My Father Is an Alcoholic and Accuses Me of "Airing Dirty Laundry"
I have worried about my father being an alcoholic for years. My mother was always in denial about the problem until the last couple of years. Earlier this year she left him and said she wouldn't come back unless he admitted his problem and started seeking treatment.
During this period my siblings and I had several discussions with our dad about how his drinking had affected us all. My father who is completely dependent on my mother agreed to go to AA and admitted on some level he had a problem with drinking.
Within a month of her moving back in he stopped going to AA claiming it was a cult and convinced my mother of the same with Al-Anon. They then cut off all discussion of the topic with their children. I know that he has continued to drink since then and I've been really frustrated that he and my mother refuse to seek treatment.
I basically decided I wasn't going to cover up their behavior any more and simply refer casually to my father's drinking problem when speaking to other family members. It got back to my father that I was calling him an alcoholic and he sent me a letter accusing me of gossip. He thinks I'm airing the family's dirty laundry.
Is this a constructive tactic that I'm taking? I feel that the whole problem of his drinking is possible because everybody is ignoring this elephant in the room; that it just allows him to feel all the more comfortable with this totally destructive behavior.
The catch is he says he never wants to see me again if I keep it up ... what can I do? He's my father, I love him, I'm afraid he's going to kill himself drinking, I can't
get him to change, does that mean I have to make it easy for him?
Your father has done what alcoholics are extremely adept at doing - manipulating those close to them so that they can continue drinking unabated.
He's brainwashed your mother - AA and Al-Anon are not cults. Simply a group of people looking to get healthy and overcome alcoholism. And unfortunately since she wasn't able to stick by her guns and give him an opportunity to prove he's changed/turned his life around, she's back to square one.
And now he's trying to manipulate you into keeping his alcoholism secret, which is the worst possible thing you can do. Alcoholism thrives on secrecy, especially when everyone is too scared to address what's really going on. The only way to confront it is head on - bring it to light and call it for what it is with absolute and total honesty.
So call your father's bluff. And even if he isn't bluffing, what's better? To speak openly and honestly about what's going on ... or to cover up and not say a word, which allows your father's drinking to continue unchecked?
Until the whole family stand together and address your father's alcoholism by calling things as they are, he'll simply manipulate everything to suit his agenda ... which is to continue drinking. And that's not a criticism - it's simply what alcoholics do and is part of the insanity that accompanies a life of addiction.
So the choice is yours. Sometimes the ultimate act of love is doing what the other person really needs ... not necessarily what they want. And even though that may not make you popular, at least you know you're doing the right thing.
Good Luck with whatever you decide.