Over the course of the past few years dealing with the alcoholic in my life, I have picked up a few things along the way that has helped me better cope with my situation. I have learned to help myself stay focused on the things that I can control instead of draining my energy and resources on the things that I can not control.
I learned that the one thing that I can not control are the actions and decisions of someone else. In this case, I can not control the drinking habits of my father and I cannot persuade him to stop drinking either. What I can control is how I handle the situations involving my father when he is drinking.
For example, I can choose to remove myself from any negative conversations such as the drunken text messages that I have received. I have made it clear to myself that I will not put up with his drinking on any level and have made a commitment that I will not let his destructive ways interfere with my life.
From my experiences, I have vowed to help others, like me, deal with the alcoholic in their lives. If you would like to learn more about the methods I have adopted to help myself deal with my father, you can check out my book, “How to Cope With the Alcoholic in Your Life“.
Over my struggles with my father, I have found out that it is better to help myself to deal with the struggles that I have gone through in lieu of my father’s drinking habits. I had spent a lot of time and energy trying to get my father to see that he had a problem, however, he continued on like what I said does not matter. This angered me for a little while because my father always resisted my attempts and I only wanted him to stop drinking so he would be able to live a long and healthy life.
But, after I realized that I do not have power over the situation, I decided to move on and help myself deal with the feelings of anger and distress over my father’s actions. If I am not able to help him, I will at least help myself deal with the ugly truth that my father will never be the same until the day he decided to opt for a healthier lifestyle.
So, my advice for people who have to go through a similar situation, is to try and not let the alcoholic in your life’s problem affect your own life as much. Each day, try to make your life better and do not let yourself get down if you can not get through to the alcoholic in your life.
I know that you should never try to talk to an alcoholic when they are drunk. I know they will deflect their problems on you or onto other people so they can continue to drink, guilt free. I know he wasn’t thinking clearly and that he wasn’t listening to me, however, that night, I felt that I had to tell my father how I felt. I had to make my last attempt to try and make him see that his drinking has caused problems in our family.
Back to the story, my father started to talk badly about my girlfriend, or “the girl” as he called her. He said that she was not good for me, that she lives in some kind of “bizzaro world” and is taking me down with her. On a change of subject, he continued to tell me that I am different because of her, that I am less of a man, that she is no good for me, she is using me and she will never be happy with anything I could give her. (Honestly, would any girl still be with me after all we had been through? Any other girl would probably leave me after living in that house for as long as we did).
Naturally, I stuck up for my girlfriend, but I also told him that regardless of what he thought, the point of this little “chat” of ours is about how badly he needed help. He just shrugged it off and said “OK, that’s your opinion”.
After about a half hour, my father got off the phone with my aunt. My girlfriend was painting her nails for the wedding that we were standing up in the next day. It was getting close to midnight and we needed to get some sleep. However, my father was standing at the bottom of the stairs and said “We need to talk”.
So, I went to the top of the stairs and he said “you and your b***h girlfriend and your f***ing dog need to get the f*** out of my house” and walked back to the living room. I followed.
My father repeated his threat and said “I don’t know what you are going to do, but you and “the girl” (the new derogatory way he referred to my girlfriend as) need to get out of my house as soon as possible”. I told him that is fine by me, but I had to say my peace. I did not try to argue with my father, but I made my last attempt to get through to him. I told him that his drinking has had a huge impact on all the relationships he had with everyone in our family. From my brother to my mom to me. To his sisters and brothers. Everyone knew he was an alcoholic and did not want to see him this way.
Of course, pointing fingers at my father when he was already drunk made him want to point fingers at me. My father decided to play the “there is nothing wrong with me” card and turned the tables over onto my girlfriend.
A few weeks into living with my father, my girlfriend and I decided we needed a break. So, we went to visit my girlfriend’s aunt who lives about 3 hours away near a lake so we could have a mini vacation. We had a great weekend only to come home to see that our living area had been rummaged through.
To start, the bedroom doors, that we left closed, were wide open. The closet doors in each of the 2 rooms we had in our living space were open and some of our belongings that we had put away before we left were out of their place. We did not know why my father had gone through our things, but the story he told us was so out of the ordinary that we knew he made it up.
When we came home in the middle of the day, my father was passed out. When I went downstairs to grab a water, my father was up and about his drinking. The first thing he said to me was “If you notice that anything was out of place in your rooms, I had the police come through the house when you were gone”. Okkk? That’s a little awkward. So I asked what happened.
My father’s story is as follows: He claimed he was watching a baseball game on TV when he heard what he thought could have been a distressed human or animal in the wall behind him. After hearing the noise a few times he decided to call the police. He said the police came into the house and after they heard the noise, they decided to search all the rooms in the house.
