Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

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Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Beaker » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:44 am

Hi All,
I have chosen to be anonymous as confronting the man who I strongly suspect is an alcoholic has already proven worse than unproductive. I didn't do the confronting, but I'll come back to that.

My wife and I first met "Mr. A" and his lovely wife who is 10 years or so his junior about 10-11 years ago at NCT classes. My eldest son and his daughter are the same age. He is/was/is one of the warmest, friendliest people I've ever met. All the NCT group who still meet up a few times a year understood what his lovely young wife saw in him. They have a decent house, decent cars, he worries about money but they do OK, the 2 children are great and doing well. He apparently has it all - or everything that is important in life at any rate.
It has all gone horribly wrong.
I pretty much knew he suffered from anxiety issues because it is a condition I've suffered from and still do to some extent, though I am in control of it. Hence, I see it in him and it was confirmed by his wife last night when the girls got together. Apparently he is not keeping up with medical appointments to deal with this. He also has some medication that is meant to make him sick if he drinks to much. Its not working. Maybe he is not taking it.
The "man cave" he retreats to is clearly the pub. He has always been a fan of the pub, but a once a week visit is not unacceptable. The problem is it has crept up to become, I think, about a once a day visit. I have not seen much of him over the last year and was shocked to see that the once lean builder/painter/decorator has become a 50 year old with an unhealthy and no doubt unattractive waistline. There is a lot more to it than this, but it cannot all be described here. Other behaviour issues - not being at any hospital visits when his wife needed him the most as she was having treatments for serious illness (recovered now) due to stress about money and having to go to work. Not being involved enough with the children, - not taking them to activities etc. Short temper. His wife is away for several days and then home several days on a regular basis with her work. The children have started to ask if they can stay with grandparents when mummy is away instead of daddy.
As said, more to it than this and it has become intolerable for "lovely wife" and divorce proceedings have begun. They are all still in the same house, for now, but separate rooms. Children know about divorce but all very confusing for them.
We get excuses like "I get some of my work down the pub", "it's part of my life" and even though he is too ill with a cold to come out for a whole evening still talks about "early doors" for a pint before going to bed early.

Mr A's life-long friend confronted him over his drinking recently and he responded aggressively (denial?). Life-long friend actually thought Mr A was going to hit him. Life-long friend is moving away from the area soon and has asked that his new contact details are not passed on to Mr A.

So we have broken marriage, broken friendship with life-long friend and relationship with children affected but not yet broken.
Confronting him with the drink problem is clearly not the right thing to do and this was my first instinct.
So far his work continues OK and despite the aggressive reaction to being confronted over his drink problem I really do believe he will not become violent and injure anyone by his actions.
Harm coming to his children when he has them in his care due to his lack of attention is another matter and something his wife is concerned about.

I'd like to help him somehow before the relationship with his children becomes broken.
My relationship with him is the same as it has always been because so far I have just listened and been sympathetic. There is a part of me that inwardly says "idiot" but I think I see anxiety problems at the root of this which, as I have said, is something I am intimately familiar with. He will not be relating to everything around him correctly. I've been there and come back.
I could try slowly over time asking probing questions in an attempt to lead him to the right conclusion about his problems.
I do wonder if I am doomed to watch him break more relationships (especially children) before he hits bottom and might become open to help.

There are limits to what I can do as I have my own life, wife and family to look after of course.

Any ideas on how best to deal with this gratefully received.
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Robert R » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:18 am

Hi Beaker, I feel qualified to give you my experience as I was that man! Many tried in vain to influence me and only caused themselves grief and anguish for their entreaties fell on deaf ears. Not until I had lost all, homeless and sectioned into a mental hospital did I admit defeat and find the desperation needed to change by attending AA meetings and following a few simple steps to a new consciousness and way of living. Only another alcoholic can relate to this situation.

The best thing (in my opinion) a non alcoholic can do in this situation is sever all contact and save him/herself from a lot of pain. Sound harsh? Maybe, but you are powerless to help. The only hope (if he is as I was) is that he reaches a point of utter demoralisation and approaches or is approached by another alcoholic who has travelled his path and found release from alcohol through the simple programme of AA.

The only other thing I'd suggest is that his wife would benefit greatly from attending Al Anon meetings.

Despite appearances all that is written above comes from the heart with love for a still suffering alcoholic.

Robert
Don't know exactly where I am going but I'm on my way and it's already much better than where I've been.
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Brock » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:47 am

I do wonder if I am doomed to watch him break more relationships (especially children) before he hits bottom and might become open to help.

I pretty well agree with Robert, this is the heartbreaking thing about alcoholics, and unfortunately many of us won't look for or accept help until our own bottom has been reached, until then it's just denial and excuses.

You might just try this, if you contact the local AA inter group, just Google AA inter group and the nearest cities name, they will tell you where you might collect some literature. Just giving him this and saying a few kind words may well be as much as you can do, perhaps he will pick them up and phone the group. Once he does this he will find fellow alcoholics very ready and willing to help, one of our steps points to the joy and necessity of helping others, and as Robert mentioned one alcoholic talking to another can usually accomplish far more than a non alcoholic can.

