Hello Men,

I've come across a very big concern of mine lately. My father and I are, and always have been, very close since I was young. We consider each other best friends, and we never fail to bullshit with one another about sports, politics, or just how life managed to kick us in the balls yet again. But the last couple of times we've spoken, it seems that there is a clear boundary between us. I know the stories of sons around my age (20) getting in fights with their fathers; I don't know if I am just coming of age to this, or it is something else.

I have been trying to gain independence from him and my mother, but I never feel like I'm doing it the right way. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love my family, but lately I feel like I just don't want to talk to either him or my mom, only to my brother. He's been drinking a lot more, and I'm not crazy about it; I'll give him his space to do what he wants, but I mean, I definitely don't want him being all sorts of reckless.

As you can tell, I want to 'rebuild this bridge' if that's what we need to do. If it's taking a look at myself in the mirror and recognizing that I'm doing something wrong, then so be it, and same for him. But I guess I just don't know what to do in this stage of life.

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I live in CT, but I am currently going to school in MA. My plan after school is to go into the military; right now it's to be a Navy Corpsman FMF, but I've also always wanted to go into the Coast Guard as well. (I'm not really sure how relevant that is, but in case that helps). After that, I'm looking to go into probably some public sector/government role with Emergency Management (making response plans and such for impeding natural disasters, etc). I mean, for a while I'll live in CT, but I really would rather not live in there for the rest of my life; I'd much prefer to move down south, preferably the Carolinas. I hope this answers your questions...

I wonder if this is about him drinking too much.  Plausible?

I mean, he certainly appears to have increased his drinking in the past year or two, but granted, his father did as well, around this age, and wound up dying drunk. I haven't heard nor talked with him about it lately, but he sent me a message today saying 'don't call me... getting drunk." He's not an alcoholic, please don't think that, but it has increased in recent years.

I was thinking more about your reaction.  You're "not crazy" about what he's doing, and I wonder if that disagreement is a block.

Precisely why I replied that this needs more in depth than the AoM community can realistically provide.

I can form multiple hypotheses concerning Will's point, why the father is exhibiting the drinking behavior, why this may be upsetting to Mr. Aldrich (the OP), etc., etc., etc.  But, I'm not in a position to give adequate advice to him.

You need some in depth conversations that are beyond the limits of an on-line community.

 

Alright, understandable. Thanks for the help all!

I agree with Native Son on this. I mean, at your age, your role and your dad's have to change. As a man, you should be moving to independence (college not withstanding); he needs to let you go and grow up. But the drinking indicates deeper problems - an impulsive problem. I agree with Native Son. Find you someone to confide in and do it! I only caution you - be very careful whom you trust.

***** He's been drinking a lot more, and I'm not crazy about it; I'll give him his space to do what he wants, but I mean, I definitely don't want him being all sorts of reckless. *****

Usually men "give each other space" to avoid a fight. Is it possible that you're afraid of how he will react if you tell him how you feel about his drinking?

*****his father did as well, around this age, and wound up dying drunk. I haven't heard nor talked with him about it lately, but he sent me a message today saying 'don't call me... getting drunk."*****

Your concerns are understandable. I find it interesting that he should tell you not to call him because he's getting drunk. I wonder if he's as afraid of you being conscious of the fact that he is drunk, as you are of his reaction to your reaction.

*****He's not an alcoholic, please don't think that, but it has increased in recent years.*****

It's curious to me that you feel the need to ask strangers not to think that he's an alcoholic? Both father and son seem to have some strong emotions about this.

If he's getting drunk, and the drinking is increasing, that implies that it's out of his control. People don't rationally decide to get drunk.

I'm not trying to sound judgmental. Your dad sounds like a great guy, who could probably use your love and support about now. If you want to be more independent, and "be your own man", one way would be to take the initiative in the situation, and show some family leadership. You will probably need to recruit some help too.

I understand why you might not want to talk about the situation. Maybe you don't want to get into a fight, or for that matter, risk a lot of tension and awkward silence.

There are ways to talk about it without creating resistance or hard feelings. For example, if it does come up, you can tell him how you feel about it, framed in the context of filial love, concern, and RESPECT. Make sure he feels respected, not criticized. Express your concerns ONCE only per conversation--don't harp on it. Change the conversation promptly, and get it into a new and POSITIVE direction.

If he does start expressing anger in your direction, DON'T RESPOND TO IT, and stop talking. Just look concerned. Once people lose their tempers, it's hard for them to regain control--it's basically an adult temper-tantrum. Try not to let it go there, but if it does, don't feed the flames, just shut up at that point. Nothing you can do. I don't mean to imply that I assume it's coming to that--just a warning for if and when it does. Forewarned is fore-armed.

Wishing a good outcome for both of you.

Hello Douglas

 

I'm not saying our history is identical, but maybe I have some views you can think about. I'm giving you my honest thoughts. I’m 24 years old and Danish. Excuse my grammar if it’s not perfect at times.

I've like you always been close with my father, he's been like one of the buddies forever. I couldn't imagine life without him as a close friend. But we fight a lot, still do. He's an alcoholic (periodic), has been since I was 4yo. He's completely clean for some time and then all of a sudden he begins drinking and by day 4-5 he is consuming 30+ units a day, this continues until he's picked up by an ambulance.

Of course you father isn't this reckless but as others have mentioned, nobody goes drinking by themselves if not to try and mend something. The question is not whether he's an alcoholic; the question is whether he can cope with his problems without drinking. My father has always come up with answers to why he has gone drinking this time, but often he has no straight answer. I found out that the root of his drinking habit is due to his father (my grandfather) being a psychopath (declared by doctor).

I think my father is being a child and I have to be the man, the father of him. I tell him not to drink, I get angry, I break his bottles, heck I even broke a chair over his back once. Of course that’s no father to be. This is where Rob's advice of respect comes in. If a man is no longer feels respected by his own son, this leaves a great big hole in his heart, not a good position for actually mending his problems. Do not let things get this much out of hands, and remember, it begins with two people not being respectful of each other.

I think you think your father’s drinking is not okay, even though you maybe haven’t really realized it yet. And I think you should talk to him. If you do not try to talk to him about it, it’s the same thing as not being respectful of your relationship. Give him your honest thoughts and ask of him to stop because you are worried (also given your grandfathers history). If he doesn’t respect that, he doesn’t respect you. The problem is not the drinking of course, drinking is just a symptom, so you need to get your father to think about how he can better his life. Get more fun out of the day and feel fulfilled as a man and as a human.

On a final note I will say Rob’s “in the situation” advice is very wise.

I wish you luck

- Claus

Do you know why he is drinking more lately? It sounds to me that that is the issue, not the 'barrier' or rather that is the 'barrier'. What is changed in his life recently or what is about to change in his life such that he would want to hide in the bottle? Are you the youngest child or only child has his relationship with your mother changed, how old is he. There are a lot of things that could be singly or together the root cause of his drinking. My father started drinking very heavily several years before he divorced my mother, basically he was fundamentally unhappy with his life and relationship.

My thoughts?  Having kids grow up and leave home is a big deal for parents, especially when you have a close relationship with your kids.  It may even be a bigger deal to parents than to kids. For kids leaving home, they are starting on a new and exciting journey.  For the parents, it can be like losing a family member.  This young adult that you have raised from a baby is suddenly leaving (and usually just as they are becoming interesting).  It leaves a hole in the family routine and in the house.

I would let your parents know that you still feel the same way about them, and that you will continue to keep your close relationship, to the extent possible, even after you have moved out.

Good luck.

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