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Ill Alcoholic Father

Old 08-06-2014, 10:05 AM
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DZB
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Ill Alcoholic Father

Hi-

Thanks for reading my post. I'm new to the forum and appreciate any insight you care to share.

I'm look for advice, experiences or thoughts on what to say, what not to say. I'm going to visit my father on Saturday (cross country) and it may be the last time I see him alive.

My Father is an alcoholic and his health is quite bad. He is 61 years old, about 3 years ago he had his first heart attack. Before Easter this year he was on a bender that ended with him falling cause him to lose use of his right arm and have some nasty wounds. He had been using a walker to get around. Because of his right arm paralysis he can't use his walker and the need for wound care has required him to be in a nursing home since May. While in the hospital he had a second heart attack. Hospice has been brought in but there is no imminent health threat. I'm an only child and am fortunate that my father's cousin came to to his aide: power of attorney, medicaid, medicare, social workers, all the coordinating and more.

I've been lucky. My father's alcoholism didn't start till after I was born and my mother divorced him and moved out by the time I was 5. We moved a few states away when I was 6 and cross country when I was 11. Since the divorce he has not been part of my life. But his family has been part of my life. His mother/ my grandmother spent every christmas with me and my mother's side of the family. He went to treatment in 2000/2001 but it was only sober for a few years. I saw him 2 years ago for the first time since my grandmother passed and he was sober but moving very slow due to his heart attack. The past 10 months when I would call on holidays he wouldn't pick up and he only called me once(drunk). I didn't know if I had done something to upset him so I let it go. I'm a great guy it his loss.

I'm looking for suggestions of what to say. I want to forgive him and let it go. I have an aunt by marriage whose father was an alcoholic. Her father died unexpectedly and it sent her into an emotional tail spin. She ignored him completely even after he was in AA for many years. She never forgave him and in the end she made her self suffer more than him. She never forgave him and never forgot. I don't want to make her mistakes. I will never have the father son relationship you see on TV or at your friend's houses. He missed my birthdays, graduations, football games and major life events.

Do I just make a blanket statement that I forgive him? I want to forgive him but I will never forget.

Should I make and inventory of the times I've felt wronged by him?

What have you said, not said or wished you said to your alcoholic parent before they passed? How did it make you feel?

If by any chance there is an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic looking at this what would you like to hear to give your peace?

I've been meaning to talk to a counselor/ shrink about this but have been busy with work. If you feel comfortable sharing some of the tools you may have picked up I would welcome it.

I appreciate you looking at my post. Thanks for your time.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:52 AM
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Welcome to the Forum!!

My dad died a few years back of alcoholism, similar age, he was in his 60s too.

I didn't get into much with him at the end, the important thing is how your going to feel afterwards, I didn't see the need to start having a go at him on his death bed, or anything of that nature, I'm sure he knew and could recall all the events, and there was definitely no way I was going to get an apology or anything of that nature, so I just left it!!

So I simply made peace with myself and surrendered that I couldn't have changed this outcome, his alcoholism was his choice and no one could have changed him, he needed to want to change himself for that to happen!!

For me there were no great speeches, or lists of things I wanted to say, he passed away without any fuss over his alcoholism, what could be changed? but as I mentioned it's important for yourself to do what you need to do!!
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:28 AM
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Purpleknight,

That is spot on. I need to make peace for my self and surrender that the greater power of alcoholism took over him emotionally, spiritually, physically and family. I know his alcoholism is beyond my control.

My grandmother always asked that I keep the door open to him and recovery that is why I take these steps.

Regards,
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:34 AM
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Yes, if you can see him as the sick, fragile human that he is and try to make your last visit a comfort to him, I think you will feel much better about yourself. He didn't do right by you, but you can still do right by him by not causing him more pain, and showing compassion for a dying man.

Nothing you can do now, it is in God's hands.

Forgiving him is an inside job anyway - it is for your health and well being.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DZB View Post

Do I just make a blanket statement that I forgive him? I want to forgive him but I will never forget.

What have you said, not said or wished you said to your alcoholic parent before they passed? How did it make you feel?

If by any chance there is an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic looking at this what would you like to hear to give your peace?
Hi, I am an ACOA and a recovering alcoholic. My mother was an alcoholic and died from her addiction. She was on life support, sedated, and on the way out so there was nothing I could have said to her really. I did tell her I loved her. And she already knew that.

There was nothing more to be said. I also knew she loved me as best she could.

As for how it felt to watch it happen... I felt utterly helpless. Powerless to stop it. I wanted her to live.

Forgiveness never came to mind, only letting her know I loved her and wanted her to hang on.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:42 PM
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Everyone-

Thanks for your input. I've found it extremely helpful.

I came to terms long ago that my father will never be the man that I wanted. I'm at peace with him and forgive him. Should it come up with him I will let him know but I think the best I can do is tell him I love him and see where the conversation goes.

Much obliged-
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:44 PM
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Thank you for posting this. I missed the opportunity to say goodbye to my alcoholic bio father. He did not raise me either. When I was in my 20's I tried to have a relationship with him. But his alcoholism got in the way. He began calling me up for money. I sent him some a few times, but my husband became angry and told me to stop supporting his addiction. My husband also, forbid his children to visit with him. So I realized that a relationship with him wasn't possible. After several months NC he died....alone in his trailer. My half brothers and sisters cleaned it out...and made the funeral arrangements. I did not attend the funeral as it was cross country. I have to tell you that I have regrets about this. I wish I had kept in contact with him. It wouldn't have been that bad to keep in contact via phone or e-email. There are things I wished I could have said to him....before he died. I'm so glad that you are taking this opportunity to say good bye to him and to come to terms with it.....to forgive and let go. I needed to do this also....but I did it alone without him. I truely believe he's in a better place now...he was a PTSD sufferer from being in Vietnam.
Somehow I feel not so alone....thank you.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:08 AM
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My favorite 12-step speaker says, "Forgiveness is giving up hope for a better past."

I don't think it really matters much exactly what is or is not said. When my Dad was on the way out, my sister kept trying to engineer some sort of Norman Rockwell scene, where the three of us would hold hands, my Dad would have a moment of clarity and say, "I now see where I went wrong, and I'm so sorry, I wish I'd been a better father; I love you all...." and then he'd lie back and expire quietly, as soft music gave way to closing credits. But that didn't happen -- and does it matter? I have no idea.

The other thing people tend to get hung up on is seeing the dying person at every possible opportunity, because, "This might be the last time I have a chance to see him." My sister did some of that -- which meant flying 3,000 miles each way, to come back and sit in the living room... and try to get my Dad to say something, which he couldn't at that point, but she could imagine that he was thinking some kind of Rockwell-esque thoughts. Hey, it got her some frequent-flyer miles, if nothing else. But I can't see that it made any difference in anything. Assuaged some self-inflicted guilt, maybe, but beyond that, I do not know. Sure, at some point, there was a "last time I saw him." A few days later, he expired, in the company of his nurse. Could I have seen him one more time? Sure. And maybe another time after that, and one more after that, etc. Would it have made any difference?

For the record, the last words I heard my Dad speak were -- and I quote -- "pork sandwich." I have no idea if there was any special significance to that or not... but whenever I have a pork sandwich, I think of my Dad and smile. :-D
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:47 AM
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Hi, welcome to the forum. You are very wise to look into this before anything happens. Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for him. In addition to the great responses you have received here we have a "sticky" thread posted above about it that many of us discussed the reality of how we went about it. Here is the link to it:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ve-her-no.html

If it helps let us know how it's going for you.
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