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Important decisions to make

Old 03-12-2014, 07:38 AM
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Important decisions to make

My mom is an active alcoholic. She just returned from a nursing home stay and immediately went back to drinking. She said she'd moderate --I know I know--but went and bought vodka not even a week after she got home. She gave it to me and agreed to 2 glasses of wine a day. This is very stressful for me and my husband who thought we could move in with her and help her around the house--she's almost 80--and also have the benefit of a better job market for us and help her out with some of her expenses.

My husband and I have started attending Alanon and realize it's futile to try to control her drinking. I have had financial and medical power of attorney for some time. I'm considering giving those up as they seem to only make it easier for her to drink and not experience the consequences. I'm torn about this decision because she is almost 80 and has some physical and mental deficits from her years of hard drinking.

We have decided we cannot move in with her. I can maintain contact with her and see her once a week to make sure she gets her shopping done and set boundaries like we won't do for her what she could do for herself if she weren't drinking. She no longer drives or has a car.

My dilemma is with the powers of attorney. She does not have huge assets and will be out of money besides her SS in about a year. She owns her own house. I can't compel her to sell or put her in extended care. She can still drink in assisted living and will probably get thrown out.

My husband is sick of the toll this has taken on me and our marriage. I have brothers who maintain distance but support me. Having trouble making decisions. I know this will kill her if she doesn't stop, and my holding the reigns only prolongs everyone's agony.

I intend to contact an Alanon sponsor tonight, but would like any suggestions, experience, advice, etc.

Thank you.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:44 AM
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I am so sorry, it has to be very hard to deal with.

It sounds to me like you are putting some boundaries in place for yourself and that is good. Would she be willing to get any sort of recovery for herself? If not, there is absolutely nothing you can do.

I would just take it a day at a time. You said she will run out of assets in about a year. She will then be 81. She may be forced to sell her house due to needing more care. If that's the case you can cross that bridge when it comes.

Continue with Alanon and possibly consult w/an attorney to see what your options are in dealing w/her POA. I would also continue with what you are doing in just having minimal contact with her. I am so sorry, it has to be very painful since this is your mom.

These are just my opinions of course. It is like the air mask on the plane type of thing, you have to take care of you before you can help anyone else.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:00 AM
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I can resign, but that will leave her to pay her own bills and that will be a mess. Is that the right thing to do with an alcoholic who doesn't recognize they have a problem despite several long term hospitalizations and nursing home stays?

I could ask my oldest brother who now receives her mail to take over as PoA and just pay her bills and take it out of my hands.

My dilemma is what's helping and what's hurting and what can I live with.

Thank you for your reply Hopeful4
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:21 AM
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I wish I knew all the answers. Is she capable of taking care of herself in any way? Can your brother handle it with less stress than you?

I know what you mean by enabling, and I am not sure where the line gets drawn.

One thing I can say is to make sure you keep taking care of you and keep your own boundaries in place for your own sanity.

God Bless!
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:31 AM
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Sober, she can do quite a bit. She's pretty high functioning, though she would do well with some assistance around the house, taking meds, etc. Right now we can't afford to have someone come in and she sent all the homehealth people the nursing home sent away.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:51 AM
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I would give her as much as she can handle. I would definitely limit my time as much as possible with her. Don't assume all of the responsibility because you are the daughter. I saw that alot with my own husband and his sister, because she was the daugther she stepped up much more so than he did and it was not fair.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:47 AM
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Supportive or enabling? That's a hard one, especially when our A's have genuine need for assistance in other areas, and I too struggle with figuring out what is truly helpful and what just makes it easier for himself to drink. For me, I ask myself "Would I do this for anyone else?" "Did I do this before he became an A?" or "Would I if he weren't drinking?" Sometimes it's just a matter of finding myself a half-way satisfying position between two equally uncomfortable emotions: resentment and guilt. It's not always a lot of fun, but I'm getting better and happier with my decisions as time goes on.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:00 AM
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You're in a tough place. My good friend and her father are dealing with an even worse situation with the mother/wife who is mid to late 70's. Husband enabled her drinking just to not hear her **tching all the time to him. After about 12 failed rehabs and numerous hospital stays he is divorcing her. However, she is now playing the "I can't take care of myself" card (just because she is drinking). She will literally not bathe or eat for months at a time. Before this last hospital stay she was laying in her own filth on the bedroom floor for a week. Ambulance took her away and she couldn't walk or talk. They carted her over to a nursing home two days ago to "get rehabilitated" to take care of herself. When she realized where she was, she miraculously can now walk and talk and wants out of there to "go home". No one wants her. The man's attorney says "he's stuck" and won't be able to get divorced as long as she plays the "I can't help or take care of myself" card... which is exactly what she's doing. She's playing a game. How is your mother getting the alcohol?
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:18 AM
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Isn't it amazing how well they can become in a matter of seconds, from total complete maniacs to lucid and playing the game. Awful.
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