Mom and dad have always fought since I can remember. They been together 50 years. Dad is losing memory quickly, he is a veteran and yet to get any diagnosis. It’s hard just to be in their presence with all their fighting. Mom saying he is running red lights and almost getting into car accidents every day. She offers to drive and he flips out on her. She reminds him to take his donzapil he yells. Growing up in this home environment took a toll on me, leading to risky behavior later into substance abuse. I have been in recovery now for eight years. Employed, father of two teens and married to wife of 23 years. I don’t have my parents over to our house often nor do we go to their house as a family. Due to their drinking and fighting. Lately, it’s seems all their life choices are catching up with them. Financially (running out of money) emotionally broken towards each other. I’m struggling how to help them with many of life’s issues. Going to talk to dad tomorrow about his driving and discuss him to stop driving. Thanks if you took the time to read this . Just feeling confused

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I grew up in a toxic home and wound up with several oral fixations as well as anxiety issues to boot. The first time I had access to booze I was 13, at the neighborhood block party, and drank beer until I was dead drunk. It was the first time in my life I felt no anxiety, fear or worry. Sad isn't it?

I got sober for 9 years in 1992 before falling off the wagon for 7. Every time I had to deal with my mother, I wanted a drink (or 20), a bag of junk food and a cigarette (or 20) to calm down. I'm sober now for 16 years now, smoke free for 9 years, and still working on becoming sugar free, at 66, to this day 🙄.

You don't risk your sobriety for anything or anyone. I knew that myself and made the decision long ago to never move in with my parents or take them into my home. I call that Learning Through Scar Tissue. Once was more than enough. So when dad had to stop driving, which HE thankfully recognized, I had them move cross country near me. I found them an apt in Independent Senior Living, then Assisted Living, then Memory Care Assisted Living for mom. The most unhinged ones always seem to develop dementia later on in life, it's uncanny.

I knew if I over involved myself with their fighting and dysfunctional relationship, that I'D be risking MY sobriety by exposing myself to too much anxiety. So I limited my contact with them and set down firm boundaries with them as well. Phone calls were short, visits would end as soon as the histrionics ramped up, etc. Mom played the Blame Game like a world class champ, so there was no reasoning with her.......I would just get up and leave. I was The Bad Guy since I was a kid, so playing that role came naturally to me ANYWAY.

It's on MOTHER to DO something about her demented husband driving and risking their lives, and other lives, behind the wheel! Does she suffer from dementia as well? Because let me tell you, the LAST thing I'd do is get in the car with your father who runs red lights. Her telling YOU about it accomplishes what, exactly? She's stayed married to the man for 50 years so they're complicit in their games and enabling one another's bad habits, too. Stay out of it. Protect yourself.

Some crisis or another will happen to force one or both of them into managed care one day. Then you'll visit sometimes and leave when the histrionics ramp up, like I did, and go home to a peaceful life and a bottle of soda instead of bourbon.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to lealonnie1
MazemB Mar 11, 2024
Thank you so much for your input !! I appreciate your honest experience. I really value hearing others experience with what I’m going through, as well as someone who has been down our road (path) thank you sooo much
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Please consider how much contact is good for you & your immediate household..

"It’s hard just to be in their presence with all their fighting."

Then avoid.
Stay on the perimeter & raise any alarms from there.

Do not walk into water where crocodiles live. They will take your limb as you dip a hand or foot into the water.
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Reply to Beatty
MazemB Mar 11, 2024
Thank so much, agreed !!
The time you spend with these two people would be much better spent with a good psychologist.
They have always been the same; why would you ever imagine they will change?

You, however are not the same. You are not a child now. You are a grownup with choices to make, and you the the loving parent of children who need not to be exposed to these two, or to be exposed to them infrequently with long discussions about how their actions cause themselves and others distress. They are a lesson in what not to be.

I recommend you listen to Dr Laura on Sirius FM radio. Or her podcast Dr Laura's call of the day. You will learn how to stop "marinating" as she calls it in the past. And how to stop yourself from meddling in a marriage and in life choices that are not yours to make. Your parents chose one another, constant bickering and alcohol. YOU CAN MAKE BETTER CHOICES.

Please consider attending al-anon. They are available everywhere. You will have there much support and guidance. I wish you the best. It's time to break the cycle that so harmed you.

