My Dad is an alcoholic

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I think Jenny for me alcohol becomes dangerous when it affects the health and ability to care for oneself and family relationships and the person is in denial very common indeed.

Like you, my wine intake has gone up from drinking when out socially to the bottle at home after a bad day and I have had a lot of bad days recently. I do now keep a drink diary and am very aware of easy it is to slide back into bad habits, as I do think I was drinking too much. I have managed to cut down but am aware how very easy it is to slide back into bad habits, especially if one is going through a stressful situation. I no longer keep wine in the house! Thankfully do not really like husbands vodka!

With my husband , he drank a lot from when he left university and held down very high powered jobs. He was drinking vodka out of the bottle, passing out on the floor, and waking up on the floor in the morning, when his second marriage was breaking down. When i met him, he was drinking two bottles of wine a day, but it was a 'whirlwind' romance and in 1990, there was that much available about alcohol abuse but yes, warning bells did ring. When he was stressed his alcohol intake went up and when he retired, he was at one stage, on a litre of vodka a day.

Alcoholic is a very emotive term and I would not want to 'label' anyone. It is addictive so if one starts to use alcohol to relieve stress on a regular basis, then it may be a slippery slope as it becomes a 'habit'. . So many alcoholics are in denial and if I had £1 for every time my husband told me I made him 'drink'I would have be able to leave a long time ago! I know intellctually that he was drinking heavily before i was even born but it still hurt dreadfully.

There may even be a genetic link? I did a lot of research when I was worried about my husband - around 1997 was when I first realised that his regular drinking was a problem. We could never eat dinner together at home as he would start drinking when he finished at the office (at home) and often pass out or go to sleep at 7ish then wake up at 9is or 10ish and sometimes want to eat then where as I had already eaten at 6pm or 7pm as sometimes he did not even want to eat! Xmas Days when he has passed out on the Sofa at 2pm and I have had my Ready Meal alone. Alcoholics are very selfish and blame everyone but themselves and that is why I would urge the lady posting to try and distance herself and get some counselling as her father will drag her down.
Wise words, Helena. The key message, isn't it, is what you've said - Alcoholics simply do not accept they have a problem, that it is their fault/responsibility that they do, and that they have 'obligations' to others to do what they can to live a normal life (ie, so their wives don't end up on ready meals etc!)

I do wonder why alcoholics are so often in denial? I can't imagine drug addicts being so 'obstinate'? They must know, surely, they are 'druggies'? After all, 'shooting up' or whatever is so 'obviously' being a drug user? It is so 'obviously' socially 'transgressive'?

Maybe it is because alcohol (and 'mild drugs' too, like cannabis) are 'socially acceptable' per se, so that abusers simply do not regard their use as 'transgressive', but 'normal' (ie, socially acceptable). It's a 'sliding scale' when it comes to alcohol (and possibly even cannabis if you grow up in a weed-using family!), whereas 'hard drugs' are binary - you either use them or you don't?

I guess there are also different impacts of alcohol/ism as well - whether we are 'emotionally addicted' or fully 'physiologically addicted'. I'm an 'emotional' (or perhaps 'psychological') drinker - I drink wine in the evenings because it 'lifts my mood', it gives me 'something to look forward to', it 'marks the end of the day's work' etc etc. It sends a signal to me that my work for the day is done, that I can put my feet up, watch telly, and EAT (like most middle aged women I live in a perpetual state of 'food deprivation' as in, if I ate all the food I wanted to eat, I would be the size of TWO houses!)(hmm, would I swap wine for cream cakes if push came to shove??!). So wine is my 'reward' for going no-carb at dinner (etc etc)( oh, the infinitie number of 'tricks' we play on ourselves to justify our self-indulgence!)

Myself, I only know one 'true alcoholic' - another middle aged mum, who has been an alcoholic for decades, and I would say the 'root cause' is her discontent with her life (bored, disappointed, and, to my mind, crucially, she is a non-working 'wifey'.....).

My SIL became 'alcohol-dependent' when she took on the care of her mother with dementia (plus she needed a double hip replacement, was terrified, in denial, and used wine to minimise evening-painkilers)(passed out instead....). She specifically drank from about 5 pm for three reasons - (1) to avoid taking more hip-painkilellrs as she feared overdosing (2) she hated cooking, and so preferred to feel drunk while doing it (refusing, meanwhile, to let my brother cook instead, as she did not want to 'impose' on him....(SO frustrating for him)(she has a martyr complex trained into her by her mother!) (3), the main reason was that by drinking, she could go 'off duty' from her mum, as she was 'too drunk to care about caring' - ie, she 'couldn't' be on call, she was 'opting out' etc etc. It was her key way of signalling that she was damn well not going to do a thing for her mother in the evenings!

She drank from anger at being dumped with her mother's care, anger that her mother was developing dementia, anger that because she was getting dementia she was never now going to be 'called to account' for what she'd done to her daughter, ie, she'd 'escaped'.......anger that with dementia, her mother was now incapable of saying 'thank you' to the daughter looking after her (oh, the 'ingratitude' of our carees!!!!!!!) SO GALLING, even when it is not their fault (ie, they just have dementia.....)

My friend who has been caring for her father with dementia for six years says bluntly: Show me a carer and I'll show you someone with food and drink problems. (She herself is the former - she doesn't drink, but has ballooned in weight)
I agree Jenny with everything you say. I can totally relate as I got into the habit of using wine as a 'reward' as in 'he is as fed as I am going to be able to achieve as in Fortispped, ' and tableted, so I am going to have a treat now. As a size 6, not really a foodie so for me it was wine. But a bottle 5x a week was drifting into dangerous territory as I am only around 7st and 5ft 5 - not anorexic - always been very slender.

But using food and wine to deal with the stress of caring, whilst understandable, is not really an answer? I cut down and yes, it is a battle, because I need to be the healthiest I can to take care of my cats and I make no apologies for not mentioning my husband as I do feel a lot of his problems are self inflicted. That said, I am not 'anti wine' and hope I am getting back to use wine as an occasional treat/celebration rather than a way of dealing with stress. I enjoy the occasional boozy lunch with my friend Janet and Paula - I invite them when we have an event such as a birthday, to dilute husband! So I would not want to give up totally. You are highly intelligent so if you are on the verge of getting dependent then I think you would know. I guess it is when the half bottle turns into a bottle a night is when it starts to become a worry.

I do my best to eat healthily and regularly and am actually surprised at the amount I can eat and still stay 7st went down to below 6st 7 last year when was really struggling. But I am quite active - up and down the stairs taking care of the cats. I am the same size I was at 17. So I do not think all middle aged women gain weight - I ran a support group for slender women from 1997-2004 and there are quite a few of we ectomorphs around. But it is partially down to genetics I think as my late auntie was very slender too.

I would suggest the poster seeks counselling though or at least thinks about attending an Al Anon meeting.