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Barcelona - thank you for your post and for sharing these questions:

"What are some things that you can do to save yourself?"
"What would help you? What would make things better?"

It's amazing how life works.  Earlier tonight I came across a form I was given a while ago ... designed to help me with Steps One and Two work.

Column One / Step One is headed:

What does my life look like now?

Underneath are a series of statements describing the various manifestations of unmanageability / insanity.

E.G. 1. I am restless, irritable (which means "easily annoyed") and discontented. (which means "never satisfied")

Column Two / Step Two is headed:

How would I like it to be,
or what does sanity look like in these areas?

I am invited then to write about the other side of the 1st statement and so on.

This form - and I'm sorry I don't remember where it's from - normally I record the URL so I can at least cite it - I had started and never continued with ... so, thank you for the additional reminder, Barcelona.  I have some extra time in the next few days and I think I'd do well to visit the two questions you posted and to complete the worksheet I re-discovered today.


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Absolutely. If I could summarize the past year with mom, it was unmanageability. I couldn't plan a weekend activity or rest in the evening without a possible problem from mom. After 3 consecutive ER visits from Oct. 5-Dec.11, I developed an aversion to hearing the ring tone on my cell phone because of the constant visits, two attributable to drug abuse. I had to create boundaries. Like, the last ER visit, I didn't go running to the hospital. I asked them to keep her safe, comfortable, and give her a drug test---and I would be there tomorrow since it was so late at night. This message board gave me the courage and mental permission to do that.

My al-anon group had people with spouses and children who were drinking/using, but I was the only one caretaking an elderly alcoholic. The caretaking aspect made it completely different and I got some feedback from members, but this group was the difference maker. Thank God I found it.

Sue, I hope you get some serenity and peace in this situation. Go back to the threads from December and you may find my previous post on the very same topic. People had a lot of good advice and suggestions.

It is one tough road. Hang in there.
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Wow, aren't you the nasty one? I don't see much support from your end and your response to Sue upset me. Folks on here come for SUPPORT and a SYMPATHETIC ear. Sometimes, though it may be obvious to US what someone else needs to do, it may not be obvious to them and maybe they are scared or guilty or whatever the emotions they may be going through. Sometimes, just talking it out and getting another "take" on things can lend the strength to someone that they need to move forward and of course, it's always wonderful to know that one is not alone. Wow, ease up, will ya?
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Yes...I noticed the severe tone in that one too.
The voice was coming through loud and clear on that message and I tried to ignore it, but glad that kim1 called it out. A backhanded snap at the crowd here too. This is the one place on God's green earth that some of us can vent, complain, spew frustrations...and thank goodness.
People on this message board don't need people railing on them; they have enough problems as it is. I can vouch that anyone dealing with an alcoholic parent is dealing with a hellstorm. Most people here wouldn't dream of contributing to it in a response to a thread.
Thanks kim1. Hope the person caring for an elderly alcoholic comes back to post again. 
Sending blessings in every direction...
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Sue, as a veteran of family alcoholism, I can assure you that you are not alone.  However, many people who have responded are right, honey.  It's frustrating when you are providing care for someone who is self-destructive.
When my mom was in her 60s, 70s, and 80s, she binged on alcohol periodically.  She would go 2-6 months without a drink, but when she got the urge to drink, she would binge for 3 or 4 days straight.  Then she would stop for several months.  And then binge again.  But as she continued to age, her dependency decreased, and soon she wasn't drinking at all. 
When she was in her 70s, I went to ACOA and loved it.  Those meetings helped me to get a grip on myself and to learn that I could not do much, if anything, for mother.  I remember praying that she would not have an alcohol-related accident.  She never did, though, and I was grateful for that.  But I learned through ACOA to detach from her during those years.  And it helped me. 
Alcoholics are very selfish, controlling, and sometimes narcissistic people.  They love controlling people by behaving badly.  Keep that in mind.  Meanwhile, try to focus on YOUR life.  If your dad lives alone, leave him alone.  But check on him from time to time by telephone if you don't hear from him for a week or so.
And go back to ACOA once a week for 6 consecutive weeks before you decided that it's not working.  That's what I was told to do.
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Thank you, Patty. You are quite right, but I at least give you the credit for putting it so eloquently...
Sue..really, my dear, read the 12 steps and maybe you might need to read them twice...I wish you love, strength and peace....
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Dianne S
I think beer is what kept my mom alive all this time, although it greatly interfered with her BP meds. She went into AL the beginning of January and died on February 20th. 

She wasn't eating at home and when I visited her in AL, I'd find uneaten portions of her meals hidden around her area.  We'd put her in AL with the hope that anti-depressants and scheduled meals would turn her around.  Nope, it wasn't my call, it was hers. And she chose not to eat.

Would I have done it any differently had I known this at the time?  Probably not. Since she was going to starve herself anyway.  At least in AL I knew she wasn't in danger of passing out with a lit cigarette and burning down her place, with her and her cats in it.

She wasn't the most warm and fuzzy woman to start with and when she was under the influence, while others found her amusing and entertaining, she was just plain mean towards me.  When a child, I spent most of my time trying to stay under the radar and as an adult, I just stayed away from her. It was easier on me.  I have no idea why she pushed me away the way she did, but we made our peace while she was in AL.