By the way, there will soon come a time when you get "the calls" about one or the other having fallen, being hospitalized, whatever. Tell the social workers that if guardianship is needed then the state must take that on, as this uncooperative couple is not something you are able to handle.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
MazemB Mar 11, 2024
Thank you so much for the info on pod cast. I’m going g to look into asap. Great suggestions, thank you so much
Good for you for seeking and being successful in recovery. I don’t have your past and I still would be hesitant to wade into circumstances like you describe your parents. Please help from a “safe for you” distance, and nothing more. The local DMV and Council on Aging and even perhaps Adult Protective Services, if necessary, can guide you. I wish you the best, your parents are blessed that you still care
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Reply to Daughterof1930

MazemB: Remove a key element in dad's automobile. Never risk your sobriety as it's too hard to achieve.
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Reply to Llamalover47

First, kudos to your continued sobriety! Blessings to you!

Your parents... *sigh*...

I had an Uncle who should have had his driving privileges retired but his children didn't act in time... he ran a red light and was t-boned, killing his wife and dog. She was 2x cancer survivor. Fortunately the other victims were not seriously hurt.

He won't let go of the driving without a fight. You won't be able to reason with him so don't even try. And, do not make a drama of "taking away his keys" -- this will surely lead to a bad scene.

If he doesn't have a diagnosis, then if you mess with his car he can report you. You may need to start by reporting him to the DMV. The process is different in every state. In FL, I anonymously reported my Aunt. I provided her driver's license number, and other identity info, and provided info that supported my claims that she was an unsafe and dangerous driver. They sent out a letter telling her to show up for a test (eye test) because her issue was with her vision (plus she had the start of dementia). We made sure no one took her for this test and her license expired. We transferred the car title to her niece who was her caregiver. I (as her PoA) went to lengths to discretely get other relatives, neighbors and friends to give her rides to her errands and appointments. I gave the volunteers gift cards to her favorite restaurants so they'd take her out afterwards. She enjoyed it so much, it lessened the loss of her license.

Talk to his DMV and tell them the circumstances and see what they recommend before you do anything.
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Reply to Geaton777
MazemB Mar 11, 2024
Thank you so much for your response and great detail on solutions offered. Going to pursue a few of these options.
Please don’t make your parents’ arguments to cause you to stumble and fall. You have been in recovery for a long time. I know that you are very proud of that and you should be.

You can’t do anything about their behavior. Find support for yourself. They are going to do what they are going to do.

I agree with Geaton’s recommendation to see if the DMV can do something. If your dad still wants to drive, he still will, which is very sad.

Some people try different things like somehow disabling the car. I don’t know if you want to try that or not.

Wishing you peace in this struggle of dealing with your parents.

Attend AA meetings and take care of yourself. Don’t place yourself in a vulnerable position.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
MazemB Mar 11, 2024
Thank you very much for your suggestions. Yes, I’m very involved in my 12 step home group. I appreciate your solutions.

Download the form from DMV regarding how to report an unsafe driver and fill it out and mail it (anonymously). It may take a few weeks but DMV will notify your dad that he has been reported as driving in an unsafe manner and he needs to undergo a driving test. He will have to do this and they will not tell him who reported him. Could be a neighbor, a doctor, anyone who saw him or knows how he drives. When he fails, which he probably will, they will automatically take away his driving privileges. Then you can say to him, "dad if you drive and get into any accident, there will be consequences, you could go to jail."

I know this sounds harsh, but if he is unsafe driving then his community is in danger when he is behind the wheel. What if he hits a child riding their bike or hits a family in their van?

As to their fighting, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Leave when it starts or hang up the phone. Do what you can and then try to let go. You do to control them, you cannot fix them.

I'm so sorry. Many of us have experienced what you are going through. We do understand. Get enough sleep. Hug your family and thank whom ever you thank that you are sober and have a healthy and loving family surrounding you.

This too shall pass, I hope that it passes quickly for you.
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Reply to Sadkid22

Your Mom has mentioned Dad's dangerous driving. What is she prepared to do about it? Hide the car keys? Refuse to get in the car if he plans to drive? Call a taxi & request he sit in the back?

I fear this problem is bigger than the driving, as dangerous as that sounds.

Listen to them. Suggest they seek help. There is not a lot you really can do for people, adults, not living under your roof.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Beatty
MazemB Mar 11, 2024
Thank you so much for your input and yes, so much is coming to surface that i agree with you, this is growing to much more of a problem than just the driving and his mental health
Your parents' relationship is based on the drama of the arguing (and drinking?) they have done all their lives. They would probably be lost without it. Good for you to be out of the situation. If they are reaching a stage of being unsafe in their current environment, maybe you should ask for a Senior Services evaluation of their circumstances.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie

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