My Father Is a Drunk.

Old 10-17-2009, 09:41 AM
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My Father Is a Drunk.

Every Friday and Saturday night when my step mom is gone doing her thing with her clubs and activities, my dad drinks. A LOT.

My oldest sister just isn't a part of his life anymore, and him a part of her's. My older brother simply stays out of communication for as much as possible unless it's absolutely necessary to tell my dad something.

Me, the youngest, my dad's last hope to going to college and making something of myself (even though i already feel I have accomplished a helluva lot in my life) He feels the need to live vicariously through me.

I have my AOL name up most of the time, and if I'm not on AOL, my cell phone receives my instant messages. My dad is always on AOL as well, especially during the weekend evenings.

He gets incredibly stirred up and hostile on those two nights. (Friday and Saturday) and will routinely try to pick a fight with me or manipulate me in some way.

His newest "issue" is the fact that my husband and I bought tickets to go to Houston, Texas to visit my husband's family for Christmas.

This issue will not be dropped until he either A. gets an apology out of me. B. Rips into me as much as possible, including insulting my husband's family C.I admit I was wrong in some way and he finally feels he has been vindicated.

This is how it always goes. He is in serious need of professional help, but refuses to seek it out because he doesn't believe HE has the problem.

As for the ticket thing, my dad, myself, my favorite aunt (my dad's younger sister), my husband, and every other family member on my dad's side PLANNED a huge family get together in Seaside Oregon last year. My husband fought with three other Sargeants to get leave in December at Christmas time. If you're military, you KNOW how difficult this is! He did this in JANUARY! He had his leave approved for months, when my dad decided to cancel the whole trip and instead head East to spend the Holidays on the East Coast. (My dad and step mom live in Alaska)

Because 1. my half brother and his wife are pregnant. My step mom wants to come east. Understandable reason.

2. My step mom's mother isn't fairing too well. Yet another understandable reason.

3. My dad feels that I need to concentrate more on school.

4. I need to cover the "missed steps" in my treatments.

I fought him over the second two reasons because they were really, none of his business and he had no right to cancel OUR plans.

Well, fine...

Then I got a great idea, my husband's father returned from Iraq after 7 years being over there. My husband's mother lost her mother and sister in the space of a few months (this all happened this year!) She divorced her abusive husband (not my husband's father) and hasn't spent a Christmas with her son in 8 years, and has never spent a Christmas with me and my boys.

She was back in Texas, my husband's sisters were back in Texas. I felt , that if he had his leave in December, to make the most of it. I bought tickets to Texas.

This infuriated my Dad who had planned to stop by and visit with us on their very busy East Coast Holiday Itinerary.

So, last night...again, he attempted to make me into the horrible daughter who is the bad guy. Attempted to make me feel guilty.

I didn't take the bait.

The reason I'm writing this is because I don't know where else to gain support and understanding of being an adult child with an alcoholic parent.

I'm tired of him trying to manipulate me to get me to do what HE wants. I don't even know if I want him to come visit on December 26th.

I made the tickets from December 18-25th. Flying back ON Christmas so we could have a day with my dad and step mom.

That isn't enough for him.....
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:58 AM
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I would stay off AOL (or appear offline) on Friday and Saturday nights.

It sounds like it's not the alcohol - some people are just unreasonable. Really, if he's only drunk 2 nights a week, then it shouldn't be that hard to avoid him on those nights.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:08 AM
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Sometimes I forget to. I know better! When my name is unavailable on AOL, he starts calling my cell...over and over, leaving voicemail after voicemail.
During the rest of the week, he's not a bad person. He's kind and thoughtful.
But Friday nights and Saturday nights, he turns into a hostile monster that feels the need to throw his temper tantrums.

I forget this! I forget he gets like this, because all during the rest of the week, he's a totally different person.

My dad has been drinking for as long as I can remember. He use to hit and cheat on my mother. He was worse then. But now, it's only in the evenings.
He drinks every night, but not enough to get into his moods.
Because my step mom is there to monitor is intake.

But Fridays and Saturday evenings, she's not. She goes and visits friends and has her meetings she attends.
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Old 10-17-2009, 04:59 PM
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Hello there AquarianPath, and pleased to "meet" you.

Wow, your dad is a _handful_ !!!

I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with the chaos of his alcoholism. My alkie parents were like that too. It took me a long time to learn how to keep them out of my life and my thoughts.

I found meetings of al-anon to be a huge help for me. Is that where your step-mom goes on weekends? You might want to check them out, see if you find them helpful. You can find them in your phone book. They have wonderful books and pamphlets full of suggestions and ideas on how _us_ kids of alkies can keep our sanity in spite of their chaos.

Considering how abusive he is, I think you are totaly justified in ignoring him on the weekends. He's not going to act any different if you answer him or not, so why bother. That's what I did with my parents and it worked for me.

