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dads_voice

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Joined
Dec 16, 2008
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2
Reason
Loved one DX
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US
State
FL
City
PC
My family has always had a torrid past. My dad has been diagnosed with ALS for a little over 2 years now. He has the fast progressing kind and is completely dependant on others. Both me and my brother are away at college and my mother still lives at home with my dad.

My parents have always had a rough marriage. I never thought there was much love between them, I believe they only stayed together out of obligation. My mom started to have a drinking problem when I was 15. Now she is his main advocate.

I am writing this because I am LOST. I do not know what to do. On one hand my mom is sober most of the time, we have hospice and nurses at our house daily. She is his hands, his coordinator, his lifeline to the world. On the other hand she is bitter, angry, and inconsiderate.

I feel guilt for not trying to fix my mom's alcohol problem before my dad got sick. Had I, he might have a better quality of life now. But hindsight is 20/20. My mom is still working and is under a lot of stress. Telling her to seek counseling is like talking to a brick wall, she simply doesn't have time.

I love my dad. I want to see him happy. If I put my mom in rehab, he will have no one to coordinate his care. If I keep my mom in charge, I am fearful that she will be unfit to care for him when he needs her most. Anything in the middle is seen as a burden to her and false hope to my dad.

I love her for being such an advocate for him... she has gotten him continuous care, gotten him his wheelchair, driven him around, taken the veteran-ALS connection to politicians. As my dad said, "she will move mountains to have me cared for by other people."

But I hate her for arguing with him, for making him ask for things, for drinking, for acting like simple tasks are such an inconvenience to her. How do you criticize someone for their attitude and drinking when they are still working and getting everything my dad needs to be as comfortable as possible?

My dad is miserable, and while he has confided this in me, he doesn't want me to do anything. But I can't sit here and do nothing, but I also don't want to make anything worse for him. Any advice would help.
 

jennibf

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Joined
Oct 5, 2008
Messages
164
Country
US
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AL
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Centreville
Well, first of all, I am sorry you are in this family situation. It is heartbreaking on a lot of levels but I'm glad you are seeking support.

You made several statements that I want to address. First, you could not and cannot "fix" your mom's drinking problem. Your mom has a disease and only she can acknowledge and address it. It is in no way your fault.

Second, because she has a disease you have two parents battling illnesses. I would strongly recommend some psychological help, a psychiatrist who can step in and offer professional and knowledgeable assistance in dealing with the situation. If I were you I would quickly look for one, hopefully one with some experience with this, make an appointment, explain the situation and ask for advice and help.

Please keep us updated!

Thoughts and prayers your way,

jennifer
 

BethU

Extremely helpful member
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
2,644
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
05/2008
Country
US
State
California
City
Los Angeles
I agree completely with Jennifer ... you can't possibly "fix" your mom's drinking. It sounds like your mother is a high-fuctioning alcoholic, and considering her disease, she's doing a heroic job working, taking care of your dad, and holding things together as best she can.

What you need to do is take care of yourself: Look up Alanon or Alateen in the phone book. If you can't find a number, call AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and they will give you phone numbers. You can probably get information about local groups online, too.

These groups are for relatives and friends of alcoholics (Alanon is for everybody, Alateen is for young people with alcoholic parents), and they are composed of people like you. Because of your Dad's ALS, your situation may seem unique, but every situation is unique, and you will be amazed at the coping skills you will learn. It will be the best phone call you've ever made, I promise you. There may very well be groups meeting on your campus ...

Please make that call. You don't have to go through this alone.
 

elemkay80

Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2008
Messages
27
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
10/2008
Country
US
State
Virginia
City
Richmond
I second the suggestion of Al-Anon. My mother was an alcoholic for many years (sober since I was a teen, though) and I have a couple of loved ones who are either addicts or alcoholics. I started attending Al-Anon early this year and found it to be the best thing I ever did. I learned to "detach with love," meaning I learned to stop focusing on the alcoholic and their illness and turn the focus back to me and how I cope with their illness and the way it affects me. It doesn't mean I stopped caring, but I learned that I was in as much control as they were - which is no control! All you can control is yourself and your actions and reactions.

What I didn't know was how supportive the folks in Al-Anon would be with helping me deal with my diagnosis. The coping skills they teach you apply to all areas of life, not just in dealings with alcoholism.

So yeah. Try Al-Anon. It's amazing.
 

Carolan

Active member
Joined
May 17, 2007
Messages
93
Reason
CALS
Country
US
State
TX
City
Dallas
Wow, that is a lot to go through while also trying to get a college education. You are probably finished with the semester, but when you go back in the spring, you might see if your college offers counseling sessions on campus--most do these days, and there are usually a number of "free" sessions that you can receive.

Alcoholism is a disease. It doesn't manifest itself in the way that ALS does, but it is still a disease. And when dealing with addiction, the person who has the addiction must choose to seek help if there is to be any real hope for sustained recovery. You can't "force" her into rehab or counseling--she has to choose it. But this lack of power on the part of those around the alcoholic can seem really overwhelming. I have an alcoholic relative, and I recently felt extremely overwhelmed when trying to figure out how do I deal with that as well as care for my mother. I finally realized that I can only do as much as this relative accepts is necessary. And that's not much right now, so I stay focused on my mother. Al-Anon would be great, and I hope you will look into that in addition to counseling.

I think that one of the best things you can do is work really hard in school. Give your father something to be proud of and something to look forward to--seeing you succeed each semester and eventually graduate. This might be the best thing you can do for him--and for yourself.
 

CindyM

Moderator emeritus
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
3,543
Reason
Learn about ALS
Country
US
State
New England
City
Anytown
I see our members gave you their usual great advice. If you take even one of these suggestions you should make great progress. One of the first things we learn in counseling or a self-help group is that nobody can change someone else's behavior and it is not possible to correct what has happened in the past.

You can only change how you respond to situations from now on. Please keep in touch. There are a lot of caring folks around here who are always willing to listen! Cindy
 
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dads_voice

New member
Joined
Dec 16, 2008
Messages
2
Reason
Loved one DX
Country
US
State
FL
City
PC
Thank you to everyone who has replied to my post. I truly apprectiate the advice and I will try Al-anon. Shortly after my post I confronted my mom about the way she was behaving. Time will only tell if it makes an improvement on things. I just hope, for my dad's sake, that it does. Thank you all again
 

Al

Moderator emeritus
Joined
May 25, 2004
Messages
7,960
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
10/2003
Country
CA
State
On
City
NW of Toronto
Glad to be able to help even if it's only a place to vent your thoughts to a faceless identity so to speak. As you get to know a few people you will see that you are not alone with your thoughts and feelings. I'm sure there are a few people here that have been in a similar situation. You are not alone dad's voice.

AL.
 
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