alcoholism...*sigh* - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-17-2003, 11:50 AM
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Okay...I've posted something sort of similar to this, so I hope it isn't repetitive. Actually, I've posted this very thing on a few other message boards I'm a regular on, so if I've already posted this here then I'm really sorry, please ignore it and move on. I'm pretty sure I haven't, though.



I was wondering if anyone had ideas about how to get an alcoholic to stop drinking. My mother has been really bad lately, and my dad and I have sort of run into a dead end. She's in therapy, which isn't really helping...we've had countless interventions over the years. She's been in rehab before...nothing seems to work. It's like we've tried everything and she just won't stop.



The problem is that she doesn't believe that she has a problem...this is a woman who drinks vanilla extract when we dump out her vodka and take away the car keys. This is a woman who has been hospitalized several times, who has everyone who cares about her begging her to stop, whose daughters cry over her all the time, and she STILL doesn't believe that she has a problem! How is this possible?



Anyway, does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Have you found any treatments that have helped you or someone you know stop drinking? This has been going on for about ten years, so we've tried everything we can think of and we're basically out of ideas.
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#2 Old 08-17-2003, 12:16 PM
 
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I come from a two alcoholic parent household (both have been sober now for over twenty years) so most of their drinking was in my childhood years. I will tell you Ama, that they can only really help themselves when they decide that they have a problem. It's great to voice your concern to them, and to support them in every way, but you cannot get them to stop drinking. Only they can. I'm so sorry that you have to be affected by her own illness (and alcoholism is an illness) and it would be wise of you to look after yourself. Perhaps you can look into some local Alateen meetings in your area, if your up for that kinda thing, and they can provide you with some support to help you deal with this. My parents got sober with A.A. and stayed that way. But nobody made them do it, they just hit "rock bottom" I guess.

Best of luck.
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#3 Old 08-17-2003, 12:18 PM
 
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...oh, here's this http://www.al-anon-alateen.org/
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#4 Old 08-17-2003, 01:44 PM
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My brother in law is an alcoholic, yet he doesn't let it interfere with others lives. (Although my sister has to worry that he probably won't live to be an old man ) He never drinks at work and never misses work. He is very entertaining to be around. Yet, he drinks A LOT every evening. He admits that he is an alcoholic.



On the other hand, my brother is also an alcoholic...he has gotten a few DWIs, lost jobs, acts obnoxious and confrontational when drinking etc.



I think if your mother is like my brother in law, I would be nothing but supportive of her, because then it is strictly a health issue. Like being over-weight etc.



But, if she is like my brother, I would not have her in my life at all (or very limited)...not until she stopped drinking. I have not seen my brother almost 8 years. I view him as obnoxious at best, dangerous at worst.



You wrote that your mother does not believe that she has a problem. If you asked her, "Is drinking vanilla normal?" What would she say?
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#5 Old 08-17-2003, 05:41 PM
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Stop trying to get your mom to stop drinking. The first thing they teach you in Alanon is that this never works. Dumping out drinks never works, guilting them into recovery never works. The only thing that WILL works is that this person has to want to change her life. It's unfortunate. But you can't control your mother's drinking. It would be really nice and neat if we could control our 'alcoholic's' behavior, but this isn't reality. We humans are really kind of persnickity about being in control of our own lives (even when the control we have over our own lives puts us in the gutter). And we really do NOT like it when other people try to take that control away. It makes us resentful and when we are resentful we tend to try and rebel against the control someone else is inflicting upon us.



What I can suggest is that you yourself get into alanon. And therapy (which I suggested to you before). It seems cold, but the kindest, most respectful thing you can do for your mother is allow her to suffer the consequences (the real and true ones, not the ones trumped up for her by other people trying to control her drinking) of her own actions. If that means you go on with your own life and become a whole and happy and fulfilled human being and she has to watch you do that from a distance, then that's what should happen. Your Mother has you at her whim really...she gets to make your life all about her, which isn't fair to you. You deserve a life of your own, that isn't so interconnected with how your mother chooses to screw up her life.



I went to alanon to help my X stop drinking. I stayed even after they told me that wasn't possible and that I basically needed to get a life. I encourage others to try alanon because it changed my life. And it made me unwilling to waste even another day of this precious god given time trying to fix someone who can't be fixed by me. I do pray every day that at some point he wants help for himself, but otherwise, it's his affair.



You deserve a good and happy life. You are not going to have it trying to fix your Mom. Your Mom deserves to be treated like an adult. Being treated like an adult means people don't pick up the peices for you (dang, especially not your own children) every time you screw up.



Good luck. Feel free to pm me if you'd like to talk further and please find an alanon group in your area.



