My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

If you're not an alcoholic but have questions about AA, here's the place to ask them. Anyone may post messages and replies in this forum.

My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Random » Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:51 am

Hi,

I'm new here and hope that someone will be able to offer some advice. Your thoughts would really be appreciated.

I'm in my mid 30s and my Dad is in his mid 60s. Over the last few months, it has become apparent that he's been drinking alcohol in secret. As an example, without going into great detail, my Mum and Dad stayed over for one night recently and I have absolute proof (before and after photos, which I'm not proud to have decided to do) that he has drank out of at least two of the bottles of spirits in my drinks cupboard. It's not a huge amount, around 10 measures, however, I know specifically that he drank them in around 10 minutes while the rest of us were upstairs putting our little one to bed.

This is one of around 6 instances where we have "caught" him over the last few months but in hindsight, I suspect it has been happening for a long time, as amongst other things, he has often appeared far more drunk than he should have been at family get togethers, etc.

My dilemma is whether/how to approach him. We have a good relationship but it's always been parent-child and I know that discussing this will immediately shift it the other way around and I'm not sure how that will go.

I'm really worried about him and am sure that I need to say something. My Mum isn't great with it as she has a very limited tolerance of people drinking anything, so would kick off if I told her about what I've found. However to be fair, I guess that she has had a long time to endure the situation and perhaps knows more than I think.

Thank you in advance
Random
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:19 am

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby ann2 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:26 am

Thanks for writing and for wanting to help your father. I think you're right to seek advice on how to approach him. Normally the alcoholic reacts to such approaches in a negative manner, either by denial, hostility or what's worse, fake agreement.

My advice is to get more advice, from people who have been through this and know what works. Contact Al-Anon by calling the number for it in your phone book. There's more info here al-anon.alateen.org

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 8687
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Random » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:25 am

Thanks Ann, I have decided for now to write an email to Mum and Dad to explain what I know and raise my worries. I know Mum will find it hard to deal with but ultimately it's their relationship and I should let them try to deal with things initially at least. Although I'm obviously am adult myself, I am still his child and I think he'll be really embarrassed that I have discovered this.

I'll see how it goes....worrying times but I can't not tell my Mum as I'd be really upset if it were the other way around and she didn't tell me something like this about my wife.
Random
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:19 am

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby ann2 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:32 am

Hi,

I realize you want to get this off your chest, but to be really helpful, it might be worth investing a little time exploring the Al-Anon site.

You don't want to raise a big fuss that turns your dad off getting help do you?

Think about it.
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 8687
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Random » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:29 am

Thanks Ann, good advice, I'll have an explore first before deciding what to do
Random
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:19 am

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Brock » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:33 am

Hello Random. I stopped drinking and found help myself at about your Dad's age, and much of what you describe him doing I have done myself. I can remember in an 'emergency' when I had to overnight at someone house, I took a plastic cup from his kitchen so it wasn’t 'see through,' and fearing he would miss the drink from one bottle I poured a little of each thing in his cabinet, even green liqueur. The concoction tasted horrible, but I needed it like medicine to calm this awful nervous feeling active alcoholics get.

I agree with what Ann said about the email, if you haven't done it yet I would hold on that, because I know how it would have made me feel. As you say this may have been your Dad's habit for a long while, probably many years, let's not rush things just because you have 'evidence,' I do respect your wanting to help that's great, but some of us don't like others 'calling us out' on this thing.

If it were me in his place, I don't think I would mind my daughter sitting a short while with me and just saying I think you may have a problem with drink, and maybe you might give AA a try. Most of us would not want to discuss it any further, only if he becomes defensive and asks why you think so, bring up the evidence. You can get some information on AA in your area, and if he seems interested give it to him. But we really need to come to AA because we believe we have a problem, not because wife or daughter or whoever thinks we do, if we don't want it for ourselves my experience is that it doesn’t work.

I wish you the best, and the best for your Dad, I have been where he is and probably far worse, needing several drinks as soon as I woke up each morning to stop the shakes, I wish I had stopped before that happened and hope he does too, best of luck.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3168
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby D'oh » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:20 am

Hi and Thank You for writing.

First off, has your father had a drinking problem in the past? Or is he just sneaking drinks now?

The reason behind those questions is that He has to decide if He has a problem not You. Sneaking drinks is a sign, but not a definite tell tale of Alcoholism.

I think that the best I have heard it said is, 1 If you drink and the drink control you not you controlling the drink. 2, If you get into trouble because of drinking.

