Father is stuck in a downward spiral
Dear Annie: My dad has been a mess for the past couple of years and he’s sinking into a hole. Six months ago, he was laid off and his unemployment benefits just stopped. He also hit a car and left the scene. The police caught up with him and charged him with a hit and run.
Dad is a delivery driver and I worry that his driver’s license will be taken away. He is too stubborn to find any other type of work. He recently went for an interview and didn’t get the job. I’m guessing because they saw his driving record.
Dad keeps asking me for money and I always give it to him, because, well, he’s my father and I hate to see him like this. Here’s the real problem: Yesterday, I moved his laundry out of my dryer and noticed a cut piece of straw that is used for cocaine. Now I think I know where that money is going.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing everything I can for Dad, helping him get food stamps, health insurance and cash assistance. I’ve been bringing him to all the government agencies, sitting with him and waiting. Then he asks me for money and I find that straw. I’ve had my suspicions for a while and this confirms it. He also drinks like a fish. I feel as though I’m the parent and he’s the child. Should I report him for the drugs so he can get court-ordered rehab? — Torn Son
Dear Son: Your father might get into court-ordered rehab. But he also might have to spend some time in jail for possession.
You sound like a caring, loving son. Please understand that you cannot get your father to stop using drugs and alcohol. He must want to do that for himself. But you can and should stop giving him money. If you are concerned about his bills, you can pay those directly, and you can feed him and do his laundry if you choose. But it seems that handing him cash will only lead to trouble. You can look into AlAnon (al-anon.alateen.org) and also Adult Children of Alcoholics (adultchildren.org) for support for yourself.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Tired of the Gimme Generation” is right on. My husband and I are godparents to a lovely girl who is now 12. We have showered her with gifts since she was born, but have never once received any birthday or holiday cards in return.
We can’t fault the child. Where are her parents? What are they teaching her? Our gifts were always something they expected her to receive. In fact, we only heard from them when a gift-giving occasion was on the horizon. A few times, the mother would tell us that the child wrote a thank-you note but the parents forgot to mail it. On the rare occasion when we did receive a thank-you, it was always just prior to the next gifting date.
We sent our last gift on Christmas and received a thank-you note in April, just in time for her birthday. We sent a congratulatory email. — The Heck with You