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I'm 19, I just graduated in May. I'm planning on joining the Air Force soon but due to the state of my family, I feel some guilt about doing this and leaving my dad.

My family has very strong addiction problems. My mother is a paranoid schizophrenic who had a physically abusive father and a schizophrenic mother. My mom and her siblings were taken from their parents and placed in foster care at very young ages (~4-6 years old). My mother often told me of how she was sexually abused and beaten, split from her siblings and other horrible things. My mother has been in a living hell since birth.

I sympathize with my mom because of this but, she has formed a dependency on drugs and pills as a coping mechanism. My other siblings have gotten wrapped up in this addiction as well and my mom has used them as a means to get her fix. Often getting them to bring her pills and drugs. In the same breath she tells them they shouldn't do it she's asking where they got them from.

My dad, unfortunately, has watched his kids suffer for all of his adult life because of addiction and because of my mom's role in it and enabling them. My dad had his wild days in his 20's but now works 6 days a week and has for many years even now in his 50's. The only thing he does is work, sleep, eat and maybe watch a little TV. He grew but unfortunately, my mom didn't. They divorced after 15 years of marriage when I was about a year old.

My older brother is in prison for drug-related charges and has been basically since I started high school and even still after I graduated. He had a child with a woman with severe addiction problems who barely sees her son on his birthday. There is no one to take care of my nephew except me and my dad. I've watched my nephew since he was 5. He just had his 10th birthday and isn't old enough to stay home alone.

My older sister, who's younger than my brother, is struggling with addiction as well and has been living with us. She had a daughter too with someone addicted to drugs who can't take care of their daughter. Her and my niece live with us as well. There's usually always an argument brewing because my sister is selfish and doesn't follow my dads' rules. He can't even give her money to go get some soda from the store because she'll take the change or just spend it on something else entirely.

He was buying her suboxone to help with her addiction but she started selling them and he's since quit. My sister has fallen asleep and forgotten to pick her daughter up from the bus stop a few times, almost overdosed in front of her, lies and steals from my dad and other things. My sister isn't reliable in any sense of the word and can't be depended on for anything.

The point of this long question is that my dad has a whole lot of stress and problems to deal with. I've helped a lot with cleaning, cooking, taking care of my nephew and niece but I'm supposed to go into the Air Force in a couple months and won't be able to help him. My dad is getting older, he can't handle the stress like he used to. His health is declining and my siblings and mother are putting him in an early grave.

He works nonstop and for the most part has been the only reliable adult in my life. He's the only reason my siblings haven't gone out and gotten themselves killed is that he's constantly wrangling them up and trying his best to keep them in line. He's just trying to make sure his kids survive and his grandkids don't have horrible lives because of their parents' choices.

I feel an immense amount of guilt leaving him with all these problems but he's told me repeatedly to not let him hold me back and that he can handle it. He said he dreams of the day one of his kids "makes it" and has a decent life. I'm his only kid to graduate high school and he takes immense pride in that. And I plan on getting my degree while in the Air Force in Computer Science.

On one hand, I know he needs my help and on the other, I know that staying home to help would crush him. I don't know what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

TL;DR I'm going into the Air Force soon but feel guilty leaving him with all of the family problems we have. I don't think he can handle the stress and I think I should stay to help him. But he's told me repeatedly not to let him hold me back, he can handle it and to go anyways. Any advice?

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    Hi! Welcome to Interpersonal Skills! We can't really tell you whether you should leave your dad or not. That's not an interpersonal question. I have put your question on hold at the moment. It can be reopened if you can edit it to fit it within the site scope. – A J Sep 13 '18 at 4:49
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    Maybe you want to ask: "How can I join the airforce while preventing my dad getting overstressed? (a bit broad - potentially)" OR "How to explain to my dad that I'm not joining the airforce, and it isn't because of him holding me back?", think about what you want to achieve, and then ask a question about how interpersonal skills can help you achieve it. (If I could answer, I would say: "Go for it, but support him however you can, sending money, going home whenever you get leave, etc") – ollie299792458 Sep 13 '18 at 13:04