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Only Child
I forgot to add, sorry..

 I have a very good friend whose parents also drink heavily. I will be attending Alanon this Friday.

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Only Child,

Since you are maintaining your sobriety and cannot be around alcohol, I think it would be utterly impossible to be around your parents for any length of him.  I hope the Alanon meetings are helpful.

The denial of alcoholism is really heartbreaking.  I have experienced that with some family members and friends.  I think you have to get clear and OK with what you can and cannot do for them.  I think your other family members are being very unrealistic and may be reacting to their sense of being helpless about all of this and wanting the solution to come from you.  I am sure you want to help them, but you cannot do it for them either.   
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Dear Only Child,
     Please, don't even think of abandoning your life for your parents. Go to Alanon (smart girl) and vent there, vent here and AA might be a good idea for you as well. You must make your sobriety #1. Your would be suicidal to become their caretaker. I know you care, but there is nothing you can do for them. The rest of the family, Alanon will give you lots of tools to use in dealing with them. Be strong, stay smart, and thank God every day that you escaped your parents fate. The insanity stops with you!
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My 75 year old widowed mother is an alcoholic.  Straight vodka everyday, all day.  She slurs, stumbles and passes out.  I am 54 years old and I am so mad.  I go from anger to pity.  For six months out of each year I have to leave my husband, children and grandchildren to care for her.  Now the doctor says she probably has bladder cancer from the non-stop smoking.  I am so angry with her.  She is not lonely.  My brothers spend most days with her when I am not there.  I just want to shake her to make her stop.  How am I supposed to watch someone I love slowly kill themselves.  I would almost rather her just jump off a bridge and get it over with.

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~please bump for Toni~

She needs support from someone who's been-there.  Lets not let her post get lost.

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I reread my post and I sound so angry.  I am frustrated.  I love my mother.  I do and would do anything for her.  But  I cannot sit and watch her kill herself.  If she had a terminal illness, I would do anything to make her live.  Both of her parents were alcoholics and I watched them die from alcoholism and lung cancer.  Do I just give up and let her live her life the way she wants?  I have suggested AA to no avail.  I have been to a few meetings to see if there is anything I can do.  All I got out of it was, that I cannot do anything.  I cannot control what she does.  So does that mean I have to watch?  If it were my child on drugs or cutting themselves I would do something.

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I watched my mom's health desinigrate while she was taking loads of narcotic and Xanax a day. (She stopped drinking years ago but switched to being a heavy user of narcotics.) The disease makes us sick too because we get a front row seat to everything, whether we want to see it or not. My mom was too far gone and didn't care. She just wanted to be happy and comfortable as long as possible. She was a member of AA and even founded a chapter of Emotions Anonymous in this area, but could not stop taking Oxy, Hydrocodone, Percocet, Demerol, etc. Not really interested in stopping. She said that she would rather not live anymore if she had to be in pain and stop her meds. She continued on heavy doses until she died of kidney failure a year ago.

Your mom has the right to live life as she wishes, but she doesn't have the right to drag you through it too and give you a front row seat. Tell her that you love her and will be glad to offer her help/support if she decides to try rehab or AA. Until then, I would detach as much as possible. Limit visits and don't prolong your exposure to it. It is not fair at all, is it? The disease has the control. But WE can control US.

At the risk of sounding odd...
After my mom  passed last year, I feel great peace and serenity. In fact, great relief.
No more worries about mom passed out in the floor, or moaning in the bed from overdoing the meds, or falling on the floor without being able to get up, or inviting strange people into her house and doing odd things.
I don't worry about her anymore, knowing that she is in a better place. Alcoholism is an illness that leaves a long shadow, but I am coming out from under it now. I would much rather be where I am right now than where we were two years ago before all the he-- was beginning.
Now is pretty good.
I wouldn't change it.

I know this post doesn't help, but I understand, so just keep on posting if you like. It is good therapy.

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It's frustrating to watch someone we love slide down a very destructive path.  Unless we have legal responsibility for them (ie. as a parent or guardian), we are essentially powerless to do anything.  We can beg them, try to reason with them, or try to intervene, but only they can change themselves, and only when they are ready. 


My dad was a functional alcoholic.  After decades of hurting himself and others, he eventually stopped drinking.  Why did he stop?  He was finally ready.   He made this decision.  Period.


One of my brothers is now a very destructive alcoholic.  He does not want to stop drinking.  He's given up on himself.  He doesn't seem to be able to control himself.  His therapist and doctors have warned him that he is on a destructive road to nowhere, but he doesn't seem to care.  It's frustrating and sad and anger-provoking and aggravating, but at the end of the day, it's still his decision.  I'm sure there are many reasons why people get addicted to things, but in his case I know he is in a lot of emotional pain and the drinking helps him escape.
Since you cannot change your mom, here is what you can do.  You can change yourself.  You can find support from an Adult Children of Alcoholics group or website.  You can learn about co-dependency.  You can establish some boundaries with your mom.  You can tell her that you love her and that you want to help her when she is ready to give up the alcohol and accept help, but until then you are not going to stand by and let her drink in front of you (or whatever other boundary you wish to set.)    She needs some tough love.
You also need to find support for yourself.  Loving an addicted person is a very trying existence.   Please read up on this if you haven't already done so.
Good luck and keep writing to us.
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Hi Toni
I am so sorry that your mom is suffering from the disease and or addiction of alcoholism and it is a disease I think of body, mind and spirit.
I like to think of drugs and alcohol as medical issues and should be treated by the medical profession but there are differing opinions on this as well.

 My dad was an alcoholic too and although he lived to be eighty and he was loving in so many ways, his disease made our family life very difficult.
 I hope you can get back to Alanon because you need to learn what they have to teach you about this disease.
 It is devastating living with an alcoholic and the lives and families that this disease destroys is unimaginable. 
I hear your anger and your frustration and know the loss of control that you are feeling but you have to concentrate on you now.

