What are my options for my 67 year old alcoholic father?

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My father's health is getting worse. He drinks around half of a 750 ml bottle daily sometimes close to the whole thing. He has been drinking for more than 30 years, before that he was into other drugs. He became ill twice in the last 3 years but it was because he wasn't eating and grew very weak. During those years he was drinking alcohol combined with cough syrup. The following days after doing this he would be in bed for 3-4 days not eating only sleeping. I was able to get him off cough syrup, but his drinking is still out of control. When he gets drunk he loses his balance, he seems very confused at times, and he mentally malfunctions he will forget what he's talking about or mid sentence start talking about something else completely different. He finds all of this funny until the next morning when he wakes up and is recovering from the day before. I am hoping he snaps out of this but I need to assume that he is not. I've been staying at the house he lives in but I will be leaving soon. My presence here is really just taking the pressure off himself to change. Although I am leaving I do want to make sure he's taken care of. I have read some of the posts on this forum and it seems my options are limited since alot of facilities do not take care of elders with substance abuse problems. I can see things turning out really bad for him in the next few years what can I do now and what should I prepare for in the future so when things do get bad the damage is somewhat mitigated. (I am single, 38 years old, and no one will help me with this)

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Alcoholism is so often taboo, it makes those discussions really hard. "Bad but only for you" is still bad - you need to place your focus on yourself, make sure you are doing at the absolute minimum, one good thing for yourself every day. Sorry it took so long to reply back - been a hectic month - hope you've seen some positive days, and maybe an Al-Anon meeting or two?
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Thank you for responding. I have only heard of Al-Anon as of today and yes I think it would be a good idea to attend those meetings. I have been reading everyone's stories here and I'm learning a lot. It's also good to know that I share the same frustrations as a lot of other people. In terms of speaking to him when he's sober about attending a rehab facility it's very unlikely. The doctor recommended AA to him and he was insulted. The only thing is in front of the doctor he just nodded, but when the doctor left he commented how unbelievable the doctor is to say he's an alcoholic. My dad's alcoholism is a taboo subject on his side of the family no one really talks about it. He bases his reality on their opinions so in his mind he's fine. But you're right I think a rehab program would help him but I feel things have to get a lot worse than they are now. Right now its bad but only for me. Things have to get bad for him before he's motivated to change. Thanks for the advice.
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Hi Mico, I'm so sorry, the situation you're in sounds so frustrating, and so familiar to me. First, in taking care of yourself, have you considered attending some Al-Anon meetings? They are for families and friends of alcoholics and can provide you with a much-needed feeling of support, and help you build a frame-work on how to continue without enabling. I don't know if it's possible in your situation, but, rather than getting Dad to stop drinking on your own, as you did with the cough syrup, would it be an option to speak to him, when he's sober, about attending a rehab facility for a period of time? It would help him safely withdraw from alcohol in a supervised environment, and provide you with some peace of mind that he's being taken care of. Substance abuse can cause brain damage over time, so even if he is able to live in sobriety, there may be some permanent changes to his personality and cognitive abilities, but he would be safer, and you can then look at elder care facilities or services to provide added support. Speak to your family doctor and see what options are available for older people struggling with substance abuse in your community. Hang in there, and be sure to take care of yourself, it's a long journey and your health and well-being is important too.
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