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Alcoholic mother in hospital

Old 12-28-2011, 09:54 AM
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Alcoholic mother in hospital

I just got a call from my mother's doctor saying she's being sent to hospital. A neighbour (her drinking buddy) found her on the sofa "in a bad way". She apparently soiled herself and is slightly hypothermic and malnourished.

I'd been pretty much estranged from my mother for 4 years and only started talking to her on the phone this year about 4-5 months ago. Once a week phonecalls. She sounded like she was doing okay, only once or twice I spoke to her when she sounded like she'd been drinking (though she has her drinking days so this may not be an accurate reflection).

I'm calling the hospital tonight to see how she's doing. Another family member, who I also haven't had contact with much until recently, is planning on flying to see her this week and wants me to come. This is the last thing I want to do in the world. I'd managed to detach from her and set boundaries with recent contact, without getting carried away that everything was finally going to be okay. I really don't want to go and see her but all the old voices, all the old guilt and responsibility is coming back even though rationally, I know I shouldn't have to go and see her and it would be to cost to myself. I just need some help and reassurance that I'm doing the right thing by not going. My recent contact with her has been all for her and of no benefit to myself. I don't feel we have a relationship or that she truly cares for me and before we started talking again this year, it had felt to me like she was dead and I had grieved for her. Now it's all back again.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:03 AM
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(((KeepGoing))) - I'm sorry you are going through this. Others will be along who have gone through a similar situation, but you may want to read through other posts on this forum - I know there's at least one about an alcoholic mom in ICU.

I'm not an ACOA, but my stepmom and step-siblings are, and it has affected me. I think the guilt is fairly normal, because, as children, we're taught to be there and take care of our parents. One thing I've learned from the great people here, and on the Friends & Families forum is that we have to take care of ourselves. It's not always easy, but it is definitely what we need.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:24 AM
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Dear Keepgoing,

Welcome to the SR family, so glad you found this site, I am so sorry about all you are going through.

My mom and dad winter in Florida, the last two winters my mom has been in the ICU with heart problems directly related to her 40+ years as an alocholic.

I used to let it make me crazy, I was sad, then mad, then I developed such a deep seated hatred of her for the pain she has caused that I made myself sick.

Now I just let her live with her decisions, I let my dad know I will be there for him if he needs to talk, but I don't call or visit my mom in the hospital, I don't even send a card.

My mother made this bed a long time ago, she has refused all attempts at help, she has called her doctors quacks when they tell her that drinking 3-6 bottles of wine a day is killing her.

Stick to your guns, do what is best for YOU! Don't let others bully you into erasing your boundaries.

If you need a friend who has been through it, I will be there for you, if you want to talk or vent or need a hug just let me know.

You can send a private message and/or friend request.

Best of luck to you,

Big hugs,

Bill
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:27 AM
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I'm sorry this is happening too. I would call the hospital and see how she is. If she is near death it can be healing to be there. If its just another bout, not so much. Send flowers. Best to start with the hospital call like you plan.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:40 PM
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/agree with Kialua.

Don't make yourself sick with worry over what to do. Call the hospital. Tell yourself that you will call the hospital to check on her, and you won't make any decisions on what to do until you've heard from the medical folks.

If they've put an IV in her, gotten her core temperature stable again and pumped some nutrients into her, she'll be on her way home in a few days (remember that hospitals and health insurance companies don't like paying for people to stay in hospital unless they really really need to be there).

If it appears that the problem is bigger than that, and possibly life threatening, the medical folks can tell you that and THEN you can decide whether you want to go see her again.

It sounds as if you don't have enough information to do more than call to check on her like you had been doing. The old tapes with the guilt and obligations and responsibilities? That is not your voice. As best as you can, try to find your inner voice and ask it what it thinks. It sounds, from your post, as if your own inner voice (the part that is truly you) doesn't want to go see her. That voice will give you much better advice than the old tapes.
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:23 PM
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Thank you all. At the moment they've cleaned her up and given her some fluids and plan to do more tests tomorrow. I just keep having to counter the thoughts and feeling that this is all my fault i.e.

Inner voice: This wouldn't have happened if I'd visited her over the last few years.
Reality: When I lived with her when growing up she still got blinding drunk and ended up in hospital. I finally started speaking to her after years of no contact and this is the time she chooses to get so drunk she ends up in hospital.

Inner voice: Oh, she must have been lonely. I should have gone home, it's Christmas.
Reality: the last 2 Christmas' I spent with her, she was drunk the whole time and she never made the effort to make Christmas a special time of year.

Inner voice: I've been neglectful. She's my mother and was lying on the sofa having soiled herself and I didn't know. I should have stopped this.
Reality: I am not responsible for her actions and I can't stop her drinking.

Inner voice: I should make the effort and go see her now.
Reality: I don't want to and it will do me no good. Neither has my presence in the past done her any good in stopping drinking and I need to take care of my needs.

Have a feeling like "okay, you've done your little detachment skit but, c'mon, this is serious now, time to drop it, she's in hospital". But why should that change things? She's 64 now and I'm 24, this could go on for the next 30 years; am I really going to continue? Sorry, I'm not looking for any answers, just venting a bit I guess.
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Old 12-28-2011, 05:41 PM
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If soiling yourself isn't enough to convince you it's time to quit, I don't know what is.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:27 PM
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I have been where you are. I can only tell you that getting involved got me absolutely nowhere but more frustrated and disappointed.

