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Problematic Parents

Question:

My problem really isn’t my love for a man but the love for my parents. After my mom’s mother died life went down hill. I think she had a nervous breakdown. My dad took a turn for the worse by running up all the credit cards and started to buy drugs. to top it off they were both alcoholics. They had it under control and then they lost it all. They received 5 houses from my grandmothers death and started to rent it out to drug/alcohol users. I worked with my mom (unemployed because they always had rental money to drink on) to try to get her into help. She was placed in a hospital and in a 1/2 way house. She came out and went back home an started drinking again. My dad on the other hand was in and out of the hospital because of his pancreas (caused by alcohol). In November of 1998, the cops came and boarded up all of there houses and kicked my mom and dad and all the others to the curb. My mom lives with my step grandma and my dad lives at his work on the floor. I have tried to get them to get help and I had cried and cried but nothing seems to work. They go to court on the 28th of April. I’m going to go because I’m not sure they understand or what condition they will be in at this time. I just don’t know what else I can do for them. They will end of dying on me and I don’t have a cent to provide the proper burial. I have a child of my own and I’m worrying myself to death to try to make things right. You only have one mom and dad in life and I don’t want to lose them so soon. my mom’s in here late 40’s and my dad is in his early 50’s. Any ideas how to get them into rehab? The housing assistance won’t help my mom because she never finished her program. My dad is in complete denial and now he is smoking crack and god knows what else. Any ideas before it’s too late?

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Answer:

The saying goes – “You can lead horses to water, but you can’t make them drink”. How sadly true this is. My heart goes out to you, hearing your story. I have several pieces of advice. First – get yourself to a meeting of Al-Anon (www.Al-Anon.org), a world-wide organization devoted to supporting the family members of alcoholics and drug abusers, as soon as you can. You will almost certainly benefit from the support that this organization can provide for you. If you belong to a religious community you might try to seek support there as well. Your parents have been working on their addictions and difficulties for many years and will likely have a difficult time begining and sustaining recovery under the best of circumstances. You can (and should) encourage them to attend 12-step meetings, and/or work to get them into a drug and alcohol rehab or partial hospital programs near you. But understand that you can’t make your parents get better. You have your own substantial responsibilities that you must attend to. Your first responsibility is to keep life sane for yourself and your child. The best way to keep things sane will be to get yourself some support. Best of luck to you, – Anne

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