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Old 01-16-2020, 05:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
AmyShambles's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 4

At my wits' end with my mum

I haven't posted on here for a long time but I am truly at my wits’ end and I am just looking for some support and advice. My name is Amy and I am 30 years old, I live just outside Manchester in the UK. I live with my boyfriend and our cat and we have a happy life together, I work full-time at a local university. I am the only child of my mum and dad but have 2 younger half-sisters from my Dad’s second marriage.

My mum has been an alcoholic since I can remember, she is 56. Her drinking has resulted in ruined holidays, divorce, loss of employment (10 years+), medical issues, financial issues, no connection with the ‘modern world’ and absolutely no social life. She is a wonderful, intelligent woman but has completely ruined her life.

Over the past 10 years she has been hospitalised on many occasions – including falling and hitting her head this morning which has prompted me to reach out. She’s fallen, fractured her leg, had severe DTs (including hallucinations and seizures), bleeding oesophageal varices, almost set the house on fire and much more. The most serious incident occurred in October 2018 when she fell downstairs and fractured her spine and pelvis – she spent 4 days on the floor before concerned neighbours contacted me to say they hadn’t seen her. I was travelling to Japan on the holiday of a lifetime 2 days after she was found. Had the neighbours not contacted me she would more than likely be dead now.

Receiving the phone call from her neighbour this morning to say that she has fallen (again) has really gotten to me. I am absolutely sick and tired of having to deal with this. I have to monitor all of her appointments to make sure she attends (but she still usually doesn’t), I am in control of her savings as she has been in financial difficulties before – she has no mortgage/rent to pay as my dad paid the house off when they divorced but only has benefits as income. I cleared all of her utility debts in 2018, amounting to around £3000 but have since been reimbursed through inheritance she received when her mum died. I am living my own life but always have the shadow of hers hanging over me.

The difficulty for me is that my mum has no one else. Her father died when she was 23 and her mum died in 2018. None of her family bother with her (sister, aunties) so I am the only person there to help. Her family never ask how she is, never ask how I am and to be quite frank I don’t have any time for them anymore. My mum’s alcoholism affects my life massively – it impacts on me at work such as having to leave early due to emergencies (like this morning), I am anxious and sick when she doesn’t answer to phone, I am scared that something will happen to her at home and she’ll die and not be found for days.

I just wanted to say that my boyfriend is very understanding and supportive of my situation and I love him dearly.

Where do I go from here?
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Eauchiche (01-20-2020)
Old 01-17-2020, 02:32 AM   #2 (permalink)

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I'm very sorry about the situation you are in with your mum and the lack of support you have from your mum's family.

Have you ever gone to Al Anon meetings? I think you might find them helpful.

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Old 01-20-2020, 05:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Dear Amy
I am so sorry for what brings you here.
I don't know how things work in the UK, but can she be institutionalized? It sounds like she is a danger to herself.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:14 PM   #4 (permalink)

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Originally Posted by Eauchiche View Post
Dear Amy
I am so sorry for what brings you here.
I don't know how things work in the UK, but can she be institutionalized? It sounds like she is a danger to herself.
My understanding is that it quite difficult to get someone involuntarily sectioned for alcoholism in the UK and Ireland.

Amy, does your mum have any awareness that she has a problem or is it 100% denial?
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:00 PM   #5 (permalink)

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Location: Cambridgeshire, UK
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Originally Posted by AmyShambles View Post
I am anxious and sick when she doesn’t answer to phone, I am scared that something will happen to her at home and she’ll die and not be found for days.

Where do I go from here?
Most unpleasant. You've probably heard the old saying (from Al Anon) "I didn't cause it, I can't cure it, I can't control it"

All rather glib and at first glance maybe not an overly useful response to your question "Where do I go from here"... bare with me

My Mum (alcoholic) got into many of the same scrapes that your Mum has. She didn't die of those scrapes. Worse... she drank herself into Korsakoff syndrome (think .. dementia), so not only did I have those things you're coping with, ultimately she ended up in a truly pitiful state and died as a result of that. I was with her when she died, I made the 'do not resuscitate' decision with the doctor (when the time came).

Her drinking caused a slow and dreadful end. And that shadow hung over me whilst it happened - I used to refer to it as an omnipresent worry (always there in the background)!

… again, you'll have to bare with me.

I was very lucky in that I'd been attending ACA (in the UK, there's a meeting or two in Manchester btw) for a good wee while. I was in a very good place to deal with the latter stages. It wasn't always that way.

Anyway, I've reflected over the build up to and the effects of and the alcoholism in general. I can trace it back to my childhood. I can remember her depressions, her self medications, her multiple suicide attempts - I remember (vividly) once she tried to kill herself by overdose whilst I was with her and young enough that I can't remember how old I was... I remember putting my little hands in her mouth to try and take the tablets out and stop her dying.

I can remember her stories of her depression (from her own childhood) and her stories of having 'electro therapy' when quite young....

So often those self medicating with alcohol are just avoiding a depression of some sort. I speak from personal experience. It's obviously not quite so simple, but that's the essence.

What could I have done about any of that? Very little, nothing probably. I didn't cause it, I couldn't control it, I couldn't cure it.

If I could turn the clock back a little way, I think I'd have told her that she is an alcoholic (or drinks alcoholically) and that she is almost certainly going to either die a painful or lonely death or both.

I'd buy a copy of the alcoholics anonymous big book and I'd give it to her. I'd try and encourage her to a/ deal with the underlying causes and conditions and also b/ encourage her to get to AA

Mostly, I'd be very truthful about what she is doing to herself and to her family (me, my sisters etc) - I'd share the anger, the worry, the anxiety. I'd be very, very honest about it all. I'd support her to get sober, but I wouldn't support her financially or enable her in other ways.

I'd do that calmly, kindly and as lovingly as I could (no shouting, shaming, blaming), just dead pan truthful & serious to give her the best chance of making a sensible decision for herself. I'd tell her that she can deal with her own pain and she can be responsible for her own happiness and that drinking will fix nout! It'll fix bugger all!

And then I'd hope, pray, chant Krshna, rub the blarney stone or do whatever else you do to appease whatever gods of good fortune there are out there.

It's a brutal axiom but the alcoholic has to want to change themselves. If they don't, they won't.... after all I Didn't cause, Can't cure it, or control it.

I'm very much reminded of the ACA serenity prayer

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change, the courage to change the ONE I can and the wisdom to know that one is ME.

I wish you & your Mum the very best up in sunny Manchester, all the way down here in not so sunny, but ver wet Cambridgeshire.

I'd suggest al anon and aca might also be worthy of looking into for support or ideas or just general well being, I'm a little biased like that. There are few resources in the UK as I'm sure you know. They may/or may not be useful to you - but it makes sense to avail oneself of all the help one can get. All I can say is they've been a lifeline to me.

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