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Old 04-11-2019, 08:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Please help! Anxious over trip with alcoholic Father.


Hello everyone!

I will be taking a trip with my 74 year old, father, who happens to be an alcoholic. Granted, he greatly reduced his intake about 7 years ago after a major surgery. Now, because of this, his tolerance is back down (up?). So, now the nasty comes out a lot quicker.

Well, we tried taking this trip last year. We were to go to New Orleans, LA, then San Antonio and Austin, TX, and lastly, Memphis, TN. Well, the morning we were leaving for Texas, we took a steamboat ride up the river, and he had a few beers. Beer used to not really be an issue, but again, the tolerance issue is in play here. As we were leaving, we got into a very heated argument over something sooooo stupid; coffee. We continued this argument out of New Orleans, and down the interstate towards Texas. A couple of hours into this, I couldn't handle it anymore. I had nowhere to escape to, nowhere to run; I was driving 70 mph down a highway.

So, we discuss why the fight began, and of course, it has "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the alcohol", according to my Dad. We decide to give the trip a second chance. So, we're leaving this Sunday, and will be gone for a little over a week.

I know that there will be drinking on this trip. He always drinks on a vacation. Sometimes, he brings his own. (Vodka and Diet Pepsi is his choice)

I'm struggling so hard with his addiction, as well as my own anxiety issues. This of course, being one of the biggest triggers of my anxiety, hence the irritability over it, and the arguing. I am determined for this trip to go well and not horrible last time, but I'm still fearful of what's going to happen when he starts drinking. I just can't take it anymore!!

If anyone might have some suggestions as how to at least cope with, or handle the situation, I would so greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, and much love and peace!
- C -
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi again, HopeandCope.
I responded to your other post.
Probably a wee bit late, but...asking why you are going on this trip when you know how it will go?
Cut yourself a break. You don’t have to do this.
Peace.
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, it's not so simple. Or maybe it is. You're absolutely correct, I don't have to. However, despite how he can be when he drinks, the good that my Father has done for me is much greater. He wants to make memories for me to have, for when he's gone. He wants me to go places, and see as much as possible. And honestly, I wouldn't trade these trips for the world.

I do it for the man that raised me, and made sure that I didn't go hungry, or went homeless, etc. It's a sucky situation. I just really don't know what to do.

I'm afraid that I'll regret it if I don't take these trips with him, and that alone is something I cannot stand. His nasty attitude when he drinks will never change (by the way, this only towards me, not others.) but as you said, my response can.

It's a balance I guess. I feel that since he actually wants to make memories for me, I can do it. Just wanting to learn on how to maybe respond better, instead of getting so irritated and argumentative back with him.

With the trip last year, I actually turned the car around. Hopefully, I won't have to this time. Hopefully, as I said, I can implement some of my meditation practices, as well as just ignoring him when he gets that way until he gives up, and we ride in silence.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi HopeandCope. I hope this trip goes better as well.

One good tool is JADE - you don't have to Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain. That alone can save a lot of arguments.

Speaking of which, arguing with someone who has been drinking, in particular someone like your Father is a complete and utter waste of your time. I had an alcoholic Father too. Luckily he wasn't "mean" when drinking, in general, although he could be that way sometimes and controlling so I do know what you are talking about.

I say 'in particular someone like your Father' because you know where it is going. No amount of reasoning, calm talking, explaining, stating facts is going to have him back down over the coffee.

So, where does that leave you? Just don't engage. If he says the coffee is not coffee, it's tea a reply might be, well that's interesting. Or a simple, uh huh.

He states you are driving too slow, too fast, didn't indicate, didn't do something else right. Again, a reply would be - uh huh. You know what you know, you don't have to convince him of that, it just doesn't matter.

Have you ever wondered why you are the one he chooses to argue with? He must bait other people, how do they respond, or does he even have anyone who has stuck with him? Are you the only child?

Regardless, he isn't going to change and the only person you can control is yourself and detaching from the crazy arguments is going to be up to you.



