After a long battle with cancer, my mom passed away 3 years ago. My folks were married for over 40 years. My dad dealt with her passing and, in time, started dating again. He has a girlfriend- who's a great lady.
My dad has always been stubborn, but my mom was there to reign him in. Alcohol has always been a part of their social lives. I never saw my parents plastered or drunk. They were more of social drinkers, but a very social couple ;-)
The best way to describe my dad- and this sounds bad- but he's your typical "Rush Limbaugh" type. Hates PC, goes on tangents about politics, etc. In the past, he was somewhat whitty, but he's definitely lost his edge the past 10 years. And now that my mom's not around to answer to, he says some weird stuff.
He can't handle silence- has to talk... and he's socially awkward and abrasive. Personally, I don't bother with it, since I don't bring him around my social circle.
The problem is that lately we've seen some red flags about his behavior. We found out from his GF that she suspects he's drinking during the day- straight vodka- and he's hiding and lying about it.
While visiting my brother, my sister in law thought she saw my dad go to his car and take a few swigs out of a bottle. We also had a close family friend tell us that they found a water bottle of vodka.
My brother confronted my dad and it was a catastrophe. My dad is stubborn and to be honest- I seriously doubt we can get him to change his behavior. We can't police him, he really doesn't have any friends besides his GF (who lives in another city). He has nothing to do all day. He doesn't play golf anymore because he's physically a wreck. Fat, bloated, Type II diabetes, joint pain...
On top of all of this, he has no self awareness. He says stuff in public that makes you cringe. He thinks it's funny to say perverted comments. His mantra is "F- it, this is who I am." Again- think Rush Limbaugh- very opinionated.
I wonder if he's started to develop symptoms of dementia. His mom died of Alzheimer's and he has two crazy siblings.
My brother and I discussed how we should handle this. We can't babysit him and he's kinda of pain in @ss to be around. But we want him to have a relationship with his grandkids. And we also know that our mom would be so disappointed in what he's become.
I can't see him suddenly become sober and meet new friends. He's 70 years old and very set in his ways.
Another thought is- if he wants to drink himself to death and rot away, well that's his choice. But we're worried he'll get behind the wheel, get a DWI, or even worse kill someone or people.
I know this is long-winded, but I have no idea how to approach this. I've never had to deal with a single parent, alcoholism, and/or an elderly person who could be suffering from dementia.
Last thing- what makes this worse is that he just went to the doctor for a checkup and they said he's in great shape. Either he's lying, or the doctor got his degree online.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.