Guest Post By: Christie
I have a very long story, but I am hoping that if I get this story out I can get some kind of help or advise. A week after giving birth to my son last year, my 52-year-old dad had a very bad stroke. He was taken to the emergency room and from there he was taken to San Francisco for emergency surgery. They told us he had very little chance of making it. Well he made it, the part of his brain that controls speech and balance was damaged, so he now has aphasia (he cannot communicate). He was in the hospital for a couple weeks and then rehab to try to learn to walk and talk again for over a month. He came out and the first thing he wanted to do was drink (which is what got us here in the first place). He has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver among many other issues.
Let me give you a little bit of a back-story on my relationship with my dad. My mom and dad divorced when I was just a baby. But my dad has always, pretty much been in my life, although his drinking and girlfriends were always put ahead of me. He has always been an alcoholic, as a teenager I had very bad anxiety partly because I would worry about him constantly. I moved in with him around 17 or 18 years old (partly because he was always at the bar, and I could get away with anything I wanted to). When he would get sick it was this huge deal going to emergency rooms, making sure he took medication. And who did all of that, me. I had to make sure he went to a doctor; I had to make sure his medication was picked up and taken. And then a couple weeks would go by and he would feel fine, so he figured, “hey no reason to go back to the doctor”. This would happen a few times a year, and I would have to clean up this mess. When, my now husband and I moved out, I still would try to help him out whenever I could. This has gone on for years. He would even get into these depressed moods and threaten to kill himself. I can’t count how many times he would have his shotgun in his room…threatening to use it on himself. Whenever I would go check on him, my biggest fear would be to find my dad dead in his room.
In my mid-20’s, one of the nights I broke down crying to him, he told me, “I don’t care who you are. I am not going to stop drinking. Alcohol is more important to me that you are.” That conversation right there changed me and the way I looked at my dad forever. Why try to help someone who doesn’t want help themselves? But he is my dad, and I love him very much.
Feeling Rejected By An Alcoholic
Excerpt: “Alcoholics really have a tendency to put the alcohol first in their lives and people second. Some people in AA refer to this as romancing the bottle. They also say that they had a love relationship with their booze of choice. Even though we may not get the love we desire from them, we can learn how to love an alcoholic without conditions.
So back to the present. My mom (his ex-wife) is now taking care of him, in her home with her present husband. I have a 5-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, I work full time and still try to be a full time mom and wife. So me taking care of my dad is pretty much out of the question, and I am grateful for my mother and everything she does. But here is where the issues start. My 5-year-old daughter is anxiety ridden, she worries about grandpa constantly, she has really, really bad panic attacks only when she is around him. I think it’s partly because of conversations she has overheard about his health and by what she has seen. My dad gets these violent outbursts. He is like a huge child, he wants to drink all the time, he wants to smoke, he wants to do what he wants to do. After all he was used to this single bachelor lifestyle before all of this happened. But he will yell and try hitting and pushing my mom. She has tried for the past year to keep him from drinking and smoking, but finally after a year of her sanity and health being put to the test, she has given up, and I don’t blame her one bit. What else can we do?
Part of my issue is that I am so angry with him. And I don’t know how to get over this anger. I am angry he has choose alcohol over his daughter, his grandchildren, I am angry he is putting my mom thru all this stress, including her marriage and happiness being put on hold for him, I am angry he has all these people bending over backwards to help him and keep him alive and he doesn’t care not one bit. He has at least 3 different doctors appointments a week…along with appointments and paperwork with social security and welfare, and my mom has to take him to all of these appointments, along with watching her 2 grandchildren.
Angry With An Alcoholic
Excerpt: “Just the other day I had a horrible bout with feeling angry about several things. Actually, I was furious to the point of not being able to have much self control. My emotions were way off balance, so much that I felt intense anger for about ten hours. I was overtaken and extremely uncomfortable with what I was feeling and just couldn’t seem to shake the negative emotions. I lost a lot of sleep, said things I shouldn’t have said and caused hurt and pain in someone that I really love.”
My step dad and mom sometimes give me a huge guilt trip because #1, he should be my responsibility. Which, he is, but with two young children, a husband, a house and bills stacking up, I would have no time. I hate to say it, but if no one else where around, he would be in some kind of state facility. And #2, because I can be so cold at time towards him. Nobody knows what it is like to have a father like this, especially one who flat out said ALCOHOL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU ARE. Worrying, stressing every day of my life made me miserable so I finally just gave up. I can’t get over the fact that we are helping someone who doesn’t care and doesn’t want help himself. I am a very loving, caring person. But my relationship with my dad and our past makes me totally different to him.
How To Love An Alcoholic While Letting Go
Excerpt: “Just knowing in our hearts, the truth is “we love them,” is going to have to be good enough for me and you.
We know that we know how much we care about them regardless of what they say about our affections toward them. Unconditional love is not defined by how we treat them, it is something that is un-dieing inside of our being toward them.”
I am DROWNING in stress right now. I don’t know where to turn, what to do, how to make myself better while being in a constant state of anxiety. Worrying about my children, especially my daughter with her anxiety, worrying about how my mom is dealing with all of this, worrying about my 70 year old grandparents who help out also, worrying about myself, worrying about my husband and my step dad and how they are handling being married to these two woman who are under loads of stress. And last but not least, worrying about my dad, his health and his future.
Right now I need advise, help or even people with similar stories so I know I am not alone.
Please feel free to leave a comment below.