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My father needs help

This post has probably been a long time coming.

Ive just searched across a few different sites online and landed here. Just having a family discussion a little earlier about the state my father has gotten himself into over the past few years.


To start with my father’s brain is basically gone, not through illness or memory loss but in the sense that he has been a heavy drinker and drug user for most of his life. 

You can’t really have a ledgible conversation with him or anything any more without getting the same stock standard few answers or catchphrases from him many of which involve him swearing at you 

or just swearing in general. 

Its a sad state of affairs really, we are worried that he will probably be dead within the next 3 years if he keeps up the way his going.

his brain is fried already and he continues his drug and alcohol abuse daily.


He has been living alone for over 3 years now. He moved in with his mother and my nan before she passed to care for her in her final months but when she died, he remained living in her house and does so to this day. He keeps asking when we will be coming down to visit but I hate seeing what he has turned that place into and it’s a 2+ hour trip to get there. He constantly is asking my mother or siblings for money and I lost count years ago of how much he owes me (when it exceeded $450) but you try and tell him he has a problem and that he needs help and he denies it, he only thinks about himself all the time and just doesn’t seem to be able to understand that he is no longer a good person if I’m fact he ever was. In 25 years of him being my father I can probably count on 1 hand the amount of times I’ve actually seen him sober. He just doesn’t get that he probably needs help but if we said that to him he’d just carry on and swear and not listen anyway. 

I feel like if he does pass soon we will look back on these final years and see that they were a cry for help, even though he won’t accept any that might come his way and will actually not be him asking for help but it just seems that way from our perspective there’s nothing we can do because he doesn’t care. He is just gonna listen to himself and not care 


basically the whole point I’m trying to make is how do you help someone who won’t help themselves and won’t listen to you when you suggest what to do? My dad is not the type of person that would ever go to rehab or a counsellor or listen to anyone/everyone in an intervention type scenario either. Idk just seems like the only one he cares about is himself but that doesn’t help when if he dies it’s us that are left with the loss and left to sort it out.


he has already done his dash with some of my siblings and my mother and they’ve got to a point where they don’t care about him anymore. It’s sad but true.

nothing seems to be able to be done 

Re: My father needs help

Hi @Willlowtree and welcome to the ReachOut community! Reaching out for support for your dad is incredibly brave, and we really appreciate that you have opened up to us- it sounds like this has been something you have been living with for most of your life Heart

Watching someone you care about go through long term drug and alcohol use is so difficult, particularly when you can see the impact it is having of their physical and emotional wellbeing where they don't. You mentioned that your dad has been using substances for a long period of time and that this has had a big impact on your family. It is understandable that you would be worried for your dad, particularly when you are seeing the impact this is all having on his brain, body and mind Heart It is really hard to watch some you care about go through something challenging like substance use, and not want help. I can hear how much you wish your dad would seek help and work on his wellbeing. In the past, has he ever taken any steps towards seeking help? Does he have anyone else in his life keeping an eye out for him?

You mentioned that some of your family have taken a step back from your dad, I can imagine this must be really hard for you to carry by yourself. I hope that you are taking care of your wellbeing and self care too in this difficult time! What support network do you have around you?

Re: My father needs help

You I don’t need help and I wouldn’t say that even I am close to him anymore. We don't live with him. Mum had been going down for a weekend here and there for many years but told me lately that she is done with him because even when she’s there she can’t say/do anything to change the way he behaves. My 11 year old sister said that she hates him before mum corrected her and said that she doesn’t mean she hates him but seriously there’s not much to love. He has never reached out for help and probably in his own mind doesn’t think he needs to. He is happy doing what he is doing but that’s no way to live. 

Re: My father needs help

Hey there @Willlowtree

Just letting you know that I've edited out the location from your post as we're an anonymous forums (you can check out more about our guidelines here)


It can be so difficult when someone you love has an addiction and isn't interested in getting help. You mentioned that your mum told you recently that she's done with him, have you been able to talk to her about how you feel? Taking care of your own wellbeing while thinking about others who are struggling is important. 


Have you tried to talk to any helplines about the situation? The Family Drug Helpline specialises in supporting families and friends of people struggling with addiction and may be able to provide you with some more detailed advice on supporting your father. What do you think? 


I am finishing with ReachOut this week, say good-bye here. I'll miss you all!

Re: My father needs help

Wow @Willlowtree that sounds really tough. It is very sad what is going on with your family Smiley Sad I totally understand your frustration about your dad not being able to help himself or realise how his actions are affecting the whole family, not just himself. A lot of people don't get that parents and other family members can make mistakes and not be there for us when we need them because they're lucky enough to not have experienced these situations for themselves.

