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Do you think she's an alcoholic?and what should I do?

(28 Posts)
essbee Tue 12-Apr-05 21:59:39

Message withdrawn

LGJ Tue 12-Apr-05 22:04:22

Oh blimey

What a difficult one, ordinarily I would say, that you should seriously consider getting involved.

But that would take a lot of physical and mental energy and without wishing to sound patronising, have you got that energy to spare at the moment.

What does Anorak think ?

Sorry I am not being much help am I ??

essbee Tue 12-Apr-05 22:06:36

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mummylonglegs Tue 12-Apr-05 22:08:12

Sounds very tricky. Does she drink throughout the day? Does she 'seem' drunk in the evenings? I'm just wondering if there might be another problem there, a health issue, rather than alcohol. Is it possible to talk to her seriously about it without having to report her?

SoupDragon Tue 12-Apr-05 22:09:04

There's nothing you can do other than say you think she has a problem and that you'll be there for her if she needs you.

mummytosteven Tue 12-Apr-05 22:09:39

i would say phone childline/nspcc/parentline - and take your lead from them - as if you take your lead from them, then hopefully that will spare you some of the inevitable guilt/mental energy with whatever you decide to do

essbee Tue 12-Apr-05 22:10:50

Message withdrawn

anoraksDD Tue 12-Apr-05 22:15:45

I think this woman was an alcoholic too. She was drinking most nights even when she told us she wouldn't. I don't think it is normal to drink alone in your bedroom and to try and keep it a secret. I also find it strange that she threw up and passed out after just one bottle of wine - to me this is a sign of a damaged liver.

mummylonglegs Tue 12-Apr-05 22:18:34

Do either of you know the woman beyond this holiday? Any signs she drinks in 'normal' life?

Gosh, it's so hard to know what to do. You are right that someone who is so drunk they're passed out and unable to respond to their kids at night is not a safe parent. And think of the accidents that they may cause by being so out of it?

I wouldn't like to be in your shoes on this one, essbee.

LGJ Tue 12-Apr-05 22:22:29

Oh Christ, EssBee

Keep this bumped, I truly do not know what to advise and I am normally quite black and white.

Nice to see AnoraksDD on here, have we got a newbie

All joking aside, I think you keep this bumped and see what the general consensus is.

JanH Tue 12-Apr-05 22:24:48

Good grief, essbee, you don't really need this worry on top of your own, do you? How was she with her children during the day? How were they in themselves? I wonder why the dd woke up yelling?

You're right that drinking alone, secretly (well, sort of secretly) in her bedroom is serious but are you sure she had only had one bottle of wine when she threw up and passed out, A'sDD? Could she have been drinking secretly during the day as well? Either way she has got a problem with alcohol of course...

Are you close enough to approach her about it, essbee? Or do you know anybody else who is?

(Hope some of your holiday was OK.)

Prufrock Tue 12-Apr-05 22:52:38

Anoraks dd - to me that's not a sign of a liver problem, it's a sign of being a complete lightweight after pregnancy - of course , if her youngest is 3 you are probably more accurate

I do think this woman needs help, but I also don't think you are the right person to give it essbee - you need to conserve your emotional energy to look after yourself and your ds (and dd of course)

I do think that if she is in denial, SS or maybe her HV need to get involved - but at the same time I know I would find it hard to report another mother if I didn't think she was a bad person. Could one of you call Al-Anon for some advice?

Libb Tue 12-Apr-05 23:04:36

I think I am with Prufrock with this one, Essbee you can't really afford to worry about someone else right now - you must take care of yourself first. Phone the AA and see what they might suggest.

A lot of us go through some ugly phases and this could be one of those for her, she might close in on herself if she feels she is being questioned and that could be worse.

My main concern is that you might take on too much for you at the moment, I really don't mean that in a patronising way either. Just take care of yourself and speak to someone who is not swayed by the emotions of the situation right now.

Really hope this doesn't sound like I am being pushy xxxx

beansontoast Tue 12-Apr-05 23:13:27

i think yep

and do nothing ,i dont know your situation,but it really is so draining trying to help someone who does not see any problem.

anorak Tue 12-Apr-05 23:27:53


It was I who suggested to my dd that this might be a sign of liver damage. My mother was an alkie and as her body deteriorated most of her liver didn't work any more and so her body was overwhelmed by small amounts of drink.

From the horror stories my dd has been telling me I am frightened that these children are being shut out of their mother's room for very long periods of time or worse, shut in their own in the dark as she did on holiday.

If she is doing this surely SS should be informed? Think what this is like for a 3 year old child. If the mother won't accept help that's one thing but the children deserve better.

