I honestly don’t know where to start with this one because it’s still so fresh… My father is still currently battling alcoholism and has since I was a baby. I’ve begged him to stop drinking since I was a child. By the age of 16 I knew there was nothing I could do or say that would make my dad stop drinking and using drugs. I was a daddy’s girl and was very protective over my dad which caused me to enable him. I would say things like, “Yes dad, have a beer, but only one.” “Please don’t sniff that line dad, just have some beer instead.” But I also have to remember that regardless of if I gave him ‘permission’ to drink or not, he will find a way to do what he wants. There were times where he lived with me (as an adult), and I had rules to how drunk he could get because I have had enough of dealing with my drunk father growing up. I want to help him, but I also have to protect my mental health as well. Knowing damn well that having my alcoholic father live with me while he still abuses alcohol and drugs was never good for my mental health to begin with, but there was no way I would allow my dad to be homeless. He has been in and out of rehab and only lasted several months before he relapsed and went back to his old ways. Nothing was going to stop my dad until he wanted to or until he was forced. I want to mention that my dad is an army veteran with PTSD and other mental health issues like depression and anxiety, so he turns to alcohol to numb his pain and wash away his worries. He realizes that it’s only a temporary fix, so he decides to start drinking from the time he wakes up until he goes back to sleep. Like clockwork.
It took me a while to realize that I was enabling my dad, but I felt like out of all the crap people in my dad’s life that take advantage of him and never help him out, I felt like my dad needed someone like me in his life. This was how I felt. He knows he can always come to me because I have nothing but love for him. Yes he has hurt me a lot with his addictions, but I have forgiven him and his illness because he too has had a hard upbringing. We have to remember that our parents also had a childhood and a life before us. Unhealed, our childhood traumas follow us into adulthood. I try to picture people as a child to understand them better. Everyone needs someone with some empathy in them to understand just a glimpse of our lives and traumas. Sometimes an abuser just needs to know they aren’t alone, that they do have something to live for and that someone in this world does love them.
My dad has continued to try to get clean. He has significantly reduced his drug use over the years, but alcoholism has continued to haunt him. He has realized that his drinking is starting to affect his body and organs. Right now he is dealing with several medical issues associated with his drinking and unhealthy living habits. With the help, guidance and love of God and reading the bible, my dad has put in a real effort to change his life around. He doesn’t want to hit rock bottom again and lose everything like he did 12 years ago. He has worked too hard and I believe God still has a purpose for him here because of everything terrible he has gone through, he is still alive. Recently my dad has had a major surgery and is scheduled for another surgery in a month. He now has no choice but to stop drinking and abusing his vessel that God has blessed him with.
I’ve learned from dealing with my dad that either they will decide to stop drinking or it will be decided for them one way or another. We have to remember that we cannot force our parents or loved one to stop drinking and using drugs if they do not want to put the work in to actually quit and fight temptations. We also have to remember that it isn’t our fault they are like this and that this disease is not truly who they are. They are a different person under the influence. They are hurt and broken inside and are finding a way to numb it. Many won’t admit, some will acknowledge it. It’s important to protect your mental health and energy and remind yourself that they do love you under all of the rage of alcohol and/or drugs. I am still healing from the trauma around my dad’s alcoholism and drug addiction. All we can continue doing is pray to God that he will save them and guide them onto the right path to Him. Leave all of your burdens at God’s feet and watch Him work
I hope someone reading this that is dealing with something similar can take something away from this post. I don’t have it figured out and the only psychology background I have is some college classes. I just wanted to share my personal opinions and reflections I’ve made over many years of living with this. Thank you for reading 🤍