Thanks for inquiring here others might have better ideas, but you have shown great caring for this fellow, all the best to you.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Beaker » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:26 am

I am so glad I asked this question here. Thank you both for your responses. It is certainly eye and mind opening.
I acknowledge I'm never going to understand the addiction at work here any more than I understand nicotine addiction. I've also come to accept that people who have never suffered from an anxiety, depression or stress problems (all similar in many ways) won't understand it the way I have come to.
That is where he and I have a common enemy so to speak.
I will accept that I am powerless to help. Hearing the "severing all contact" advice was distressing, but OK, maybe it will come to that. I will mentally protect myself by understanding this. There is a cognitive behavioural technique that teaches you that sometimes you have to tell yourself "it's not right for me to do xyz" and then don't do it even if it seems right that you should.
I'm not ready to severe all contact at this point. He has not done anything to deserve that response from me so far. Perhaps he has a lot further to fall. I'll get hold of that AA literature so it is available in case that "kind words", handing them over and departing moment comes.

I'm almost afraid to ask - have you guys ever managed to repair the damage done to relationships as a result of this problem?
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Robert R » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:22 am

Relationship repair? More than that in fact, my relationship with my children is now better and more loving than ever before. Whilst my wife and I don't live under the same roof now we do have a love and respect for each other greater than before. 6 wonderful grandchildren that have never seen their grandfather drunk. Life is pretty damn good! Miracles do happen in AA and Al Anon. :D
Don't know exactly where I am going but I'm on my way and it's already much better than where I've been.
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Beaker » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:03 am

Fantastic to hear that Robert. Well done!
There is hope for Mr A in the end however bad things may become.
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Tosh » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:15 am

Beaker wrote:Fantastic to hear that Robert. Well done!
There is hope for Mr A in the end however bad things may become.


You could suggest to your friend an organisation called Al-Anon; it's for people who are affected by the drinking of others.

And I agree with the above; I was that man too; lost my family and my career. To date, there's no happy ending with regards this area of my life either. The last time I got in touch with them, they made it clear they just wanted me to pay maintenance and to stay away.

Nothing could've stopped me and when I denied being an alcoholic, it wasn't because I was a liar, it was because I really didn't think I was.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Brock » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:59 am

I'll get hold of that AA literature so it is available in case that "kind words", handing them over and departing moment comes.

I just wanted to clarify that the idea of the AA literature, which is often called a welcome or information pack, and usually contains several leaflets, I didn't mean to give him when all else is lost. These usually contain information like a questionnaire, which might just help him see the road he is heading down, and a little word that you are worried about him and got these in the hope that he might give it a shot, I have seen instances where this has worked. And if it doesn’t it is unlikely he would just throw them away, when he is ready he will look at them again.
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Beaker » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:44 am

Hi Brock,
I'm a little concerned that having had life-long friend suggest he has this problem and him reacting badly to it, I'm unsure how he would react to me giving him such leaflets.
I'm not worried about him hitting me, its just not him. He's more likely to go off in a huff. I'll get hold of them and trust that I will recognise a right time to give them to him. Perhaps framed in, "If you disagree you have a drink problem, prove it to yourself with this questionnaire...".

Of course I'm a bit of a worrier, that's my problem.
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:05 pm

The big book suggests that we wait for them go on a bender. Here are clear cut directions from the book:

Sometimes it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge. The family may object to this, but unless he is in a dangerous physical condition, it is better to risk it. Don't deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help. Wait for the end of the spree, or at least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. (the person making the 12 step call).
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Beaker » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:34 am

Thanks all for your previous input.
One thing is clear, the downward slope for an alcoholic is familiar and predictable.
Mr A has moved on to being hung over most mornings now and rarely does a full days work as a builder and decorator. Friends and family have had no option but to drop him from their jobs, so his reputation is suffering as well as his health.
I've not seen him personally for a while so I will pop in to the pub where he will most likely be and see if he will talk and I will just listen. Maybe think about handing him the AA leaflets as suggested.
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Re: Before he breaks the relationship with his children...

Postby Noels » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:54 am

Hi Beaker, I'm Noels and an alcoholic.
Speaking for myself it is heartwarming to see/hear that there are still caring people out there. Admirable indeed. Popping into the pub just to connect again (as a friend) as you haven't seen Mr A for long sounds like a good idea. Just to listen so you can get a feel of what is going on in his head right now also a very good idea. Although you sound like a reasonable man with a beautiful heart I do wish to suggest caution with making suggestions to approach AA or being an alcoholic though whilst he is drinking. I remember from myself that a simple reference to "me drinking almost every day" or " how much wine I consume" or anything relating to alcohol did not go down well with me while I was drinking.
This being said, THE NEXT DAY after a spell of drinking I felt guilty, embarrassed (even when I didn't do anything out of the ordinary) and was much more approachable with regards to conversations relating to my drinking habits as deep within I knew that once again I " failed ".
So as you clearly want to help Mr A may I suggest you just connect with him today, perhaps have a pint with him as an old friend (as you sound like you're a normal drinker and can stop at 1 or 2) and perhaps a day or two later pop in again in the morning if possible when he is hopefully not yet drinking and just hand him a pamphlet as one of the members suggested earlier? This is what I did with my brother who is also an alcoholic - currently in denial.
Not suggested is to assist him with money or finances, allowing him to " lean on you " or anything else after that. As long as he has your contact details and some information about where to get help he will contact you or AA when the time is right. When he's had enough pain and is ready to do whatever it takes to heal.
You don't mention anything about the lovely wife and children. Are they still with him?
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