Today, my elderly father made such a fuss to get to the shops. Now we are all under quarantine, he is in his late 70's has had 2 surgeries for cancer, he is a diabetic, has high blood pressure etc.
I refused to take him, and he carried on and on.
It was an awful morning.
But I knew what he was doing. He wanted alcohol.
Eventually I told him I'd buy him whatever drink he wanted, which I did.
As the day progressed I began to worry that I was enabling him. He has been an alcoholic most of my life (in my 50's) and stopped for about 6 months because of the cancer.
But since lock down, he watches T.V all day. I don't know how much he understands about Covid 19 but I suspect he thinks he might as well "go out" doing what he wants.
I just feel complicit. Because this will not be the last time I will be buying alcohol for him.
When he drinks, he sleeps, then watches TV and talks to his friends on the phone. And he leaves me alone. Which is a great relief.
I feel a whole bundle of emotions, anger, frustration, guilt.
Any advise, or similar stories and coping strategies would be greatly appreciated.

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Never heard of ouzo... Ii'll look it up...
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Countrymouse Apr 2020
I wouldn't!
ok, maybe a sunrise with wine instead of tequila... and more fresh juice instead of fermented juice...?? : >)

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So with CV risk you are shopping for your Dad? It's pretty simple to me - you purchase anything legal that he wants and you can find. He's an adult capable of making his own decisions and shopping choices. Your help should not be a quid pro quo or a power play.

My brother used to ask me where his son and daughter-in-law were going on date night when I babysat for them. He got really frustrated when I told him I had no idea. My brother's idea was I should not babysit unless they were going to some event/place which met my approval. Nope; that's manipulation, not freely given help/support. Sometimes they went to a bar or a concert and sometimes they went to dinner and then grocery shopping and sometimes I had no idea where they went; none of it was really any of my business. I offered a block of time they could spend as a couple.

Respect means accepting our LO's decisions (young or old as long as they are competent), even when we think those decisions are not ideal.
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If you have an I pad, perhaps puzzles or suduku will bed fun... card games,,,

Or as everyone seems to be doing... creating dishes and more food to try...

get some ping pong balls and start water ponging....

play hide n seek.. get a lil something like a fork or can of fish, or hairbrush... and hide it, and give hints "cold, hot".. etc... you get the gist...
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Better to buy his alcohol (along with whatever supplies he normally keeps at home) than to force him to go out of doors to buy it on the sly.

If you don't confront him about his alcohol consumption:

a) it'll reduce the stress levels for both him and you (which will also remove one incentive to drink)
b) you'll at least have some degree of oversight about what he's drinking
c) you will be supporting his autonomy. You can call it enabling if you want to beat yourself up, but it's only the other side of the same coin.

He's in his late 70s. He's had cancer (is he recovering, in remission, what's happening with that?). He is a diabetic, and he has high blood pressure.

*Obviously* it would be better for his physical health if he laid off the alcohol! But this is his decision, and not yours, and besides - is there really anything you can explain to him about the subject that he doesn't already know? You have to respect his choices, and try your very best not to be judgemental about them.

You could also have a think about what might help relieve his boredom. I think we're all going a bit stir crazy, aren't we - what are you doing to cope, yourself? Anything you could involve him in that might be enjoyable for both of you?

PS - about the enabling. This is not enabling.

If your father drank all his own money's worth and still needed more and you bought and paid for it for him, that would be enabling. You would be facilitating something that he would not be able to choose for himself in normal circumstances.

This is different. He only can't act on his own choices because he doesn't have access to the shops. If you deny him this choice you are using his disability and his adherence to social distancing to force him to change his preferred lifestyle.

The correct course of action when someone you support wants to take a risk is to provide the person with all the information in a format that he is able to understand. Once the person has the information and has considered the risk, it is not for you to comment on his choice.

I have a client who thinks that evaporated milk keeps for ten days in the fridge once the can is opened and is fine to pour over fresh fruit. She Is Keeping The Milk In The Can!!! For up to ten days!!! Picture my hair standing on end and the sweat breaking out on my forehead as I brought it to her. But this lady is in her eighties, and she has been consuming evaporated milk from opened cans for many, many years. Who am I to teach her about Basic Food Safety?!?!

I did try bringing an unopened can from her cupboard and offering it as an alternative alongside the one she'd asked for. She told me I was very sweet to think of her but I was not to worry. This was not much consolation :(
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Lizzyvoo Apr 2020
Thanks Country mouse. it is his choice, and adding extra pressure to the situation won't help either of us. I feel more relaxed about him today. Now is not the time to pressure him to change , that's never worked in the past.
Do not feel guilty... we all have our demons..You did not cause his cancer, diabetes, TV tours.... etc... Do the best you can for now...If you are his mixologist... dilute, every chance you have... Perhaps he won't know the difference after a week or so...

AS the TV CHANNELS SAY: WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER... STAY PUT, STAY SAFE.. SECURE IN PLACE...Don't feel guilty; At least you have each other, and your dad loves you, vs...
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I just signed on... I am sorry you feel it's on you. Yes, you feed him what he wants.. Late 70's.. He is diabetic.. sugar, alcohol is sugar.. not good if you are diabetic.
But he is in late 70's... I guess I am not going to have good advice for you. My parents didn't really drink, don't know how they got through different life stages.. but if he is somewhat happy.. or if you could change his life style.. kinda hard now though..he had cancer with 2 surgeries.... he beat the odds at this point I take it.

So, get him smaller bottles of what he wants... Who pours the drinks? Perhaps, water down the bottles a bit, get him used to less poison while the bottle is still fill. Or, if you pour it... take hold of the 1 part alcohol and 2 parts juice... LOTS OF ICE and a bit of fresh lemon juice on top... give him his happy hour,, but divide it.... put a bit on bottom glass fill with ice and juice (whatever) fill the 3/4 of glass with the bit that is left over, and dab a bit on the rim of glass, finalize it with a squirt of citrus.. lemon,lime, or orange.. When the week moves on, make him the same, but with just a bit less alcohol...maybe he wont notice the changes.. Now you are going to have to be the mixologist....
What is his 'GO TO DRINK'?
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Lizzyvoo Apr 2020
Thanks for your response. I've tried the watered down drink, but he switched to ouzo years ago, and it goes milky when you add water, so there's no fooling him. Yesterday I bought him fruity red wine.
I agree, he's late 70's, mybe being happy or calm is the best outcome. I've just got to continue learning to let go.
Today I've left him to it, he pours his own drink, so he had wine for breakfast. Lol.
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