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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2011/07/18

Alcoholic Father

Hi doc. I recenlty realised that my father is an alcoholic. Not that I didn''t know, it''s just I had a revelational realisation(if I can put it like that), that he is for all medical purposes, an alcoholic down to his bones. So what I want to know is this: Is there anything that a child or friend or anyone for that matter, can do to cure someone like that. I wrote him a letter, to tell him that I think he drinks too much, and his health and future might be in jeapordy. Thinking that maybe that would make him see. As I have my 1st child on the way, and thought it might motivate him to seek help or whatever, but he was in total denial amongst other reactions. So I''m wondering, is it possible for anyone to help him in any way, or is it really a case of " if he doesn''t admit he has a problem, then there''s nothing anyone can do for him" ??? Btw, I wrote the letter, cos he''s half deaf, and doesn''t always hear what I''m saying.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I know what it's like, Anon. It's a bit like realising that you ( or someone else ) is Old. It doesn't happen overnight, and often develops so slowly that the gradual changes are hard to spot, and then something reaches a tipping point and you suddenly se - AHA ! That's what it is. And then it's obvious.
But then, sadly, there is nothing ANYONE else can do which will help unless and until the alcoholic himself recognizes and acknowledges that they ARE alcohlic, that this IS a problem, and that they must do something about it. You can try to encourage them to admit it, and help them connect to help once they do. But otherwise - their contribution is essential. If you have appendicitis, we can operate and fix it without you doing anything ( well, it helps awfully if you will lie down first ) - but your active participation is not only not needed but actually unwanted.
With problems like alcohol and drug abuse, it can't be helped without the person's very active direct personal involvement. Denial is a common part of the problem, alas.
THe deafness is a complication, in that it may make conversations hard. Sometimes one can talk ABOUT it, and you find, for instance, that an older person feels they have no other pleasures in life, so why not drink. Or they feel the damage has already been done and I won't be around for long, so why bother. If one can identify their excuse, their reasoning for ignoring the problem, sometimes one can chip away at that.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/07/18

I know what it's like, Anon. It's a bit like realising that you ( or someone else ) is Old. It doesn't happen overnight, and often develops so slowly that the gradual changes are hard to spot, and then something reaches a tipping point and you suddenly se - AHA ! That's what it is. And then it's obvious.
But then, sadly, there is nothing ANYONE else can do which will help unless and until the alcoholic himself recognizes and acknowledges that they ARE alcohlic, that this IS a problem, and that they must do something about it. You can try to encourage them to admit it, and help them connect to help once they do. But otherwise - their contribution is essential. If you have appendicitis, we can operate and fix it without you doing anything ( well, it helps awfully if you will lie down first ) - but your active participation is not only not needed but actually unwanted.
With problems like alcohol and drug abuse, it can't be helped without the person's very active direct personal involvement. Denial is a common part of the problem, alas.
THe deafness is a complication, in that it may make conversations hard. Sometimes one can talk ABOUT it, and you find, for instance, that an older person feels they have no other pleasures in life, so why not drink. Or they feel the damage has already been done and I won't be around for long, so why bother. If one can identify their excuse, their reasoning for ignoring the problem, sometimes one can chip away at that.

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