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Found out father is/still may be a drug addict.. what to do with this situation?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by jayt2427, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. jayt2427

    jayt2427 Member

    This will be a long one, so I greatly appreciate anyone who takes the time to read through it, and I hope you find it worthwhile too because I have never posted on any forum nor do I really have anyone to reach out for advice and help.

    I always thought my dad was just simply a hyper guy, but as of the last few years I have learned a lot of things about him that I thought I was handling well, but at this point I just need to get off my chest. My dad's sister (my aunt) died a year and a half ago from pancreatic cancer. Before she took a turn for the worse and while she was still coherent, she sat me down and told me that I needed to hear something because no one in our family will ever tell me and I deserved to know. This is what she told me and then several others confirmed and told me more:

    My dad is a recovering alcoholic and was heavily involved in cocaine and prescription pills growing up. He started using in high school and was pretty much out of control for awhile. He got married to his first wife (which I never knew until I was 18) when he was in his mid 20s and that marriage ended in less than a year due to his cocaine use and his use of God knows what else. My cousin's friend lived across the street from him and his first wife during that time and she indicated to me that on several occasions she would hear fighting and then see my dad storm out the house, go in his car, and dig around to snort cocaine or see him put pills in his hand and pop him. So his first wife left him and my dad moved back into his mom's basement in his late 20s. At that time, he also did a stint in rehab. I'm not sure for how long, but I know for a fact he went and was clean for a little bit. He then met my mom and married her when he was in his younger 30s, and then I came along when he was 35. However, his father passed away when I was 5 years old, and my dad relapsed. He had begun using a ton of cocaine and it was affecting his marriage with my mom. There were times growing up where I remember my mom taking me by my grandma's house (her mom) and me wondering why we were going there. It was really to get away from my dad because he was high or being violent or they were fighting. He was back on drugs and my mom was constantly finding baggies of pills and white powder, and his pillow sheets covered in blood from nosebleeds. The final straw was when my dad had cocaine delivered to his car dealership, and my mom was ready to break it off with him. However, after that he went back to rehab a second time, and he's supposedly been clean since. From that time up until I was 13, I could sense my parent's marriage was still rocky but I never had any suspicions of further drug use from him.. maybe because I was young and naive.

    Fast forward a couple years to 2008. I was 14 years old and there was a strong likelihood my dad was back on drugs again. My mom was battling horrible pain in her neck area and was complaining about being dizzy and seeing flashes. So not only was she dealing with an inevitable stroke, but she was dealing with my dad's erratic behavior once again. One day before she suffered the stroke, she went to my aunt (her sister) and talked to her about money and how she was scared my dad was going to find it and use it on drugs. I was also informed that my mom "couldn't take it anymore" and that she was most likely leaving my dad. However, my dad caught wind of this and got the money before my aunt. There's no solid proof he went to spend it on drugs. My mom suffered the stroke a day later and because of her condition, my dysfunctional and unqualified dad has had a stranglehold on everything in our family since then.

    Since I've gotten older (I'm 23 now) all signs point to my dad that he is continuing to use drugs. For starters; for 23 years he told me he has never drank or smoked, so there's a huge lie right there. Anyways, I digress;

    In our basement laundry room, there is a big leather bag of probably 50 pill bottles of hydrocodone, valium, and ritalin. I am unsure why he is hording the medication, however. Also, every night he goes into that room and shuts the door and I can hear the pill bottles shaking and being moved, so who knows if he's using them unethically. I'm not for sure, but I do not believe he has a prescription for any of these drugs. Sometimes when I'm in my bedroom doing homework, he'll go in the bathroom to "shave" but during his "shaving" he leaves the shaver running and I hear a bunch of snorting sounds, and there's been a couple times where I walk in the bathroom where he shaved and see a hand towel with blood spots on it. I've confronted him about it before but he claims he cut himself shaving. His behavior continues to be very bi polar. It has gotten to the point where I don't invite anyone over anymore because of the way he acts due to his likely drug use. His behavior ruined the last relationship I was in with a girl I really loved (I know... I'm young and there's so many fish in the sea but it's still irritating).