Prufrock Tue 12-Apr-05 23:38:45

Anorak - I was joking (in a sort of bitter way with memories of my first night of proper drinking post pregnancy ) really hope I didn't offend your dd.

anorak Tue 12-Apr-05 23:38:56

Plus it might just save the mother's life if someone in the NHS is made aware of this situation!

anorak Tue 12-Apr-05 23:39:42

No no prufrock don't worry. I understood that you were joking, just wanted to give reasons for anyone who might be curious.

anoraksDD Wed 13-Apr-05 00:32:41

JanH, After searching her room on the last day we knew there was only one bottle of wine in there. She didn't buy any alcohol that day and she seemed completely sober when she went into her bedroom that night. Later I heard her throwing up and she passed out again.
I can't think what else she could have drunk or when so she is either the worst lightweight I have ever met or she has liver damage.

She mentioned that she locks herself into her room every night at home. With just herself and her kids around I can't see any other reason for this than that she doesn't want them to come in and find her passed out or having been sick over herself.
If this is the case then I can only hope one of her children never has a serious problem at night when she is incapable of looking after herself let alone them.

After spending a week with her it was clear to me that she has deep emotional problems regarding the father of her children leaving her. I think she desperately needs help, her children and her health are unsafe as it is.

mummylonglegs Wed 13-Apr-05 09:56:55

I'm not an 'expert' on alcoholism, but my father had a problem (which he managed to crack due to AA) and so did dp's father who eventually died of alcholic liver disease 2 years ago. So all I know is what I've read about in relation to them. I do know that it takes a heck of a lot of very heavy sustained drinking to get serious liver disease like cirrhosis (sorry for spelling). In the case of dp's dad it was so obvious he was pretty much pissed all day every day and crashed out in the evening by 8pm. But he was never sick like you're describing this woman is. Maybe it's different in women? Anorak would know after the experience with her mum.

You didn't say though what this woman is like on a daily basis with the kids and how the kids seem? Are they cared for or seem neglected? If she admits that she locks herself in her room, can you ask her why?

I think if you feel very confident that they are at risk and she has a serious problem she won't confront then you probably have to speak to some professional body for advice about what to do next.

piffle Wed 13-Apr-05 10:19:12

I drink a lot Essbee and recently frightened myself into 6 day a week teetotalling.
I have never been unable to get to my children and would never ever drink that much when alone with them, esp a younger child.
My dh said to me I think "we" are drinking too much, I do not want us to have a drinking problem and without him saying it, I would not have studied the issue, (ostrich denial style)
I think I would say to her, I am worried about you, it seems that you are drinking a lot and seem to be losing control, do you need any help, can I help you in anyway.
Difficult for you at the moment I know essbee. perhaps there is another friend you can allow to take this task on, and also speak to AA they are excellent for all support.

alicatsg Wed 13-Apr-05 10:23:50

could you speak to her HV quietly? she could at least keep an eye out for problems if she was aware of your concerns.

I'd be wary of taking her on yourself. Its a huge emotional commitment and a pretty thankless one at that.

anorak Wed 13-Apr-05 13:32:47

I think essbee and my dd did say those things to her, but she said she was fine and basically blanked them.

It's not a question of whether essbee can take this woman under her wing - she lives too far away for that. It's a question of whether the authorities should be brought in, for the sake of the children, primarily.

mummytosteven Wed 13-Apr-05 13:36:29

I agree with you Anorak; given that this friend is in denial, and could well continue to deny any problem for years, I don't see that there is anything much Essbee could do, even if she had the time/emotional energy to become involved.

MiriamR Wed 13-Apr-05 14:24:37

If there was another responsbible adult in the house, then I'd be tempted not to say anything more than you have already said to her. However, the fact is that there isn't and I understand your concerns at her capacity to ensure her children are safe etc during the night when she's passed out / can't be roused by them or is so indifferent (thru drink) to their needs that she merely pushes them back into their room when they are screaming, leaving your friend to look after them!! Her children are too young, esp the 3yo, to be in this situation.

My advice would be to contact social services / nspcc. I do think that you might lose a friend over this since you will be giving them info / insight into things that are normally unseen by other adults - professionals simply aren't normally in a position to observe things like that and she is therefore likely to suspect it was you who called them.

On other occasions during the day, she may be a more than a capable parent and you could also point this out to the authorities, so that they get a more rounded view. I know that this is a difficult situation but please bear in mind that she was like this whilst on holiday with you and that you and your friend and her dd had to intervene. What happens when other adults are not around to soothe her little ones. I would take a deep breath and do it - I think this is one of those situations where you would feel worse for not doing anything. What an awful situation to be in - best wishes

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