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Telling Family - how do i do this

Old 02-04-2014, 04:18 PM
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Unhappy Telling Family - how do i do this

Hi,

I've been lurking for awhile but my situation seems odd, i have an alcoholic father who developed his alcoholism sometime in the last 11 years after i moved out of the family home.

I can see he has a problem but neither my mother or my sister who was living at home seem to acknowledge it. I'm stuck and i have no idea how to bring it up, i really don't want to talk to my mum as i know she will just cry and expect me to fix everything and won't take any responsibility for looking after herself.

It feels like such an alien idea to talk to someone else and i keep putting it off but i can't keep doing this as i spend all my time worrying. Even my counsellor keeps asking me what i'm going to do about it but it makes me really angry like if i acknowledge it then it my responsibility to change it and fix everything which i know i can't do.

How did other people go about talking to relatives? and what happened?
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:38 PM
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So sorry to hear about your dad, Karma.

I wonder if Alanon or a similar support group is available to you? Perhaps you could check out a meeting or two, and then invite your mom and sister to attend with you. Maybe if they go, and leave with some literature, they can get used to the idea on their own time. Family members can be in very deep denial, and there is frank and useful information about this in the literature.

Is there a family doctor, or close family friend you could speak with about it? Sometimes a trusted person who is not a family member has a better shot at breaking through the denial.

Good luck, and keep educating yourself, if nothing else, about alcoholism and the effects on the family. Ultimately, you can only help yourself.
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:50 PM
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I went to Al-Anon for a bit, i live a good 2.5 hours drive away from my mum and sister so my local group would be no good for them. Honestly i found it very "god" orientated and i found it very uncomfortable and was significantly younger than the other members. I guess i felt very out of place and failed to connect with the group.

I keep thinking about talking to my aunt but it seems very unfair of me to "dump" this on her just because she is the only sensible member of my family, almost like a punishment for being able to take care of yourself.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:29 PM
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My dad was an alcoholic the entire time I was growing up, but it was never acknowledged until he got caught drinking at work and was given a choice of rehab or dismissal. That didn't happen until I was almost 30. By then I hadn't spoken to my dad in about a decade, and he had no desire for contact with me either. I thought that none of this had affected me until I got involved in a long term relationship with an alcoholic which I ended about 6 months ago.
I go to Alanon. I am also significantly younger than 90% of my group. I'm not huge on the god thing, but the idea of a higher power isn't just limited to the "church god" that most of us grew up with. I think of it as letting nature take its course, and I understand that many people develop a relationship with a higher power through Alanon.
What are you hoping will happen once you "alert" the family to your dad's problem? None of them will be able to fix it any more than you can. None of you caused it, nor can you cure or control it. It sounds like this is taking up a lot of your time and energy to worry about this, and none of your worrying will help anyone. Not him, not you, not anyone.
What if you decided that your dad's drinking problem isn't your problem and let nature take its course?
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:34 PM
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What are you hoping will happen once you "alert" the family to your dad's problem? None of them will be able to fix it any more than you can. None of you caused it, nor can you cure or control it. It sounds like this is taking up a lot of your time and energy to worry about this, and none of your worrying will help anyone. Not him, not you, not anyone.


This was going to be my question. I'm also curious as to why you feel the need to bring it to the attention of your Mum, why you think she is unaware, and mostly, why you think she will want you to fix it?

Is is normal for her to want you to take care of these kinds of things and do you usually take care of your mom?

Just questions that popped out at me. I'm sorry that you feel alone in this and would encourage you to try Alanon a couple more times. They may be older than you, however, you will suddenly find that age does not matter because you are all in the same boat anyway.

Be well,
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:23 AM
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Ladyscribbler & Changeneeded

I don't think my mother is unaware. I think she needs to take care of herself, she had major surgery on the 14th of this month and she was letting him sort out her medication while drunk, she also didn't call an ambulance for herself when she needed one in case he got angry that he didn't take her. I want her to be able to go to someone and talk about it, al-anon/a counselor a family member so she gets some head space.

The ignoring it option also does not help with my boundaries it's hard enough to stop my father who is very clingy from doing things like invite himself on my holidays, join any group i mention and turn up to things i didn't invite him to.

Basically while its a secret i feel cut off from everyone, if i have to spend all my time hiding stuff from people then there is no point in seeing them at all.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by KarmanotDrama View Post
i really don't want to talk to my mum as i know she will just cry and expect me to fix everything and won't take any responsibility for looking after herself.
Hi Karma, with you living some distance from your family, it would make more sense for your sister to organise practical help for your mother (not your father). Why do you feel you're the one who has to 'fix everything'? Are you the only one capable, or do you feel it's your role in the family.
If you accept that there's nothing you can do to stop your father drinking, what is the problem that remains? Is it that your mother is unable to assert herself enough to call an ambulance or get your sister to organise her meds? Is the problem that your mother can't stand up to your father?
You probably don't have much choice but to talk to your mother and sister and see how it goes. You could do it in the spirit of expressing concern, without rushing in to solve their problems. Maybe they have some ideas of their own.
If the outcome is what you expect, that they can't help themselves, there may be some support services available, but in the end you can't live their lives for them. They are both adults and you may have no choice but to step back.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:20 AM
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You can't help people that don't want to help themselves. Just look after yourself for now xxx
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:33 AM
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My sister is off travelling, she has already mastered the art of only looking out for herself.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:58 AM
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Hello Karma....I'm sorry to hear about what is happening in your family. I have a question: How old are your parents?

The reason I ask it that there may be 'elder care advocate' resources you can contact. If an elderly person is in trouble or needs assistance (especially at the hands of a close family member) there can be ways in which local resources can step in and keep an eye on things. Do you have anything like that in the UK? (I'm guessing UK?)
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:42 AM
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Hi you are correct with UK, they are both now in their early 60's. I hadn't considered there might be elderly card resources available to them i will have to do some research. Thank you
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