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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1378
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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I need help with my dad. Lately hes been drinking again (and

Customer Question

I need help with my dad. Lately he's been drinking again (and possibly smoking up and getting high). He's in his mid 50s and drinking was a big problem a couple of years back. He was always upsetting my mother and my family whenever he drank. He then ended up in an accident and almost cost him his life and his friend unfortunately lost his. He was also a family man and a well-respected man in the community. My father had said he'd quit drinking from that day on. But his promise didn't last long. On and off over the years he'd drink but usually the drinking would stop a long period of time. But lately it's starting to become more frequent. Almost 2 years ago, his license was suspended because he was drunk driving. After, i don't know how many months exactly, once he was able to drive again, he thanked my mother because she motivated him.
The thing is with my parents, it's like they are a dysfunctional couple, always arguing and whatnot. But there are times it seems they fit together like two pieces missing from a puzzle. They have been together for almost 30 years this year.
But my dad seems to drink whenever my mom is not around or not in town. Usually it seems routine now, whenever she's not around he finds an opportunity to have a drink and now it seems to get high.
What can I do about my dad? As a kid, I was afraid of him while he was drunk and now that I'm older and I have a 4 year daughter. I wouldn't want her to be afraid of her grandfather (she is already afraid of her uncle whenever she sees him drunk).
I have been dealing with this since I was a little girl and now, if it's starting up again, I want to know what can I do about it?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 4 years ago.
Hi there
Thank you for writing in here.
It sounds like your father has alcohol problems.
I am sorry to hear what you went through since childhood.
Your father's alcohol issues must have affected you a lot.

Let me ask you a few questions first:
Has your mother ever asked him to seek help from an alcohol counselor or psychologist?
Has he ever attended AA meetings before?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My mother always talks to him and usually they get into a fight when they talk about his drinking. It's almost routine: fight, silent treatments, forgive and forget. . . until next time.

Being from a rural community, we don't have AA and psychologists come to the community once in a while, like doctors for the clinic. There are counselors but not properly trained in their job (no degrees or actual training) and people in the community have been saying that counselors had been revealing some personal and private conversations about their clients.

Expert:  Dr. L replied 4 years ago.
I would like to help you with your question.
I am sorry that your grew up being afraid of your father's drinking. It is only natural now that when you see him drinking or know that he has been using alcohol that you will recall those feelings. As a child...there was little you could do about your father's couldn't get him to stop, nor could you tell him how you felt. But now that you are an have the ability to set boundaries with you dad about his drinking, not only for you...but for your 4 year old.

You wrote that you are afraid to tell your dad how you feel..but you know that he realizes you don't like his behavior. Please try not to be afraid. You are an adult...not that little girl. You have a right to say that his drinking bothers you...that you are afraid for his health...that you don't like he and mom fighting...and that you do not want to expose your daughter to his behavior. Please try to find your adult voice and use it.

Please consider setting boundaries with your dad. That is...tell him that you are unwilling to be around him when he is drinking and that the same goes for your daughter. Therefore, if you are with him and you see he is drinking...then leave. And if you find out he intends to drink when you are at the same event...don't go to the event. I understand this may be difficult, but you have a choice and when you exercise that choice your father will get a clear message that you disapprove and will not tolerate his drinking.

Please let me know how you feel about my response.

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