I wrote a while back about my work situation and my new manager. I didn’t have the bandwidth at the time to look for jobs. At the time I posted, me, my two siblings, and my uncle were all coordinating with my dad’s girlfriend to fly out to where he lives and confront him about his drinking problem. We were doing twice weekly conference calls, I was calling around his state for ANY rehab that would accept Medicare, and we were all reading up on interventions.
(Finding a rehab center that takes Medicare was nearly impossible. There are, like, two in his state. Neither one are cushy rehab places; they are hospitals, have security, treat psychiatric patients as well. Even ones that are affordable and operate on a sliding scale are like this. This process of calling around for various medical and mental health treatment options gave me a taste of what it may be like when my parents are much older and I have to arrange for their care. It sucked, and was mentally and emotionally draining.)
Quick backstory, but my dad’s drinking had been getting progressively worse over the years. He’d gone from a father who would have a beer at dinner, maybe start a second one, and then stop. I never saw him drunk until I was in college and we went to a cousin’s graduation party. But in the last 6 - 10 years, his drinking really picked it. It was coupled with a job loss (layoff), going back to school as an adult and not being able to find a job once he graduated, and a foreclosure on his home. He was surprisingly optimistic and upbeat throughout all those years about everything. He met his current GF before the house foreclosed, moved in with her, and they absolutely love each other. She has the financial means to support him, and does.
She’d reached her breaking point with his drinking. It wasn’t the regularity; it was the increasing incidents of getting “blotto” drunk, when he’d turn completely incoherent, texting the family random rambling nonsense, yelling at the tv, raving about the genes of Henry VIII, sending late night/early morning angry poetry about my brother’s situation with his wife. We’d all noticed this happening more and more - we got the phone calls from him. Everyone had brought it up to him but me, and the response from him each time was he’s not going to stop, he’s fine, people need to stop worrying.
So a week and a half before we go out, Dad texts me and asks “r u mad at me?” I call him and he says that my brother mentioned something about his drinking, said something about me, and Dad thought I was mad at him. I said no, but told him I was concerned about his drinking. We had a long talk, he got somewhat bristly at times, tried to change the subject at times, but I didn’t let him drop or change the subject. I stayed calm and kind throughout, even when he got worked up and defensive. I had to remind him a few times that I wasn’t bringing this up to hurt him; I was doing it because I loved him and I was worried. We didn’t leave anything resolved though. During the latter half of our 2 hour phone call, he started drinking whisky and smoking weed.
We all flew out to his state. My uncle got there earlier in the day than me and my siblings, so he had Dad pick him up and uncle did the “You gotta keep your ‘wife’ happy and if you lose her, your life is gonna suck” speech. Me and my siblings went to dinner with Dad’s gf, and my stepsister met us there (her and Dad have had a fraught relationship, but she wanted to be involved in the intervention. I was opposed to this for a variety of reasons, but my siblings wanted her involved. We agreed to have her at this dinner and reconsider. It ended up working out that she couldn’t be at the intervention the day of anyway, so I didn’t have to be the bad guy.). We talked about our plan for the next day.
Saturday rolls around, the day of the intervention. Apparently uncle’s talk went exceedingly well and Dad agreed he’d been drinking too much. He said he’d stop and didn’t have a drink that night. We go to their house for brunch (Dad’s gf makes an amazing eggy bread pudding breakfast kind of thing that I’m blanking on the name but it starts with an S...). Dad knows why we’re there, so we talk about it. He apologizes. He says he knew it was getting bad and he just sort of thought that drinking was going to be his life now. But he agrees it was going too far and says he’ll stop. That he’s already stopped and it feels like a relief.
I mention Rehab because we were concerned there’d be physical withdrawal symptoms from years of drinking. There weren’t. He felt fine. No shaking. No high blood pressure. I called my aunt who specializes in addiction treatment and asked if there was something we’re missing. Nope. He really was fine. Apparently he can just quit cold turkey after 8 years of daily drinking and have no withdrawal at all. He went and played tennis that day. The intervention part of the trip went incredibly well.
I stayed later, as I’d though he’d be more argumentative/resistant and I’d need more time to get him help. So in the ensuing days, after siblings went home, I kept talking to him about how he was feeling about drinking. He’s like “I don’t get why you keep asking. I have stopped. Why do you keep asking me how I feel about it?” Me: “Because NO ONE just quits like you did! No stops drinking cold turkey like that, after all that time, without therapy or rehab or AA or something, and is just like ‘Oh, well, good point guys, I guess I’m done.’ I spent days on the phone trying to find rehab and therapists that would accept Medicare. I extended my time here because I was planning on driving your ass to rehab myself if I had to. So humor me for the rest of the time I’m here.” He chuckled, and then he obliged in humoring me.
Since then, he hasn’t had a drink. He keeps making jokes about what his next “thing” is going to be. He’s ruled out being a coffee guy (“too jittery”). He’s ruled out being an iced tea guy (“eh, I just don’t like the stuff that much”). He told me he thinks he could be a Root Beer guy, and told me about an awesome root beer float he had at an outdoor movie place they go to (and where he usually gets wine).
We’re all going to a wedding at the end of this month, which I think will be a good test for him. I’ve offered to not drink in solidarity with him. “That’s sweet of you to offer, Niña. If that’s something you want to do, that’s fine.” So we’ll see.
But yeah. So that was one of the personal things that’s drained me recently. The intervention with my Dad that everyone was worried about but in the end, he just agreed to stop drinking and did.