B
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#6 Old 08-17-2003, 07:21 PM
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@ Bethanie: That's a very valuable reply, and unfortunately, you're probably right



Still, for what it's worth: A guy I know convinced his girlfriend (then 28, had been drinking for 3 years) that she had a problem by filming her while she was drunk. He showed her the tape when she was sober, and she was so shocked by the way she behaved and the things she said that she finally consented to accept help. This won't work for everyone, though, and it might get you into trouble, so I'm not sure if you should do the same. Remember that most people are very reluctant to accept advice from younger people, especially from their children...



I really wish you the best & I hope you'll find the strength to deal with this situation, however it turns out. *hugs*



Edit: What I forgot to say: By all means, don't feel responsible for your mother, b/c you shouldn't. Your parents have established the structure of your family, the way you communicate with each other, the way problems are dealt with, etc. long before you had a say in things. Unfortunately this also means that there are many things you can't change.
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#7 Old 08-17-2003, 07:50 PM
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My aunt was an alcoholic for most of her adult life. Before she died she had been sober for almost 10 years. I didn't get to see how she acted first hand when she was drunk (I was very small and she lived in another state, so what I might have seen I don't remember). I know the toll it took on her family though, and so while I haven't gone through the same things you have first hand, I've seen what alcoholism can do. You have my sympathy, prayers, and well-wishes.



I very much agree with what Bethanie and Missleigh have told you. You can't change another person. The only direct control you have is over your own life. Your mom may or may not change, and while that's heartbreaking, you need to make the best out of your own life that you can. Joining a group like Alanon or Alateen is a great way to get the extra support you need.
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#8 Old 08-17-2003, 07:57 PM
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My father's an alcoholic, but he's been sober for 13 or 14 years, so I don't remember it much. You can't change your mother, as much as you want her to. She has to make her own decision. My dad still drank even after once being so drunk that he walked into another person's house, thinking it was his, and fell asleep (Illegal Entry). He'd been drinking since he was very young, 12 or so I believe. The thing that convinced him to change may not be what may change your mom - My dad quit when he was told he might not be able to be with my brother and I while we grew up, or my mom. Alanon is a great group though, like everyone else said.
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#9 Old 08-18-2003, 07:46 AM
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my sisterin law and her boyfriend/fiance are alcoholics/drug addicts. you can't change them, or get them to stop drinking--to better to stop trying.



YOu and your father should be in therapy too--and support groups. it'll help you deal with the problems that your mother's problem causes.



GOod luck!
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#10 Old 08-18-2003, 11:37 AM
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Thank you everyone for your advice and support. A lot of what you're saying isn't what I want to hear, but I know that you're right.



The hardest part is that I don't have the choice of cutting my mother out of my life. I'm seventeen years old and still completely financially dependent on my parents. I still live with them and everything. Lately it's been particularly bad because I couldn't get a job this summer and I don't have many friends, so I've been spending a lot of time at home. I've also been having issues with depression and anxiety (which I posted in a previous thread, so I'll spare the details) that her alcoholism aggravates. She's been particularly bad lately...I'd say she's been drunk a higher percentage of the summer than she's been sober.

So the biggest part of it isn't feeling sorry for her or being worried about her, it's much more selfish than that. I have to deal with her on an every day basis. I can't even stand to be the same room with her because she's just insufferable when she drinks. I think she's unlike other alcoholics in the affect that it has on her...I mean, if you met her when she was drinking, you would think that she was just sort of a strange, spacey person but you wouldn't know that she was drunk. It's more like the way someone would act on E...just very out of it and too happy. My dad thinks it may be reacting with the Busbar she's on, which might explain that partially. It's not just that, though. The person that she becomes doesn't even remotely resemble who she really is, right down to the way she talks and walks and gesticulates and thinks and holds herself. It's a Jekyll/Hyde thing.

This has been going on since I was about eight, so it affects me very deeply. I have nightmares about it, it generally makes me feel less stable and sane, and it's gotten to a point where I'm actually afraid of her. I have no reason to be scared of her since she has never and would never physically hurt me. But I avoid being alone with her at all costs. I mean, if I hear her coming into the room, I run away.



I just got an appointment with a brand new therapist for tomorrow...I've tried this before and it hasn't helped much, but maybe this time will be different.



Again, thank you so, SO much for your support and sympathy and allowing me a place to vent. Like I said, I don't have many friends (just a few close ones who I haven't been seeing much of lately) so online communities like this one really mean a lot to me.
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#11 Old 08-18-2003, 01:09 PM
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choosing the right therapist is very difficult. i'm having a few struggles myself right now, and have not found a therapist that "clicks." my confessor, after hearing the same struggle over and over, recognize that this was beyond his capacity and recommeded that i seek out a professional.



Having done this in the past, i understand both the difficulty of finding someone with whom i can work as well as the importance of finding the right person.



Everyone goes through that struggle, actually, and the therapy itself only helps you if you're really willing to work it. It can be very difficult when you're in the troubled environment, or the environment triggers certain responses and reactions in you--but it can work with great diligence.



I wish you all the best in this! GOod luck!
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