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Sick Mother

Old 08-12-2010, 12:23 AM
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Sick Mother

My Mother-in-Law is an alcoholic, she was hospitalized a couple of months ago, and has started showing symptoms of early stages of wet brain syndrome and heart problems. Her husband (separated) came back and moved in to help care for her, but it seems he has alchohol issues of his own. He started off a great help at first, but then became very cruel and vindictive, verbally abusive, and has liquor in the house. My Mother-in-Law has started drinking again, even though the doctors say she will die if she keeps drinking.

My wife and I are moving her in with us, to provide a more positive healing environment. When she asks for beer, she doesn't ask us for liquor, but we have to make sure she doesn't come in contact with any, if we refuse, she will go into a rage to the point of breaking things, we will give in, and buy her a beer, for fear that she will try to walk to a liquor store on her own.

Her health is declined to the point where she is malnourished, disoriented, and has memory lapses, and health is rapidly declining. We are trying to find professional help, but most alcohol programs that we have contacted, don't deal with people with severe health issues.

If you guys can help us with any advice or info, we would greatly appreciate it. We are located in the Atlanta area, and getting are desparate.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:55 AM
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Welcome to the SR family!

You have found a terrific source of support and information. We offer support to the friend/family of alcoholics and other addicts. We have areas of support for alcoholics and addicts in recovery and those trying to quit. One thing we can not do, however, is give medical advice.

I can point you in the direction of help for yourself and your wife. You will find our stories and more in the permanent (sticky) posts at the top of this forum. I recommend reading all around this website to get information on alcoholism. I also highly recommend Alanon meetings for your family. Alanon meetings are face-to-face support group meetings for friends/family of alcoholics. Alanon is based on the 12 steps of AA.

I took care of my mother during her final phase of life. (She died from cancer). We took the legal steps needed to be sure her wishes were carried out. I was given power of attorney, medical power of attorney and had a DNR (do not resuscitate) order drawn up. My brother was made executor of her estate to handle the later affairs. I don't know if this is an option in your case, but I do recommend contacting an attorney. You may be able to find and attorney to give you a free consultation.

A doctor that understands addiction/alcoholism may be able to help you. The doctor can answer your questions about her health care and recommend treatment.

Based on your post, it appears your MIL is prone to fits of rage when she is craving alcohol. She is given alcohol as a reward or as a preventative to keep her from walking out the door? What is your plan for these episodes when she moves into your home?
Or is that the question? Are you looking for methods to control the rage? Are you looking for methods to control the cravings?

Let us know how we can help you.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:35 AM
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If you guys can help us with any advice or info, we would greatly appreciate it. We are located in the Atlanta area, and getting are desparate.
Have you moved her in already? If not, my advice is don't move her in.
I also advise you to find an Al-Anon meeting and go.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:53 AM
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Just wanted to add something about legally caring for a parent.

In my case, my mother was a widow (no living spouse). I needed legal appointment to handle her financial and medical responsibilities.

In your MIL's case, there is a living spouse. Please check with an attorney and her doctor.

This is based on my experience with caring for a parent. I have not taken care of an alcoholic parent.

As we say in Alanon, "Take what you like, and leave the rest."

This decision is between you, your wife, MIL, her spouse, any other siblings and your HP (higher power). May you find a solution that brings you peace.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:06 AM
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Thanks guys for answering so quickly, I realise you can't give any medical advice, but if you can point us in the right direction, she is not violent, but we're more afraid she'll hurt herself, during one of those fits of rage, we haven't moved her in yet, but we love her and we have to try to help, we have turned our home into a duplex, so she has her own separate living space. We have no idea which steps to take to help someone with an addiction, which is proving deadly, but we know the alcohol will kill her, her heart isn't beating fast enough.

I will definitely check into Alanon meetings in our area, and read through the stickies for insight. I believe God helps them that help themselves, if we get the ball rolling, He'll help push it along. My MIL is a great person, that has worked hard, and helped others all her life, and I feel we as family are partly to blame for ignoring her problem, untill her health has declined. It is our duty to help, if we fail, we fail, but we won't give up.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:14 AM
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Al-Anon definitely will help you to cope with what you are going to be coping with. Have you discussed the arrangement with her physician? He or she may also be able to refer you to some resources in your community.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:29 AM
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This is a link to excerpts from the book "Under The Influence". That book really helped me understand how the body, mind and spirit become addicted to alcohol:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...influence.html

Here is a link to some steps that can help family of alcoholics:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:18 PM
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Gonna be blunt here.. but considering that you're already doing a ton of things to ensure that she keeps up her current behaviors.. are you willing to start doing things that don't directly enable her ? When I was an addict/drunk.. I would have loved to have a nice place to live, people to care for me, and buy my beer/liquor.. especially if I threw really fun temper tantrums (ok that's sarcasm). And beer/liquor/whatever.. alcohol is alcohol. Does the same damage, causes the same drunk.

The best you can help, is to quit enabling her. Doesn't sound like she's interested in getting sober, much less pursuing recovery. You are not qualified to become a treatment center for an addict.

You can love someone to death.. literally.

