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Reply with quote  #16 
I have been dealing with my alcoholic mother for over 15 years now. I am 41 years old. She was not an alcoholic when me and my brother and sister were kids. She was an amazing mother. She went through a pretty civil divorce, but her heart was broken as were all of ours. She has been in and out of rehab. And these were very expensive and would last at least one month. She would sometimes be ok for awhile after she completed a program and sometimes she would drink the moment she got out. None of us has abandoned her, but she makes us the villains when we try to help her. She has had terrible accidents and damage to her liver because of her drinking. She is in an assisted living place, but she has broken her promises not to drink and I'd driving a car that she is in no condition to drive. She could kill herself or someone else. The assisted living place is about to kick her out. And that leaves us out of options. She thinks she can take care of herself but she can,t. She,s fallen, broken bones, fallen asleep with lit cigarettes, etc. She is going to bring us all down with her with any lawsuit for whatever stupid thing she does. I love her so much, and I don't want her to die. But I don,t know what to do anymore. I see people on the streets and I think that could be my mom if we all wash our hands of her.
She is so mean to us. My brother has already washed his hands of her. Do I too say goodbye, so I can live again? But if she dies I feel that I would die too.
Dee Dee
Reply with quote  #17 
Welcome, Patrica,
My heart goes out to you. Addictions are the nightmares in life. You have no control. I found Al-Anon to be very helpful but I had no way to fix another.

Sometimes the best we can do is take care of ourselves. I'm so sorry to read about your mother. Right now she has no control over her life. Are there treatment options for her? For those who are able to recover, Life becomes a daily miracle but the statistics are not promising. You must protect yourself.
Reply with quote  #18 
Thanks Deedee. I like this site. It's kind of like writing in your journal and having it answer back. Well, of course it's more than that. It warmed my heart to get a response so quickly. We have been through lots of treatment programs including having her go to a 3 month program at a wildlife preserve in Florida where she could be one with nature. I could write a book or at least a novella about my mother. I wish alcohol would just disappear from the world. That is the only treatment that would work.
Reply with quote  #19 
Hi Pat, welcome.
I really feel for you.
Helping an elderly parent is difficult enough these days. You have the added complication of alcohol addiction.
It saddens me that there is no long term help for your mother or any elderly person with that condition. I am assuming your mother does not have dementia. If she did, at least a nursing home could keep her in the locked ward and then there would be no question of her leaving.
I do not see how in the world you could have her stay at your home. She could burn the place down.
Not to mention, if she is living at your house I would think that would possibly make you even more legally responsible for her, or for her actions. Very very scary.

I know you do not want to see her hurt, or hurt someone else, or even see her end up on the street. But what can you do? She still has some control over her decisions, as bad as they are.
I wish I had some ideas for you. But if you need to come here and talk, we can at least listen and understand what you are going through.

Reply with quote  #20 
Patricia, i'm so sorry for what you're going through. I'm sure with all her rehab experiences, this has been addressed before, but on the off chance it hasn't...has Mom ever been screened and/or treated for depression? i remember reading on the Johns Hopkins site that something like 70% of female alcoholics are self-medicating for depression (i have at least one cousin for whom this is definitely true).
Reply with quote  #21 
Oh yes, she has depression and is on antidepressants. She has has had terrible arthritis since the age of 25. Never knew a pain free day. And she has a whole list of health problems. She looks like an old woman and she is only in her late 60's. She has to use a walker. It's hard to see her like that, because she was so vibrant and independent. The problem is that she doesn't want to give up her independence. But driving and living alone is too dangerous. She is not the same person she was before she became an alcoholic. In essence a big part of her has already died and I have been grieving for over 10 years now. I have to fly up to visit her in 2 days and have one of those dreaded talks with her. It always amazes me that she responds as though I'm coming out of left field. And how could I dare ask her if she has been drinking? I mean how could I dare not. How stupid does she think we are? This scenario repeats itself like a broken record. With time in between when things seem to go well, but soon fall to pieces again. I'm probably going to tell her that every time she acts the way she does she is putting a dagger through her childrens hearts. The children she is supposed to love and protect. We never tell her how bad she makes us feel, because we don't want HER to feel bad or give her a trigger to drink. It's a loose loose situation. But at the moment I've just about had it with her. But I could feel differently tomorrow.
Dee Dee
Reply with quote  #22 

We'll be thinking about you. You must do what you think is best for you as well as your mother. Unfortunatly no one else can make an alcoholic change. As you well know from all your family has tried, too often nothing helps until the alcoholic has bottomed out. The best you can do is make certain that you don't become a hostage to her addiction. Good luck & God bless you with the wisdom you need. 

