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frances
October 27th, 2008, 09:35 AM
Hi everyone,

I actually came here a couple of weeks ago for myself because I have been drinking for many years and too much at that. I'm trying AF and plan to try to mod. But my question for this forum is regarding the mother of a friend of mine, who also happens to be the best friend of my mother. She has been drinking for many years but never had a big problem until in the last year. Her husband died about 10 years ago tragically in a car accident - she kept herself very very busy and did great for many years. Last year my father (also a good friend of hers) died suddenly 4 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, another friend of hers died, another moved away, and so, I think because of depression and loneliness, she really started hitting the bottle. She's somewhere around 80 years old. She stopped all of her usual activities - church choir, handbells, classes at local university, etc. - She has been drinking so much, calling friends, crying and drunk and can't remember anything when people telll her about what she's done. She went "missing" a couple of months ago - was supposed to take a trip (about 2-3 hour drive I think) to visit her sister and when she didn't get there when she was supposed to, her sister called my friend. Noone could find her or reach her, so they called the police and put in a missing persons report. around 4:30 am the next morning she called my friend's house and said she didn't know where she was. My friend walked her through getting to an intersection and found that she was in a town not far from her own home. After putting pieces together, they realized that she had been driving around lost and drunk all night and stopped at at least two places to get directions back to her house (found directions written on receipts from McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts in two different people's handwriting). Apparently both times she never made it back home. Well, needless to say, she could have really hurt someone driving in her condition. And she herself could have been hurt; she was not in a very good neighborhood. Her daughter got her into a 28 day rehab program and she willingly went (though she tried to pack a bottle to bring with her which my friend laughs at - gotta keep a good humor I guess) - anyway, she did the program but when my friend and my mom went to see her, they could tell she just didn't think she was nearly as bad off as the other people there, and seemed to think she didn't have much of a problem. Well, that program ended probably a month ago, and over the weekend, her son talked to her on Saturday and said she was "tanked" and my mom talked to her yesterday and said she was clearly very drunk. We've been suspecting she's been back to drinking, but were hoping that we were just being suspicious, and that she really wasn't. Anyway....now my friend is wondering what to do? She's disappointed that the rehab program didn't give better info about what to do when she got out...she was told to go to AA every day, but we're pretty sure she hasn't been. I know these things have to come from the person themselves - so, what can a family member or good friend do? When she drinks she doesn't eat - she's withered away to about 80 pounds. She's going to kill herself if she keeps this up. Any advice is appreciated I would love to be able to help my friend. Maybe I could send her to this site. I haven't told her about my own attempts to quit drinking/moderate. Her mother's condition is part of what made me decide to change.

Evie.Lou
October 27th, 2008, 09:38 AM
It is surprising to me that they don't give better after care at most rehabs.This site is the best long term sobriety tool that I know of.Give her RJs book to read.

A Work in Progress
October 27th, 2008, 09:51 AM
It seems very likely that, at her age, her sensitivity to alcohol has increased, her tolerance has decreased, and her judgment and decision-making capacity is pretty poor, as well. She may very well have some mild dementia going on. Her family needs to get her in to see a qualified neurologist (someone who specializes in dementia!!!) as soon as possible! My mother had very similar issues all going on, at once.

DeeBee
October 27th, 2008, 10:08 AM
Frances, you are a very caring person!

I would buy her a copy of the MWO book and maybe if you feel comfortable about it let her know how you have incorporated the program into your life. It might be quite daunting for someone of that age to think of shopping for all the suppliments and speaking to a Doctor so maybe offer to go with her or buy the suppliments for her.

At the end of the day, she will have to do it herself but with yourself and your Mom supporting her I hope that she will make the right choice.

frances
October 27th, 2008, 11:55 AM
A Work in Progress;453339 wrote: It seems very likely that, at her age, her sensitivity to alcohol has increased, her tolerance has decreased, and her judgment and decision-making capacity is pretty poor, as well. She may very well have some mild dementia going on. Her family needs to get her in to see a qualified neurologist (someone who specializes in dementia!!!) as soon as possible! My mother had very similar issues all going on, at once.

Yes, we do think she might have some dementia too. At first that was our primary concern, then we realized she'd been drinking so much and we wanted to be able to tell what caused what. Her clarity is vastly improved when she's sober. She still has some very minor confusion but nothing at all like when she's drinking. And unfortunately, lately we never know if she's drinking or not but we're certain that this weekend she was. At the program she was in they told my friend that confusion and mental problems are definitely associated with excessive drinking and that those symptoms can last for months to a couple of years AF!

I'll check with my friend to see if she's been seen by a specialist in dementia. I know that she's seen numerous specialists and I'm sure she's seen a neurologist because she had terrible shaking at one time and at this point, we think it's probable that the shaking was withdrawal symptoms and it has gone away.

nancy
October 27th, 2008, 09:23 PM
Hi Frances

I think Work in Progress offers some good advice.

