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Elderly alcoholic mom: stay, or go?

Old 07-22-2008, 10:11 AM
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Elderly alcoholic mom: stay, or go?

I've been dealing with an alcoholic parent for about 25 years - mostly from a distance (just dealing with the neighbors pulling me aside when I came home to visit - "you need to talk with your mom about her drinking"), until she moved here from the other coast about 3 years ago into assisted living. Now, I've had more to deal with, and my young (tween) son is aware of her problem and concerned, too.

We did an intervention recently - not successful, as she refused to go to treatment -- just said she'd stop on her own (yeah, done that before, didn't stay stopped) and see a therapist. But also stated that she has no desire to stop drinking - that she likes everything about it - and refuses to go to treatment.

Frankly, I'm just tired of it. And I'm way angry about how it's affecting my son: in the intervention, she accused me of lying and said he couldn't possibly be aware of her drinking!

I feel that I need to step out of the picture. I'm the only child, though, and my nuclear family is the only family she has left. She loves my son dearly, and I guess I don't want the guilt of cutting off that relationship. The assisted living place is kinda putting it on me that I need to be more involved as "she's so lonely" - well, she's lonely because I don't come around because I'm tired of the drinking. Oh, and she's not lonely - she has friends there, and they all drink, and she throws parties, and she doesn't invite her family (because we don't drink). The annoying thing in the intervention was that the nurse tried to put the outcome on me - that mom's recovery was a road we could walk together, and wouldn't that be wonderful, and the subtext was that her recovery and happiness was *my* responsibility.

Yes, I will return to Al-Anon.

What I really want to do is step out of this picture, spend time with my in-laws (who don't drink and are supportive of us), and try to have a normal life (whatever that is). I suppose now isn't the time, that I should be "supporting recovery", but I really see the outcome of this intervention as more of the same: mom doing what she wants because she thinks she can pull the wool over their eyes, and the therapist's as well.

My husband suggests stepping away because of the effect it's been having on me.

Advice? (I *do* like the "Step away from the addict" smiley - was that meant for me? )
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:49 PM
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It sounds to me like you know exactly what you want and what you need. Perhaps you could give yourself permission to take care of YOU first, and your mother second. Remember that you are no good to anyone else if you don't take care of yourself first.

If you're looking for outside validation, I hereby give you permission to step away from your mother and her problems made by her decisions, take care of YOU and do what you can to create an emotionally healthy life for yourself and your family.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:06 AM
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An update

An update: went with mom to the dr. this morning; we talked fairly openly about her drinking. She states she hasn't had one since Sunday (there was a trip to the ER early Monday am), and also told the dr. that she'd been drinking since she was 18, though she's gone cold turkey many times. She's still really angry - quitting out of spite - and told the dr. that. Dr. was cool and said anger can be good

She and I talked a little bit - about how she has always not been healthy and I offered that there is that possibility now. I said she has to want it - not just because people are bugging her, but because she wants it. It was not a bad conversation - the first in quite a while.

Some reading for me this morning put things in perspective - reminding myself that I can choose how to respond. . . and that resentments affect *me*. I've been pretty angry, feeling like I don't have a "normal" mom - hearing the nice ladies in the assisted living place gush about how wonderful it is to have mom here has really made me cringe inside. I set that aside - what will be, will be, and I can choose how to spend my life!

Some positives to take away today, then. I have been trying to walk the road of compassion, so I was actually on that path a little today. Compassion for all - myself included.

Peace, y'all.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:15 AM
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hearing the nice ladies in the assisted living place gush about how wonderful it is to have mom here has really made me cringe inside.
It may be helpful to remember that the "nice lady" the people at the place your mom is living with get to see her "I'm a nice person" face. Which is not the person you get to deal with. My family is full of these folk who are one way to everyone 'in public' and turn into raving loons when they're with family 'in private'. The folks there also do not have the years of history that you have, which will change how you (and they) perceive her.

Good luck to you.
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