Glad you're seeking out some alanon meetings.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:36 PM
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Do you mind me asking how old she is?

xx
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Sasha4 View Post
Do you mind me asking how old she is?

xx
She is 62 years old

WE only bought her one beer to keep her from buying a 30 pack on her own, we do not plan to enable her, she has her own income and can pay for her own lodging. We just don't want her to hurt herself due to her state of mind, or declining health.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:34 PM
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Well if you don't plan to enable her, I would put off the 'housing her' thing, and of course stop buying any beer, or doing anything that creates a safe landing for her.

If she wants to get sober, and needs to detox she can call 911. She can call the Salvation Army, it's free.. it's rehab. She can call AA. As long as she doesn't have consequences for what she's doing, she has absolutely no reason to change. Allow her the dignity to suffer the real consequences of what she is doing to her self, and to pursue a better life, and recovery on her own, if she ever wants it. If she is in need of emergent medical or mental health care, call 911.
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
This is a link to excerpts from the book "Under The Influence". That book really helped me understand how the body, mind and spirit become addicted to alcohol:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...influence.html

Here is a link to some steps that can help family of alcoholics:
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...l-problem.html
This is the most useful info I have read thus far, but my MIL's case is a little different because, she worked everyday, drank went to sleep, got up the next morning and did it all over again. The only consequence she is facing for her alcoholism is her declining health, memory lapses, which if not stopped, may likely end in death, She pays her own bills, has her own money, her own transportation, even though we have taken the keys from her. She doesn't play on your sympathy, or throw tantrums to get you to give her a drink, her tantrums come from preventing her from doing things she feels she has the right to do as an adult. Her state of mind is so out of sync, she'll wake up planning to go to work, with out realizing she hasn't worked in 3 months. She has symptoms similar to Alzheimers. She is not destructive or manipulative, she honestly believes her health has improved, and it's okay to drink a beer or two, she doesn't even have the capacity to comprehend what's at stake.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by smacked View Post
Well if you don't plan to enable her, I would put off the 'housing her' thing, and of course stop buying any beer, or doing anything that creates a safe landing for her.

If she wants to get sober, and needs to detox she can call 911. She can call the Salvation Army, it's free.. it's rehab. She can call AA. As long as she doesn't have consequences for what she's doing, she has absolutely no reason to change. Allow her the dignity to suffer the real consequences of what she is doing to her self, and to pursue a better life, and recovery on her own, if she ever wants it. If she is in need of emergent medical or mental health care, call 911.
The way she got hospitalized in the first place, we went to visit her at her house, she was sitting in her chair watching TV with a 7 inch gash in her shin, a large pool of blood at her feet, she didn't even realize she was bleeding, she wasn't drunk at the time, she can't go to rehab because of her state of health, she is not able to take care of herself, that's why we're moving her in with us, not an attempt to save her from alcoholism, but to assist her with her medical needs, and to prevent her from harming herself. There's more going on here than just the addiction, she has lost the ability to comprehend fully.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:23 PM
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I wish I had an answer for you, but I can see where it's a difficult situation. Have you spoken with her doctor? It might be a good idea to accompany her on a visit to her doctor and just discuss what you are thinking. If you are going to be tending to her medical needs, then you should be fully informed about what you will be dealing with. I hope it all works out well for all involved.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:36 PM
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Thank you for sharing more of your story with us.

I agree with the idea of meeting with her and her physician. Get the medical prognosis. Her doctor should be someone you can communicate with even after she has moved away. That doctor may be helpful in sharing medical information about how far her health has deteriorated.

It seems she is not expected to work again, right? Due to the dementia?

Her story reads that she may have been a functioning alcoholic. She may have depended on daily alcohol intake. That means her mind and body were addicted.

This is a complex situation. Please keep reaching out for support and answers.

I understand now why you want to set her up in an environment where she can be monitored while still living independently. You are attempting to preserve her dignity. Good on you.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:11 PM
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Sorry if I misunderstood. It helps a lot to know the rest of the story. Your first posts were rather focused on her alcoholism and read like that was your concern and what you wanted to help with. Now I see it is medical issues and dementia. I still challenge that unless trained by a nurse or home health aide that your not able to most adequately provide medical care and cognitive care..but there's tons of home care agencies that exist to keep medically fragile people in their home as long as possible. Not sure if they will help if she is actively alcoholic (and therefore likely non compliant with her medical care), but try googling your local Center for Independent Living, or the Department of Human Services to ask about what's called Home and Community Based Services (a waiver program that provides care for prople in their own home as opposed to nursing home placement). Course if you're not inthe US, none of that will help but you have the idea.

It would have been very helpful to know you were taking her in for medical reasons, and not to help with her alcoholism from the get go.

Take care!!
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:45 PM
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It takes a few posts to get the whole picture across, but I learned something even from the posts that don't pertain to this particular situation. I learned, there is nothing worse for an addict, than the drug itself, I will never enable an addict, thanks to the info from you guys, the consequences cannot compare to the problem.

I'm planning getting her a home nurse, she has to qualify, because she's on a fixed income, and she also has military insurance. The thing I'm hoping helps her the most, is she craves family life, and spending time with her children, Her biggest complaint has always been being loneliness.

I have read some of you guys threads, and you are some of the bravest people I've ever come across. Very few people can take an honest look at themselves, and make a stand against their own flaws.

I will pray for victory against the demons you guys face, because it's so much easier to make excuses for failure, than it is to strive for victory. Thanks for the kind words, you guys have given me a little more resolve to face this problem.

If anyone comes across any useful info, or has a similar experience to share, I would definitely wanna hear it.

You guys are my heroes
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