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377493 tn?1356502149

How do you support an alcholic that has decided to get sober

Hi everyone, I am hoping you can give me some insight here.  My 72 year old father in law has been drinking heavily most of his life.  He was never violent or vicious, just drank way to much on a daily basis for many many years.  He has decided to quit drinking, and has now been sober for 2 months.  My husband and I are so proud of him, and so happy he has taken this step.  We love him dearly and want to keep him around as long as possible. My question is, what are things we can do to support and encourage him.  He doesnt want to attend a support group, and although I think he is making it tougher on himself by taking this route, I don't want to bug him about it.  I also don't want to constantly bring up the topic (I have already told him how proud I am of him), but want to make sure he knows we are there for him and supporting him, cheering him on if you will.  I know this may be a difficult post to answer, but any suggestions or recommendations would be gratefully accepted.  We already don't have a drink around him, and we spend a fair amount of time with him.  His general health is pretty good.
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Avatar universal
COMMUNITY LEADER
i take it he is retired?does he have activities/hobbies to busy himself with?does he go to Senior Citizens?or does he resist them as well saying he's not that kind of old?:)my granpa did that for a few years and then gave in when he found  a lady to dance with!!is his wife living?
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Avatar universal
He should remain busy and find other things to do. You cant just quit a bad habit which in my opinion alcoholism along with cigarettes and any other addiction is. Bad habits have to be replaced with something else HOPEFULLY a good habit.



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377493 tn?1356502149
Thanks for your responses.  He is in fact retired, and spends alot of time doing woodworking.  He is always looking for projects, and loves to be handy, so he actually is at our house a lot helping as we are doing reno's.  His wife is living, but they don't spend a lot of time together anymore.  She is actually quite critical of him, and I think thats hard for him. He is also quite an introvert, although he does open up to me (he and I are very close).  My big fear is that my husband and I have to move to another city in a different province.  We will go from being a 10 minute drive to a 7 hour one.  HIs other son and daughter in law live about 4 hours away.  I am really scared he will get lonely and start again.  He already spends most of his time when not here in front of the tv.   He is just doing so great, and he seems very determined. Says he feels so much better, so I am hoping he hangs on to that.  I am just so scared that if he starts drinking again, we will lose him.  
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332074 tn?1229560525
Ask him. I found with my own sitution that it was best to take the direct approach. When my husband decided to get sober, I point blank ask him what I could do to help him stay that way, and then I put the ball in his court to let me know if he needed anything else. Thankfully we were very open to each other about it and together we got through it and are still getting through it.
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Avatar universal
Hi adgal. I suggest you go to AlAnon meetings, there you'll learn how to deal with yourself as a daugher-in-law of an alcoholic. :0)
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377493 tn?1356502149
Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to get back to me.  I did try al-anon, actually before my father in law even decided to get sober.  It talked alot about not being an enabler and how not to let if affect me, and all of that was great.  I think its fantastic, and would love it if my father in law decided on AA, as I believe it would be of tremendous help to him in maintaining his sobriety. This is kind of where I am getting frustrated, as I also really think my husband, mother in law would benefit.  But it seems the whole family is against any kind of "public acknowlegement".  I have told them its anononymous, and its a place to get support and that the other people involved keep it all private.  Some days I feel like I am on my own in this, but I see it as a huge accomplishemnt on his part, and I so want to see him continue on the path he is on.  I know, it probably sounds strange as I am not his natural child, but I adore this man and love him like my own father.  I would love to see all of us get involved in this 12 step program as a family, but so far I am the only one willing.   Lol, I actually thought al-anon would teach me how to keep him sober...wasn't quite the case.  But still, very helpful and I do plan to go again.   I just dont think its imapacted me quite the same as his children and wife.  I only became a part of his world 5 years ago, but I do know for sure that my husband has huge issues with dealing with this growing up, and my mother in law is also very angry.  But I know I can't force them to get help.  Its just frustrating.  I am hopeful though that the situation will improve.
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458384 tn?1295720656
Just by asking that question, mean you are willing to open your heart at a very important time in a addicts sobriety!  GOD BLESS YOU !  I will pray for you all!  This is a good place to be connected to as well!  So you are doing great!  Get yourself to some "ALANON" meetings.  Is he going to "AA" ?  You can go with him as his support person, until he feels comfy on his own.  He will make friends and become part of something that is a really wonderful thing!!  I don't know if I'm making any scene, I'm on zero sleep!
Peace,]
D
Helpful - 0
147172 tn?1226758178
It's quite simple actually.  You RUN to Al Anon and you listen and learn and help others and then you stay in order to remain healthy, keep the focus on YOU and YOUR boundries and so you realize that the alcoholic has their own Higher Power who will do for them what they haven't been ale to do for themselves.
And you do it ODAAT.God bless and Good luck to eveyone involved.
  
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Avatar universal
He absolutely needs MORE friends and good friends at that.  He has obviously taken comfort in your compassion for him and it has helped him get this far.  2 months for an alcoholic that is 72 years old is great but unfortunately it is not enough time for him to not be tempted by his LIFETIME of addictive behavior ESPECIALLY after you move.  

Some how, some way, he is going to have to replace you and those around you with other people that he feels comfortable with and that will hold him accountable for his actions.  If he is introverted it will probably pose as a problem.  You took him under your wing and he was receptive to that which is great but he is going to have to have someone there to pick up where you left off.

He's not particular to support groups but he doesn't have to go to AA for that.  He can attend a church (and become involved), he can participate in community activities, there are all kinds of places for him to meet "new" people who can be a positive influence in his life.  If it were me, I would do my best to introduce him to some of these "social activities" before I moved so that he was already kinda used to the "new scene" and was able to at least start some new relationships.  

Just my 2 cents.  :)

Trout  

  
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377493 tn?1356502149
Hi all,

I just wanted to first off thank you all for the great advice and support.  And secondly, to update you.  I am proud and happy to say that my father in law is still maintaining his sobriety.  Not so much as a single drink, and I am so very proud of him.  Its actually quite amazing to watch the transformation..he is becoming much more outgoing and is starting to attend a "social group" of retirees...they play bridge, etc and generally just have a good time.  And the most amazing thing is my mother in law is definately less critical (at least openly) toward him.   My husband and I were just there tonight for dinner, we played cards afterward, and everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves.  It was just such a nice evening.  We are currently back and forth between our old and new home and expect the move to be permanent in a few more weeks, so I still worry, but so far so good.  And although its not AA (which I would love to see him attend), or even a proper support group, I am very proud that he has made it this far.  I can only pray that he stays on this road.

Once again, thank you all so much for the great advice and words of encouragement.  It is appreciated, and I hope you don't mind if I continue to pop on from time to time with questions?  Thank you all so much again.  Oh, and by the way, I will be taking the advice of many of you and am going to attend Al Anon along with my husband.  I think it would benefit both of us, and maybe it will encourage my mother in law to go.
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