Dealing with Homeless Alcoholic Dad


I am new to this forum. My Dad has been homeless for several years and an alcoholic since I was about 14. I am 32 now. My Dad was living out of a car but last year he lost it and I received a call XMAS day, not to talk to his daughter on XMAS, but to ask for help getting his car fixed. I refused and didn't talk to him again until a few days ago. I found him in his usual area and nothing had changed. Now he sleeps behind a bush. He won't go to a shelter or a treatment facility 1. he doesn't have a problem and 2. he doesn't want to follow their rules. I am worried because it is going to get really cold and he won't go to Hypothermia because he can't save money for a bus to get there. I am just wondering if anyone else has a situation like this. My Dad won't shower, he just continues to feel sorry for himself and doesn't get out of this situation. He has depression, probably brain damage from so much alcohol and very low self-esteem. I feel helpless. I have a therapist, I went to one ACA meeting and they go around the room and share stories, but I think it would be more helpful to talk to someone who can relate with this situation. Of course, I know this situation is unique. I was hoping last year when he lost the car and had to live on the street it would be a wake up call, but now I don't think anything will be a wake up call.

1 Heart

My heart goes out to you & the never ending cycle of assisting/convincing/detaching from the self destructive situation for your own emotional well being & your probably correct in that hes been doing this forever, from what you described & really knows NO other way of surviving due to the fact hes so clouded from alcohol & the circumstances/situation hes created for himself. Is wise that you've sought ACA meetings as this will help you in life to continue on & know in your heart that you've done all you can possibly do to lead him in seeking help/assistance. Is very difficult when others (family members) cannot find this answer within themselves YET as this IS a very exhausting life cycle to witness first hand/front row seat. We're here to listen/talk/vent with when you feel like it as there are no quick answer/fixes for what you've endured w/your father. Continue to let it out here your not alone.

Take care of you.


1 Heart

Thank you.

I feel for you and especially for your dad. He's in it and cannot see it, I couldn't and lost the family, the job, the house, the white picket fence, all over vodka. The guilt, shame, and yes, low-self esteem-try self-hatred exist probably thats why we alcoholics try and blot out our minds and our existence from earth, just to stop the pain and get some kind of feeling good. I pray for you and your family, try and be supportive but not codependant. If you offer the drive to help, thats all you can do. I know when I was in my alcoholism, I wouldn't listen to anybody (couldn't hear them and their hearts for me and my best interests)until the hallucinations and dts got to be all the time and I prayed to God for a miracle. Know what? I got one and got sober 3 years ago, so do not give up hope for your dad.
May the Lord bless you and assist you in your time of crisis.

1 Heart

Hey fedup, one thought just came to mind. I hope you see this. If you really want to help him, go to a thrift store and buy him some clothes, sturdy, and warm, with clean socks and underwear if you can. Then find him and offer him a hot shower and lunch and thats all. Promise him you'll bring him back too, then if he accepts, and he might if you ask with love, have the clothes set out for him when he gets out of the shower. You might find that does more than anything he's got right now. Also get him a warm jacket if you can afford it.
The worst that can happen is he'll say no to you and you can still bring him the food and clothes. The other thing is he'll accept, wear the clothes and you eat with him, talk with him, and take him back. Either way That'll tell him you love him more than more than words ever could.
Please tell all of us what happens with your dad.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Excellant advice Jellyfish & congrats on 3yrs. sober.

Well, I have done that before. I even put him up in a room for about 6 months and nothing changed. He lived with both of my aunts, and another lady and had a menial job for some time and got kicked out of all of the places. He has a place near where he hangs out which has showers, gives people food and a place to spend part of the day. They have counselors coming in and they have other activities. All of the resources are right there in front of him and he just uses the place except he only uses the shower and changes once in a while. By buying him clothes, cigarettes and food I am enabling him.

Yes enabling is a hard one to stop doing & better that you did, talking through your experiences here is good for you though & what you've learned can help others even if its only one person its a good thing. You've already learned that there are no quick answers/fixes. We're here to listen when you feel like it.

All my strengths friend.


p.s. my husband is alcohol dependent, so I understand how you feel.

Fedup77 i messeged you ,your story sounds alot like mine and would love to talk to you

I am in the exact same situation with my Dad. I would like to talk about it if you're still here.