    One last instance I want to talk about; a year ago me, him, and my younger brother went bowling. We got in the car and we were on our way to the alley, but on the way he said he forgot something and turned the car around. When my brother asked what, he wouldn't answer him, but I remained quiet too. My dad went in the house and came back in the car with nothing in his hand & we drove to the bowling alley. Right when we got a lane and my brother and I were putting our names in the thing, my dad said he had to use the bathroom and was in there for 20-30 mins. He came out and was very energetic and cheering on all the bowlers around us like he was at an NHL playoff game. It was horrifically embarrassing.

    All in all, I'm worried about my dad and his potential drug use. He doesn't know that I know any of this, and I find it a little aggravating that he's never told me any of these things and that I had to hear them from his sisters and other close relatives. I guess he's a part of a drug program and he's someone's sponsor and he has a sponsor as well. I don't know too many details about it, but I can give him some respect that he's willing to dedicate his time to help other addicts. Still, it's redundant if he's continuing to use.

    So that's my story. So my main question is, how do I handle this? I do not have anyone in my family who I can go to because my mom is disabled and our relationship is gone. His side of the family is hesitant to talk about it and my mom's side absolutely hates him so we don't even bring him up around them. I have a great & close group of friends but I'd rather separate my private family life from my social life. I am moving out in a couple months and I feel like I'm selfishly doing it to get away from him and his behavior and the dysfunction he brings to our family, but in the same breath I feel I deserve a pursuit of happiness as well regardless of all the **** I've been through with him and my family.

    Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this, I know it was long and I gratefully await any advice or responses you may have for me.

    Star likes this.
  2. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    hi john. thanks for reaching out. i'm sorry you've had to go through this. i know it hasn't been easy. i'm also sorry your mother suffered a stroke. life throws some things at you, huh??

    it's not uncommon for addicts to deny they have a problem or in your case, use at all. unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do. he's not willing to admit he has a problem and doesn't want help. have you sat down with him alone...and had a real heart-to-heart with him... just saying, "dad, i am concerned." you probably have...among others.

    you mentioned you attend classes? perhaps you can see a counselor at your college. oftentimes they are free, and it might be a good idea to be able to sit with a professional to process and gain insight. surely you have some inner issues to contend with growing up with a dad who abuses drugs... would benefit you to work through your feelings with someone, ya know?

    your dad has what many experts call a "disease"... a condition that affects the brain... underneath that addiction is your real dad; a good man who got lost in emotional pain....and addiction...

    my dad was an alcoholic while i grew up. he wasn't abusive and got along ok, but us kids each grew up with some emotional issues. meaning, certain coping skills are formed during those years...or defenses...that may pop up in later in life... and there will be opportunity to heal some emotional wounds.

    love your dad where he's you can. it is good that you are moving out on your own. go and create the kind of life you want. your dad is not your responsibility... you love him...and you can love him from a distance.

    let me know if this makes sense...

    here if you need.
  3. jayt2427

    jayt2427 Member


    I appreciate you reaching out & taking the time to read all that. With all the curveballs life has thrown at me I’m surprised I’m not playing professional baseball at this point..

    You hit it right on the head when you mentioned there’s not a lot I can do when it comes to an addict being unable to admit they have a problem. My dad is the most stubborn person anyone could ever come across. Never have I ever heard him apologize for anything he’s done and he believes everything he does is the right way no matter what people tell him. He’s so set on his ways that he’ll refuse to change.. which is understandable because you can’t change people; especially someone who’s almost 60 years old. It’s frustrating that there’s nothing I can do, but it’s something I’ll just have to learn to accept.

    You also bring up a good point how he’s a good man but his disease his holding him back. I know he honestly does try his best to be a good dad and role model, but everything he’s been through with his life has made him unfit to suit that role; especially now that he’s practically a single parent.

    Talking to someone isn’t a bad idea though.. those emotional issues or coping skills you talked about will certainly pop up later in my life. I’ve always tended to remain to myself about these issues and just tried distracting myself with things I’m passionate about, like movies, video game play, social events with my friends, etc. But I know it’s not exactly healthy to keep those feelings held in like that.

