So I don't forget.
Sorry for the long post, but this is the first time I've really written this all down...
My dad has been an Alcoholic since before I was born. However, I would have never described him as one growing up. He was high functioning, ended up becoming the CFO at a small family owned company, and generally became pretty successful both in his career and the success of his family.
Growing up, he would get drunk every night, but only after he had completed his responsibilities. He cooked for the family every night, cleaned the house, and made sure everything was in order. After dinner, he'd sit down, watch the news, and drink by himself to wind down. It used to be just beer, but then he moved on to cheap whiskey, and then more cheap whiskey. It was just his daily routine and for whatever reason, we never really thought it would become a problem.
Until 3 years ago, when he had to be hospitalized for Liver Cirrhosis.
We knew he would get drunk, but we never monitored it and we never truly knew how much he was drinking. We found out at the hospital that he was having close to 15 glasses of whiskey a night for years. Thankfully, he bounced back from that. He quit drinking, cold turkey. We talked it out as a family and discovered he has also been suffering from severe anxiety and depression. We decided as a family that he should retire early in order to focus on himself.
He was doing great and enjoying life.
5 months ago he completely relapsed and his given in to his alcoholism and depression completely. He is now almost unrecognizable to me
He posted on his facebook a post that implied he wanted to kill himself to end his pain. I drove to his house and found that he had finished a bottle of whiskey. While trying to talk with him, he disappeared into the bathroom and when he came out he told me he had taken some prescription sleeping pills. I called an ambulance and brought him to the hospital for the second time.
This time was different. He didn't want to get better. He kept saying he wanted to end his life and it's his choice. He's in indescribable pain from something and he can't handle it anymore. We've seen numerous doctors to try and figure out where the pain is coming from, but we've concluded nothing. The pain specialist/neurologist are the only 2 doctors we haven't been able to see because of their policy to not see non-recovered addicts; which there is now evidence that he is a relapsed addict because I brought him to the hospital. Something him and my mom now blame me for.
Since bringing him to the hospital that time, he has completely changed. I had to make a choice that day on whether or not to commit my dad for being a danger to himself. I wanted to commit him but my mom convinced me to let him go home. She said she would take time off work and keep an eye on him to make sure he wouldn't drink. I made her promise to be with him every second of every day for the next week.
The next day she left him to go to the store alone. She came home to a drunk.
Since then it's been a textbook roller coaster of him saying he'll get better, and then getting worse. He's highly intelligent(read: manipulative) and has also gotten my Mom on board in allowing him a drink now and then in order to cope with his pain.
This week he sent my mom a series of text saying he wants to die and that my mom needs to leave him.
I am convinced that his suicidal texts are reason enough that we need to get him to the hospital again but this time commit him for 28 days for being a danger to himself. The hospital already said last time that if something like this happens again, they'll keep him there under surveillance with little question.
My mom doesn't want to bring him to the hospital as my Dad keeps saying that if we do, he'll actually kill himself. She's convinced that committing him as a danger to himself will just lead to him killing himself the day he gets out.
I'm hoping that if we get him to a hospital, there are real professionals who can help him. He can be sober for 28 days and maybe that's enough time for some of his brain chemistry to stabilize a little bit and we can get a new baseline from there.
I think it's crazy that my Dad is talking about killing himself, and we're not immediately hospitalizing him. Please help me understand where I'm wrong. I don't want to hospitalize my Dad, I don't want to take away his freedom, but at the same time I feel like it's what we have to do because if there's even a 1% chance that he's going to try to kill himself, we need to take action on it.
I feel like my Mom can't think clearly because she just doesn't want to see my Dad in pain, but don't we have to make the hard choices for him once in a while in order for him to stand a chance at getting better?
don't we have to make the hard choices for him once in a while in order for him to stand a chance at getting better?
You need to make the hard choice for yourself. How much will you let them continue to hurt you because they won't take your advice?
Set your boundaries. You say you think it's crazy they refuse take your advice. It causes you panic and anxiety. That is your truth. You are not wrong in how you feel. Detach with love. DETACH: "Don't Ever Think About Changing Him/Her."
They are both holding you hostage so he can continue drinking and she can continue enabling him. This situation is way above your pay-grade.
They refuse to take your advice. So, you set a boundary on how they are allowed to hurt you any further due to their lack of action.
No one wants to mourn a dead family member. The survivor's guilt we experience because of the shame we feel due to failure to prevent a crisis is horrific. However, in Al Anon, if that is the path the addict/enabler chooses to take, we must get out of their way for the sake of their recovery as well as our own sanity.
Hopefully it's just manipulation, hence your mom's reluctance. Self-harm and suicide threats are common in alcoholics whose lives are out of control. Step 1: We admitted to ourselves we are powerless over alcohol- that our lives have become unmanageable.
How do you enforce your boundary so you can protect your own mental health? You decide that if they don't take action, they are not allowed to contact you in order to suck you into their drama.
Your boundary includes that if they want to contact you, and the situation hasn't changed/improved... and they are just calling to continue to make you feel helpless and crazy... then you will call the police for a wellness check... call adult protective services because she is preventing him from receiving help... confirm he has started going to AA... has a sponsor... that they explored crisis center options for suicide, rehab... and whatever else you strongly feel, like not calling you when they are fighting because he is wasted, etc. These are the rules you place on yourself so this does not destroy you.
You are not his doctor. You are not his caretaker. You are not their marriage therapist. He is making his own decisions. She is making her own decisions. You disagree with their decisions so they are not allowed to force you to be involved in their crazy. It is making you sick.
You are not wrong in wanting to take action because you love them. But right now they won't listen to what you want. Tell them it's a deal breaker. Maybe they change their mind because they see how much it is killing you. Maybe they don't. Practice the steps of Al-Anon. Practice self-care.
You can tell them in person or via email. Email is a paper trail that may help further down the road. Or, you can say nothing at all. Maybe they will realize they destroyed your relationship together, destroyed your trust. It is exhausting to continue to fight for what you want to see happen. But you can become a broken record with a list of what you require.
Otherwise, they are no longer allowed to involve you in their crazy. If they disrespect your boundaries, cease contact... be ferocious and tell them you will file a restraining order. They are holding you hostage with his drinking. They have options, like the Lifeline (800-273-8255). It can help them establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-someone-else/.
They are demanding too much from you. You are demanding too much from yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself because you tried as much as possible before you reached your breaking point. Boundaries are completely necessary for you to stop the pain they are causing you. The pain you are causing yourself.
You are not a doctor. You are not your dad's therapist. You are not your mom's therapist. You are under no obligation to fix the problem they perpetuate by taking zero action. It is soul crushing to have to make the hard choice to put a boundary on trying to argue and convince either of them to do what you believe is best.
It is emotional incest to expect you, their child, to be held responsible for fixing/rescuing/saving/protecting them from the natural course of events. /r/AdultChildren /r/codependency /r/cptsd
Al Anon phone meeting schedule: https://www.phonemeetings.org/schedule.htm 712-432-8733 access code 52639#