Have you read the "Sticky" posts at the top of this forum? There's a lot of great information there, see if any of that helps you.

Welcome again, I'm glad you decided to join us.

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Old 10-18-2009, 06:59 AM
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Stay off AOL (if you forget, get off immediately) and turn off your phone. If you are questioned, tell him that you would rather not speak to him when he is drunk and abusive. Then stick to it. There is no call for him to treat you that way.

I would definitely suggest al-anon for your stepmother, and possibly for you as well. It's been helpful for me.

Good luck and welcome.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:23 AM
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Hi AquarianPath, your dad sounds like a real handful. I can understand why your brother and sister have stepped out from his life. Why are you the only one staying?

What I've learned from alcoholics is that the consumption makes them mentally sick. They become irrational people whose reality is adjusted to accommodate their drinking. It doesn't matter how many reasons you come up with to justify your point, alcoholics will find a way of telling you that your reality isn't what you say it is. They need to do this in order to avoid facing the consequences of their choices and actions.

Imagine telling your AF that his behavior hurts you. What would he retort with? "Come on, it wasn't that bad." (=denying your reality) "You're making a big deal out of it" (= denying your reality) "I'm under a lot of stress" (=your reality isn't as important as mine) "You don't have it as hard as I have" (=your reality isn't as important as mine)

End point - your reality (which includes your feelings, wishes, dreams, desires, and boundaries) are not acknowledged. You're treating the alcoholic as though he were a rational person who, if only he finally heard your point, would smarten up. Unfortunately you are not dealing with a rational person. After all, if he were a rational person, he wouldn't drink so much, right? Think of all the healthy, rational people you know and admire - do any of them allow themselves to drink to excess and behave this way?

I've done this many times over with my AF. An AF who drinks through your birthday, who guilts you for wanting to do things for yourself (visit friends, take a small trip, etc.), who disappoints you with terrible gifts after you contemplated for weeks what would be the perfect gift, etc. When my AF drank he would make inappropriate, lewd comments at me EVEN if my boyfriend was in the room. Later I confronted him. I told him in order for us to have a relationship I need him to admit how rude he is to me when he's drunk. His answer: "how can I be responsible for what I don't remember?"

It was a rude awakening but it finally dawned on me that he doesn't want to take responsibility for his behavior. That's why he drinks. That's why he's like a two people. Sober AF plays the model father. Drunk AF is an opportunity for sober AF to do all the things he wouldn't normally do AND not be held responsible.

AquarianPath, you sound like you're waiting for the acknowledgement that I also spent many years waiting for. You're waiting for AF to finally take care of your feelings, as you have already spent years doing for him. The problem is that this is a deal that only you have made; he hasn't. So expecting someone to finally own up to their end of the bargain when they don't even acknowledge the bargain in place can only leave you with one thing: disappointment.

Listen to the good folks here. Give Al-anon a try. Start educating yourself about alcoholism. There's lots of good books out there, such as "The Complete ACOA Sourcebook: Adult Children of Alcoholics at Home, at Work and in Love" by Janet G. Woititz & "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life" by Susan Forward and Craig Buck. When I first stopped denying how bad my dad's alcoholism was, I found these books at the library. I read them again from time to time when I feel myself slipping into toxic guilt over having my own life free of alcoholism.

You're doing a tremendous thing in reaching out here - this forum is full of great people and great stories. Keep thumbing through the forum and do update us from time to time. Welcome to SR!
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:59 AM
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Thanks for the amazing words of wisdom all. Here's a bit of background info on our family dynamics. (By the way, I have done a search for AL ANON meetings for my area. I'll be going this Friday. Enough . Is. Enough)

I was disowned for not aborting my son when I was 18 years old. I was "disowned" due to him thinking it was "tough love"....we reconciled due to me getting into a near fatal car accident.

In 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So it changed the dynamics of things. I'm not making excuses for him, but while I battle my dad battled his up in Alaska. He HATES not being in control. He's been an alcoholic all my life and has never acknowledged this to himself or anyone.

When he gets drunk on the weekends, he totally forgets what he said or did. He turns it around on the other person. He's done this with several of his friends on a political forum board that he runs.

He'll get extremely drunk and will just be absolutely vicious to people on there, then turn around and claim they are liars the next day when they bring it up.
It's embarassing for ME because I run that same political forum board he does.

My sister isn't in his life because he "disowned" her and alienated her from the family. Same thing with my brother. My brother made some really poor decisions (stealing my dad's bank info and opening credit cards in my dad's name) and so my dad disowned and "exiled" him as well.

I'm pretty much the one my dad is pinning his hopes and dreams on to finish college and amount to something that none of his kids have as of yet, achieved. If that makes sense.

Because I had cancer, because I'm in college, and I got my life in order.... he doesn't want me to screw up, so he tries to run things from Alaska.
I can't do anything without his permission or approval!