Reply with quote  #23 
Patricia I undrstand exactly what you are going through. I'm new to this site but have been looking for something like it for a long time. I'm in a similar situation whereby I have confronted my 78 year old mother about her drinking lately and have told her exactly the pain she is causing. I no longer care if this hurts her. She has hurt us so badly. 
But things are complicated by the fact that she seems to have dementia as well and I don't know if she can really take on board what we're saying. To make matters worse she still lives with my father who has been an alcoholic for 30 years. He has driven her to this but she made her decision to stay with him all these years, even though she told me she never loved him, she was just afraid to leave or afraid of change. 
There were four of us children who paid the price for her decision and unfortunately now there are only three of us. My older sister died of alcoholism at the age of 36. I used to blame my Dad completely but now I blame her too for staying in the situation. 
This is driving us crazy. We are in our 30's and 40's and feel that happiness is never to be ours. I have a lovely family of my own and cannot fully enjoy that due to the constant demands of a mother I feel like giving up on. 
I never dreamt that at my age I'd still be dealing with this kind of thing.
I know all about the dread of a confrontation but I'd advise you to do it nevertheless. If your Mum has her full faculties she can chose between you and the drink. Good luck.

Reply with quote  #24 
I am new to these posts, but I also have a similar situation. My mother is 74 & lives alone in FL. She was diagnosed w/Alzheimer's several mos. ago. Her drinking has gotten so bad...she starts drinking wine in the am until bedtime. I've figured out she has at least 1 liter wine/day & up to 1.5 when I was just visiting her last week. She isn't taking her meds properly (esp. BP), her dr. has d/c'd her from his practice b/c of her non-compliance, nasty, argumentative calls, no-show appts., general belligerence toward staff. She has fallen, broken ribs; vertebral compression fractures; had pneumonia, etc. The worst is her drunken "rages" she had while I was there...blaming, yelling at me for anything/everything. She can not reason, nor follow logic anymore. I don't know if it's the dementia, alcohol, or both. I called the non-ER # for intervention and 2 officers came. She flew into a rage that I'd do this to her...I just wanted to get her help. They said if she knows her name, address, & responds to questions, they really can't take her in. I asked about 911 to ER....if she says no to the paramedics (she has the right to decline), they have to leave. Of course, she said NO! A visiting RN was coming in to follow after the rib fracture & we both called Protective wouldn't allow the woman to see her & by FL law, they must at lease "see" the person. Worker called the police & mom opened door to them, but, again they couldn't do a thing b/c she had the right to refuse & worker was trespassing on her property! I'm at a loss. I can't go for Guardianship b/c I'm out of state & can't keep flying to FL (I'm going to lose my job). My daughter is there now & is losing her mind w/my mother's drinking & demanding, ritualistic, paranoid, delusional behavior. She can behave decently at times, but once she's had a few glasses, she becomes unbearable. Oh, and the RN can't go in anymore b/c there is no dr. for orders anymore. I have an appt w/a new dr. for next week, if she will go. She still wants to drive, but the police took her car tags away (thank god), but she'll try to drive, anyway. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Reply with quote  #25 
Unless she is a danger to herself or others, neither the police nor the courts can do a darn thing. She can be as drunk, belligerent, nasty and non-complaint as she wants, but as long her life is not in immediate danger nor is she putting other people's lives in danger, she can continue carrying on until the cows come home.

I've worked on crisis response teams in Alaska and Minnesota and it would break your heart to see the mess delusional people were making of their lives. But unless they posed a serious threat to themselves or others, they could continue hallucinating, drinking... 

By the way, drinking yourself to death is not considered an immediate threat, unfortunately.

If we were able to document behavior such as wandering in the middle of traffic, sometimes that was enough to get them brought in for a 72 hour hold. But if they were able to talk at all sensibly to the psychiatrist, they were released, sometimes before the 72 hours is up.

Some families have gone to court to get guardianship, but then what? How do you get her to stop drinking? And you can sign her up for a program, but if she refuses to go along with he program, then what?

Many people get their only treatment in jail. CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) officers are trained to deal with people struggling with mental health issues. I've worked with them in the past. If people break the law, they can often work with the courts to arrange for them to go to treatment in lieu serving jail time. Sometimes it's the only leverage available.


