Alcoholic parents: what would you do???

Old 01-20-2003, 05:05 PM
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Alcoholic parents: what would you do???

I am an adult woman with two young children and I live in the same town with my parents who, I belive, are both alcoholics. I need help and advice, because things are getting really out of hand. My father has admitted for many years that he "probably is"an alcoholic. He refuses AA and refuses to get any kind of help at all. I have been with him to Dr.'s appointments and have listened to the doctors tell him that unless he stops drinking entirely, he will die. He insists that two or three drinks a day (Manhattans) are good for him. He has a heart condition and takes several medications for that problem, and he is also on aricept -- a drug to ward off Alzhiemers. My mother is also, I believe, an alcoholic. She siphons my father's whiskey and puts it in coke, which she drinks from about 11:00 a.m on. She has rheumatoid arthritis, has had several operations for cancer, smokes heavily and also takes a regimine of drugs including different kinds of pain killers. My dad will drink until he passes out. My mother, who drinks all day, denies that she drinks at all. Plays the martyr, berates my father, swears that all she ever has is an occasional glass of wine. I know this is a lie. I have seen where she hides her bottles and have, when she is in another room, sampled her so-called Cokes. A few weeks ago, my mother fell and broke her hip. (I'm sure it's because she was drunk.) She has been in the hospital, and I have been taking care of my father -- making sure he's been taking his medication as he should, making sure he eats. Yesterday he had been drinking during the day, and I went to his house, picked him up and brought him to my house for dinner. At the table he started hallucinating. He was talking to someone who wasn't there, ("Who are you talking to, Dad?"..."Your guest, the man from the highway department.") and saying he had to go home and fix a machine which was "full of gasoline", which if he didn't fix it, would "turn into shelak." I took him home and put him to bed,
but later in the night -- around midnight - he called me and was hallucinating again and actually had his car running in the driveway and was planning, he said, to go get some tools to fix his imaginary machine. I went to his house and stayed there until morning so I could be sure he wouldn't hurt himself. I've never seen him have these kinds of hallucinations before, though, and I'm really scared. My mother is coming home from the hospital tomorrow. She really should have home nursing care, and I've looked into it, but she refuses to have anyone come in to their home. (Wonder why...)
I have two jobs - a part-time day job and a part-time evening job - and a 2 year old and a 10 year old. I know it's probably at least somewhat selfish, but I just don't want to lay down my whole life, and take time away from my children and husband, to take care of my parents when they have made choices, and are continuing to make choices that are destroying their health. On the other hand, I don't want to "betray" them (that's not exactly what I mean, I think?...)or abandon them either, and I feel I have a responsibility to do what I can to try to help them and keep them from hurting themselves or, God forbid, anyone else. (This is a really small town and they would be devastaded if their friends knew the true extent of their drinking problems.)
I'm not sure if I've said all that I could, but I don't have time to write more. What I want to know is, if you were in my place, what would you do???!!!! Pls. help!
Old 01-20-2003, 05:31 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,955
First of all, God bless you

You have way too much on your plate right now. Dealing with parents who are not only elderly and in ill health, but are also abusing, must be terribly painful and confusing.
About your Dad...he sounds like he is showing evident symptoms of Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, I have experience with this "A" disease as well, as I lost my Father to it a little over a year ago. When my Dad started to really fail with the Alzheimer's, my alcoholic mother started abusing pain medication to avoid dealing with it. Luckily, their neighbors got hip to all this and called my sister and I to come make some sense out of a totally senseless situation.
Your parents sound like they need some sort of assisted living care. I had to take a crash course in all this when it hit the fan with my folks. Try to access every resource you can, either on the internet or through local organizations. This is a totally overwhelming thing to deal with, so my heart goes out to you as one who knows what it's like to be in your shoes.
Again, God bless. I know how hard this kind of thing is. I will say a prayer for you and your parents tonight.
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Old 01-20-2003, 06:00 PM
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Nature Girl
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Your father definitely sounds like he has symptoms of Alzheimers and this situation could get dangerous when combined with drinking, medication being around, and that your mother may not be aware of what is happening.

If you have other family who will help you with this, you may want to try to find assistance for them, either in their home or elsewhere.

This must be terribly painful for you, and my prayers are with you and your family.
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Old 01-21-2003, 06:39 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
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((seekr2)) I too am a new member here and I'm thankful to have found this board.My heart goes out to you for carrying such a heavy load.My dad was also and alcoholic and it was a devastating time for the whole family.My mom never drank and I often wonder how she ever endured all those years.It took time for your parents to become the people they are today and there aren't any quick fix solutions.I wish you strength to see you through these troubling times.Hopefully you have other family members who can be of support and help with this situation.
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Old 01-21-2003, 04:54 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Big Sandy, TN
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This is just experience talking, so by all means ask your Dad's Doctor. But, my father had been drinking heavily for 2 years. Binge drinking mostly. Well, his Dr. told me that my fathers early symptoms of Alzheimers is caused from brain shrinkage due to too much alcohol. You might check into that. Same results in the end, but you could have some leverage there if you need to use it.

Good luck and I'll be praying for you!
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