I fear this will happen to my father. He kicked hard alcohol but continues to drink beer occasionally, and he can't seem to get it through his head that this is STILL ALCOHOL. He already had to move out of a home he loved and into a smaller one, and he is constantly crying that he doesn't have money. He has many injuries and a spending addiction and bipolar disorder as well, so it is nearly impossible to even have a discussion with him on the phone without spending the next half hour after I hang up with him crying or being angry (then triggering my own spending addiction usually). I helped him a few times with money when I could, but he just hasn't seemed to learn anything throughout all the struggle, and now the only thing I can do is talk to him on the phone (he moved to Florida, and I'm in PA). He also has toxic, money-grubbing, manipulative people around him, and he's so fogged in depression and alcohol and pain killers that he is convinced these are the only people that care for him. It feels impossible, I know.

I honestly have no idea what to say. I know that is not helpful, but when you have a therapist and it doesn't help you feel better about the situation, what do you do? I wish I was strong enough to cut my father out of my life for good, but he's my FATHER, and I love him. I know I can't save him, and he has to want the help. I also know that he is a smart, generous, kind man and that his problems cloud those things for him and make him selfish in his misery. I have watched him go from a vibrant, happy person to a pathetic shell of himself, and it makes me angry, sad, and frustrated by not being able to do anything.

I know I'm not being helpful, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one with this problem, I am sorry that you have to go through this and feel this way, and that you are never alone.

1 Heart

My dad is is a very similar situation. He's been an alcoholic for most of my life (I'm 24 years old). He hasnt had a home for years, but he lived with my uncle for a while until my uncle passed away. After that he had no other options because my family has helped him so much in the past. My grandmother funded his way through rehab (for the umpteenth time) and this last time, he refused to go to a half-way house. When he left rehab, my aunt said she found out that my dad went to stay with his ex-girl friend who just gave him alcohol. A year or so later he was able to live with my other uncle. And again, he overstayed his welcome and has now been living in and out of a homeless shelter for almost a year. Oh, and obviously he no longer shows up for holidays with the family. I know how it feels to have your dad only call you for help. He called me once before he was completely homeless and I picked the phone all excited! Hadn't heard from him in forever and it turned out he just wanted to use my AAA membership to get help with a car. I pretended that my AAA card was expired bc I'm sharing a membership w my mom and it wouldn't be fair to her to let my dad use our credits. After I refused to help, I hung up the phone and just bawled my eyes out. It's been a year and a half since I've seen or talked to him. My grandmother says she has heard from him and that he sounds like he's losing his mind. Like, he doesn't sound well. He has been to alcohol dependent to hold a job for a while. My boyfriend told me that this is his choice and that I'm being selfish for wanting something different for him. So I decided to stop wanting anything for him. But I want to tell him I love him once before there's a chance ill never see him again. My uncle said he hangs out at a grocery store near the shelter, but I've yet to run into him. I guess what kills me is that he might not be at my wedding and see my kids when that time of my life comes. I think I'd have a heart attack if I did see him. I'd be mad, I'd cry, then tell him I love him, then Id feel embarrassed. I feel like if I found him I wouldn't be able to leave. I'm WAY TOO emotional about this and I wish I could get my mind to stop racing. Winters coming and I'm terrified. I know he's too embarrassed to talk to me. One day, ill find him, and let him know he's still my daddy and that nothing can change that. But then what's next? Wait until he dies? I know that's a horrible thing to say, but where can I ask that question but here in this forum?

1 Heart

My dad has been an alcoholic for as long as I remember. Today he left to wander the streets, I’m afraid he will not make it. There is immense guilt I feel. But thanks to hearing about your experience I feel like I’m not alone and that it truly is the right thing to do by letting him go.

My Dad has been an alcoholic for my entire life. It's progressed from beer, to whiskey in coffee, now vodka - neat from the bottle he has in his bag. He has three daughters and several grand children, we have tried many times over the years to help him but he does not want to be helped. He has made himself homeless voluntarily because he would rather drink than live with his family, who have always been supportive. I know he is sleeping rough but lies about it, last time I spoke to him was three weeks ago, he looked a mess and stank but said he had somewhere to go to clean himself up. At 5:23am my dog began barking and I looked out of my window to see him leaving my drive. He has spent some of the night I guess in my garage, I checked it out in the morning, it smelt vile which clearly shows he hasn't washed for well over a month, or changed his clothes. Doubt he has great control over his bowels. He had left *** butts everywhere. It makes me so sad, angry, frustrated plus a million other things to think about him and what he has chosen to do and how he wants to live. Christmas day is fast approaching, if he makes it that far, and I'll be sad because of his choices! I completely understand the above posters last comment. It seems like the only peace of mind we shall have is once you get that phone call to say they've gone. There is a million other things regarding my Dad that I need to say, to someone, anyone who'll listen, it eats me up. But I can't, not now, I don't have the strength :(

