To think MIL would be better off with painkillers than alcohol?

(6 Posts)
Lasaraleen Tue 29-Dec-15 09:47:47

MIL is in her 70s and has quite a lot of generic old age pains like arthritis and problems with her legs. She hates "taking tablets", but drinks a huge amount - I think in large part this is to cope with the pain at night.

The last few years she has been drinking loads, but this Christmas I really started to worry that she has a problem with alcohol. She has a short flight to get here but was drunk when she got off the plane and walked straight in and poured herself a large glass of wine before saying hello. When I pointed out it was the white wine I was using for cooking, that had been open and sat on the side for a week, and offered to get her another one, she said she didn't care.

She got more drunk than even before over Christmas. On the last night she was here, we had a restaurant table booked for lots of family, and she didn't go because she was feeling ill (I can't imagine why). As she had been feeling very unwell that morning, I had written out how often she could take paracetamol and ibuprofen, but suggested she went easy on the alcohol whilst taking them. She agreed. We got home to find her paralytic. She had also been hiding the evidence - she had put a bottle of vodka back in the cupboard with a millilitre left in it and then drunk lots of miniatures, and hidden the bottles at the bottom of the bin.

I know that a lot of people don't like to take heavy duty painkillers, that they can have side effects and sometimes don't work very effectively. But surely trying to work something out with your doctor that works is better than self-medicating with uncontrolled amounts of alcohol? I have never been in her position so maybe I'm being unfair (and she is also a miserable nasty drunk which is definitely colouring my opinion!).

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 29-Dec-15 09:50:49

If she's alcohol dependent then she's not drinking as a conscious choice over painkillers she's drinking because she is dependent. It's not logical, though it does sound very worrying.

AuntieStella Tue 29-Dec-15 09:52:01

The aches and pains are (possibly) nothing to do with what sounds like alcoholism, other than 'cover' for some of her drinking.

She is drinking regularly, cannot go for long without a drink, and sometimes drinks to excess, which is why I think alcoholism.

This is something that will only change when she wants to change it. Are you able to talk to her about this? (warning, if you do, it may well not go well).

tobysmum77 Tue 29-Dec-15 11:18:22

I am sometimes a bit hmm at what some mnetters class as alcoholism, I've read threads where apparently someone is an alcoholic because they have 2 glasses of wine a day.

However drinking a bottle of vodka and hiding the evidence, arriving off an aeroplane drunk is a serious problem with alcohol by anyone's definition.

If she is using alcohol to help her sleep then that isn't going to work terribly well as it makes you sleep badly. Unfortunately there is little you can do about it if she doesn't want to change it sad

Lasaraleen Tue 29-Dec-15 12:36:06

To be fair I have no idea how much she drinks at home, although she does occasionally sound drunk when she calls. She's really really thrifty and I just can't imagine her spending the money on the amount of alcohol she gets through when she's here! I'm glad that people agree it sounds like a problem though as I wasn't sure if my judgement was clouded.

I have no idea how we would talk to her about it. Dh has no relationship with her to speak of and she doesn't like me. She had to leave school at 14 and has a huge bugbear about people thinking she's stupid - dh and I both went to university so she thinks anything we say which might contradict her or express a different opinion (as you might in the course of a normal conversation) is having a go at her and calling her thick. So any kind of conversation about alcohol would be even more of a minefield than usual!

Maybe we should just try to have less alcohol in the house when she's here - although if she really wants it she'll just go out and buy it.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Tue 29-Dec-15 12:40:47

Painkillers are equally addictive.

She's be trading one addiction for another.

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