You don't have anything to prove here, while it IS coffee, what does convincing him of it do for you. Absolutely nothing. You may get to be right, but at what cost?
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi HopeandCope,

So sorry for the difficult situation you are facing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopeandCope1988 View Post
He wants to make memories for me to have, for when he's gone.
If the trip happens under such circumstances, will the memories be good ones?
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you are committed to these trips no matter what then you will have to find a way to accept your father for exactly who he is and let go of the idea that he can or should be someone else. The amount or what he drinks doesnít matter as much as you finding ways to detach from behavior you donít like. Going on the trip limits your options for detachment, but continually struggling against something that isnít going to change will just make you both miserable.

i wish you luck on the trip and hope that the memories you are creating together are positive.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HopeandCope1988 View Post
I'm struggling so hard with his addiction, as well as my own anxiety issues. This of course, being one of the biggest triggers of my anxiety, hence the irritability over it, and the arguing.
Arguments always require the participation of two people. They just cannot happen without both people stepping in tune to the dance, even when one of them is drunk and loaded for bear. What is your own ongoing wellness/recovery/change program?
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So if I'm understanding this correctly as your traveling he is drinking, at stops or going down the road? And as he drinks he gets argumentative?

Have you ever pointed out to him that these are the memories that you have of your travels with him.

I can't Imagine agreeing to doing this.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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He wants to make memories for me to have, for when he's gone. He wants me to go places, and see as much as possible.

but not enough to not drink while making these memories with you. so far your memories sound pretty upsetting. and you are already dreading a repeat. with a plan to just ignore him when he gets hostile and drive in silence.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi HopeandCope. I hope this trip goes better as well.

One good tool is JADE - you don't have to Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain. That alone can save a lot of arguments.

Speaking of which, arguing with someone who has been drinking, in particular someone like your Father is a complete and utter waste of your time. I had an alcoholic Father too. Luckily he wasn't "mean" when drinking, in general, although he could be that way sometimes and controlling so I do know what you are talking about.

I say 'in particular someone like your Father' because you know where it is going. No amount of reasoning, calm talking, explaining, stating facts is going to have him back down over the coffee.

So, where does that leave you? Just don't engage. If he says the coffee is not coffee, it's tea a reply might be, well that's interesting. Or a simple, uh huh.

He states you are driving too slow, too fast, didn't indicate, didn't do something else right. Again, a reply would be - uh huh. You know what you know, you don't have to convince him of that, it just doesn't matter.

Have you ever wondered why you are the one he chooses to argue with? He must bait other people, how do they respond, or does he even have anyone who has stuck with him? Are you the only child?

Regardless, he isn't going to change and the only person you can control is yourself and detaching from the crazy arguments is going to be up to you.



You don't have anything to prove here, while it IS coffee, what does convincing him of it do for you. Absolutely nothing. You may get to be right, but at what cost?

Trailmix,

Thank you for all of your support and suggestions.

I do agree that replying with 'uh-huh' or something to that effect. I will definitely keep the JADE tool under my belt as we travel.

I do know why I'm targeted unfortunately, and that's to hurt my Mother. The only way to hurt her, is to hurt me. He's just fun-loving with everyone else! And yes, I am an only child.

You're absoultely right about all of this. I've been putting the 'uh-huh's into practice more, but this will be the first trip that I'll have that chance.

Thanks again, and much love and peace!
- C -
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Hi HopeandCope,

So sorry for the difficult situation you are facing.



If the trip happens under such circumstances, will the memories be good ones?
Rescuer,

Thanks! And, even though almost all of our trips have happened under these circumstances, there are still good memories of the trips.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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If you are committed to these trips no matter what then you will have to find a way to accept your father for exactly who he is and let go of the idea that he can or should be someone else. The amount or what he drinks doesnít matter as much as you finding ways to detach from behavior you donít like. Going on the trip limits your options for detachment, but continually struggling against something that isnít going to change will just make you both miserable.

i wish you luck on the trip and hope that the memories you are creating together are positive.
Sparkle,

thank you for your advice. I learned a long time ago that my Dad is who he is, and will do what he wants. Comes with the territory of "being an old fart." His words, not mine. I've wished and hoped that he would stop drinking, but I accepted a long time ago, that that's probably never going to happen.

I really am just working on my response to him and his drinking and arguing. That's the biggest struggle I face.

Thank you for the best wishes!
Much love and peace,
- C -
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Arguments always require the participation of two people. They just cannot happen without both people stepping in tune to the dance, even when one of them is drunk and loaded for bear. What is your own ongoing wellness/recovery/change program?
Fallen,
I agree, arguments do require the participation of two. That's what I'm working on, is removing myself from the arguments. Eventually, he'll get tired of arguing with himself.

As for my recovery, I'm in counseling for anxiety, which this topic does get brought up. However, for this reason and another with another friend of mine, my counselor has suggested that I start attending Al-Anon meetings. I didn't really have much time before the trip, hence reaching out on here first.

But overall, my recovery for myself is going well, and I am learning to deal with these issues more, just not quite where I want to be yet. Of course, I know this takes time.

