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Newbie post: Long-distance caring - Carers UK Forum

Newbie post: Long-distance caring

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
On one level, I've been caring for my mum since I was 10.

My dad died, my mum re-married (my step-dad was a lovely guy), but she's been an alcoholic all those years. My step-dad died 2 years ago and my mum's mental health - which was always shaky - took a dive. Depression + grief. Leading to no desire for her to eat, leading to massive weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition and 3 spells in hospital for her in the last 3 months.

I live 100 miles away from her and can afford a monthly trip to see her. So now I'm dealing with hospitals and social workers from afar. I try really hard not to feel guilty that I can't be there and do more. I have my own life to lead. I can't give up my job and go and sort her out. I'm not going to fix the alcoholism. She needs to decide that she wants to stop drinking. But after 30+ years, that's not going to happen.
Hello bloob (love the name)

Dump the guilt. Mum has had a lifetime to chose to change and hasn't.
Here, we suggest always changing the word 'guilty' to 'sad'.
It's sad Mum is this way, it's sad that she's had 2 bereavement. It's sad she isn't wanting to help herself

That's all it is, sad. You are guilty of nothing except loving and caring and doing what you can. You've had 30+years of angst and I understand the sigh of resignation in your post. Alcoholism is harder on the family than the drinker - they escape, the family doesn't . It is a very selfish condition.

You are doing the right thing by looking after yourself and your life.

So glad you found us for support.

Kr
MrsA
I agree with Mrs. A.

You CANNOT be forced to care, hospitals and social workers can try to intimidate us into doing things we don't want to. Don't let them make you feel guilty, you didn't ask mum to be an alcoholic, so you can't be to blame.
You are doing the right think, try to distance yourself from hospital and social workers, if they ask you to do something, politely decline, use any excuse you like, variations of "I'm too busy at work" or "I have other commitments so I can't..."
You deserve a life of your own. As you say, only mum can cure herself, don't let her drag you down.
Only one person can cure her, and that's herself, and she isn't going to. At her age, to be honest, what incentive would there be? To my mind, if she wants to 'die sooner, and in a pleasant alcoholic haze that numbs the emotional pain of loss', then why not? As a widow, she isn't going to find happiness any more (I know) (were it not for my son, I truly wouldn't have a reason to keep living - though my death would devastate my brother alas, which is another factor).

I agree with both Mrs A and BB, therefore - give her the love you can, but nothing else than you can give her at the moment without negatively impacting your own life. She loved her drink more than she loved anyone else, and that was her 'bad thing'. That said, who knows what 'drove her to drink' in the first place? Sometimes there are 'good reasons' (ie, that deserve our compassion) and sometimes it is just 'self-indulgence' of a sort (ie, the circumstances of their lives were not so bad as to justify their self-medication with alcohol)

As for the NHS/SS, yes, they will try and solve THEIR funding problems by getting YOU to provide free care. Don't indulge them!

Finally, however difficult and fragile your relationship with your mum, NOW is the time to 'mend bridges' and seek what reconciliation you can with her, to look back and select the 'good memories' and build a legacy between mother and daughter that can be worthwhile DESPITE the alcoholism. My mum had pretty severe MH all her life, and it cause me and my bro (and our poor dad!) huge 'misery', but she loved us to pieces and we had a wonderful loving relationship all the same 'despite the MH'.

You are making memories now for yourself, and to pass on to your children if you have them. We are all flawed as human beings, but there is 'good stuff' somewhere, even if only in small amounts, so I would use the time now that she has left (for her alcoholism will shorten her life) to focus on those, so that you can, when the time comes, make a 'good farewell' to her.

Kindest wishes in a difficult situation, both practical and emotional.