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I am considering contacting my train wreck of a dad!

Tagged as: Family, Health, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 March 2017) 9 Answers - (Newest, 30 March 2017)
A male age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Hi everyone, thoughts, insights and advice please!

I'm swiftly approaching a landmark birthday, the sort where you might stop and consider your life to that point. Well, I've been doing that and am considering making contact with my father.

I'm from a big, close family and we've often talked about making contact with our father again, but none of us have. Our mother has always said she would understand if we wanted to make contact and she wouldn't stop us.

The story is that our father is not a bad guy, he was/is an alcoholic. I mean massive alcoholic. As a sober man, he's good guy. But alcohol ruled his life. As we all grew older and understood his alcoholism, we'd realise things he used to do- hiding drinks around the house, going to the shop with a stop off at the bar, once we started earning money he often tried to get money from us to buy alcohol.

When it came to our mother finally throwing him out, we all understood why. Trying to stay in touch with him and seeing the mess of a life he had, we all gradually distanced ourselves from him. In the year that followed, he forced our mother to sell the home so he could get his share of it's value. His actions still are, it seems, fuelled by his need to drink.

I've never missed having a father. Of course, I wonder where he is and what he's doing, but I also know that making contact again may well end up in being reminded that alcohol rules his life. But, a part of me wants him to know what I'm doing, where I am- I'm not even sure if he's aware of old I'll be.

As a family we know how to get in touch with him, we have a contact that I can use. Thing is, my dilema is: do I want to, really? If I choose not to, will I regret not taking the chance? I'm not expecting some tearful reconcilliation, I'm pretty confident it'll be a train wreck. So am I risking depressing myself by contacting him?

I know none of you know me and my situation very well, and there's only so much I can say here, but some outsider advice would be very welcome.

View related questions: alcoholic, money

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (30 March 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntDid you decide yet what you are going to do? I think you should go for it, you have nothing to lose.

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A female reader, cloran14 United Kingdom +, writes (21 March 2017):

Yes definitely get in touch with him alcoholic people have bad health and don't last long you will regret if you don't

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A male reader, DeadEyeDick United States +, writes (21 March 2017):

DeadEyeDick agony auntHaving struggled with addiction in my life so far, and it's never really effected me and my daughter's relation ship to the extremes u say, not more then her mom has interfered with us, I mean I was over the edge buying her thing, giving her stuff, I guess trying to buy her love, well she's 15 now and I haven't heard a word since Sept 9th and my life has been totally crushed, I don't see how any dad could abandon his little girl, I live with a big dark hole everyday I wake up and I feel like I'm in a prison, worst part is I have NO idea why she refuses to talk to me, I would absolutely at least text him or email him and see what u get, just inch into it, if it doesn't feel like a warm response,simply stop, but I know if he's feeling anything like I do, it would make me happiest man on earth if she simply responded to me. It's up to u, but alot more good then bad could come out of it

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (20 March 2017):

Hi, OP here.

Thanks for your thoughts! I just want to add that by way of this contact that we have, we do already know how he's doing: he's still drinking, we think he married, we know where abouts in the country he lives.

I'm under no illusion that the man hasn't changed. I have no desire of 'getting him back in our lives.' I guess it's kind of a bucket list thing to me- just give him a metaphorical tap on the shoulder with a 'hey, remember me?!' I'm oldest of the kids, I guess I also see it as something the elder son needs to do.

As I say, I'm from a big family and all us brothers and sisters are fully aware and thankful for everything our mum has done for us.

I'm still undecided, but still thinking!

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (20 March 2017):

You say you have a contact. I would say you should do your prior research, reconnaissance, and a full background-check; to see what his life has been like since you last heard from him.

He is your father, and it is good to have a forgiving heart. However; if nothing has changed you'd be re-introducing anguish and heart-break back into your lives. He wouldn't deserve an invitation to re-open old wounds for your dear mother. She is a saint for being so understanding, in spite of it all.

You will never have peace without knowing how he's doing. Although you say you don't miss having a father, I doubt deep down inside that you ever stopped loving him. It was his actions symptomatic of his illness that separated him from your family. He didn't set his family above his love for alcohol; and I believe if he sobered-up, he would have come to find you first. That's just me.

Keep your deepest feelings on reserve, but love and forgive. Check to see what's up in his life before allowing him to be aware of your attempts to rekindle a relationship.

Prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. You need to know ahead of time what you're getting into. You have to protect your feelings and your mother's heart. You have all been through enough because of his alcoholism. If he hasn't been sober over a year, stay away! You may present emotional-triggers. Guilt is a major cause of alcoholic relapses!

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A male reader, Phil052 United Kingdom +, writes (20 March 2017):

Phil052 agony auntYou only get one dad, and they come in all shapes and sizes, good and bad, interested and not interested. I think it is wonderful that you want to make contact, and I sincerely hope if you manage it that he understands that for all his faults, he is your dad and you want to see him. Don't have any great expectations, it might be difficult to get hold of him, and any meeting might be tricky. But, I think it is something you feel you should do and I wish you all the very best in this quest. Would love to know how you get on. Good luck!

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (20 March 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntThe fact that you are wondering about this and asking the question on here indicates you WANT to see your dad.

Given his problems, I would not have any expectations of him being too interested in your life. If you only want to meet up with him to let him know how you are doing, you may be very disappointed and feel very rejected afterwards.

However, if you weigh that up against NOT meeting up with him and then him dying (depending on how bad his drinking is, he may not have too may years left), how would you feel not to have at least made contact again?

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (20 March 2017):

Honeypie agony auntIf he is still an alcoholic, his days might be numbered (not to freak you out) so YES, I would contact him. I would possibly make the first meeting short. Like over lunch (no alcohol). If THAT goes OK see him again and so forth.

If it doesn't go well, then AT LEAST you tried.

He won't stop drinking unless HE has reason to do so. I have seen am alcoholic extended family members quit when he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Because of his alcoholism, he was at the bottom of the transplant list but he managed to seek help and stay dry long enough to get to the top of the list and receive a new liver. He was a rather happy drunk and he is now STILL a happy man just without the drink, so it CAN happen. It isn't the norm, though.

My dad loved his wine. He was very much in the mind of 2-3 glasses a day with dinner was a GREAT thing... Which it might be FOR some with my dad, though, the alcohol made him gain weight. And since he has a GF younger than himself who DID have some issues with alcohol, so I guess he wanted to make NOT drinking easier for her. Which I'm glad to hear, to be honest.

Our resident Auntie SVC will hopefully stop by here and give you more info on what YOU can do in better handle being around him. Like, join Al-anon to learn more about how it affects people and what to do etc.

JUST remember if you DO go see him, YOU have to accept that YOU can not change him. You can not FIX him. THIS is who he is. If he is toxic or too self-destructive then don't keep him around because he is your dad.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (20 March 2017):

You already know that it could be bad .... the bar is set quite low in the over all expectation. I think reaching out would be good for you, so you have no regret later of what might have been even if it is a big crash & burn of an experience. This way you would know for sure, no doubt later. He is still your father and it is okay to care about a flawed, screwed up mere moral with a lot of issues. He is your dad and to want to connect is normal. Being older and wiser means you might be in a better position to "see" him.

I wish you well with this, that some good comes of reaching out (if you do).

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