My heart is heavy this evening, so I thought I would jump on line and find some solace and support from my cyber family.  I have a quickly deteriorating alcoholic father who lives in the throws of his addiction and is suffering physically, mentally and emotionally because of his disease and the choices he has made over the span of his 53 year old life.  He once was the strongest, biggest man in the world to me, he is now shriveled, weak, living in denial and border line crazy.  He reached out to me in one of his stupors this past weekend and asked for my help in getting out of where he is.  Being the good guilt-ridden co-dependent that I am, I spent all day today finding resources in his area to help him…and I made great headway in finding him some help.  I called him today and guess what, well, he's sober right now and has decided, one more time, that he won't be going anywhere, that he is fine where he is and that he's sorry he put me out.  This isn't the first time this has happened.  I have to tell you I'm really hurt, frustrated, angry and disgusted.  The addict in me wants to reach out and save him, show him the light, pray for his salvation and teach him about his disease.  The daughter in me wants to cry and hide, run and allow his denial to continue to affect me.  The human in me wants to go snatch him up and move him in with me and feed and clothe and make everything alright.  And then there is the logic in me, it must be my God, that wants to just let go.  Feel the pain and move on, stop pretending like there isn't a 1,000 lb pink elephant in the room.  I want to set my boundaries, tell him that his actions are hurting me and that I can't allow this in my life anymore, that if this is the way he chooses to live, then he has to do it without my support or presence.  Can somebody please tell me how to let go of and turn your back on someone that you love?

  1. bbc020 13 years ago

    Well, the good news is you are never alone.  Even in this situation.  I remember feeling almost exactly the same about my father about 5 months ago.  Eventually my anger and frustration turned into dettachment, and not the good kind.  I felt like the only time I wanted to be around my father was to check to see if he was still breathing after he passed out.  If I was around him any other time, my disgust turned inward and I thought there was no way I could be happy around him, even when I "tried". 

    One thing that had been instilled in me was my powerless to change others.  I knew leaving literature, or insisting he go to meetings was not going to work.  I don’t think I ever really tried it.  I think that helped tremendously.  But as you know, before things ever began getting better, they got much worse.   When I began feeling enough pain, and I didn’t know what to do, someone suggested I try to go to an Al-Anon meeting or two(we don’t have Nar-Anon around my area).  Initially, I thought, even though I knew the twelve steps, that Al-Anon was going to help me get my dad clean.  Just like I thought NA was going to help me use drugs better.

    Al-Anon became a place where I could learn to apply my recovery to the people in my life suffering from the same disease.  In doing so, I began to feel more human around my father, not the scared little boy that I often did (so powerless).  And while things didn’t really begin changing, I noticed my serenity became a bit more resilient to the things that were going on in my father’s life.  I’m not saying I was great around him, but I had hope for myself that regardless of how things were going to work out, I could be ok.  The same thing that has happened for me in my recovery.

    I wish I could say I know that by going to Al-Anon, one’s family members will get clean and live happily ever after, but that wasn’t the case.  It took time, but as I learned to apply the steps more thoroughly in my life, I began to dettach with love.  Allowing things to happen for my father/family.  Eventually, things got bad enough for him, my mother gave him an ultimatum, and he finally decided/agreed to go to a detox center.  By the grace of something much greater that me, he has close to 50 days clean and has embraced going to meetings and meeting people in recovery.  I really can’t describe the change that has taken place in his life.  I know that I don’t check his breathing anymore.  

    I really didn’t mean to create a commercial for Al-Anon, but they were supportive when I was in pain.  And they didn’t mind having a recovering addict there.  I’m extremely grateful for my Al-Anon Family Group and how they have helped me help myself even more.



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  2. atreyuas 13 years ago

    sometimes it’s so hard to let the ones we love make their own mistakes, but we have to put our foot down eventually, lest others drag us down with them.  you can’t do anything to change your father, and you can’t save him, but you can protect yourself by limiting your involvement with him.  maybe you need to just cut the ties and tell him "no more."  leave a big book on his table and give him a list of numbers to call for help.  when he finally receives that gift of desperation, he’ll do what he needs to do.  in the meantime, pray for him. 

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