New here. Father is addicted to prescription pills.

Hey everyone,

I'm new here, and I've never posted anything on a forum before, so this is a little scary, admittedly, but I guess everyone's in the same boat (unfortunately)...


I'm an adult child of a father who's been addicted to prescription pills for nearly 17 years (since I was 15). Prior to that, he was an alcoholic. He was unstable and emotionally abusive when we all lived under the same roof, and my relationship with him now is superficial, at best. 

After many attempts to make him give up the pills, my mum finally left him about 11 years ago. She died suddenly about five years ago. 

I'm originally from another country, and my father and younger brother live back home about 75 miles from each other. Three years ago, on one of my trips back, my brother and I staged an intervention, which didn't make much difference, although he swore up and down that he would give it up, this time, for sure. He looked like a skeleton at that point and could barely button his shirt. 

Since then, he seems to be somewhat functioning again after a string of car accidents and an arrest (trying to steal a doctor's prescription pad), among other stuff. He can keep his condo running, thankfully, but I'm terrified for his health, and the health of the people he encounters on the road. 

I know that I can't help him, but I feel like I need to keep in touch with him, and pretend like everything's okay, just to keep him in good psychological standing, but it's a detriment to my well-being, and I'm not sure what to do about it anymore. 

Last month, my father bought plane ticket to come visit me (no mention about his plans to anyone), a 10-day trip which was due to take place two weeks after he booked it. I couldn't reach him at all for those two weeks. I thought that maybe he had been arrested again.

Then, a day before his scheduled trip - after some serious panicking, and re-arranging work, social plans, volunteering, and putting plans in place for his arrival - he sends two emails saying how excited he is. Then, later that day, I get an email from him saying, "Sorry. I have the flu, and it's been going on for a while now, so I'll have to put the trip on hold."

I feel a dizzying mixture of rage, pity and sadness. The worst bit? The hope - the hope that he'll change, he'll get clean and healthy, that maybe we'll have a relationship. I love him, but it is what it is, and I need to accept that I'm as good as the wallpaper in this scenario - I know he won't listen or change unless he really wants to. 

I'm thinking about 'detaching with love' and not speak to him at all until he gets clean, which is what my auntie, who is 15 years sober, has told me to do. Has anyone ever done this? Does it work? 

My brother, who is a lot closer to my dad, thinks he can help him and has no intention of cutting off all contact. I really don't want to dump my father on him - I'm at a loss about what to do. 

Sorry, guys - this was way longer than I intended it to be! It actually feels good to share. Thank you very much for listening.