My family is in search of any steps we can take with our current situation with my alcoholic grandfather. He is 82 years old and has been an alcoholic for most of his adult life but recently his drinking has spiraled out of control. He has a long list of medical issues and is severely depressed which is likely the reason but he is at the point where he no longer cares about anyone or anything but drinking and poses a danger to himself, my grandmother and the general public. He is still technically of sound mind and legally responsible for himself so we are aware there is not a ton we can do to control him. Plus, most of my family feels that if he weren't posing a threat to others and or dragging my grandmother down with him, it would be his prerogative if he chose to drink himself to death. Our concern is that he continues to drive intoxicated in search of more alcohol and or to go to the bar and no matter what we do to try to prevent this (even enabling him and buying alcohol for him) it is never enough and he goes anyways. My grandmother is struggling financially because he has also been spending the equivalent of their mortgage payment each month on alcohol and bar tabs.

My grandmother sold his car thinking if they only had one car she could control it but she still has to constantly fight with him, refusing to give him the keys and/or hiding them but he always manages to find them while she's sleeping. He can't park so he sometimes leaves the car running with the door open in the middle of the complex where they live, blocking other cars from getting in and out. We have begged and pleaded with him to stop before he hurts himself or someone else but he just does not care and has said so. "It is what is is." is his response. He falls constantly in the house and my grandmother is not strong enough to help him off the floor so unless he is injured enough to need an ambulance she just puts a pillow under his head and leaves him on the floor until he sleeps it off. He's destroying his life and even though we wish he wouldn't our concern at this point is that he is destroying my grandmother's life and could potentially hurt or kill a stranger by driving drunk.

We are desperate for any ideas of things we could do or try at this point. Thank you in advance for any additional information.

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I would start with your Grandmother. Sit down with her for an honest chat.
Does she want help?

I'm guessing all reasonable conversations with Grandfather have fallen on deaf ears...

Does he like westerns? I'd be tempted to explain "We can do this the easy way G'pa, or the HARD way. 'Easy' is you go get some HELP for that drinking. Until then, G'ma is taking the reins on the money because you have shown you cannot be responsible for it".

He must also speak to his Doctor or AA or both. He can work out with G'Ma a reasonable allowance for his personal spending.

The hard way is what you have to do with cognitive impaired/demented people but also mentally unwell or addicts. You don't discuss the plan - you just put the plan in place.

But this can only work if Grandmother WANTS this.

Is she ready to stand up for herself? To increase her physical & financial safety.

Maybe not forever, or legally, but would she consider leaving? For a month? Longer? Eg to a hotel or stay with family (if an available option). A call to APS to advise an elder at risk on the way out the door would be a good idea.

Is she ready to take over the financials - or her half? Go see the Bank Manager. Two ideas are;
#1 have the mortgage payment withdrawn on pension day before it can be spent
#2 get the pension split into two single accounts, halve if up.

Many people suffering with dependency issues have to hit rock bottom before seeking help. If Grandmother moves out, taking the car, the mortgage money, is not cooking & washing for him I reckon that would feel pretty rocky.

It will case him to have a crises of some sort. A crises they both needs to effect change.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Beatty

Hi Kmmel - I understand how totally chaotic it is with what your family is dealing with - in my 20's, I was married to someone that had a drinking problem- and it's horrible and unmanageable for the spouse and family to deal with. After years of trying to help him, he eventually sought help, after practically being dragged to a rehab several times - and it was the most draining, stressful and difficult experience, and ultimately I got divorced from him.

Your grandfather is posing a threat to others and dragging your grandmother down with him - so she should either leave him or he needs to go into a rehab - he should strongly be given an ultimatum. There really are no other choices.

Also, have you been in touch with his doctor? He should be informed of the situation and perhaps he could provide some kind of help and direction. It's only going to end badly, one way or another, if your grandfather chooses to stay this way. You didn't mention anything regarding your parents, but they and family need to be forceful in this in order to get results.

I wish you much strength and I hope this situation finds a positive resolve.
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Reply to Hopeforhelp22

I have seen alcohol destroy so many lives in so many different ways. I wish we could change the cultural mindset about it so that no one would ever even think about drinking. It's so addictive that many people eventually neglect everything in their lives except alcohol.

I have seen talented people lose their health, family, everything due to alcohol. One noted person "just" drank beer. The last time I saw him his stomach was the size of a small loveseat (cirrhosis) and he was carrying around a bag of what looked like blood. He was young, too.