Anyway..........enough of that. I just wanted to specify a bit more on the dynamics. Although, I don't know how much good it'll do. He's still an alcoholic, he's still viciously cruel on Fridays and Saturdays.

I put myself as invisible on AOL and no phone calls yet. He did apologize, not for being cruel, but for being "too confrontive". I just don't think he understands that when he says those things, that it strikes deep.

I've only just recently acknowledged that my dad is truly an alcoholic...... I've always "known" but never actually sought out help for ME because I always thought "Well he's in Alaska, I'm in Delaware... he can't do anything"..... but he can. I've always felt the need to have his approval.

Everything I did, I attempted to achieve his approval. But lately, it has become more of a choke collar than something to be proud of. Everytime I try to pull away into my own direction, he yanks at it and hurts me. And it's getting to the point that I want to bite and take off at a run.

I love him, and I don't want to lose the good relationship we have when he's sober. But I'm coming to realize his controlling behavior is just too much for me and my family.

My husband is getting to the point that HE wants to tell my father off..... but he knows the futility in that. My dad will only turn it around onto me or my husband.

Thank you all for the amazing support. This is my first step in getting help for me and my family.
I spoke with my brother last night (he's not doing that crap anymore) and he agrees with my decision.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:00 AM
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WOW, I just saw this: Drunk AF is an opportunity for sober AF to do all the things he wouldn't normally do AND not be held responsible.

That is SO true!!!!!
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AquarianPath View Post
When he gets drunk on the weekends, he totally forgets what he said or did.

I love him, and I don't want to lose the good relationship we have when he's sober.
AquarianPath, the relationship you're holding onto is only half of the real relationship. Could you handle your husband is he were only "good" half the time? What about the rest of the people in your life?

I used to have a really good relationship with my dad too. We could talk for hours when I was a kid. But once I started noticing the alcoholism in the picture, our "good" relationship became strained. A relationship in which I have to completely ignore 50% of behaviors and choices isn't really a good relationship, at least, in my books. It's not real; it's just picking out the best and telling yourself that only the best is what it is. This was something I faced in letting go of the chokehold relationship I had with my AF - that by ignoring drunk dad when dealing with sober dad was only reinforcing the idea that he did not have to be responsible for anything he did while he was drunk.

Originally Posted by AquarianPath View Post
I'm pretty much the one my dad is pinning his hopes and dreams on to finish college and amount to something that none of his kids have as of yet, achieved. If that makes sense.
Ever hear of black&white thinking? My AF is like this too - you're either 100% success or 100% failure. There's no learning curve; you either get it right the first time and that means you're meant for it, or you make a mistake and find yourself condemned to the label "incompetent". My sister was someone who needed chances to learn - bad, BAD recipe in my house. My AF constantly ragged on her - because she couldn't get it right the first time, it meant she couldn't get anything right. She dropped out of high school and ran away from home to escape him. How is that helping your kids grow up and become successful?

BTW, my sister the write-off, went back to finish high school, go to college, and is now successfully employed. All without his help. Does she get any credit for this? No. Instead she is treated as though she "finally learned". AF needs to believe that she is still a failure in order to make his principles work. Luckily my sister and I completely reject that BS.

OTOH, I did go to university and was his golden child for a while. Even though I wasn't at home anymore, he pulled the control. If he caught wind that I had plans to visit a friend, something would come up that weekend that would force me to cancel. He wanted me home for as many weekends as possible, and for the whole lengths of reading weeks and christmas holidays. What did I do with all that time at home? Listen to the fighting and watch him go out drinking.

Originally Posted by AquarianPath View Post
My husband is getting to the point that HE wants to tell my father off..... but he knows the futility in that. My dad will only turn it around onto me or my husband.
FWIW I wouldn't be with my partner right now if I hadn't learned to address my AF's behaviors. My partner told me point blank that he hated feeling powerless to do anything when he knew that if he spoke up, I was likely to side with my AF. If the man I trusted more than anymore to have my best interests at heart, then why wasn't I listening to him instead of a man who was actively hurting me? And yes, verbal and emotional abuse are both still abuse.

Unfortunately the onus is on you to define boundaries with your dad. It doesn't come easy; learning to say no and distance with love takes some time and a little guidance. But I can tell you right now I am much happier enjoying quiet holidays at home with my partner than I have ever been in the past two decades of going home and getting back on the alcoholic merry-go-round. AquarianPath, you have to believe that you deserve to have a happy life without alcoholic drama, instead of waiting for your dad to say, "go ahead and enjoy your life". Even if you did EVERYTHING your dad wanted you to, ask yourself if REALLY would everything you do ever be enough to make him respect you and let you be? If the answer is no, then wouldn't you be doing yourself a HUGE favour by bypassing all the futile work and enjoying your life here and now?
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