 I too have had to sit by and watch loved ones hurting them selves and felt powerless to help them.
I had the drug and alcohol problem too with my dad, both my sisters and two? of my kids.
 I just concentrated in getting myself as well as I could so I could be ready to help them when or if the time came.
Years later when my girls were living more normal drug free lives and were both mothers themselves they both asked me 'how did I get through those years?  What did I do? Wasn't it hard to see us like that?'
 Yes is was one of the hardest things that I have had to endure but I read alot as much as I could find about the drug and alcohol issues, went to alanon and tough love meetings and individual counseling, kept myself as busy as I could, sometimes just going to the local supermarket just to be with normal people for a while helped and I prayed, I prayed a lot and I trusted that they would be ok because I had to. Maybe there were other things that could of been done but there wasn't for me at that time.  I had to let them go.
I don't know if any thing here will help you because your case is different but maybe its not so different having a loved one that is putting themselves at risk and feeling helpless to do anything.
Hopefully others will come along with more suggestions. 
Wishing you all the strength to get thought this.


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All I got out of it was, that I cannot do anything.  I cannot control what she does.  So does that mean I have to watch?  If it were my child on drugs or cutting themselves I would do something.
Hi Toni. I know it's hard. You're dealing with a long-term addiction, and she is very unlikely to choose to quit at this point in her life. But unless and until she gets to the point where she is forced into a facility that no longer allows such things, there is really nothing you can do.
Our family has been watching my MIL, who has congestive heart failure, continue to smoke and probably sneak drinks too, totally against doctor's orders and to the real detriment of her health.  My MIL is now in a locked dementia unit, it is very nice but still creeps me out. However, smoking is prohibited, and I think they only get to go to "happy hour" once a week. And guess what? Her health has improved noteably!
You can encourage her to quit or go to AA, as you have done, but it's ultimately her choice. If she were your underage child, you would try to do something, but even then you wouldn't be assured of success.
So, yes, you are right - you cannot really do anything and you cannot control what she does.
HOWEVER, you do not have to watch! Am I correct in understanding that you are sacrificing six months of your life every year to go help her? What kind of help does she need, exactly? How does she get this help the other six months each year?
You say you HAVE to leave your husband, kids, and grandkids to care for her? Who SAYS you have to? Just as your mom can choose how she wishes to live, you get to choose too. If it were me, I would not be choosing to sacrifice half of my life for someone who doesn't want my help. Tough love doesn't just apply to confused teenagers - I think it may be time for tough love for your mom too. 
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Thank you all so much for the responses.  Knowing I am not in this alone really does take the pressure off.  My mother did not start drinking until I was 25 married and out of the house, and I did have a wonderful childhood.  I go to her six months out of the year because she gave me life.   There are five children in our family and we were not wealthy, but we did not know it.  I owe it to her.  When I am there, I cook healthy meals, force her to get out of the house, take her to the doctors because we do not trust her to drive and engage her in conversation.  Don't get me wrong.  The mornings are great.  She use to go to Bingo everyday and then would not start drinking until about 4:00 when she got home.  When my Dad died three years ago she stopped going to Bingo.  I think she was going just to get away from him.  He did not drink.  Now with no Bingo, she starts much earlier.  She says noon, but on Sunday it was 12:30 and she was already drunk.  I said to her, why in the world are sitting at home drinking by yourself on a Sunday morning?  She would not admit it at first, but I told her she was slurring her words and I was afraid she had a stroke.  She then admitted it.  I guess my biggest question is, Is it too late?  Can someone that age who has been an alcoholic for the past 30 years stop?  I do have three brothers that live close by and they do the best they can.  Two of them are nondrinkers.  The one who cares for her the other six months has a wife who is very involved in AA and she refuses to be around my mother because of the drinking.  I think that is wrong, but whatever it takes for her to maintain her own sobriety is important.  I refuse to buy her Absolute and she drinks about half a quart a day.  There are bottles hidden all over the house.  She also takes Ambien and if she can get her hands on some Percoset, forget about it.  She lies to her doctors about drinking, yet I have told each one of them how much she drinks and they keep writing her the prescriptions.  I think they think it is a lost cause.  One of my most vivid memories of my childhood is when my grandmother was hospitalized and refused to eat so the doctor let my mother bring a six-pack.  She died that night.

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Toni, I suppose someone who has been an alcoholic that long COULD stop, but only if they want to. And I doubt she wants to. I admire you for being there for her, I don't think I could do it. I still think trying AA again to help you accept the situation as it is would be a good idea.

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I am going next week.  A church by my Mom's home has meetings on Tuesday nights.  I will try and talk her into going, but even if she won't, I am.

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Good for you, Toni. I hope it helps.

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Please help!!
I have been providing care for my elderly neighbor for about 7 years now and she is an alcoholic. She starts at noon and keeps on going ym family is regularly picking her up from the floor becuase she falls. She has broken her hip, her shoulder and arm, her foot and fractured her back. She has sworn us to secrecy and told us we cannot tell her family. Well now she has fallen so much she cannot cook for herslef becasue she has limited use of her arm. She is very dmenading and inconsiderate that I have a family to take care of as well. Her family tells her no all the time and it is okay but not me..and I am begininng to resent her and get very angry and do not even want to go over but if I do not then she'll starve and so will her cat. I do nnot know what to do and she is very good about making me feel guilty and wants me to run errands all the time offering to buy us grocerises, which has been very helpfu since our income is down but it is like she is using it to contro my every move.. I do not know what to do going crazy any advice will help never been here before!!She is 79
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