Other than that, he may just be a Heavy drinker. But he has to come to that conclusion himself. Until then just subtly point out things like Sudden Evaporation of booze.
D'oh
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 721
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:51 am

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Random » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:54 am

Thanks everyone, some good advice which is really appreciated. Dad hasn't had a recognised "problem" previously, however, I have a hunch that this could be a long term habit that we just happened to have stumbled upon fairly recently.

One of my main concerns is that I think my Mum is unaware and by not saying anything I am being deceitful and letting her down. After all, they have the relationship and he will need more help from her than me (as I live a distance away) if there is indeed an issue to address.

Really good food for thought though, thanks again
Random
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:19 am

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Layne » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:48 am

I would probably have a talk with your dad. I wouldn't mention anything about a problem but rather simply and as non confrontational as possible ask why did he find it necessary to have the 10 measures of drink when you were out of the room.

It probably won't yield much fruit, but it will let him know that you know. It may not be a drinking problem at all, it could just be his way of not rocking the boat since your mom "has a very limited tolerance of people drinking anything".
Layne
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 1517
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Brock » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:56 am

One of my main concerns is that I think my Mum is unaware and by not saying anything I am being deceitful and letting her down. After all, they have the relationship and he will need more help from her than me (as I live a distance away) if there is indeed an issue to address.

I wouldn't normally 'double dip' on a short thread like this, and Layne has given good advise, but there are a few things I believe Random would benefit from knowing, all misconceptions most folks have about alcoholics. D'oh hinted in his post that your Dad may just be a heavy drinker, here is what our main text says about them -
Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.

This is not a candidate for AA, part of the reason we said the decision must be his own, the real alcoholic can not stop on his will power, and people coming into our rooms generally have tried many times, some even failing to stop when a doctor said it would kill them soon.

Also another symptom is the inability to stop after having the first drink, it seems highly unlikely bordering on impossible, that your mom would not know if he is in fact an alcoholic. If he had a few drinks when guests were over or at a party, then stopped for the rest of the day, well alcoholics don't do that. We drink until we crawl into bed, maybe not even make it to bed, pass out on the couch instead. The same book I quoted from above suggests it as a test for alcoholism, walk into a bar and have a few, if you can stop after a few you probably aren’t alcoholic.

Finally the help he would need if he is alcoholic is from AA, apart from cleaning out the liquor cupboard you or your mom would have little to do, and once we do the steps most of us restock it for the benefit of guests. I am afraid you are upsetting yourself over-thinking this situation, and I don't blame you it shows your love for your folks. At the most you might ask your mom if she thinks your dad drinks too much, and leave it with her knowing you are a little concerned.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3168
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby D'oh » Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:14 pm

My illness was somewhat Fuzzed up at home. Both of my parents drank, and heavily. The noon time start of whiskey and water was a daily thing, regardless if it was a week day or a driving day.

The confusing part for me was, when I drank even a fraction of what they drank, I broke out in Hand Cuffs or DUI charges. The only thing that would stop me once I had started was my budget or the Liquor Store being closed.

Anyways back to the point. Even though his drinking may bother you, someone else labelling it as a problem might only make (if there is a reason) cause of his drinking worse. Or they might quit out of love or doing the right thing, only to hide it deeper because of Guilt and Remorse.

So just tread lightly and be there if they ask for help.
D'oh
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 721
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:51 am

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby ann2 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:25 am

Interestingly I went through something similar with a relative. It was tricky! My approach was to explain what alcoholism is (craving, obsession) and then to say, "if this isn't what's affecting you then there's no problem." The subject came up 2 or 3 times between us, and each time I tried to leave the judgement with the other person. When I finally got that email "I can't control it -- I do need help" it was the most amazing experience.

This person is over a year sober in A.A. now :) tears of gratitude. I needed all the advice I had accumulated from you all to be helpful.
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 8687
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Re: My Father is secretly drinking - advice request

Postby Lali » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:30 pm

I agree with most of the responses here - that you may be over-thinking the situation. Perhaps your dad just enjoys a few drinks here and there and he may have been raised in a household where drinking was taboo which would explain his sneaking. I believe you also said drinking is taboo with your mother. One thing I would NOT do is send a joint e-mail to both of your parents. If you absolutely MUST say something to someone, the better option might be asking your dad in a real light manner "Hey, dad. I noticed some of my booze missing. Are you the culprit" like in a jokingly manner and see what kind of response you get. He may laugh and say, yeah I like a little nip now and then but you know how your mother feels about it.

The thing is, if your father isn't ill and he isn't suffering any consequences from drinking, let him have at it cos then it probably isn't a problem.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
Lali
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 4869
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:13 am


Return to Our Friends and Families

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests