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My Mother is an Alcoholic and She's Slowly Killing Herself. I Don't Know What to do.?

by Joanne
(Seattle, WA)

My mother is 56 years old, I am 38. She's been an alcoholic all of my life. She was supposedly sober for the last five years. Then her husband of 15 years died. She had nowhere else to go, so we flew her out to live by my husband and I and our two children.

We don't have room for her in our house, so we arranged an apartment for her. We did everything for her to set it up, including co-signing, because she's ruined her credit rating so badly she can't even get a bank account out here. Well, she was drunk when we picked her up from the airport.

She's been here for only two weeks and hasn't been sober a day since. She's partially disabled, has severe back problems that leave her weak. But I believe she may also be weak because all she does is lay around on her bed all day long and drink. So I'm her only transportation. The grocery store is right across the street, but she's so weak, she cannot (or perhaps will not, I'm honestly not entirely certain--she lies so much I no longer trust anything she says) walk to the store.

Well, almost every day for the last two weeks she's gotten me to drive her to the store. She swears up and down that she won't buy alcohol, but does it anyway. I've tried to talk her out of it, but she wont' listen. When I stopped believing her, she's taken to lying to me time she'll have me and gotten me to drive her to the drug store on the corner. She tell mes she's going in for some sort of medicine (tyloenol, cough syrup), but comes out with beer.

My husband had to co-sign on her apartment in order for her to get a place to live and both of them had to sign a piece of paper that said we would keep that apartment clean. But she's trashing it. I go over often and help her clean, but when I come back a few days later, the place is filthy again.

A week ago she went into the hospital for a drug overdose. She used to take an anti-psychotic to help her sleep and she overdosed on it and called 911 at 2 in the morning. The doctor told her that her drug toxicity level was so high she had to have taken at least 15 pills. She swears she doesn't remember it.

Well, she just went into the hospital again tonight. When I refused to take her to the drug store to buy her beer, she took a cab (to a drug store that it literally right on the corner of the street she lives on, not even a quarter mile away), bought two more six packs, and drank them both by 1pm in the afternoon.

At 2 she called me and said she was throwing up blood and that she was calling an ambulance to come get her. This isn't the first time this has happened. She's gone into the hospital before, years ago, for the exact same thing. And there were even warning signs this time (diarrhea).

Well, she has a small dog, and he needs someone to take care of him, so after she called tonight, my husband went to get the dog. He said her apartment was once again trashed. Beer cans and trash ALL over the floor, the place wreaked of cigarette smoke (that's a rule--no smoking in the apartments) and there were blood stains all over the carpeting. She's lived here for TWO WEEKS and her carpets are going to need replacing, and she's smoking inside when she shouldn't be.

She's been running us ragged. She's using us, and both my husband I and are very hurt and very angry. We have done everything for her. I love my mother, but I can't do this anymore. She's using me to feed her addiction. I can't even trust her to take her grocery shopping, because they sell alcohol in every store. I want to be done with her. I can't do this anymore. But to turn my back on her feels cruel, because she's partially disabled, but if I give her an inch, she will take a mile.

If I do her grocery shopping for her, she'll only have me to do other things for her as well. Even her own mother has gotten tired of her and has turned her back on her. that's why she's living out here with me--my grandmother doesn't want anything to do with her.

I'm sorry I ever let her come live out here by us. My husband and I are living paycheck to paycheck. She's on social security disability. None of us can afford a treatment program and she doesn't WANT to go. I don't know what to do. She's taking over my life. Answer

Hi Joanna

The reality is, while you keep giving, your mother will simply keep taking ... and so while you're trying to help, all you're doing is further enabling your mom's alcoholism.

So as a last resort you could try performing an organised professional intervention with the bottom line being that unless your mom gets professional help (i.e. goes for treatment) and quits drinking, you're cutting all ties with her and she's on her own.

That may be shock her enough into taking her alcoholism seriously and being prepared to do something about it. But of course there are no guarantees, and if that doesn't work, you may have to seriously think about having her institutionalised, i.e. committed to a psychiatric/mental health facility because of the risk she presents to herself and that she's totally incapable of looking after herself.

Because if you do nothing, her alcoholism will simply continue unabated until she ends up killing herself. And since she can't take care of herself because of her physical ailments, it doesn't leave you with much in the way of options and you'll have to use extreme measures as a way of intervening.

You and your husband have to focus on providing the best possible home environment for your children ... and if all your focus and energy is almost entirely being directed at trying to take care of your mom because she refuses to do anything about her alcoholism, then you've got to take action and fast - before it start impacting on your home life and marriage.

Good Luck

Comments for My Mother is an Alcoholic and She's Slowly Killing Herself. I Don't Know What to do.?