I also wonder, has she had any psychotherapy and if not is she open to that to help with her depression and isolation? The right therapist can help a lot.

And does your friend do things with her to help alleviate her loneliness? Is it possible to suggest doing some of those old activities together? Alcohol causes depression but people also use it for depression. Not sure if anti-depressants are an option for her. Probably she should have gotten them in conjunction with rehab so she gets the booze out of her system and they can work. It's difficult but not impossible to treat the drinking problem and depression at the same time. I think what the family has been doing is treating the symptoms of the depression, which is the drinking.

I also wonder if you have considered moving her to a sort of a residential complex for older people, something that might offer more social outlets, not a nursing home!

Nancy

frances
October 28th, 2008, 10:52 AM
Thanks Nancy. Yes, she's been in psychotherapy too and again, just doesn't think she needs it so she didn't keep it up. She has a lot of denial, doesn't acknowledge her own depression or her drinking problem, and my friend gets frustrated and it's very difficult to deal with. Also, my friend has 2 kids at home and a full time job and so that presents a lot of problems in trying to do activities with her mom, etc.

My friend's mom lives in a retirement community, but she lives in a townhouse so she can be as isolated as she wants. She has discussed several times with her mother the idea of moving to a place that's more like a condo/apartment with scheduled activities, etc. - I totally agree that it seems like that would help. I'm not sure the latest on that idea - I was hoping that when she got out of rehab they'd move her right in to a place like that so she'd have a brand hew environment that might help her change.

Thanks for all your inputs. I'll call my friend tonight and see where everything stands. I know she is frustrated and worried.

nancy
October 28th, 2008, 01:07 PM
Hi Frances

Well, maybe she doesn't like psychotherapy but could be open to anti-depressants?
Or groups for people who are bereaved?

Rehab is fine for a temporary fix but it sounds like she was put right back into the depressing lonely life environment so why would she change?

It's good that they are considering this other living option for her.

Too bad that she is resisting help for herself. No doubt there are generational issues here, in terms of accepting psychotherapy for example. She must want to feel better though, and maybe someone can get through to her that way. Depression is treatable. Anti-depressants might really help if she takes them when the booze is out of her system. If she is open to rehab she might be open to anti-depressants. It doesn't have to be permanent, maybe she could try them for 6 months and see if she can change her life situation in that time to a point where she can go off the medication.

Also, psychotherapy is great, but if she doesnt want that, getting back into life activities is an alternative. I had a friend who was going nowhere in therapy but she took some classes to boost her social life and then became a lot happier.

Good luck with what sounds like a very challenging situation. But it does sound to me like she was just treated for alcoholism instead of the underlying problem of depression/bereavement.

Nancy

gyco
October 28th, 2008, 01:25 PM
wow what a story,thread ,you said 80 or so,one of my family members years ago was throwing herself down stairs to die,not to damene the family but didnt want to be on this earth no more, are they there for her,it seems you worry more then they, her family,you wrote you have a problem with AL,HAVE TO TREAT YOU 1ST,there are homes for the aged,thts where are family member went,somtimes when you get old you getold,wish you well gyco

frances
October 29th, 2008, 02:37 PM
Gyco;454423 wrote: wow what a story,thread ,you said 80 or so,one of my family members years ago was throwing herself down stairs to die,not to damene the family but didnt want to be on this earth no more, are they there for her,it seems you worry more then they, her family,you wrote you have a problem with AL,HAVE TO TREAT YOU 1ST,there are homes for the aged,thts where are family member went,somtimes when you get old you getold,wish you well gyco
Yes, her family (son and daughter) are there for her. But at the same time I know my friend is very frustrated. Don't some family members get to the point where they feel they have to let go because the drinking person is not accepting their problem and changing? I think this is where my friend is. I don't know what is typically recommended for family members if their loved one is not stopping the drink. Isn?t it true that there is really nothing anyone but the affected person can do to stop this problem, i.e., the alcoholic needs to take the steps to get sober and until that person does, it won?t happen.? My friend is supportive of her, but not supportive of her drinking. I don't want to get too graphic, but she drinks so much she loses control completely and she, and her house, get filthy because she doesn't take care of herself. I know another poster thought this was partially dementia related and I asked my friend about this again, a neurologist (one who was supposed to be a dementia specialist) has checked her out and says nothing "organic" appears to be wrong. My friend also says, when she's sober, these things don't happen, i.e., she keeps the house and herself clean, her mind and memory is good, etc. - so it really is a terrible thing that this drinking is doing to her.

Sorry to be so long. I do care very much about this situation, but I have been on the periphery ? my mom, and my friend, have been dealing with this and I?ve just been trying to support them. At this point, I?m thinking, what the heck, maybe I should talk to my friends mom too. She is ashamed of her drinking, and would be mortified if she knew some of the things that have happened that she can?t remember. Some of those she does know about because my friend has told her.

BTW - I'm doing well on myself - at day 5 AF but moderating since October 8. Currently shooting to get 30 days AF to see if moderation is really a good idea.

thanks!