I wanted to let you know that I found this message board just in the nick of time! I was feeling myself getting pulled into an alcoholic's muck and mire and now I feel better about my decision to not get more involved.
My 77-year-old father was recently hospitalized in the VA hospital in Houston. My father lives on his own. I live in San Diego. His long-time girlfriend/co-dependent caretaker had been keeping me updated on his condition for the last few months prior to his hitting bottom. I did all I could on a long-distance basis including contacting his attorney to try and get the girlfriend power-of-attorney to get my father some help. However, the girlfriend is beginning to come to her senses now that my father is coming out of the Adovan haze he has been in since going into the hospital. She informed me over the weekend that she would be going on a week's vacation and that I HAD to go to Houston to be with my father during that time. Something in me keeps saying, 'No! I wont' - I can't!'
During all this time, I had gotten in touch with the organization A Place For Mom, which provided wonderful assistance with alternative living possibilities for my father. Also, although I am afraid the VA bureaucracy would be a nightmare to navigate long-distance, I also attempted some contact with them to try and find assistance for my father. The bottom line though, is that once he leaves the hospital, he has a HUGE decision to make - does he pick up the bottle again or not. This is something I cannot help him with.
I was beginning to get sucked into the whole co-dependent thing between my father and his friend when I found this message board. Now, I realize once and for all that I can only be there for my father if he wants me to help him get settled in a living facility where he can live with assistance, no longer drive, and stay sober. My plan is to write to him and let him know that if he wants me to help him do this, I will take time off work, fly to Houston, possibly get powers-of-attorney and get him moved into a facility. Otherwise, goodbye. His girlfriend is shocked that I can take such a detached position. But, I divorced an abusive alcoholic 11 years ago and I won't get pulled into this arena again!
I have been the last of this man's 4 daughters to maintain contact with him. I thought he was worth keeping in touch with, even though he has been destructive for so many people. Perhaps now my problem is feeling responsible for him because of his age. But just because he is 77, frail, vulnerable and will now be alone does not make me the bad-guy. My father has brought all of this upon himself by not admitting nor addressing his disease. This is still hard for me to do, but I still have to stop myself from jeopardizing my marriage, my young son's life, not to mention my job and my finances to run to the aid of a distant father who may or may not want my help!
Can anyone offer me anything further that I have not taken into consideration in trying to maintain my sanity in this insane situation? My father will go home later this week and I need to be strong in believing that my actions are correct in this situation.