My Father is a life long alcoholic and he is dying. Is it awful for me to let him drink if it makes him feel better?

Follow
Share

Do I insist he stop now?


Hi, everyone. I'm been visiting the forums for some time, but haven't felt brave enough to ask any questions until now. My father is very ill and he has also been an alcoholic for the majority of his life. At this point, is there any reason for me to force him to stop drinking? When he first got sick, we tried, but that only made it worse. I'd find bottles hidden everywhere. Honestly, I'd rather he just drink out in the open instead of feeling at this stage in his life that he needs to sneak around. I suppose I am what would be defined as an enabler....but is that so bad in this case?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
9

Answers

Show:
Hi Yogalove and welcome, I have a similar situation my widowed BIL who I'm a carer for has been drinking since he was 14, now 63. He has Hep C and variable stages of dementia. I too am an enabler and it was a desperately hard decision to make until the first time I saw him go cold turkey. He also smokes and takes Grass. I got him to tell me how much he drank per day, then added a quarter to the total. I told him I'm not prepared to support or enable the smoking or drugs because I believe that giving up both would be easier (he's done it before) but that I would make sure that he always had drink available to him. This means that I will cover the point each fortnight when he runs out of money before his next lot of Benefit comes in. I know how many days that is and I said I would only cover that many days so that he didn't spend extra on drugs thinking I'd cover the booze. 6 months later it's still basically working, 2 lapses. His other carers remind him that he only has a limited "booze overdraught." I wish it was different, but it isn't and I have to meet him where he is and not where I'd like him to be. So I agree let you LO drink and don't feel guilty.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I guess it's unanimous-let him drink. My brother was an alcoholic,got sober and 8 years later died of colon cancer.When he was in Hospice,he went into a beautiful memory that included Courvoisier! I asked him if he wanted me to get him a wee dram and he said no.He didn't want to die drunk. I'm so sorry you have this situation on your hands.Your Father has made a choice to drink.This is his reality.Stopping him from doing what he feels he needs would be too hard on both of you.No guilt for you.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Stopping him cold will cause withdrawal symptoms that could get really ugly, worse than death itself. Al-Anon would tell you to let go and let him decide. You should not feel guilty either way. It is his choice, his addiction, his demise. I think Hospice would agree.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I agree with all the posters. At this stage of his life, why even try to stop the drinking and all the discomfort that would accompany it? If it's not going to reverse his situation, let him have what he wants and die in peace.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Aside from the moral question, it could be dangerous to have him stop, cold turkey, now. He is addicted, but the important thing to remember is that alcohol is also a physical addiction. Detox from alcohol can be deadly and requires a strict medical (read pharmaceutical) protocol that includes detox drugs to stop deadly seizures. Since he is already at the end as you describe, it may be just as well to let him drink. My only objection would be that if drinking made him violent that it would be worth the medical detox and the removal of alcohol from his life to protect his caregivers. Otherwise I would just leave well enough alone.
Angel
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thank you so much, MaggieMarshall and Windyridge. I really appreciate your insight and help. Sometimes I feel like my own moral compass is a little challenged in the face of this situation...but I'd really rather he just feel happier.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Maggie beat me to it. Just as I posted I wondered about hospice. If he's near the end and drugs are being administered by hospice there may be less desire and less need for booze.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If he is dying, I assume he's in hospice? Is he dying of liver failure? If his dying is unrelated to drinking, I'd let him drink. If he was in hospice, I would ask the hospice nurse and express my strong desire TO that nurse that he be allowed to drink no matter WHAT he was dying of.

I would be just slightly cautious that my slowing him to drink and furnishing him with alcohol would not be seen as facilitating his demise. You might even ask his doctor . . . Again expressing a strong desire to let him at least have THAT "pleasure."
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

In all honesty I don't see a problem as long as you can monitor the amount. Bingeing could make his final days much worse. I rember when my grandfather was dying years ago. He had basically drank and smoked kimself to death at 70 years old. The nurses forbid him from smoking. I would sneak him outside and let him have a smoke. Smoking and booze, apples and oranges maybe, but let folks have a little pleasure at the end.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.