Reply with quote  #26 
Insanity...thank you for your advice. I think people are getting tired of hearing me (I am tired of talking about it!). It's mentally exhausting. Anyway, I spoke w/an Alzheimer's Assoc. social worker & she said keep calling 911 when she starts getting out of control & say you feel "unsafe"....this might get her to the hospital.  I know from working in skilled NF, many go to the ER for "change in mental status", then end up in skilled NF. At least her alcohol & dementia will be monitored. This is her worst fear & it may come true (her mother had early onset Alzheimer's, so all she has ever said is don't put me in a nursing home!). I think that not taking blood pressure meds (180/110 readings) and other meds; not eating properly (losing weight); drinking excessively; not paying your bills--late, or electric being turned off shows self-neglect & a danger to herself. She isn't putting a knife to her throat, but she is "harming" herself. Won't that be enough to have her evaluated for competency?
If we can only get her back home, we can help her, but the system that protect your rights also makes it hard for this situation. Have you ever heard of a "exparte'"? Police said it's like a temp guardianship, but I must be in FL to file it.

I am to putting my hopes on this new dr.that he will help...I faxed him her med. history & described the situation. I really think she needs inpatient psych, needs to dry out & get back home to a place near us. She is also scheduled for a cardiac cath for her A-fib next wk. (not on any anticoagulant), but she refuses to get her labwork done for it....I am worried she won't be able to stop drinking for 24 hrs., but if my daughter throws wine away, I'm afraid she may go into withdrawl.  The cardiology office said she needs the cath done & it's her decision!! I said she can't make appropriate decisions, frustrating!
Anyone know about w/drawl in the elderly?....I know seizures can result & it should be handled in a medical setting I read. Thank you!

Reply with quote  #27 
Competency hearings usually require the person to be in the court room. I believe an ex parte hearing does not require everyone to be there, the evidence is presented but the person does not need to be there.

A county attorney could explain the procedure as often the county ends up being appointed guardian for someone who continues to make decisions that puts their life in danger. Most of the time, they prefer that a family member be appointed guardian. 

If there is a Crisis Response Team in your Mom's area, you may want to contact them. They often are aware of resources and procedures. 


Reply with quote  #28 
Insanity...thank you, again, for the info. I will look into this on Monday. Many people say it will take a life threatening emergency for anything to happen, but I am hopeful we will get her some help b/f it is too late. Thank you & best of luck to everyone else on these message boards.
Reply with quote  #29 
Doesn't have to be an emergency, can be a pattern of behavior (other than alcoholism or drug abuse) that poses a danger.

For example, if you can document a series of significant suicide attempts, then even though the person states they are not suicidal at that very moment, there is cause. Or say they have been observed walking down the middle of a street, or worse yet, a freeway, several times. Then even though they are not doing it at the moment... Running into traffic is another one. 

When you are asked if you feel safe, that is an attempt to see if someone is hurting you. Many times threats, especially those given while intoxicated, are not considered sufficient reason, but threatening with a knife in her hand would count.

I know that many people believe that alcoholics will not stop drinking until they hit bottom and that you just have to wait for that. Also many people believe that until a person is ready for treatment on their own, it won't be effective.

Not always true.

Years ago, a dear friend of our family was drinking and refused to go to treatment.  She was in her fifties and basically told everyone to butt out, it was her own business. Her husband was worried but refused to do anything. Said that drunk or not, there was no one to take her place running the office of their real estate business and they were in such financial trouble that they couldn't afford to hire help.

She only had one kidney, so the alcohol consumption could have some serious consequences. I offered to run the office while she was in treatment and he took me up on it. She went to treatment kicking and screaming. Didn't speak to me for years.

But she did sober up and lived another couple decades. After about five years,  I got a beautiful thank you letter from her.

Not sure you will get that from your Mom, but it was impossible for our family friend to make the decision to stay sober while she was drunk.
Reply with quote  #30 
Thank you, again, Insanity for the advice & sharing that story. It wonderful that you were able to help your friend...not everyone would.
I called Protective Services, again, and a worker went out today while my daughter was there to let her in. She overheard my mom talking on the phone w/her confusion & nasty attitude toward the caller. When the worker asked her about her meds, she said no, she doesn't take all those meds, except she ALWAYS takes her BP pills! Not true. She also asked my daughter questions, so she told her of her confusion, inability to complete a task, etc. I'm hoping something will come of the visit. Meanwhile, my daughter had to leave & is now staying at a hotel nearby for some sanity & to get some work done on her laptop. She said it's so frustrating...took mom 5 hrs. to get herself together to leave the house today. Nothing has gotten accomplished, except her insistence to pick up her daughter can't say no to her b/c she causes such a scene & is so mean that it's impossible to deal with.  I had to cancel her cardiac cath for Wed. b/c no lab tests were done, or picking up of her meds all b/c she insisted they go to lunch & had to have her wine, then was too tired to do anything else. She then blamed my daughter for not reminding her, although she did. My daughter will take her to this new PCP tomorrow in the pm. After my letter I faxed to him, I hope he will acknowledge her issues. Thank you for listening.
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