After speaking to a neighbor who spends most of her evenings outside in the summer, we asked her if she saw any police cars at the house over the weekend. She said she did not.
Still, to this day, I do not know if the story is real or not. If I had to bet, my father had run out of alcohol at an inconvenient time, meaning he could not get it delivered and he was too drunk to drive anywhere, so he decided to look through our stuff in hopes that we were hiding alcohol. To this day, I do not believe the story is real.
For reasons I do not know about, but can probably guess, my parents decided to separate about three months after they moved into the new rental house. So, my dad moved into an apartment by himself and my mom and brother stayed at the new house they just moved into.
Around this time, I was having financial problems myself and decided to move into the rental house with my mom and brother. Every so often, my mom would tell me to call my dad or go check on him (he lived a few blocks away). Even though I called my father frequently, she still told me to do these things.
I would always call him, but rarely visited because I did not want to visit him in the state he was in. I went over his apartment only a few times and every time I did go there he was intoxicated or on his way there. Plus, all he wanted to do was talk to me about his relationship problems with my mom and I did not really care to hear about them.
The only good thing that came out of my father moving into an apartment was that he was the sole bread winner and needed a way to pay his bills. This is good because he did go to work every day like clockwork. He would even boast about how he could get through a whole day of work with a giant “migraine”.
Soon enough, my dad’s “migraines” caused him to start missing work, again. This time my dad paid more attention to his company’s attendance guidelines so that another medical leave of absence did not have to become necessary. This lasted until the house my parents owned started to go into foreclosure.
Naturally, my dad took this as another excuse to drink. He claimed he was a “victim” of the trending adjustable rate mortgage that everyone was buying into around the time they bought their house. When it came closer to my parents having to leave their house, more of his excuses were pouring in.
About a month before my parents had to leave their house, my dad took yet another leave of absence. This time was because he had to “prepare” for the foreclosure by doing “paperwork and such” and finding another house. I am actually surprised to say that all of this happened, meaning my parents found a rental house to live in. That took a week.
As for the rest of the month my dad had taken off work, he took full advantage of the couch when my mom was at work. When it was time for my mom to come home from work every day, my dad was very unproductive in helping her get things together. So, to prepare to move, my mom packed up their things and organized a garage sale with very little help from my father. My father, who took off work to get these things done.
Moving day came, I was surprised to see my dad was sober. However, as soon as everything was in the new house, and before a thing was unpacked, the first thing he did was sit on the couch with a glass of whiskey. Some leave of absence to get things done!
After my dad’s “first trip to rehab”, he quickly went back to work. He tried to get back to a “normal” schedule as soon as possible. He obviously was not an alcoholic!
Wait a minute? After years of drinking and months of binge drinking on his “leave of absence”, one three day tour of rehab is what makes him go back to work? After all of his “migraines” and sleepless nights, three days watching other people makes it go away? Everything is back to normal again because “he is not like those other people”? What it looked like was my dad’s “migraine” problem is gone, he can sleep through the night like a baby and can still drink whenever he wants because other people were worse. Right?
The reality of it was that it did not add up! He acted like one minute he was bad enough to go to rehab, the next minute he was too good for rehab. Did not need it, there is not problem at all. I knew better and things do not work like that. What he was trying to do was prove to my mom that he was right, he did not need help and he did not need rehab.
Boy was that an understatement. Going back to work only caused him to complain about “migraines” and how much he hated his job. I bet you can guess where he was every day after work.
Drinking every day is not wrong, it is just a daily routine I guess (sarcastic tone).
While my father was in rehab, my mother had asked me to stop by and get the mail every couple of days. He had went into the rehabilitation facility on a Thursday afternoon, so on Saturday, I stopped by my parents house to pick up the mail. I took the mail into the house, laid it on the table and proceeded to clean up a little bit from where my father had been on his binge.
After I finished cleaning up and was getting ready to leave, I was taken by surprise as my father walked in the front door with a bottle of whiskey in hand. The optimism and hope that I had just a few short days ago, was gone.
He was just as surprised to see me as I was to see him. He didn’t notice my car parked on the street in front of the neighbors’ house. I immediately asked him what he was doing home. His reply was full of stutters as he was trying to come up with an excuse for his failed rehab attempt. He walked over to the kitchen to pour himself a drink as he tried to explain to me why his “recovery” lasted for two days.
“I did not need any help.”
“That place can’t do anything for me, the people that are in there are messed up.”
“You should have seen those people in there, I’m not like that.”
“Those people have problems, I don’t.”
That is when I left him to his whiskey. I was disgusted in the fact that he thought he did not have a problem, yet continued to pour himself a glass as he told me this. I was disgusted because I knew he needed help, yet he still refused to believe it.
On my way home, I called my mom to see if she knew about my dad leaving rehab. She was just as surprised as I was.