I think it's important to remember that it's not your fault if someone you love refuses to get help for themselves. It is largely to do with them rather than yourself. It's been really hard for me to accept this, but it was like a weight off my shoulders when I stopped putting so much pressure on myself trying to 'change' or get help for people who don't see how their actions are affecting others.

Various people including me have been nagging my dad for years to find solutions for my grandmother, but neither of them seem to want to do much about it. For years, she has imposed herself on the rest of the family. She insisted on 'temporarily moving in' with my parents when they all moved to Australia, but then kept making up excuses to live off their money and not leave. That was before I was born and she is still making people's lives difficult. Her behaviour, mental health and cognitive abilities have declined massively over the years. She cannot physically look after herself, has no social life, causes fire and electricity hazards every day, is a hoarder, steals and messes with people's stuff and creates rubbish and mess, causing insect infestations in a house that's not even hers. She is also a very difficult person to be around because she lies compulsively, demands people drop everything to do things for her even when they are in hospital and stirs up drama. Since I was born, she has never done anything for me that would be expected of a typical grandmother (she apparently didn't want the 'responsibility of looking after her grandchildren', even for just an hour of her time) and has never once shown any appreciation for me caring for her, instead continuing to badmouth me. I could go on and on about the various selfish things she has done over the years but we would be here forever. The best we have achieved is having a paid carer look after her when we're away, although I really wish she would be in a nursing home where she can receive proper care. I know this is not the same situation as you are experiencing, but I just want you to know that some family members can be toxic and you aren't alone in having these thoughts. She will always be my grandmother but there just aren't many good things about her as a person.

I have found a lot of online forums where people can get support for these kinds of family issues such as on Reddit. They have also provided me with a lot of strategies on how to deal with toxic family members.

I think it's okay to distance yourself from these types of family members, even if other people tell you otherwise. We have to do what's best for our health and wellbeing. Remember, we can talk or see them again at any time.

I hope that your dad can eventually recognise how his actions are impacting on you all and seek help. If he doesn't, I hope that you don't blame yourself or each other or get consumed with wondering what you could have done differently or whether you could do more to help him. Heart

Re: My father needs help

didn’t know about any rules and just joined the other night after talking with mum about it. I get it but however I don’t think I gave too much away as both the places I mentioned are large and I didn’t even narrow it down to a suburb but have no problem in it.


To the other comment, that situation with your grandmother sucks. I was very close with my nan before she passed in 2016 and amongst the other grandchildren I was looked at as “the favourite” grandchild of hers. Can’t remember too much else about the comment to reply to but basically just want to say that I am fine with this really, it’s just bad for my dad. I don’t think it’s affecting me really but don’t even really know what I wanted to achieve by putting this out there, but just at the end of the day he is such an idiot and continues to be and has brought it all on himself, but will then text abusive barely literate texts as he did today while I was at work, to me every so often complaining that I never call when really there’s nothing I want to say to him. He was angry at me for some reason about 6 months ago and he called me so I answered but after the 1st sentence from his mouth was “listen here F*#|wit” I just hung up on him and he tried calling back but didn’t answer. Idk

basically everything is just about him. His brain is too far gone not in a mental sense but just in the way he acts like no human should. Like currently my youngest sister (11) is in hospital and has been in chronic pain all week long but when I did speak with him on the phone earlier he didn’t even ask about her or bring that up at all. It was all just about him and why I hadn’t called (btw spoke to him like 2 Days ago) and the same old drawn out lines he has been using door years to bag out my favourite footy team, sometimes sure, in lighthearted jesty, type of way but most of the time just ignorant comments that we’ve heard for years relating to footy chat. 

Not to get to side tracked either but yeah might check out that family drug line or whatever although there won’t be any point because he is just going to keep doing what he is doing regardless and doesn’t care about anyone but himself. 

Re: My father needs help

Hi @Willlowtree, that is okay about the guidelines! We know you are a new user and may not be familiar with them. You can have a read of them here, if you like.


Sometimes it can be hard to know whether something is affecting us when we have been dealing with it for so long. What we experience can become 'normalised' in a sense and we can begin to desensitise ourselves to it. I am not saying this is absolutely the case for you.. it may be true or it may not. Dealing with abuse can be tough especially when it is coming from a parent! It can definitely help to get things off our chest and share our experience with others. We are all here to listen Heart


The Family Drug Helpline is also here to support you through this experience. Your father may continue to behave the same way and we have no control over other people's actions. We can, however, receive support on how to deal with the impact that this might have on us. At the very least, it may be a place to share your thoughts and feelings Smiley Happy