Medical Questions > Mental Health > Addiction, Recovery Forum

How to help Dads who's self-destructive and alcoholic ?

I'm going to attempt to describe this situation as well as I can, it's complicated and I'm bound to leave out many important details but here it goes.

My dad has been an alcoholic for 12+ years. He's 54 years old and he's overweight.

About 8 years ago he had open heart surgery (6 way bypass). Sometime after that he became depressed and started having panic/anxiety attacks, which I understand is fairly common after a major surgery. He wound up being put on and taken off off several medications for depression, bi-polar disorder and seizures. He was given Xanax (among other drugs) by a Psychiatrist about two years ago which he became addicted to. He stopped taking the Xanax about a year ago and had (or claimed) withdrawals for a year afterward which caused even more severe anxiety.

While on all of these drugs he was drinking heavily.

About four years ago he retired and has since done practically nothing but sit in his basement, drink beer, smoke cigarettes and watch t.v.

Over the past year or two he has gotten worse. He gets much more drunk or appears much more drunk from far less alcohol than it would have taken four year ago.

He started falling randomly and convulsing even when he's not drunk. He was tested and had whatever scans would be standard when something like that happens and they found nothing wrong.

He has lost control of his bowels several times that I know of and many others I don't, once walking to the store to buy more beer a block away from out house. The neighbor complained.

He wakes in the middle of the night and sits in his kitchen and eats huge quantities of food and he isn't aware he had done it the next day.

Sometimes he will not remember things he did hours ago and once a week he will talk about something that never happened.

In the past three weeks my mom realized he has stolen all of her jewelry (Including her first wedding ring from him and his wedding ring) and pawned it to buy beer. He stole my kid sisters change jar, he pawned many of his tools, etc. This was completely beyond what I ever thought he was capable of doing.

In the morning when he hasn't had anything to drink he is usually fairly lucid and if you try to discuss how he feels, or what he has done he skirts around it or stays silent and it's incredibly frustrating and sad.

He has been to rehab three times in the past year and a half and each time came home and went to buy beer the same day.

He isn't verbally or physically abusive.

I could give hundreds of other accounts of of things he has done but I think I have probably gotten that point across.

The reason I'm writing this is because my mom has finally decided to divorce him. He plans on living in their cottage about 250 miles away. If he moves there alone I can't help but think he will be dead with a year or two. He will drink himself to death or crash his truck and maybe kill someone else in the process. (My mother took his keys and refused to give them back several months ago after she got home from work and found him drunk backing his truck into my car repeatedly trying to go buy beer.)

Today he said he wasn't feeling well and tonight he didn't drink or smoke all night (HIGHLY unusual). Then he said he was "seeing ribbons", hallucinating, and he was laughing and smiling but actually acting rather normal otherwise. It was bizarre. My mom took his blood pressure and it was high earlier and them back to normal later, she wanted to take him to the emergency room but he refused.

Here is a last of the drugs he is currently prescribed:

This first one I think was recent:

Benzopine MES 1Mg (Take one, twice daily as needed, substitute for Cogentin)

Gabapentin 300MG capsule TEV (Take two, three times daily)

Geodon 80MG capslue ROE (Take one, three times daily)

Seroquel 100MG tablet ZEN (Take one in morning and one at night)

Simvastian 20MG tablet TEV (Take one tablet at bed time)

Sertraline HCL 100MG tablet TEV (Take one tablet, twice a day, substituted for Zoloft)

Carvedilol 25MG tablet MYL (Take one tablet, twice daily)

Lisinopril 20MG tablet SAN (Take one a day)

Vytorin 10/20 tablet M/S (Take one a day)

Plavax 75 MG tablet BRI (Take one a day)

Cozaar 50MG tablet MSD (Take one a day)

Zetia 10 MG tablet M/S (Take one a bed time)

He also takes aspirin everyday.

And drinks.

His doctors know he's an alcoholic.

I'm begging for professional help here, suggestions, advice, anything.

Thank you,

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replied November 10th, 2007
First you should go to an AL Anon meeting. You are not responsible nor can you control his behavior. That's all I can suggest right now. You know your Dad better than anyone on this site and anyone who is an addict knows that as much as you want to help him, he has to realize this himself.
I can't believe all the medication he's on. Health care is critical and he may need to detox, but it sounds like a really complicated situation and he should be in a health facility under the care of professionals. If is he as bad as it sounds, then you make phone calls to providers and see what you can do. Fortunately, my husband did that for me, and it's changed my world. Get help for yourself and your dad, but know that it's not your fault and you can find support online even if you can't find a Al Anon meeting.
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replied July 9th, 2010
based on what you have said, you should section your father [through the court] to a locked detox/psych facility. He is a blackout drinker, and clearly a threat to himself and others. He needs a medical detox, as well as a psychiatric and medication evaluation. He appears to be addictd to not obnly alcohol but other drugs as well. Some of the drugs he is prescribed can cause seizures. And they are also central nervous system depressants - he could easiily overdose on them combined with alcohol. He needs at least a year in a residential program. Probably locked.
And you would really benefit from attending Al-Anon - you will learn about adiction and also get valuable support! Good luck!
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replied July 11th, 2010
I'm not a Psychiatrist. But all I know is your dad himself should be the one who wants to quit/stop his addiciton. Because if he doesnt want to quit, no one can stop him or force to stop him. All you (family,friends,relative) can do is to be with him and to encourage him to stop (not to force him).
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replied August 6th, 2010
pigman, the person needs to go to a new doctor who will be flabbergaster- and do tests to make sure he is healthy , the correct meds and doses: then the next step can be taken. Dr. wont's wrie unneccary needs, he'll prob talk to a shrink whom he will hopefully honest. 12 steps aren't going to help someone who does'not want it, or are going to die of multi-system organ failure.
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