Reply with quote #46
??????? I just don't know. Tonight I'm numb. We'll see if tomorrow sheds any new light. I appreciate this forum. ~
Reply with quote #47
Actually, Hopelessly Tired, you do not need to do anything. You are not your mother's guardian and even if you and your brothers go to court to gain guardianship, you could not force her to do anything. You could set up living arrangements that she could ignore.
Since she is in the hospital, you could contact the social worker about discharge planning to a facility. Perhaps she has been sober long enough to go along with this plan.
Otherwise, you may want to respond how we do with our grown children: Sympathize with their setbacks. Celebrate their successes. And let them carry on.
You may decide that as long as she keeps drinking, you will have nothing to do with her. She can deal with her various medical problems on her own.
It's all about choices and consequences.
Reply with quote #48
Naturally, the fear is that if you do not help her she will die.
We are all going to die and whether your mother dies sooner rather than later is really not up to you.
Her alcoholism is not helping matters any, but is there anything you or your brother can do about that? Not really.
Years ago, I was an interviewer for the NIDA biannual drug survey. The two main reasons that people gave me for stopping drug use were:
1) "It was time."
2) "My wife/husband/family said they would have nothing to do with me if I didn't stop."
Not a one mentioned rehab.
Reply with quote #49
One last thought, and then I'll stop.
Years ago, a friend of mine told his mother that if she didn't take her mental health medication, she was not welcome at a ceremony where he was getting an honor. He told her he was tired of being embarrassed by her erratic, manic behavior and that he wasn't going to deal with it any more. She could be as crazy as she wanted, but it would be on her time, not his.
She carried on about how he didn't love her for who she was and how much she had sacrificed for him and how she deserved to be at that ceremony and so on and so forth.
He stood his ground. She took her pills. The ceremony went off without a hitch.
They had several more go rounds over the years.
Reply with quote #50
Hello from the UK...from yet another adult child of a 74 year old alcoholic mother ...amazing isn't it that there are so many of us the world over?!
I've been suffering very similar problems over the years with things deteriorating markedly over the last 6 or so. In 2005 my mother fell and hit her head and was hospitalized. Since then she has had mobility problems and walks with a walking frame. Basically she has what my research has led me to call Wernicke's ataxia, or at least some kid of damage to/atrophy of the brain caused by years of heavy drinking. She has fallen many many times since then and has been hospitalized, medically detoxed, pumped-full of thiamine, and then send home without support.
One problem is that none of the doctors we have seen have said it as clearly as this - the alcohol has damaged your brain and this has affected your mobility. Every time I try to talk to my mum about it she thinks I am saying that when she falls it's because she's is so drunk at the time - basically falling-down-drunk. She says no, it doesn't happen at her drunkest. She's right, it doesn't. But she cant or wont understand that I'm saying something different. The long-term drinking has damaged the brain.
My brother and I are taking her to the dr on Monday - she wants to have her back looked at after the latest fall; we want to talk about support for her to stop drinking. She's already told me that she's asking the questions, not me, so wish me luck.
I find it really useful to read these posts, and especially supportive to read the ones that say it's her choice, just step-back and let her make it, ready to be there if she ever asks for help.
My biggest worries are to do with what options we have when it comes time for an elder care home. Do I need to find a specialized one? If she goes into one where she can't have a drink she'll need medical help to detox and I don't know how to get it for her. What my brother and I seem to be subconsciously wishing for is another hospitalization - it sounds so awful to say it, but at least then she'll be looked after for a while and medically detoxed again and so that we can make decisions about what she needs from the starting point that she will be at least a week sober.
Thanks for listening
p.s. any other UK posters out there?
Reply with quote #51
Hi Daughter and welcome. The problem as you describe it with your Mum is outside my own immediate family experience but some of my cousins have had to deal with the same situation as you and I have seen how difficult it can be. I hear your frustration and your worry and my hat is off to you for your obvious deep concern for her welfare, despite your efforts being somewhat unwelcome! Yet you keep on trying and I admire you for that. It's good that you're not trying to deal with it alone, sometimes brothers CAN be a blessing after all! (Sort of........!)
I wish you luck on Monday, I hope it goes well and that she doesn't try to gag you completely, for everyone's sake. Hopefully you will come back and let us know how it went for you but in the meantime, I'll keep fingers crossed for you! I'm not sure if there are any other UK posters here but I'm from just "across the pond" so not too far away..........to be sure, to be sure!!! Take care for now. Jan.
Reply with quote #52
So an update on our planned visit to the dr to ask for help....she wouldn't go.