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I am an alcaholic

I've been reading the comments on this page and it is breaking my heart because each comment is very honest and it is also very true. I really want to stop drinking. My children are 17, 23,24,25. I only admitted to them I was an alcaholic in 2010. I went into rehab in the summer when they were away in America and I was on my last two week when thry arrived. They didnt know any of this until they got home. They were surprisd, they never realisied. However Im am out of rehab since 2010 and have returned to university as an undergraduate. My Problem is Im worse than I ever was. I hide drink, i drink in college, i drnk in my room lone, yet I alays make sure all my duties a a housewife and mother are done. I say housewife cos I take care of the home however, my husband sleeps in another room after he caught me out in lie after drinking a bottle of wine. Im killing my drinking is worse than ever. But I thinking out of college(even though exams are just six weeks aay and returning next year to geive myself space to try to heal myself. Does anyone have any opinions on my comments, I really some ideas from those who are living with people who are alcaholics, thanks

How Can We Abandon Her?
by: Anonymous

My sister is 57 and has been drinking for decades. She ran out of options and my husband and I invited her to live with us. I am a retired RN and thought I could help her. After two years it is obvious that she does not want to stop drinking. We moved her out on her own and she has found friends to help enable her. My husband is responsible for money that she should inherit and we don't know what to do. We are exhausted trying to keep her out of trouble and don't want to end up as her babysitters but know that if we just let her have the money she will drink herself to death. We are so tired. We both worked more than 40 years before our retirement and it seems we will never be free now of my alcoholic sister unless we let her kill herself with alcohol. The system is no help. We don't know what to do. We barely survived my alcoholic mother and now this. Any suggestions appreciated.

I've since let my mother go
by: Joanne

Kim... I'm sorry for your loss. In the time since, I've had to let my mother go. I did what I could for her until i realized that she didn't really want me in her life. She wanted me to enable her. So I put her out of my life. I told her I couldn't do it anymore. At first, she would call me every once in a while, pretend to care, but she'd always ask me for money. She eventually ended up homeless, drinking her SS income every month and not paying her bills. They found her a new apartment, and she got herself thrown out of that one too. Met a man online, a complete stranger, and lived with him for a while, until they parted ways.

She decided then to go home, to the east coast, but my grandmother refused to allow her to stay with them. Last I heard, mom's in a group home where she's getting treatment and counseling. Unfortunately, I only know this because she called my grandmother. I haven't actually spoken to my mother in months. I can't remember the last time she told me she loved me and meant it. It hurts and I miss her, but I'm healthier. She was killing me, too. It's so hard, having to watch them go through it. But I've realized that I deserve better. I hope some day she straightens out and wants to be a part of my life, but I don't expect it to be anytime soon. It's sad, because she has grandchildren she doesn't even know.

good luck to you. <3

My mother ran my life too, with her needs
by: Kim

I'm 53 years old and live not too far away from you Joanne, in Vancouver.

I enabled my mother everyday of my life, until she died. I was 44. Our relationship was extremly unhealthy, with her being an alcoholic my entire life, and an abuser of pills too. Always on welfare, in trouble, lousy two bit men, leaches for friends, all drinkers, gamblers and loosers. Harsh? Not really, truthful.

I had tried an intervention with her and laid down rules that if she were drinking, she could not be with her grandchildren. For the most part this worked, but I had to stand my ground. After chasing after her and trying to control her drinking, by not buying any alcohol or hiding it... never worked.

Then about the time I felt I was going to die because I couldn't keep up her pace, I started to do what I needed to do, and that was to start to separate from her. She has free will to drink and do what she does, and so do I. I have a choice to keep enabler her and her lifestyle, neglecting my own family to fulfill her needs. I found the strength through therepy to accept her choices as HER choices.

My mom died as a result of complications from diabetes (from alcohol abuse) and she purposely didn't take her medication... probably to teach me a lesson as she had so many times before. Get sick end up in the hospital and I'll come running. I couldn't do it anymore, so I didn't run. She died, and I lived. She choose to roll her dice expecting the same result, but that didn't happen. She lost.

I miss my mother as I did love her. But her life was killing my life, was hurting my relationship with my children, and, enough was enough.

People have to become responsible. I wrote a book which is on called "Dorie's Daughter", by Kim King. It might help you.

Take care.... Kim

taking action
by: Anonymous

After I read this yesterday, I called social services and spoke with them about my mom. The woman I spoke to said in a lot of these cases, there is a mental health issue. My mom has agreed to the assessment, and the worker is going to bring some paperwork for her to sign so I can represent my mom, to get her assistance and schedule her appointments for her and things like that. Hopefully they will put her on some medication that will help. All I want is for her to have food and stay warm through the winter. Minnesota winters are so cold. I hope she will agree to some counceling too. Have you tried that? Maybe talking to someone would help her. I also went here:
and found it very interesting. Maybe you can relate.

too familiar
by: Anonymous

It's hard for me to read this, it is so familar to me. I just don't know what to do anymore. I think my mom is mentally ill. I'm getting her evaluated next week. Next step will be some kind of in patient treatment.

Thank you
by: Joanne

Thank you very much for your thoughts. I have told her that unless she quits drinking that she's on her own, and I meant it. So she took a cab to the drug store for more beer. That was the night she went back into the hospital. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment. We don't have the money to put her into a rehab, so at this point, I've been looking into AA. Either way, because of her physical ailments, it still looks like I'm in charge of her healing, at least getting her to and from places, and part of me says I shouldn't do that. But I'm not sure how to avoid that. She says she can't even walk as far as the corner, which is where she'd have to walk to catch the bus.

Anyway, thank you very much for your thoughts and your time.

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