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|Sat, 04-13-2013 - 5:37am|
I have been a long time ivillage member but never saw this site before tonight. But typically after being up most of the night struggling with an issue, I turn to the boards for help. I'm sorry this is so long.
Issue: dealing with alcoholic 78 yr old
Background: my earliest memory is being told at 6 to take care of my Mom as she wasn't well. Now 51 yrs later this is still my job. Apparently Mom started drinking when I was about 5 to deal with the fact that my Dad was cheating on her & divorce was not an option in the early 60s. This continued & by the time I was 14, I was responsible for making her drinks at night which is when she drank. Not a good situation for a teen to have that much control. There were times that her drinks were more alcohol than mix so she would pass out (go to sleep she called it) & I could head out. My Dad died suddenly (43) when I was 18 & 6 wks later my Mom (38) started dating my stepdad. The drinking appeared to stop in the 18 mths they dated but started heavily again once they were married & he became very controlling. She told us both that she had lung cancer & required treatment. I was never allowed to assist her with this treatment & lived an hr away as her DH moved her to ensure she had little to do with me. She told him this story saying she needed money to travel for her treatments & a reason why she was in bed so much. I finally confronted him & said I didn't believe the story after a yr but felt she was drinking. He called me a liar but found out when he dragged her to the dr that there was no cancer. She was admitted to rehab. Supposed to be cured according to him when she returned 2 wks later. 6 mths later she is back in rehab because now he recognizes the signs. She gets out & is now educated on how to really fool us. Fast forward a few yrs & I am about to give birth to my 2nd child. Mom wants to come stay take care of DD while I'm in hospital & swears she hasn't had anything to drink in mths. 5 mths after baby is born, I'm cleaning out the bedroom Mom used & find 5 40 oz empty rye bottles. She was there 4 days. I lost it & told her to get sober or never see me or grandkids again. This triggered 20 yrs of her being sober. Yeah, still not the most caring, supportive Mom but I deal. Then has major heart surgery at 66 & dr recommends 1 glass of wine a day. I say no way as she is an alcoholic but she ignores me. Of course 1 glass leads to several but in constant denial. 3 yrs ago, I moved her & stepfather into retirement home from their condo as he has dementia & she was drinking too much. Then I took her to dr & asked about the impact on drinking with drugs she is on. Dr takes away her license & I take the car away. She of course contacts her siblings to tell them what a bitch I am & all but one cousin who knows about the drinking agree. I get all this grief about my behaviour but have been trained to "hide" Mom's drinking. These people are in their 80s & there is no point in upsetting them. I try to distance myself since they are supervised but the home mgr tell me there is a problem with her drinking. fyi, Mom believes she hides it very well & everyone just sees the articulate, professional that she was. Fast forward to now & they are moving into a new home with more supervision. She has been drinking a lot but denies anything more than 1 drink a day. She had heart problems this week & we had to take her to emerg. When I went to get her, she was falling down drunk at noon & had not been alone since 9:30 this morning. I have never seen her like that before. Thankfully the heart issues weren't serious but even when the dr told her that her blood alcohol level was double the legal limit, she still insisted that she only had 1 glass of wine last night. I had the home mgr enter her room & check the alcohol supply because I had checked it yesterday at 4:30 so I know what they had. She drink at least a 1.5 liter bottle of wine. Dr told her that with her medical history & the amount she is drinking that she can't quit cold turkey but must do this gradually. She also mentioned that you have to deal with seniors differently than younger people with this disease. So Mom volunteers to cut her 1 glass down to 3/4s, then 1/2, etc.. We stop for dinner & she immediately orders a glass of wine. I freak & she says the dr said she had to start slowly. fyi, I rarely drink so she thinks I'm just a fool.
Problem is that I'm not sure I can do this anymore. I'm an only child & the caregiver for Mom & my stepdad. I lost it today when I took her back to the retirement home after I asked her if we were going to ignore the situation once again or discuss it. She said we were going to ignore it. I lost it then & said that I wasn't ignoring it. That I would support her & get her all the help she needed if she would deal with it but otherwise I wasn't going through this again & I would walk away. Then I left. I decided to book an appt with her gp as per emergency dr's suggestion & if Mom refuses to get help then I will see that they are cared for medically & handle their financial situation but that is the end of my involvement. But I'm not sure I can do this. I'm struggling & unable to sleep. I keep remembering that the previous dr gave her a yr's worth of pain pills because she was moving to new area & it is hard to find a dr but as per usual I got her one. When she got her pills she made a comment that she had more than enough to kill herself. She has threatened suicide in the past when things didn't go her way or when she was in the drunk I've screwed up stages. Between the guilty feelings & the fear of what she may do to herself, I can't sleep. I am also beating myself up as this is her problem not mine. I have let her make it my problem for years & I don't deserve this. She has never physically abused me, I always had enough to eat & clothes on my back but the emotional abuse was strong. People love my Mom, they think she is the most loving, generous, kind person & she has a ton of friends. My friends envy me for this wonderful Mom until they become really close & see how she really treats me. Why can't I just tell her to screw off & walk away to live my own life as my kids keep telling me to do. I'm a strong, sucessful person with a loving husband of 38 yrs & 3 amazing kids. I council others on how to deal with issues in the work place. But I just can't seem use my own knowledge to help me move forward without all this guilt & fear.
Sorry again for the lenght of this & the confusing thoughts within it. I would welcome any advise.