and apologizes, and says he wants things to change, but he refuses to get help and gives me the "I can stop anytime I want to" speech. And yet he can't get through 24 hours without having a drink. I really think he needs to go into rehab or detox, or even just go to an AA meeting, but I know you can't make people do things.
I've tried everything - the "don't you want to meet your grandkids someday" speech to the "don't you want to enjoy your retirement with your wife" speech to the tough love of not taking his calls when he's drunk - he responds to all of these things, but he can't and won't stop. What else can I do? I really don't want to have to wait until he lands in the hospital or gets a DUI for things to really hit home.