Do what is best for you and only you. Do not let anyone guilt you into anything, including your inner voice.

Best wishes.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by choublak View Post
If soiling yourself isn't enough to convince you it's time to quit, I don't know what is.
You would think so, wouldn't ya? Strangely enough, it hasn't convinced my mother to quit. I don't think anything will!
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:06 PM
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LOL that's nothing. Just another day in the life of the alcoholic. It's different for each one what makes one finally stop. Some, sadly never do stop.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:09 PM
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Yes this could go on for 30 more years. My Dad nearly did. Please, don't take any blame. And don't make any decisions until you hear more from the hospital. If she is just cleaned up and not in serious health don't get too upset. Take it slow. Listen to your reality check, it sounds like it is doing a good job.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:12 PM
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"okay, you've done your little detachment skit but, c'mon, this is serious now, time to drop it, she's in hospital"
That's not your voice. That's someone else's voice. Your voice is the voice saying "Yeah, like that's going to do any good."

Listen to your own reality checks. Here's one for you: what can you do at the hospital that the doctors and nurses and other medical types can't? I'm guessing that they will tell her everything you could say to her - she needs to stop drinking, it's going to kill her etc. And she will heed them to the same extent that she's listened to you in the past.

If no one has given you the 3C's yet, I'd like to introduce you to them, they can help tremendously to combat that part of you that makes you feel like you "should" go do something. The 3C's: You didn't cause it, you can't control it, you can't cure it. The next time you start feeling like you "should" go see her, repeat those three C's to yourself several times, then think about whether you WANT to go.

A gem from a previous therapist of mine: there are no "shoulds" in life. There are "wishes", "wants" and "would be in my best interests". Next time you start "should-ing" yourself, see if the "should" fits any of those other three categories. From this side of the internet, it doesn't seem as if you wish to see her, want to see her or even that it would be in your best interest if you were to see her.

I have great sympathy for your situation. It's extraordinarily difficult to watch someone slowly kill themselves and to feel powerless over the situation. It's heart-breaking. And it's not easy. But you still have to take care of you. You're of no use to anyone else if you make yourself crazy (first rule of rescue: do not put the rescuer at risk).

Please keep coming back. You'll find a lot of people here with a lot of support for the position you find yourself in.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:24 AM
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Well, it's all over. I had decided to go visit her in a fortnight from around the last time I wrote - though struggled over this decision after making it. However her condition deteriorated and I planned a flight for the next day but she died that evening.

I was more upset than I expected. I felt like she had already "died" years ago but I do grieve for her now. After going no contact for years I had started speaking to her on the phone from Spring last year. There had been a couple of times she had been drunk when I spoke but for the most she was okay. I had intended on going to visit next year (but not stay with her and not make her the central part of my visit to my hometown) but had a vague feeling it would be too late.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:29 AM
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(((KeepGoing))) - I'm so sorry. I do hope you continue to read and post here, as many people have been through similar situations. Death brings up a lot of feelings, but when our loved one was an alcoholic/addict, I think it's even harder and it really does help to talk to others who understand.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:10 AM
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I'm very sorry for your loss. It's never easy to lose a parent, no matter how good or tumultuous the relationship.

Prayers of comfort and support to you and others who loved your mother.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:39 PM
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Yes I am so sorry too. Like I shared, it's so hard to know. We are not God and we have no way of knowing when the situation is dire. But luckily it's not our job either. Don't be hard on yourself. You are a caring daughter or you wouldn't have even written in here. We understand, like I said two of my siblings didn't believe when my Mom was dying because of the life she led and the conclusions she taught us to believe from experience.

It is all over now but you will be surprised how relieved you may feel. People still ask me now that's it's been a year and how I feel. I finally told one in law that it's very different when someone dies that put you through hell. Sometimes I miss her and sometimes I am very glad it's all over.

What ever you do or don't feel please don't beat yourself up over this. You are only human and can't know everything. God Bless.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:53 PM
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I'm so sorry. No matter what the circumstances, such a loss isn't easy. Be very gentle with yourself. My thoughts are with you.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:19 PM
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I will say a prayer of hope that she is at peace, that the turmoil that led her to make the decisions she made over the years is now gone. I will pray for you that you will not feel guilty for doing what you felt was best for you.

Hugs to you,

Bill
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:59 AM
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My condolences. In this time, you will probably be feeling a tremendous morass of conflicting emotions. Remember that it was your real mother who died, not an idealized version of all "mothers" - not what Hallmark tells us exists when Mother's Day rolls around.

Also, you might consider giving yourself permission to grieve, not only for the loss of the mother you had, but for the mother you wanted. Often, the grief for the parent we wanted to have is far more overwhelming than the grief for the parent we actually had.

Much much support sent your way.
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:52 PM
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I am sorry for your pain. I don't have any words of wisdom beyond what the others have offered, but you are in my thoughts. Allow yourself time to heal and don't blame yourself for any of this, nothing you could have done would have changed the outcome. May your mother rest in peace now.
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