After much talking and a few tears (from me) the situation as my mother sees it is this: "I am what i am and I'm not going to change for you or anyone. I understand that you think I fall because of the drinking; I understand that you think I have brain damage because of the alcohol and that you think that this is why I have mobility and other physical problems. I dont quite believe it but anyway I'm not going to change my lifestyle. Why should I, I'm happy?" I tried to say that she is missing out on so much because she can't leave the house (except to buy drink). She's missing her grandchildren. Her reply is that she'll talk to them on the phone. I tried to say that her falling is increasing and so she's risking another hospitalization and maybe losing her independence. Her reply is that she doesn't want that but it wont happen because she always gets up again. I tried to say that it is horrible for me and my brother to visit when she is drunk, and worse to bring our kids. Her reply is: dont come then. My brother's solution is to vist her once a week and to tolerate the drunken times and look forward to the occasional sober visits. I've always been the one less able to tolerate her when she's been drinking - i can't even bear to hear her on the phone when she's slurring and I visit less - maybe 4 times a year. I have to force myself to phone, which causes me days of anxiety and guilt as I build up to each call, and I average about once every 2-3weeks. My question for everyone out there is: what next? Should I carry-on with my occasional visits and phonecalls and just try to learn to tolerate. Or should I stop contact. Thanks
Reply with quote #53
Oh Daughter, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I don't actually have first-hand experience with this specific type of situation, but I do have experience with parents teetering on the edge of disaster and not being able to do a thing about it. And as long as Mom is competent, neither can you. That's so maddening. I used to drive home from my parents' house after a visit (we live in different states) and cry my eyes out for the first hour in frustration and worry.
What I learned from this board and some very helpful friends in the "real world" is that I had to accept that I couldn't make them do what they didn't want to do, and that constantly arguing about it just made us all miserable. What I COULD do, however, was research and plan for when the other shoe inevitably would drop, so that if a crisis DID happen, we wouldn't be foundering around not knowing which way to go. I actually told my parents this, assuring them that IF they ever changed their minds, I would be there to help them with the transition (in this case, we're talking moving from a single family home to AL). My advice to you: decide what you need to do for YOU--not with the idea that you're going to change Mom's mind, but with the idea that you must take the path YOU can endure and live with. Maybe that means no contact. Or maybe that means you visit on a schedule that's comfortable for you, but you make it clear to Mom that if she's drunk, you'll turn around and leave because it's too hurtful to see her that way, and the same thing goes for the phone: "I'm sorry Mom, I can tell you're not sober right now, and it's hurtful to me to talk to you like this. I'll try to call you later when you're better." I'm sure others with better, first-hand experience will chime in, but that's my two cents, for what it's worth.
Reply with quote #54
I'm from the uk too. I posted earlier on this thread re my Mum's drinking. Dad is an alcoholic too. Without repeating the whole story I know how you feel about not wanting to be involved. I tried that tack with my parents when my Mum was drinking in the street and being found by neighbours, policemen and taxi drivers. She had a fall which resulted in hospitalisation but still would not admit that it was her drinking that caused it. I was at the end of my tether. BUT we had suspicions of dementia too and we have now got a diagnosis of definite dementia.
About 4 years ago she was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, unknown to us, and we feel that was when she started drinking inappropriately( to cope.) Now we feel that she really is not responsible for her own behaviour and we try not to leave her alone long enough to go out and buy drink. It works but then she still drinks at night with my Dad. They hate each other and having a drink together is the only way they can be in the same room.
Recently they have been fighting and social services said she would have to go into respite or else! She did, and during that time I had a massive fight with my Dad about his refusal to cooperate and live like a normal human being. No-one has ever stood up to him and told him his behaviour all his life has been unacceptable. I told him just that and he told me to get out. Then he told anyone who would listen that he was suicidal-poor thing!
Now she's out and I have to call every day to check up on her but am faced also with my so-called father who sits and smokes and watches telly all day and thinks he is an innocent party. I cannot bear to look at him and when we find a care placement for Mum, which is not going to be easy as she is totally against the idea, I will not be returning to that house. I offered to help him find somewhere more suitable to live where I would continue to give him my support in his old age and he point blank refused. He says he's not leaving except in a coffin. While my Mum who kept a roof over our heads all the years of his drinking will have to into care and he gets to stay and sit by the fire.
Sorry but my point is sometimes you have to say you are not coming back unless.... Then stick to your guns.
Reply with quote #55
I have to agree, you have to withdraw contact - and enablement. In a way, just visiting them enables it. It says to them "they will still come to see me and help me even when I am completely drunk".
