Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

how to deal with Mothers alcohol issues

(8 Posts)
sleepwouldbenice Wed 07-Jan-15 23:08:59

Hi all

I am looking for any advice as to how to deal with the above

My Mum has always been a heavy drinker - as teenager I would recall my parents having a sherry after work, wine with dinner then a drink or two afterwards. Although my Dad cut back later on in life my Mum kept on going.

Roll on 30 odd years and the drinking is still going - I think (but of course don't know) that she has days of drinking nothing, days of just "normal levels" (we saw her several times over xmas and she just had a glass or two of wine with soda) and (at a guess once or twice a week) she binges heavily having a couple of bottles of wine or 2/3 of a bottle of whiskey. At this time she is often alone and / or swigging in private. There seems to be no trigger apart from possibly being alone in the house, although its not always the case

What I am trying to say is that most of the time she is fine and normal but obviously has an alcohol dependence issue. I guess she is an alcoholic just not a "typical" one- although I imagine there is no such thing. It makes it an odd situation as its obviously a background issue but a major one (like occasional binge gambling, smoking or drugs I guess)

She is in denial, although she will cut back a while when challenged.

She is 72 if that is any use

Everything I have read or heard is that she has to want to stop / change herself but wondered if anyone had any advice about this "type" of situation - would cutting back help / be successful? Is she likely to get worse?

Any advice or experience appreciated x

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Jan-15 23:19:54

She could be a functioning alcoholic, The binge drinking pattern is pretty unhealthy on the fsce of it but, if she has days of drinking nothing or very little, it might be giving her liver (the usual pinch point) a rest. Does she suffer from any health problems that you know of? Does her drinking affect her behaviour or mental state?

sleepwouldbenice Thu 08-Jan-15 00:49:31

Thanks for replying. Yes seen that phrase and wondered if it fitted

I suppose you could call the impacts normal; forgets things and slurs and repeats when drunk. But is in her 70s and i know lots worse that dont drink so dont know if connected. Can be pretty verbally aggressive / snappy during and after.

Are they signs of something?

sleepwouldbenice Thu 08-Jan-15 00:54:46

Sorry health issues. Smokes in secret so probably many pendingsad

Had circulation/walking issues but consultant seems to have found something to address this so improving


CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 08-Jan-15 06:23:14

There is almost certainly nothing you can do about this. Her health will steadily deteriorate but, age 72, that's hardly a shock outcome. I trust she doesn't drive any more? She wouldn't be safe to be in charge of children or similar. Ultimately, she's an adult, heavy drinking is something only she can decide to address and, whilst I'm sure it's a concern to you, it's not your responsibility to fix.

You might find Al Anon useful

Timeforabiscuit Thu 08-Jan-15 06:31:24

Just to follow what cogito said - Alcocoholics anonymous give great advice for family and there can be support groups set up locally if you want to drop in.

I found the adult children of alcoholics website really helpful, and also the stately homes thread on here - more to help unpick my feelings about it all as I was tying myself in knots with guilt about what I could or should be doing.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 08-Jan-15 06:58:28


You can only help your own self here; your mother is in denial (denial is commonly seen in alcoholism). She has continued to drink pretty much continuously for the last 30 years. Her short term memory is likely to have been damaged as well.

The 3cs re alcoholism are indeed prescient here:-
You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

I would contact Al-anon as they can be very helpful to family members of problem drinkers.

sleepwouldbenice Thu 08-Jan-15 09:04:00

Thanks to all for your comments and support, although it's hard to see others put these things down in wordssad but I know them to be true. its just very sad I guess.
as I say it's also strange as most of the time I see them life is fine and normal as they live close so we are just passing by.
my parents do look after the children twice a week but my dad is there 95% of the time. He is honest about her situation (I would barely know it existed if he wasn't) and is adamant she doesn't drink when looking after them (ie chooses not to)
will look up some of those websites too

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now