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To not know what to do about mums alcoholism

118 replies

Subeccoo · 24/12/2019 10:33

My mum is an alcoholic, has been all my life.
It's just an accepted part of the family, she drinks too much and that's the way it is.
Various family members myself included have told her and offered support over the years, my brother and I are virtually tee total to present a healthy lifestyle in front of her.
Our dad likes his beer but in no way to the extent and refuses to engage in discussion about it. I pulled him aside recently after a particularly bad episode but he just says she will not see a doctor or give up alcohol.
She is sick, really sick. Her skin is yellow, she eats nothing, her movements are slow.
There seems to be nothing we can do and I don't know what to do about it, I'm convinced she'll die really soon.
Irony is she's drinking very little at the moment, but has a small glass every day.
Has anyone dealt with a family member going through this?
What do you do? Just watch them fucking die?

OP posts:
Kolo · 24/12/2019 11:08

There's nothing you can do. None of it is your fault and there's nothing you can or could have done to change any of it. The only person who can is your mother. Really sorry. Been there.

MatildaTheCat · 24/12/2019 11:14

How very difficult. She may start to feel so unwell that she will have to see a doctor whether she really wants to or not.

Could you phone her GP and ask for advice? They obviously can’t tell you any information about her but can listen and advise.

Does she have abdominal swelling?

partofyoupoursoutofme · 24/12/2019 11:21

// can offer you lots of advice and support. It's just the most awful thing to watch somebody you love destroy themselves. Flowers and strength to you xx

ChestyNutsRoastingOnAnOpenFire · 24/12/2019 11:21

I’m sorry about your DM Flowers

There is nothing you can do, she’ll stop if she chooses to and nothing you can do will influence that.
My DF stopped after a stay in an inpatient ward with advanced liver disease patients, I think it frightened him, it took a lot of years and tears from us all but he stopped and I am so incredibly proud of him.
Such complicated emotions for DC and family of alcoholics so I sympathise Flowers

Would your DM see a doctor if she isn’t drinking much but seems to be deteriorating? Sounds like she needs some blood tests and a review.

BrokenWing · 24/12/2019 11:23

Alcoholism is a horrible addiction, for the addict and their family. When they stop becoming a functioning alcoholic and their health goes, it is horrific. Dh lost his dad to it 10 years ago.

If they won't seek help, there is nothing you can do for them, you can only protect yourself, we called the police on FIL to stop him driving, and I stopped visiting with ds as I would not put him through it too.


poptypingchef · 24/12/2019 11:26

I’m sorry this is happening and the time of year exacerbates the stress too.

My friend starting heavily drinking about the age of 22 and now at the age of 43 he’s still going. He drinks himself into oblivion every day and I’m also a loss at what to do. He won’t acknowledge his alcoholism but from conversations I know he knows (just won’t say it out loud).

I worry the same, it’s a horrible feeling Sad

Subeccoo · 24/12/2019 11:27

Yes she's definitely swollen in the abdomen. She's so thin but her upper abdomen is really pronounced now.
She's happy enough, but is clearly in masses of pain.
She's only 68.
My siblings and I are all going for coffee now to decide what we do.
She's broken bones due to drinking in the past and still never really been to hospital, its the only way I can think of getting her to see someone at the moment but she's not getting drunk, just existing.

OP posts:
Subeccoo · 24/12/2019 11:29

How long until she dies Sad

OP posts:
ChestyNutsRoastingOnAnOpenFire · 24/12/2019 11:30


Groovee · 24/12/2019 11:30

As the child of someone whose drink addiction came first. There is nothing you can do. They need to be the ones who want to stop and are the only ones who can do anything about it.

It really is the harsh reality. I had relatives who used to have a go at me regularly. But unless my mum wanted to stop then it realistically was never going to happen!

NameChangedForTheDay · 24/12/2019 11:32

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I lost my mum to alcoholism in April. Literally nobody could help her on her path of self-destruction.

She got so bitter and behaved so appallingly, that when she died, most of the family were no longer speaking to her. Myself included. It's something I have to live with, but being around her and being the target of her insults, nastiness and behavior was making me ill.

My only advice to you is to make your peace with her while she's alive. You've done all you can, as it has to be her that wants help. If she won't accept it, it's not your fault, or anyone elses.

Please feel free to DM me, should you wish to talk to someone who understands.

thenightsky · 24/12/2019 11:37

I had to watch a friend slowly drink herself to death. Her hospital admissions were always for other things like infections that took ages to improve. Her final admission was when she swelled up with fluid and was incontinent and looked a terrible yellow colour. The hospital drained something like 10 litres of fluid off her, but she never improved. She passed away after being discharged home to carry on drinking. She was 56.

