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Looking for advice on how to help a family member

1

1a2b3c4d

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May 7, 2020
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USA
Hello. This is my first time using any type of forum but it was recommended that I turn to one for advice. I'm the type of person who doesn't like to turn to help for problems so this is pretty weird for me. I'm sorry if I mislabel anything or generally misspeak, I just don't have any experience here. I also hope this isn't too long.

I'm here to look for advice on how to help a family member suffering from depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. I've been trying my best but I want to know if there's anything I should be doing differently or if there's a perspective I am missing.

I am a college student home at my parents house from school because of COVID and I am an only child. Also a 21-year-old guy if that makes any difference here.

I'll start by saying that the most intoxicated I have ever seen a person in my life was when I was 13 and it was my mom. My parents and I were moving from the town I grew up in to another town that was about a 30 minutes drive away. My mom was anxious about the move and took more of her prescribed anti-anxiety meds than she was supposed to and then drank some wine on top of it. I don't know what drugs they were or how much she drank, but she couldn't talk and tried to eat a marshmallow that was completely on fire. This was the first time I ever realized something was wrong.

Through out high school my parents and I would get into various child-parent fights that I think were pretty normal. A lot more with my mom than my dad. My dad and I are incredibly close and my mom and I just aren't. My mom would drink a lot and it got to the point that she was putting back two bottles of wine every night. When I was probably 15 or 16 I started to realize that it was a problem and that 99% of the times we fought were at night after she'd started drinking. A lot of the same fights over and over that I think she just didn't remember having before. I brought it up to my dad but he told me she didn't have a problem. I don't know if this was because he was in denial or because he didn't want his son to think there was something wrong. By my senior year, he definitely knew it was a problem because we talked about it.

It got worse and worse until I got to college and I was away from it for a while. Every semester I'd come home and my mom would be in worse shape. We'd talk about it and she'd say she'd cut back on drinking. We talked about the existence of her depression and the causes of it. She went to a number of therapists and always switched from one to the next because they would tell her what to do and she didn't like that. She has finally settled on one that she has gone to weekly for about a year and a half. But then I would go back to school and when I came back it was worse than before. This cycle has gone on for 3 years now.

From the conversations we have had, her depression comes from loneliness, unfulfillment, and a lack of mental stimulus. She was (maybe still is) a very smart woman. She went to college for years 20 to be a teacher and even went to grad school at an Ivy League school. She had financial troubles, which is why it took her so long. But she substitute taught for 2 days and quit. This is a pretty common trend for her life, where she wants to do something and then finds out it's kind of difficult and just gives up. She's been a stay at home mom since I was born and this probably hasn't been good for her because she doesn't have anywhere to go every day and, now that I'm older, she has very few responsibilities. She also has very few friends which is a combination our town generally being full of horrible people and her being unwilling to adapt to fit in. I admire her not wanting to be someone she isn't but I also know she'd be happier with friends.

Recently, her depression and drinking have gotten a lot worse. Two-ish weeks ago, I was cleaning the dishes and she got something and went into the bathroom and locked the door. I followed her and she had locked it and was screaming for me to leave. My dad ended up kicking the door open and stopped her. Come to find out, she had injured herself a week prior and I didn't know. She has also done it a handful of times since. She also told me she was contemplating suicide and that she thinks about it every day. She says she thinks it will make my life easier if she's gone. I've told her very clearly that it is the worst thing she could do and that my life is a million times better with her in it. She promised she wouldn't but I worry.

Basically every night we talk about her depression and have these very very deep intricate conversations that don't really get anywhere. She wants my dad and I to be understanding and caring and not tell her what to do, which we try really hard to be. It's difficult though because neither of us have any sort of mental health problems and we are aware that we will just never truly understand how hard it is for her. She keeps telling us that recovery is a process and we need to be patient with her. I know this is true but it's been years of patience and it's only gotten worse. She went two days of not drinking and we repeatedly told her how proud we were but that was 12 days ago and she's gone through at least a bottle every night since. Two times she said she wasn't drinking and then I found liquor in a solo cup she had hidden, which she never drank before.

We have tried to encourage her to make goals to work towards to feel more fulfilled. We have tried to find ways to wean her off alcohol. We have suggested volunteering, which she says she really enjoys (but I don't think she actually does). She always tells us she doesn't want advice for things to do, but I feel like if she doesn't it's only a matter of time until she takes her life.

I've started to get incredibly frustrated with her seeming lack of effort to solve anything. She sits at home, doesn't try to find fulfillment, and continues to drink. I know this isn't the right attitude to have and I NEVER express it to her, but it's difficult to see that she wants to get better but won't take the difficult steps to get there. We have also suggested AA, which she won't go to. And her therapist just keeps upping the dosage of anti-anxiety and anti-depressants, which only make her more intoxicated when she drinks.

I know this is a lot and I can not thank you enough for reading this far. I am really looking for any advice what so ever for things I can do to help her. Mentalities to have. Steps to take. Suggestions to make. Something I'm missing. Anything

Thank you so much
 
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00Bluejay7500 (was Scapes1986)

00Bluejay7500 (was Scapes1986)

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Sounds like it's a family intervention that's needed. There are meetings to go to if she isn't already in therapy. You can educate yourself more on her condition by going to talk therapy yourself. Maybe even just to vent and there tons of self help guides on here and the internet. I dont want to go overboard on you, but once I did a self breathing exercise with my mom when we were fighting. Turned our whole relationlo ship around. We still fight but it helped us understand one another. If you feel like this is an abusive relationship you can voice your concerns to her or other members of your family. I hope she gets better and gives you some respect.

:flower2:
 
calypso

calypso

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Hiya. Welcome to the forum. My husband was an alcoholic and its soul destroying. Nothing worked and he eventually died from it. I don't wish to be frightening but when they are in the grip of it often they don't want anyone to help them with it. Its denial and it goes with the drink.

What I think might help you is Al-Anon which is for relatives of alcoholics. Its supportive and helps you better understand the process they go through and gives you a place to vent your feelings too. Depression goes hand in hand with alcoholism as its a powerful depressant. I think Al -Anon is the place to go for help and answers.
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Feb 27, 2020
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You are a young person and while it’s clear you care about your mother, you should not be dragged into her problems. It seems that she is manipulating you and your father to gain coddling and sympathy. You can only be caring and coddling for so long before you realize it is not helping. I would suggest to your father that he set an expectation for her to go to rehab. She has become a toxic influence to the family and clearly refuses to change. She needs someone to help her stay away from alcohol long enough for her to be able to change and she should be encouraged to. It also might be good for her to get out of the house and around people who share her struggles. You have your own life to focus on and I fear your mothers problems might be taking your time and attention away from building the best life possible. Care for your mother and root for her from the sidelines. But it seems the way things are now she is keeping you and your father in the grip of her own illness and that is not healthy for anyone even her.
 
J

Jazzmine84

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May 5, 2020
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148
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Montreal, Canada
You and your father already seems to be doing all you can. There is no perfect solution and trying to get her to get help against her will would be next to impossible. The best advice I could give you is get advice from professionnals who deal with her kind of conditions. Like Calypso said, communicating with an organisation like Al-Anon could be useful, for her and for yourself. Good luck!
 
1

1a2b3c4d

New member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
4
Location
USA
Thank you everyone. I really wasn't expecting responses so quickly, especially such helpful ones.
 
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