ALS paired with alcoholism

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macbro

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Hello everyone,

I am the only daughter of a father who was diagnosed in August. He is progressing "slowly" but I'm not really sure (no one is). My issue is that he is a severe alcoholic. Prior to this diagnosis (about 10 years ago) he was instituted as an alcoholic. He has been in and out of rehab 4 or 5 times, almost died 3 times with multiple organ failure, and has been struggling since 2003 or so. He was sober for about 3 years and then was diagnosed with ALS.

Since the diagnosis in August, my father has lost the will to do anything, and in my opinion believes this is his excuse to "drink himself to death". I am struggling because while I respect the fact that he should do what he wants because of his diagnosis, I also believe he should try and enjoy his life and what he is offered of it before he is gone.

I am a nursing student with a background working on a neuro floor as a CNA, so I strongly agree and understand the right to die with dignity. However, my father is still fully functional (he has defecits on his left side as of now) and I wish he would enjoy his time. I am just struggling to help my mom, my dad, and my family in general. If anyone has any thoughts on my situation I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
 

Nuts

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macbro, welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry about your father--this is an awful road for Pals and the people that love them. Here's the thing, and I suspect you know this: you cannot control your father. You cannot be responsible for his choices. By all means let him know how you feel, but tell him respectfully and as calmly as possible, and then absolve yourself of responsiblity. Wanting something for him that he does not want for himself is a waste of energy and will only cause tension between the two of you. I'm sure this is difficult to read, but by now you know his in your heart.

Love him and help him and your mom, and be kind to yourself.

This is a good place to vent and seek support. I'm sorry you've had to join us, but know that you are most welcome.

Becky
 

Atsugi

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In a way, Macbro, your dad has two fatal diagnoses, ALS and alcoholism. Either one alone has been known to tear families apart.

Nuts said it best, pointing out that your dad is responsible for his own life. I have an additional perspective:

ALS is going to destroy at least one person's life. After your dad is gone, the family is going to need to carry on. So don't let ALS destroy your relationships with mom and others.
 

lgelb

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Macbro,
I'm sorry you find yourself in this situation. One thing to consider is what happens with him and your mom when he is physically no longer to drink himself to death, but requires her complicity, and/or when his drinking creates ADL safety issues. I don't know how able she is to deal with either of those scenarios. To the extent that she isn't, I would try to have some contingency plans.

I would also consult a social worker or psychologist, perhaps one he has seen in the past or one that is allied w/ his current physicians/clinic, as to some of the options/community resources that apply in your case.

Best,
Laurie
 
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