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Reged: 02/10/13
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My Dad has HIV and I need some resources to help us both psychologically..
      #270682 - 02/19/13 09:07 AM

About 3 years ago my mom presented to my brother and I the possibility that my dad was cheating on her and doing crack as well.. We staged an intervention within the immediate family (just the 4 of us) to confront his drug problem and found out alot more than we bargained for. He admitted to us he had been HIV positive since 2000. It was just shocking. Even though I am 34, my brother is 26 and we both are much more spiritually evolved than many, it has been a major life changing event and it's been nothing but a major whirlwind of a rollercoaster ever since. Between my dad's drug and sex problems to his mental state detieriating, I see that this is out of my hands and not only does my dad need to come to terms with this (he has asked us not to tell anyone) but I need help coping and understanding how I can help him as well. My dad has always been my hero and I feel the shame and pain as if his is my own sometimes. I am daddy's lil girl and while I feel everyone is turning their back on him, I can't do that. But.. I also need to set boundaries. Please.. If anyone knows a support group in the San Diego area that might be able to help us. Or even, just somewhere I can talk to someone about this.. It's starting to take a toll on everything in my life...Help

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Reged: 02/16/13
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Re: My Dad has HIV and I need some resources to help us both psychologically.. new
      #270694 - 02/20/13 03:52 AM


I don't have the answers to your specific questions, and the whirlwind I am in is different from yours. But I have gone through a lot of my own psychological problems and helped many people through theirs.

The most important thing I can reassure you of is that your emotions are *never wrong*. Facts can be wrong, but feelings just *are*, without being right or wrong. You're going to be going through a grieving process, which includes denial, anger, guilt, plain old sadness, and moments of peace that will eventually grow longer and longer in duration. Don't be surprised if you feel all of these things at once -- this is totally normal when you're hit with so much life-changing pain. A lot of people still believe in the "Five Stages of Grief", which sort of says, "well, you will be in denial for x number of days, then progress to the anger phase for x number of weeks", etc. But it turns out that the psychologist who pioneered that theory, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, revised it later in her life to acknowledge that the many emotions of grief can happen all at once, or in any order, fast or slow. You may be grieving for your father's struggles, your mother's pain, and for the rest of your family, in addition to your own grief. No wonder you feel like everything is falling apart!

And what's extra weird is that you're having all of these grief emotions, but no one has died... Many people only ever experience grief in the context of death. If you want to do some reading, look into the concept of "ambiguous loss". That has helped me a lot, in many different contexts.

I have so much sympathy for you and I wish you and your family the best of wishes. Please don't hesitate to pm (private message) me any time.


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Reged: 12/13/12
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Re: My Dad has HIV and I need some resources to help us both psychologically.. new
      #270839 - 02/27/13 03:06 PM


I am inspired by your attitude facing what must be incredibly difficult. As far as specific support group information goes, I don't have any. However, you should be able to find a Nar-Anon, ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) or other such support group in your area. These are twelve step programs helping those affected by loved ones that are addicts or alcoholics. I have experience from both sides of this situation, so I'm hoping a little insight helps.

My father had a long career of substance abuse and sex addiction, abandoning us as children to pursue it. He is now 74 years old and an evangelical minister of music for 30 years, traveling the southern U.S. to tell his story of how his faith helped him overcome the disease of addiction. I have spent a lot of time in therapy dealing with the abandonment and eventual addiction of my own. From that perspective, the greatest wisdom comes from the realization that there is really very little you can do for your father – he must make all the steps toward recovery himself. You can offer love and support to him, which can make an impact, as it is a difficult journey. Being in this position is difficult for you, too, which is why such programs as Nar-Anon and ACOA exist. Similar to what they tell you on the plane about putting on an oxygen mask, help yourself first, then your father. If you’re not prepared for the mental and emotional challenges, you may hurt more than help him.

Regretfully, I am not a parent, but perhaps close to your father’s age, and have been living with HIV/AIDS for 10 years. Probably like your father, my early years after being diagnosed were spent trying to escape my middle age and diagnosis through crystal meth abuse and the sex addiction that came with it, which exacerbated my health issues and almost cost me my life. I have survived cancer, chronic hepatitis B and a bleeding disorder for four years now. I am living a clean life, practicing yoga almost every day, and pursuing dreams I had forsaken when I received my diagnosis. My health is miraculously good, when you consider what I put my body through. During the worst of my addiction, I was a bag of bones, staying up for more than a week at a time.

All of this should encourage you that there is hope for you and your father. Arming yourself with the strength from the support groups for you, then loving and supporting him is the well from which great miracles can spring.

Peace, light and hope to your family.

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Reged: 12/25/11
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Re: My Dad has HIV and I need some resources to help us both psychologically.. new
      #270852 - 02/28/13 12:13 AM

I am truly sorry to hear about the situation that your family is going through and yet glad that this is finally out in the open amangst yourselves. Now don't think that what I'm going to say is in any way taking your dads side, what he had been doing was most definitly wrong, no doubt about that , but the guilt and keeping this all , an inner secret , I have no doubt caused him to go even further into the madness in an effort to hide from the shame he was feeling. Being a spiritual person I'm sure you understand how hiding this can truly eat away at a persons mind as the guilt builds. So that is why I say I'm glad it been brought to the surface. But counseling is definitly in order. If he expects his family to keep this secret going then the total breakthrough will never be completed. It does become a spiritual warfare for all.Crack is a instant addictive drug that knows no boundries, I am slll glad that you got him off that crap. It is the most devastating drug ever, and I being a drug addict myself , herion ,20 years worth messed with coke and crack and it is an ugly monster that is always hunger . And the Hiv , as sad as the secret was , is a very managable thing. The next difficult thing is going to be giving forgiveness, And being a born again person , it still can be a difficult step to take. No one likes being decieved . But that is what makes true forgiveness such a beautiful spiritual thing. I hope and pray the best to all in the family . Your welcome to come talk to me if ever you need. God bless...River

Look up to the Heavens for the answers to Lifes questions .

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Reged: 03/07/13
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Loc: SE US
Re: My Dad has HIV and I need some resources to help us both psychologically.. new
      #271013 - 03/08/13 01:35 AM

I was that man! Same secret revealed through chronic illnesses not intervention. I saw what pain my disease brought to a family. The looks of shock, horror, fear will haunt me until I die.
My wife is uninfected. The miracle is that she remains with me, provides comfort and care. We have grown closer, more affectionate with each other.

Of my three adult children two have embraced me with compassion, forgiveness and love. One remains silent, distant.

Like me, your father is now free of the power of fear, guilt, shame... The truth is known. This fact alone contributes to humility, acceptance. Let us hope and pray it is a foundation on which he recovers, becomes medically adherent, and learns to live one day at a time.

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