Accidents caused by alcohol? These happen all the time in all kinds of ways. Violence caused by alcohol? I don't have to tell you, do I? Alcohol is "finish".

I won't ever have a relationship with anyone who drinks alcohol. End of story.
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Reply to lisatrevor
Fawnby Aug 29, 2022
Totally true, and even though we know there’s really no safe amount of alcohol, it’s appalling to see the ads glamorizing it, the sweet touchy feely warm fuzzy movies where the young moms all get together and drink wine for the purpose of bonding (which apparently must include getting drunk), the macho macho young males proving they’re men at last and can take on the world after a bunch of beers, I could go on and on. Glamorous it is not. Deadly it is. RIP BG, killed by a drunk driver. NB drank himself to death, TG same ending, MC dead of cirrhosis of the
liver, SC dead age 26 of alcoholic bulemia, LG dead jogging killed by DUI driver, and so many more. All would likely be alive today if not for alcohol.
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I agree with the idea of calling the cops after he leaves to go out drunk driving. Does grandma still drive too? If not, get rid of the second car too.
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Reply to againx100

Myself like many lived with alcoholic years ago, my ex husband, ended badly. Divorced him without one doubt but I was in my 30s and decided to change my life, which became wonderful.
It is never too late, life is too precious to dedicate to alcoholic and nothing, no amount of pleading, begging or anything else will help. You are perhaps not wrong about his right to drinking, but, alcoholism effects others in profund ways.
You can only help grandma.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Evamar

He’s not changing except to worsen. Sad reality I know. Time for a huge intervention with grandma, she needs protection in every way. I can only hope she’s agreeable to change. She’s an abused woman and deserves a peaceful life free of this, her finances and health are at stake. Take her to an elder law attorney who can make things very clear to her
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Reply to Daughterof1930

Well, I would imagine that if grandma really wanted to see change happen, she would have divorced the man long long ago. Or called the police on him when she KNEW he was out drunk driving. Or or or. But she didn't. And she probably won't. Nor will she likely take any of the advice given here, so that leaves her in the situation of her own choosing. Sad but true. Unless you can talk some sense into the woman, she'll either find him dead in the house one day, or get The Call from the police that he's killed someone else on the road due to drunk driving. And she'll be left destitute and with legal problems up the wazoo.

You might want to present it to grandma JUST THIS WAY.

Many decades ago, I lived with an alcoholic who also was abusive. I didn't need anyone to tell me what to do: I left him in the middle of the night with the clothes on my back and my dog & cat, took all the money out of his wallet, and that was the end of that horrible chapter in my life. You have to question WHY your grandmother has stayed in this dreadful situation ALL this time?

I hope you can get through to her, I really do.
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Reply to lealonnie1
Beatty Aug 30, 2022
I know a lady who stayed, for the kids. Him being the earner, not sure how to financially cope otherwise. Very common I expect.

But once teens they helped her & themselves to leave.

Never too late to go.
You’re never too old to kick out an alcoholic husband and file for divorce. Then he gets to manage his own pathetic life and she gets peace, quiet and freedom from this horrible situation. Unthinkable? No, it isn’t. She needs to save herself.
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Reply to Fawnby

I possible, get Grandma to a divorce attorney and help her get their money protected. Cancel all the credit cards and only use cash. Change the password for ATM access. Have her open accounts in her name only as suggested by JoAnn.

If she knows the bars he patronizes, she should contact them and put them on notice that they are not to serve him. (Put it in writing and send it with return receipt requested.) It might work, but don't count on it.

She doesn't need to divorce him, but she MUST protect herself financially. She's exposing herself to all kinds of liability if he gets a DUI and kills or hurts someone.
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Reply to MJ1929

Who is their Son or Daughter.....your Dad or Mom? Time for G-Ma to live elsewhere & the $ should be unavailable to him.... Understandably, she loves & cares for him, but this is totally abusive.. She is not safe with him... Who can step in & talk to G-Pa?? If he wants to drink himself to death, his call BUT not OK to take her down with him....
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Reply to eat-pray-love

Next time he takes the car and he is drunk, call the police. Then tell them he cannot return home until he is dried out. He is a danger to himself and others. Baker Act him.

I would say at 82 and a lifelong drinker, he has Dementia and you can't tell because he is drunk all the time. Gma needs to take money out of their joint acct and open up a new one. Have her SS sent to the new one.

As you said, really not much you can do but protect grandma. He has to hit buttom the problem is he may kill someone in the process.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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