Coping With Fathers Addiction
Posted: June 23, 2020, 12:05 PM


Posts: 2
Joined: June 23, 2020



Hello everyone,

I found this forum after googling a forum to help cope with the various effects of addiction. I'm a college student who is home (for the first time in 5 years) due to COVID, and being home means I've been witnessing my father's spiraling addiction. He is someone who has not realised he is an addict, but his addiction impacts my family's day-to-day life.

I'm here for support, and to hear from other family members in similar positions, and hopefully get some resources on how to broach this problem. I do not want to take on a 'savior' complex -- and being the child here heightens my anxieties around this -- but I do want to help him start a path to recovery. It is devastating to witness every day get a little worse... Since I've been living out of the house and out of state, it's been easy to avoid..but since being back home I'm afraid it's getting closer and closer to a rock bottom, and the damage that's being done to the interpersonal relationships of our family is my biggest grievance.

The home environment is quite volatile -- he is either drunk, high, or when sober just in an overall bad mood. I didn't grow up with my dad as an addict (it seems to be a coping mechanism that has spiraled into dependency) and I find this aspect of this particularly hard to swallow. I am used to liking my dad, I hate who I live with now..and I know if he continues to go down this path then our relationship will be irredeemable.. and I don't want that at all. In addition to the emotional turmoil, his substance abuse is having an increasing impact on my family's financial stability. He has a short temper and is quick to anger, and (I can witness this since everyone has been working remotely) he takes this out on his coworkers and clients. I know over the last few years he's had an increasingly bad reputation in business, and I can see how this is all because of how he conducts himself. I'm worried that soon his addiction is going to cause him to hit financial rock bottom, and I'm worried for how that is going to 'drag down' my mother, and my younger siblings (and myself since for the time being I'm in my family home).

Everything seems to get worse every day and I feel like I'm just waiting for total collapse.
I've just started seeing a new therapist, and I've broached the issue of a dysfunctional family home, so I feel I've taken the first step. My mother has also started to see a counselor (for her own reasons, but also because of the deterioration of her marriage as the result of this addiction), and I know we agree that family therapy and getting my dad treatment/counseling is the only way to have any hope, but the problem is he's someone who is so in the throes of it that he can't acknowledge a problem is there.
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Posted: June 24, 2020, 11:50 PM


Posts: 209
Joined: November 10, 2019



Welcome armoniku and it's good you are looking for support. My heart broke for you when I read your post. You sound like a very level headed and smart young woman. Your insights about your father's addiction are spot on. He may be in denial, however, you are not. Its very hard to witness and live with the deterioration addiction causes. This deterioration reaches every aspect of their life and left untreated, it gets worse, sadly.

I think you are wise to get support for yourself. The key is to keep yourself as healthy as possible and have well defined boundries. Do not let his addiction take you down with him. Keep moving on with your life as best as possible.

He sounds like he's in the thick of active addiction. Its very hard for them to realize how bad off they are and the damage they are doing. It sounds like he's in denial too. One option for your family to consider may be an intervention. This would help to see the damage he is causing and maybe would consider getting help.

I'm sorry you are experiencing this. Its very hard and sad. Take good care of you and keep posting and seeing your therapist. I hope your dad will realize he needs help to turn his life around.
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Posted: June 25, 2020, 1:49 PM


Posts: 2
Joined: June 23, 2020



Sallyana, thank you very much for your reply. It was reassuring to read through.

I do think that an intervention feels like the only option we are left with, and I have been thinking through who of my dad's contacts would be able to support this. But, I'm not sure the best way to go about this. Would you know of any resources so that I can read up more on this? Thank you in advance!
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Posted: June 26, 2020, 8:27 PM


Posts: 209
Joined: November 10, 2019



I looked on the internet and found a good summary article about interventions at alcohol.org/intervention. It mentions the different types and also there are Certified Professional Interventionist (CPI). You would want someone who is certified, experienced, with really good reviews. They also mention in the article there is a resource guide which lists CPIs. I think it's a good start to read this basic overview. I have no personal experience with an intervention. I have watch many episodes of the TV program called Intervention. I hope this is helpful.
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Posted: June 27, 2020, 5:34 PM


Posts: 1746
Joined: June 27, 2016



Hello Sorry that you are here and that life at home is dysfunctional for all of you. My son is my addict. A number of things you said are similar to my son. He has been in recovery for a few months each year and then relapses for 6-9 months every year for the past 6 to 8 years. EVERY TIME he talks like he is doing nothing wrong, that he spends so much money because food is expensive, that it is the circumstances around him that are bringing him down and that none of the consequences in his life have had to do with whether he was using drugs / under the influence of anything. He is fine as long as he has money. Once the money runs out he will become somewhat harassing, angry. He also does not see how his actions impact his day to day life or our life. He has been our number one concern for many years. I don’t know what it is like to go to sleep or wake up without his welfare on my mind. Over the years it feels like we have ‘gone into combat’ to remove addiction from our son’s life, but he keeps going back to it. It is super sad. Everything does get worse. In our son’s case he does not stop until everything is in total collapse, no car, no job, no money, no food, no shelter. And then he is still resistant to go for help. After so many years, I can not think of any one thing that worked well. We just kept at what ever way we could encourage him to go to rehab. While distancing ourselves from his financial disaster.'

My only suggestion is to start planning on an alternate living situation for yourself, mom and siblings. Think of an exit plan. Get a few things in place. Finances, etc. so if it comes to the point where you all need to move out in order to save your own sanity and to create the situation where your father is on his own with out enablers, then you and your mom will have some plans in place. You can’t do this alone. the addiction situation sets up the family members to be enablers who suffer in silence. You do not need to be the savior. It probably wont work, you will become the enabler and you will be brought down to his level. The most useful plan is the plan of detachment. Addiction is way too big for us mere mortals to handle on our own.
Counseling will help all of you to vent, openly talk about it and to work out a plan of action. Talk to your mom when you are both ready. There is strength in numbers. Come up with a plan together. Talk about your fears. Get on the same page so you and your mom are in control, not your dad’s addiction. Maybe he can move in with a relative while he does outpatient treatment, so the family can have some peace and rest.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on June 27, 2020, 5:39 PM
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