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Old 09-23-2021, 05:12 AM   #1
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Default My Story

My Dad is an alcoholic. He has been since the age of 17 and heís in his 70s now. He drinks a lot Ė can easily knock back a litre of whisky in a day, plus beer and red wine. He does it for pain relief and to help him sleep.

He wasnít around much when I was little, out of the country most of the time having fun adventures and not contributing anything financially. But I knew he loved me and thatís what really counts. Heís never been violent or rude or anything, just absent.

Now, he needs me. I am effectively his carer, though the main way I provide care is walking his dog; plus a bit of shopping, washing up, laundry etc when heíll let me. And nagging him to drink some tonic water without adding alcohol, or to have a shower! I don't feel like I do enough to call myself a carer, it's not like I live with him and have to help him wash or get dressed.

I have no resentment towards caring for him. If anything, I resented my Mum more for not choosing a better partner to have children with, a proper Dad for me. I just thought he was cool. I liked having an interesting and unusual Dad, a story and a bit of edge. But it is hard when I am also looking after my own children and working and trying to have a life of my own. I have a great husband and kids, a shockingly conventional relationship and life.

Last year, he was on really strong steroids that screwed with his mental health. He had to shield. I was visiting once or twice a day (itís 30 minute drive each way). At the same time, my Mum was dying of cancer. I had a lot of guilt for spending so much time with him and not her, but she had other people and he didnít. He needed me more. My brother helps out too, but is busy with work, and does have a bit more resentment I think; he was closer to Mum.

I know this situation isnít going to improve. Heís not going to cut down or stop drinking after so many years. His dog isnít going to stop needing to be walked. Unless she dies, in which case I donít think heíd be far behind. Due to the state of his flat and how poorly trained his dog is, I canít hire a dog walker (or a cleaner and certainly not a carer) to help.

I want to know what to expect as he declines. I know itís going to be hard and horrible. I know that alcoholics get treated badly. Itís not treated anything like cancer or any other disease. Healthcare professionals just blame the addict and their poor life choices. I'll finally get him to see the GP about an issue and he's ready to talk but they just ask about how much he's drinking and he clams up. Smokers and obese people donít seem to get treated anything like as badly, theyíre far more socially acceptable.

I've come here now because he's bad again and needing me more again. I've realised that I need to think of myself as a "sandwich carer" to give myself that label and get some support, to know I'm not alone and it's ok that I find it hard, because IT IS HARD!
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Old 09-24-2021, 09:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: My Story

Dear piggywiggy,

I think you are such a heroic person and can't even tell you how much I admire you. Your father is so lucky to have you in his life. Wish I knew what else to say, but my English is not that good.

I was not a very good towards my dad in his waning years. Wish I had been more like you. I am so sorry that I don't know what to say to be helpful. I do want to wish you only the very, very best. Hopefully others here will make up for my shortcomings as a writer. My heart goes out to you!

Sincerely yours, Yao Wen
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