Daughter: I vote for no contact, for awhile. She has to see what the consequences are, even if she tries to comprehend it in some alcohol-induced state. Your mother sounds very very stubborn and definitely set in her ways. If you do not have guardianship (or whatever they call it in the UK) then frankly, 1. you do not have any authority and 2. You are not legally responsible for her, or her choices. I would never, ever consider having guardianship over an alcoholic or drug addict, unless, I had full authority and the right to check them into a rehab or detox (against their will) and KEEP them there until they were cleaned up. I would suppose this is not allowed, that they are free to leave a rehab at any time they want. So guardianship under those circumstances, for me, would be way out. Nope. Who wants all the responsibility and legal issues, but NO AUTHORITY? It is complete craziness. I had POA for Mom - BUT - she trusted me, she was not an alcoholic, she let me help her (for the most part), and she did not fight me on much (for the most part). I don't think I would have ever considered full guardianship for her, unless she was completely mentally gone with dementia. And then, I would be making all the decisions. I feel for all of you dealing with alcoholism ON TOP of all the elderly care issues. It must be horrible and extremely worrying. I say you step back, go no contact, and wait and see what happens - if anything. best wishes, 'daughter'(beth)
Reply with quote #56
Wow! I had no idea there were people just like our family!
First of all, I have come to know that there is nothing you can do! Sounds sad but it helps when things go awry. As her Dr. said after she blew a .24 (!!!!!) it is not illegal to be a drunk. Afterall, look at all the bums on the street. It IS illegal to drive and we have taken her car (and soon her license) away. That has made her even meaner and drunker. She was a vital, fun person until she reached 80. Since then she has become a mean 'ol drunk. WE have had periods of sobriety but are then, sadly, let down. We just took her to the hospital (50 % of people die trying to rehab on their own) but she REFUSED the rehab and has gone home. She wants to die. We moved her to a lovely retirement condo so she could be around friends and not so lonely but she hates it ("Loved" living alone. Perhaps so nobody knew about her drinking?) She is very clever and fools the social workers at the hospital who claim they are HER advocate and she is free to return home. She has fallen and broken her neck but they claim (even with no neck mobility and age 85 and a drinker) that she is ok to drive!!!!! She is now in the process of hiring an attorney to get her car back (she was found passed out in the garage keys in hand) - THAT is one area we CAN control and her dr. agrees and is signing the DOT form to take her license away. At least we will not let her kill someone else. I know I was an enabler for many years - calling her and bringing her meals and groceries (that she left uneaten) - funny thing - she can take her walker to the store to buy vodka but can't to buy milk? I'm not buying that anymore. I'd call her a "special needs" drunk - BC she is so old - but she COULD be taking care of herself - I think we need to let her fail but it would be hard to deal with the guilt of her death..........SOS
Reply with quote #57
Both parents are 70-71, bipolar alcoholics. I have finally put them both (seperately) in assisted living. Dad has no access to booze, mom does, still drinks from morning to night. I have come to the conclusion that I am a product of my upbringing, and genetics. Double whammy. Mother (Jan) never fails to belittle me, humiliate me, and let every one who will listen know, that her daughters just don't love her anymore. We have both been through hell. My sister is able to continue her therapy because she has insurance. I have none. She and I don't speak either, unless it is necessary regarding our parents. There is no communication other than that. Jan canceled the holiday get together, then called me christmas eve to see if I would get her booze. I did. I put it on her counter, (she was still in bed), told her merry christmas and left. She left me a voice mail that said, "merry f-ing christmas", and that I need to "lose my attitude towards her". I feel like I am just the thinnest piece of glass, and that just a look would bring me crashing down. I hurt to the core of my being. I take meds for my bipolar, do the things I'm supposed to do for my health, but I am still trying to swim out of the worthlessness I feel.
Reply with quote #58
Why would you get her booze? That's enabling. Since she's in asst living you dont have to check on her much or just ask the aides how she's doing, when she's abusive leave or stay away longer. Not like she's in a house alone.
Reply with quote #59
You may look into counseling for self esteem issues. Some social services may have low cost ones or see if someone at asst living knows of support group for family. Some have that.
Reply with quote #60
Originally Posted by
caroline Both parents are 70-71, bipolar alcoholics. I have finally put them both (seperately) in assisted living. Dad has no access to booze, mom does, still drinks from morning to night. I have come to the conclusion that I am a product of my upbringing, and genetics. Double whammy. Mother (Jan) never fails to belittle me, humiliate me, and let every one who will listen know, that her daughters just don't love her anymore. We have both been through hell. My sister is able to continue her therapy because she has insurance. I have none. She and I don't speak either, unless it is necessary regarding our parents. There is no communication other than that. Jan canceled the holiday get together, then called me christmas eve to see if I would get her booze. I did. I put it on her counter, (she was still in bed), told her merry christmas and left. She left me a voice mail that said, "merry f-ing christmas", and that I need to "lose my attitude towards her". I feel like I am just the thinnest piece of glass, and that just a look would bring me crashing down. I hurt to the core of my being. I take meds for my bipolar, do the things I'm supposed to do for my health, but I am still trying to swim out of the worthlessness I feel.