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New here and need support ACoA/recovering myself

Old 05-28-2016, 11:08 AM
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New here and need support ACoA/recovering myself

I am an adult child of addicts/alcoholics and am a recovering alcoholic myself. Boy, it sounds so strange to admit that last part. I quit drinking on Sept 25, 2014...that's when I had my last drunk episode anyway. I had a little alcohol that christmas time and then Last summer around my birthday because a friend bought it for me not realizing I quit drinking because of my troubles with alcohol; she thought it was because I was dieting. I haven't touched alcohol in a year, haven't been drunk in almost 2 years. It feels so good.

My parents on the other hand. I don't know how clean my mom is or isn't. I cut her out on the assumption that she is dealing/doing again. I don't have a very good relationship with her. My sister and I are pretty certain that she is using again and more than just weed.
As for my dad, well, that's a different story. He was arrested in 2000 for drugs and child abuse, right before I turned 15. He had been clean ever since. 15 years of sobriety. About 5 years ago he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and started smoking weed again. It helped and he didn't like taking his pain meds that were prescribed because it made him want to use his drugs of choice from the past. And, besides, we live in one of the states where it is legal, so whatever. Then the end of last summer beginning of the fall, he started drinking.

I know, it's legal and I shouldn't care. But, the only time my dad ever drank was when he COULDN'T get his drugs of choice, so this worried my sister and I. (There are 5 children all together, my brother is 13, so us grown girls lived through abuse and the drugs. Only 2 of us seemed concerned about his drinking). It also appeared that he may have been drinking and driving, but we couldn't prove it one way or another. So, my sister directly younger than I (I am the oldest and also helped raise my sisters from the time I was 5, so you have a little more background), had a little intervention. My dad said he would quit drinking. And, he either did, or just hid it better....I don't know what to believe.

Then, at the end of April, or beginning of May he had an COPD exacerbation/RA exacerbation that put him in the hospital overnight. And my sister says in the last month he has begun drinking again. Last week when I was over at his house visiting I thought I smelled alcohol on him, but wasn't sure. Last night while at dinner I was very sure and my sister confirmed it. I am once again torn by my feelings. I feel like the only way to deal, at least temporarily is to not see him. But, on the other hand, I feel like if the alcohol is not interfering with his job, and he is not endangering anyone I shouldn't care; especially if it helps.

I am just so worried that old habits are going to creep back in. And he has a minor child still living at home; and sadly, I would not be able to take my brother in. I feel responsible for making sure everything stays going well ( always have. The curse of the oldest child, I guess). But, I am almost 31 years old, I have my own family and a high stress job and I can't afford to let this affect my mental health. But, it does. I don't want my dad to be in pain, but I also don't want him to fall back into old habits. 15 years of sobriety down the drain....And I don't know how to help or fix it; I CAN'T fix it. Plus, all the feelings I never dealt with from my childhood creep back up.......

Thank you for reading, I also cross posted in the newcomers forum.
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Old 05-28-2016, 08:46 PM
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Hi, Aithyne.

It must feel frustating seeing your father in pain and drinking again and not be able to do anything to change the situation. And then on top of it, you're feeling triggered by old stuff from your past at the same time.

It sounds like you and your sister have done all you can do by expressing to him your concerns. The rest is up to him. Had he been in a program of recovery during his years of abstinence? Is he familiar with AA?

Take care of yourself.

I know that decision may feel difficult or even selfish if you've spent your life worrying and trying to fix other people, but it's the only action that will help and it's the only action that will work. Keep working on your own sobriety, job #1.

Are there any Alanon meetings in your area that you could attend? It may help you to share your concerns. And you'd receive much needed support in return. Is it from Alanon I heard the quote, 'you didn't cause, you can't cure it, and you can't control it'?

Hang in there!
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Old 05-28-2016, 10:39 PM
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Yes, he used to go to meetings a lot. Much less frequently over the years, especially after he gained custody of my brother and began employment as an assistant manager of a restaurant.

I, myself, have never been to any meetings either. At least not that I can remember. I know Al-ateen was suggested to me as a kid, but don't recall ever going. I looked up ACoA meetings and Al-Anon meetings and there are some in my area. I just need to be able to go...they are either during my sleep time or when I am working so need to plan for a day off. I want to go, but my husband doesn't think they will be helpful. Doesn't think they are going to tell me anything that he didn't tell me last night

Thank you for the support. I know, in my head, that I can't fix anything. But, its the heart that can't stop trying to....probably why i am a nurse, huh?
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:13 AM
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Hi Aithyne, I'm sorry you're going through this. I am an ACOA too, and also a recovering alcoholic. I'm glad you brought up sounding strange about also being alcoholic because I feel like that too.

A word usually used to describe an opinion like the one your husband expressed is called denial. People close to us may not quite understand the significance of our experience with our addicted caretakers--not at first anyway. And that's okay. Our loved ones may believe that they know what we need or don't need, and they may have the best intentions but it's really up to us to determine our needs.

It's highly unlikely that he told you everything you need to know to heal and improve your life in one evening. Healing can't be transacted overnight; it's a process and there's a learning curve and for many it involves working a program over time. Other people who are going through it or who have been through it can help us heal, but it might take time for our loved ones to catch up.

There's a well-known book called Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics that helped me. I think I may have started with that and then I started attending ACOA meetings.

And...congrats on your sobriety!!
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:30 PM
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Thank you. I mentioned to him that it didn't feel the same because he didn't necessarily live it....of course then he brought up the alcohol abuse he dealt with growing up and while any sucks....my husband has no idea. I don't think I have ever truly laid it out for him what I went through. I know we both lived through similar, yet very different childhoods. And, he also said something about, "I've been to enough counselors. It's not any different than what they would tell you." I know in one way he is just trying to be helpful, on the other hand....he is on the autism spectrum and me showing my feelings make him uncomfortable so he tries to fix it as quickly as possible. LOL

As for my own sobriety, I feel like I need to explain that I was a binge alcoholic from the time I was 19, so 2004 until 2014. and it started to get really bad that last year (as it always does before people make the choice to change). What mostly made me change was the fact that I didn't like the way I felt about myself after a night of drinking that was meant in fun. Nor did I like my children seeing me drunk or hungover to the point of being unable to function.

I'm really interested in a way to learn to talk to my dad. I can't see him when he's been drinking. And the only way I know that has occurred is when I smell it, he won't tell me. I also don't want to not be supportive. I know he is doing it from pain. I think I will try to find that book. Do you know if it is at any libraries? Thank you again for your response.
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