She died sober. 

I think we would have been good friends if she'd not loved her Budweiser so dearly. 


Good luck.  Pushing ninety is pretty darned good.  Too bad, though, that you have to be drawn into the drama.

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 Sue, first of all I think it's great that you vent.  That's one of the reasons I'm here.  It doesn't mean I'm not looking for solutions, or maybe I'll throw away a possible solution and pick it up later.  I think it's all good stuff.

When an elderly parent is addicted...well that's a hard thing I think.  What do you say to someone that is really old, maybe in pain and just wants to escape.  I'm 53 and have been clean and sober for 19 years and I'd like to think I'll keep on going...but what if I was 86, in pain, not able to physically do much, well I guess I wouldn't resent anyone taking something.

Although, when it affects other people, like you, well  it's not so easy.  Especially if you have grown up in an alcoholic family.  First and foremost, take care of YOU, don't go down the rat hole with your Dad.  Of course, that's easy for me and I should take my own advise...and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. 

Every once in awhile with dealing with my own MOM issues, I get this awakening, this awareness where I think "Wow, I think I have it figured out how to deal with it all"...NOT  It  lasts for whatever amount of time it lasts and then I dip my toe into the Rat hole again.   Hopefully as time goes on, I'll spend less time in the hole and more time on top.  My thoughts are with you.
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billie jo

i just want to let you know that after that nasty reply to sue's post i emailed her since we haven't seen her back. she replied and said she will check it out again when time permits. i know after reading the rest of the replies she will see that we are not all like whoever that fly by was. i hope she returns. we may not have all [or any] of the answers but we do care. thanks!

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Cat Lady

Thanks for doing that BJ -- I woke up at 2 am thinking about Sue and that post.  Sue -- please come back.  You will see that everyone (-1) has the interest of those posting at heart.  We don't all have to agree but we don't have to be rude.  And havng an alcoholic sister (now deceased) I know some of the pain you must feel.  Come back and we'll talk.

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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.

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billie jo
leisa, welcome. i'm glad you found this place. i don't have anything i can add to what you have written. i'm sure others will. i just wanted you to know you are welcome and supported. it sounds like you have looked at this from every angle and have come to a very informed opinion. to take time off work to get your dad settled in is very generous. to know that that is all you can do is very wise. the rest is up to him. it is so hard to step back, protect yourself when it is a loved one, but you know you can not cure this disease. it is up to him. good luck and god bless. others will be along. this is a very caring bunch here. talk anytime. there is always someone around to listen.
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Hi Leisa,

Welcome. I don't think you've missed a beat. The most loving part of your plan is that you are, indeed, giving him a choice. I hope he gets it and I hope that this truly is his bottom.
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Hi Leisa,

Welcome to the board. It sounds like you already have experience with how to deal with someone close/related to you who is an alcoholic, so you're already way ahead of some of us. I'm also in a similar situation - my father is an alcoholic who I'm keeping my distance from despite that he's now in a hospital being treated for mini-strokes and dementia, roughly the same age as your father too. I am also the last of 6 sons/daughters that will have anything to do with him.

Someone once told me that the best way to predict how someone will behave in the future is to look at how they've been behaving in the past. I think the odds are that he'll stay the same, and anything you do to try to help him will only help you satisfy your own feeling of responsibility to help. If he doesn't want your help, he then may not accept your help in the way you offer. It might also help to figure out what exactly is driving you to help in in some capacity... guilt? responsibility? duty? love? ...? Sorting through these feelings definitely helped me take a step back (which it sounds like you're already doing).

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Thank you to everyone for the welcome to this group.  I am so glad for the support at this time in my life.  I'm staying focused on what is best for my life and trying not to become too torn up about the situation that my father has brought upon himself.  What I'm struggling with the most is the thought of my father as someone who is sick and cannot help himself.  If he were in the hospital with inoperable cancer and had been a good father to his family, the feelings would be different.  But now that this narcissistic, destructive man has allowed himself to become so incapacitated, why should I step in and try to rescue him or at least help him help himself?  Loopy has a good point - why am I feeling like I need to take any action at all?  I need to delve into my motivations.  I used to love my dad, when I was very young.  Maybe what I feel for him now is not love, but what is it?  I have not been blind to his troubling behavior.  His girlfriend is so terribly co-dependent and is trying to bring me into the circle - that is part of it, too.  I appreciate the reminder that I must examine my own reasons for getting involved or not.

My sisters and my dad's sister have all been informed of the situation.  Do I now step back and let matters just take their course?  Today I heard from his doctor and the prognosis for my father is not good.  He may end up in a nursing home and I feel that that would be the best end result for him and everyone else (assuming he could still drive; it would be horrible if he hurt an innocent person.)  If he regains competency, he would have the option to seek rehab or go home.  The doctor will make a determination on Monday.  That gives me the weekend to decide what my role will be, depending on his assessment.

I have made such efforts to make sure that my life and that of my son and new husband are as non-dysfunctional as possible.  We are all on alert about the issue of alcoholism and its devastating results.  Maybe this is a test for me to see how far I have truly come?
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