I didn't know there were other people out there in the same situation. It's so hard knowing your dad is out there homeless. My dad is a alcoholic.. In severe denial. My mum and dad broke up because of my dad's drinking when I was 14. He was then a functioning alcoholic had a great job then he lost his job. Because of this he then had to sell his house, found it hard to find work and is now homeless. But I feel he won't help himself. The amount of times he has been given opportunities for help by me and other family members. It's so embarrassing and I feel horrible to say it but I wish he would just go somewhere else and be homeless instead of in the small town I live in, where I feel everyone I know has seen the homeless alcoholic drunk in Main Street. I avoid it like the plague. My dad is actually such a great guy but when he is drunk I hate him. He is a nasty piece of work. But at the same time I want to help him. It's hard because I feel if I help him, like drive him places and buy him things I am just a contributed to his problem..I havnt spoke to him in a few weeks now, because I am worries every time I call him he will be drunk like he is 80% of the time. It's not just me who is affected, my little brother who is 14 also struggles but he tries to hide it. I'm so sick of this situation, it's so frustrating and heartbreaking. I don't know what to do. He won't go to talk to someone because 'he dosnt have a problem" and won't go for help because he feels he dosnt need it..but he clearly does. It's so hard.

I feel I'm in the exact same situation, almost. My parents went through a terrible divorce when I was 18,..10yrs ago. My mom got everything. My dad had been physically abusive to the family, very angry, she couldn't take anymore. My dad hasnt had steady work since. He's got a criminal past and Now has a lot of medical issues, so he can't work. He collects social security. He's not got a home, and had been staying with my sister's family, and in his car. .. and then suffered a heart attack, quad bipass surgery, 6strokes, and went through months of rehab. During this time I got him signed up for public housing, food stamps, etc...well most recently he's not been paying his bills. My sister and I are constantly lending money which he won't pay back, I even bought him a cheapy car, but he got evicted from public housing for not paying 175/month. I'm sooooooo mad he is so careless. I think he has a gambling addiction. Hec refuses to go to a shelter. He has a car but took out a title loan on it and didn't pay, so they've been trying to hunt him down to tow it. He's stolen from us in the past, I can't trust him. My husband isn't as empathetic and doesn't feel sorry because he sees the way I'm treated and says its my dad's own fault. I still care so much about him. ..I love him. I'm sooooooo scared. He can't stay with me, my husband don't agree, and it'd put a strain on my marriage. I feel as if I can't focus, not even at work. I get bad anxiety and panic attacks now, feel very depressed. I have done so much to help him but he doesn't help himself, so his situation money changes.
I'm scared for his life. I don't know how to deal with this. Its all I can think about, and I am so angry. How could he do this. ..are his daughters and grandkids not worth living for.?????
Just today I got very upset because he sent me a nasty text that he's not proud of the life I live or my marriage and that I'm selfish because I won't help him. ....I was soooo angry and hurt. . But I am still so worried.

I'm late on this but this is my exact situation. He was in my life for a long time and became homeless almost ten years ago. I still see him on very rare occasion and it's hard to think about. I'm so scared thinking I might not ever see him again.

I am in a similar situation. My Dad has been an alcoholic for most of my life and has been homeless because of it for over 7 years now. Im 24 and have a tough time dealing with it. It's a constant cycle of guilt, anger, detachment, and sympathy. I have tried everything that a 24 year old college student could do; including getting him his own basement suit in which he was evicted within 3 weeks because he refused to listen to simple rules and was constantly drunk. He has depression and constantly feels sorry for himself. Attempts at trying to offer him encouragement or advice are entirely useless. He has an unlimited amount of excuses for reasons why he wont get help and his efforts to try and pull himself out of the gutter are almost nil. I'm sick to my stomach from constantly worrying about his well being and can only see one way in which this is going to end. The guilt of thinking I am not doing enough is hard to deal with but everyone who has offered advice says that you cant help someone who wont help themselves and I'm slowly starting to realize this; Even if that person is your Dad.

Yea, you are right on target with what I deal with. I don't know what to say either. It is like beating your head against a wall. Hopefully your mom is well. I always and still get support from my Mom. I guess she is my only family role model really. My dad still continues to drink and I have taken him to the liqour store. I feel uncomfortable doing it but I also feel like well he is going to die sooner or later he might as well be "medicated" so he doesn't go nuts. He won't go to a treatment facility. He was taken to Detox once and left. He also doesn't have teeth and won't make the appointment to get them fixed even though he gets a retirement check now. He doesn't care about his health or future just about drinking and smoking.

@fedup77 It’s crazy how similar our stories are and i always felt like i could never relate to anyone completely because it’s such a different situation. My dad isn’t a bad guy, he is just selfish and stubborn and now alone.