Much love and peace!
- C -
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
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So if I'm understanding this correctly as your traveling he is drinking, at stops or going down the road? And as he drinks he gets argumentative?

Have you ever pointed out to him that these are the memories that you have of your travels with him.

I can't Imagine agreeing to doing this.
Action,
For the initial drive from where we live to where we're going, there's usually no drinking. But at dinners there will be, and let's say we're going to Yellowstone, he'll have his Vodka and Diet Pepsi in a water bottle that he's had since we took a trip to DisneyWorld when I was 11. He doesn't necessarily get argumentative right away, but something usually triggers it... More than likely, now that I think about it, my aggitation with him probably. (Of course not to blame myself, just stating that I do get very aggitated with him when he drinks).

I have pointed out to him that these are memories he's making for me and that when he drinks and we argue, it makes it difficult to remember it as a good trip... He still sees nothing wrong with what he does. He also doesn't remember the next morning.

No one really can imagine agreeing to doing something like this. It's just such a complicated thing. All I can say is that, I put forth the effort to allow him to make memories. I wasn't the one that got drunk and did the things he did.

Thanks for all of your advice, much love and peace!
- C -
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
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He wants to make memories for me to have, for when he's gone. He wants me to go places, and see as much as possible.

but not enough to not drink while making these memories with you. so far your memories sound pretty upsetting. and you are already dreading a repeat. with a plan to just ignore him when he gets hostile and drive in silence.
Anvil,
My dad was born in 1945. I don't know how much this tells you, but he is as stubborn as they come. Not to mention, he's a Virgo hahaha.

But in all seriousness, no he won't quit drinking. And yes, there are upsetting moments from past trips due to this, but there are still a lot of good memories of the places we've been and the things I've gotten to see.

Driving in silence is better than arguing. Because it too, shall pass. He will get tired of arguing with himself. And if that's the way I have to do it, that's the way I have to do it.

Much love and peace,
- C -
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm hoping his vodka and diet pepsi isn't consumed in your car. I assume the drunk driving laws are pretty standard across north america and having open alcohol in your vehicle can end in a fine or being charged , just something to keep in mind.

Well him hurting your Mother through you is another good reason not to JADE. You know if you are consistent with this he might just give up altogether with the abuse. It's no fun to bully someone that doesn't participate.

I wouldn't have gone on a road trip with my Dad and he wasn't even all that mean lol - I do wish you luck and I hope it's better than you anticipate.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:47 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I can’t imagine taking a trip with my addict sib.
I took him to WalMart a while back, normally a 10 minute drive that morphed into 30 minutes because of road construction.
I like to have died, with all the complaining, whining, and general asshattedness he spouts.
Couldn’t decide whether I should ram a guardrail or just pitch him out.
Kidding.
Sort of.
Good luck and good thoughts.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:00 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Trailmix wrote on another thread:

"Self-esteem is the key."

I found the anxiety I used to have was trying to tell me something very, very important.

Listening to my inner needs, valuing my relationship with myself before the relationship with the alcoholic and taking new, intentional, kind self actions are a big part of my recovery from this Family Disease of Alcoholism. There are a whole lot of 'isms'!
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:26 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I have I feeling I would get in trouble for leaving a drunk 74 year old man on the side of the road with all his Vodka and Pepsi. 😏
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm hoping his vodka and diet pepsi isn't consumed in your car. I assume the drunk driving laws are pretty standard across north america and having open alcohol in your vehicle can end in a fine or being charged , just something to keep in mind.

Well him hurting your Mother through you is another good reason not to JADE. You know if you are consistent with this he might just give up altogether with the abuse. It's no fun to bully someone that doesn't participate.

I wouldn't have gone on a road trip with my Dad and he wasn't even all that mean lol - I do wish you luck and I hope it's better than you anticipate.
Trailmix,


Unfortunately, he will. But I drive, not him. And that's on him. I do know for a fact he would take all responsibility, should something happen, so that I don't face anything. But again, I drive, so that helps. I know that's enabling, however, what am I, a 30 year old, going to tell my 74 year old father. "No! You can't do that!". I wish it were that simple, and I've tried. Falls on deaf ears.

As for Not JADE-ing(?? lol), I 100% agree. I really think that this is the approach that I'm going to take on this trip, along with using the things I've learned with meditation.

I've been taking trips with Dad since I was a kid... it's just what we do. And again, I appreciate him for all that he's done. And I'm also grateful that he doesn't drink like he used to, but luckily, I'm going in to this trip anticipating that it will be good, instead of bad. Maybe that will help too.

Much love and peace,
- C -
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