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to be concerned about how much my parents drink.

(35 Posts)
justwondering72 Thu 09-May-13 09:10:23

I seem to have lost my perspective on this.

My parents have, for a very long time - at least 20 years - had a glass of wine while cooking / pre-dinner, drunk the rest of the bottle with dinner, then gone on to have 3 or 4 drinks (whisky or rum) in the evening, pretty much every night. They are never drunk, as in slurring or staggering, though I have had a couple of phone calls from my mum where I can tell she's a bit pissed because her voice sounds different and she's snippier than usual. They never go out drinking - except, of course, wine with food if eating out.

DH is from a family where they would be more likely to have a cup of tea with 'tea' in the evening rather than wine - and they would never drink spirits in the evening. They crack out the wine when we go to visit, and my FIL probably has an occasional beer at the weekend or at the pub with his football mates. Dh has always made it clear that he thinks my parents drink too much, though he often has a few whiskies in the evening when they are staying with us.

My DSis is concerned about how much they drink. She lives closer, so sees them more often, and tends to take the Guardian health columns as gospel, and is a self confessed control freak and she's concerned because they are drinking way over the 'safe limits'. She has voiced her concerns to them, they have reacted defensively - though my dad does take it on board and reduce his alcohol intake for a while, then it creeps back up. My mum gets very defensive though. She tends to believe that guidelines are written for everyone else - not her.

Healthwise they both seem in ok nick for their ages. My dad was recommended for a specific reason to cut back on alcohol intake by the Dr, which he did, but since that particular health issue passed, he's reverted to the norm. My mum probably does not tell anything like the truth if asked by a medic - and she has several conditions that I suspect are caused by or exacerbated by too much alcohol - insommnia, stomach ulcers, overweight.

And me? I like a small glass of wine while cooking dinner, and another one while eating, and that's pretty much it. I very very occasionally (once a month maybe) have a whisky in the evening (very small, with water) once the children are in bed.

So are my parents drinking too much? Are the safe limits guidelines the important ones - or are they grown ups who can make their own decisions? Should my sister and I butt out or intervene by talking to them? I personally would rather leave them to work it out for themselves, only going as far as to tell them that I personally sleep badly when I drink too much, that I find it really helps weight loss when I stop drinking altogether, to turn down their offers of a drink and have a cup of tea instead. My sister favours a more direct approach - and would like me to back her up.

Whaddya think?

CelticPixie Thu 09-May-13 16:36:48

I'm shocked at how many people are telling the OP to mind her own business. These are her parents for gods sake and she has every right to be cornered about them. In fact I wonder how many of the people who are telling you to butt our are actually pissheads themselves?

EasyToEatTiger Thu 09-May-13 16:51:54

You can't control your parents. They have a relationship between each other, and it's their business what they do with their lives. You can tell them that you care about them, and you may be able to engage them in things that don't involve alcohol. People do become very defensive about certain behaviours because often they are being held in judgement. We all have our little habits one way or the other.
If you are able, try to enjoy your parents while you have them.

amonthefence Thu 09-May-13 17:06:19

I'm on the fence with you on this one. You have pretty much described my parents weekend drinking habits. Though they do have a glass of wine and or beer on week nights too. They too are v. healthy and never get slurry.

This soon behaviour soon rubbed off on me though and now I've left home. realise that I do similar and my friends thhink I probs drink too much. But it was how I was brought up. Although I see this as home comforts and is one of my few luxuries.

Although I always knew they drink a lot I just put it down to stressful lives and stuff. And any time I trued to even think about drinking them under
the table I always ended up v sloshed.

I finally realised that perhaps their behaviour wasn't normal parenting. When an exdp who was a v social drinker was like your dps drink a lot I had a hangover for several days afterwards.

Sorry for the mumbled post I have nc for this

nextphase Thu 09-May-13 18:29:37

Mine too drink more than could be classed as "within the limits".
Me, I'm as good as tee total most of the time - tho drink a little if out with friends etc. Blame pregnancy, bf then sleepless kids!

I have commented when they go for "just one more", and they know I think they drink too much. But I've left it there - ie let them know I think its excessive, but not dissaproving or forcing them to change. If they come here there is plenty to drink, but we normally run out before they hit the levels they would normally have at home.

It sounds like your parents are drinking too much, too often. But its been pointed out to them, and they have chosen to ignore the advice. I'm not sure what else you can do? Tho recently there was a campaign round here about looking at how much you drank, and a free calculator about units / benifits of cutting back. Is there a free-by you could get sent to them?

stargirl1701 Thu 09-May-13 18:39:16

My Dad is the same. But, he is an adult. He knows the guidelines. He gets a row from the doctor when he fills in health questionnaires. He knows it is more than the guidelines recommend. But, he is an adult. He is retired and chooses to spend his money and his time like this. It doesn't impact anyone (Mum is dead).

It isn't what I would do. That is hard to accept.

birdsofshore Thu 09-May-13 19:09:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

golemmings Thu 09-May-13 19:35:43

Stargirl, too right its hard. I'm in the same boat. Since my mum died my dad has been drinking heavily. I phone pretty much every night and by half 7 he's generally pissed. Occasionally he's utterly nonsensical, once he was passed out on the bedroom floor but mostly he just slurs his words and repeats himself 5 or 6 times during the 20min chat.

I find it stressful, depressing and always come off the phone angry. I have no idea how to disengage.
It's really hard to say "none of my business" when you see an adult you care about going down the road to self distruct.

amonthefence Thu 09-May-13 21:13:49

How many largers / glasses of wine is 5 - 10 units??

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 09-May-13 21:25:50

My Dad was a functioning alchohohic, much like your parents OP.
Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it. People accept that they are drinking too much, and change it, or they don't. You can't really make them.
FWIW my dad died at 59, and would still be here had he not been a boozer. I don't have any guilt about it, because I couldn't control it, but it does make me sad.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 09-May-13 21:26:52

Depends on the size of the glass amonthefence. A bottle of wine is around 9-10 units.

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