Hayhayleigh · 24/12/2019 11:37

Alcoholism totally sucks, try Al Anon, I went to a life coach for 18months to help me to learn how to deal with an alcoholic family member, it was never the intention of the sessions I had but it helped give me perspective on how I could manage my own behaviour and learn that I couldn't control the other person x

NameChangedForTheDay · 24/12/2019 11:38

How long until she dies

Everyone is different sweetheart, you can't predict it.

The swollen abdomen (ascites) is a sign of cirrhosis and the jaundice is relating to that.

When my mum got ascites, I googled it and prognosis was about six months, she went on for another eighteen months.

She went yellow a fortnight before she died. I only found that out after she died. But this doesn't mean your mum will die in two weeks. Everyone is different. Flowers

Ninkanink · 24/12/2019 11:40


I can’t even imagine how painful this is for you.

There is nothing you can do. Wishing you strength, and peace.

Subeccoo · 24/12/2019 11:52

It's just awful. She's pretending she's fine. We're not some toxic family where I need to fall out with her, I love her very much though I do have issues around alcohol myself hence why I avoid it now. Nothing like growing up with a drunk mother to put you off.
Going for a walk with my sister, she's falling to pieces and I've said we'll go to al anon in the new year (I'm going on a very very much needed holiday on boxing day).

OP posts:
Ninkanink · 24/12/2019 11:55

There’s absolutely no need to fall out. Flowers

You love her, she loves you. If the dynamic isn’t toxic then just spend the time she has left loving her and letting her love you.

MatildaTheCat · 24/12/2019 11:56

Try to persuade her to go to A&E. They can drain ascites if she has it and that would make her more comfortable. It sounds like a very sad situation.

PurpleFrames · 24/12/2019 11:58

Like others I strongly advise al anon for support.

I am an addict so come at it from quite a different perspective. I relate to the denial, the covering up and enabling of your dad.

But if she's yellow I expect she is very ill and needs to seek medical help ASAP. She may die- I have seen someone who made the active decision to change (who was yellow) not be able to recover as it was simply too late. I expect your mum knows that and is terrified.

If she's not ready to change there's not much you can do, you have to really fight this disease. I'd say AA would be of benefit.

Wishing you all the best x

CuriousaboutSamphire · 24/12/2019 12:02

I am so sorry for you and your family. I'm another that has been through it and we are doing do again with BIL.

Please do believe that there is nothing you can do to change your mum, it that you have ever been a cause.

Al Anon is good for helping you think it all through and protect yourself from the inevitable emotional storm.

Have a good holiday, foucus on your own family unit, try not to fret over what you cannot change, control or cure.

HavelockVetinari · 24/12/2019 12:05

Poor you, and your poor mum. Alcoholism is such a cruel illness. SadFlowers

It's not likely she can recover if she's yellow with ascites, but as for how long she's got it's impossible to say. Somewhere between weeks and months, possibly even a year (not likely but possible). The hospital can't cure her at this stage but they can make her more comfortable and get rid of the pain.

MinisterforCheekyFuckery · 24/12/2019 12:26

You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. I come from a family of alcoholics and the feeling of powerlessness is one of the hardest things to cope with. Having to sit back and watch someone you love slowly killing themselves is soul-destroying and it's ok to feel angry with your DM for putting you all through this. It doesn't mean you love her any less.

Grandmi · 24/12/2019 12:30

Your mum clearly has alcoholic liver disease and her swollen abdomen is probably ascites which is a symptom of end stage liver failure. Am so sorry 😐 she needs to see her doctor Asap.

Iggly · 24/12/2019 12:35

I know it’s not easy but it’s her responsibility to look after yourself. Not yours.

My mum was (is?) an alcoholic - drank when pregnant with my youngest siblings, that’s how bad she got.

In the end it turned out she had a severe mental health condition which was not diagnosed until her 40s. Plus combined with a shitty childhood meant that she didn’t have a lot of mental resilience and alcohol became a crutch as she made a lot of bad choices in terms of men/relationships. A very messy picture.

Now she is alcohol free and has been for years. But it took her to get to absolutely rock bottom and she was sectioned before anything was done about it.

So I’m not sure what you can do OP. She will know it’s causing her damage. She may well decide that there’s no point trying to improve things because, in her eyes, what’s the point? Ultimately though these are her choices.

You can offer her support and help but you can’t force her. Look after yourself x

LeekMunchingSheepShagger · 24/12/2019 12:41

I really feel for you op Flowers

I imagine she knows she’s very ill and is terrified. If you can persuade her to see her GP or head straight to a&e they will at least be able to help her with her pain.

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