    What you’ve said has made a ton of sense, and once again I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me. Have a wonderful weekend!

    ozy_comfy likes this.
  4. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    @jayt2427 glad you got something out of my response..... yes, it's unfortunate he is "stuck" where he's not fair. but sounds like you do have a decent grasp on coping.

    yes, remember that counselors are there should you find yourself really struggling. a lot men keep things to themselves, but that repressing things can bite them later. reaching out for help is wise; not weak. :)

    i look back on my parents raising us kids; they did the best they could with their level of consciousness. their level of emotional wholeness. they didn't reach out for help... and just didn't do the work to heal their wounds so-to-speak... good mom and good dad doing best they could. forgiveness helped me, and understanding the larger picture.

    always here if you need.
  5. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @jayt2427... I would refer you to the wise words that Al-Anon and Nar-Anon teach us about a loved one's addiction:

    You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

    Sometimes we just have to resign ourselves to the fact that we're powerless over a situation.

    I would definitely consider talking to a therapist, though. My therapist really helped me navigate my way through my father's alcohol addiction. I ended up a better person because I talked to someone about the things that were eating away at me inside.

    Sending you tons of love, my friend.
  6. True concern

    True concern Moderator

    @jayt2427 First i want to say it's brave of you to reach out and i believe it is the right thing to do,i may not be the best for advice here but im going to give it a go because I'm a recovering addict of 20+year's of use to everything your dad is using now i am sober but at great cost,i lost my wife,home,kids,etc and now that im sober i struggle to remember the absolutely insane lifestyle i was stuck in and i struggle to re connect with my family i believe because they have been through so much and it took so long to get sober that i have to accept they maybe exhausted their patience for my addiction and i now understand that but it still hurts and i still try.I suggest you let your dad know that you are aware of what's going on,i suggest you do it in private just you and him and the reason i may not be the correct person is this,i as a recovering addict never heard my kid's speak of their concern for what i was doing and i think had they said something i may have started to change,again i can't be sure as that time has come and gone but i think you owe it to yourself and even your dad though i can understand why other's may feel different about that,what i mean is if thing's can change for your dad i believe him knowing how his kid's feel may be important to that situation,i think there is still a chance he may go back to rehab but i think he has to know what it's doing to his family,personally I think had i known it would have changed something but again i can't be sure as im now sober and working on getting those relationships back however I think it's worth a shot,i assume you love your dad and he loves you so i think talking about it with him is the way to go,that's the best i got on this one.Stay Strong and God Bless you all.Take Care
    Dominica and deanokat like this.
  7. ozy_comfy

    ozy_comfy Member

    Hi John,
    I am going through this with my father at the moment. Different drugs, different behaviors but seeing someone who is trying to do their best and be their best and failing in the face of addiction is extremely difficult. I am at the beginning of this journey now. I wonder where your journey has led you now? I am struggling with the decision of whether or not to involve my siblings at this point, @True concern I appreciate you saying you wished they had said something and this might sway my decision. Thank you all for your open and honest posts.
    deanokat and True concern like this.
  8. True concern

    True concern Moderator

    @ozy_comfy You speaking up maybe the best gift your loved one ever receives EVER,Do everything you can to save their life....everything
    deanokat likes this.
  9. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @ozy_comfy... I agree with @True concern. I think you should let your siblings know. I think that may give your father the best chance for finding recovery. It also prevents you from having to bear all of the load.

    Sending positive vibes your way. And praying for your father.
    True concern likes this.
  10. CameronAlsop

    CameronAlsop Active Contributor

    Hi, how are you and your family now? I hope everything is fine. I understand that you are in a difficult situation. Your life is just beginning, and you have to think and solve the problems of a drug addict father.
    I think leaving your father and running away is a good idea. I think he needs specialized help. There is an excellent rehabilitation center in Baltimore. You can learn more about it on the website In the rehabilitation center, your father will receive help and treatment. This way, you will be able to be there and provide him with the necessary support. Besides, you will be able to live your own life.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021