Alcohol doesn't solve your problems, it compounds them.
May 5, 2010 4:03 PM Subscribe
My mother is depressed, and I suspect she's abusing alcohol. I'm doing the best I can, but looking for suggestions as to what I should actually be doing to help.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total)
Brief backstory: history of depression, my grandmother suffered from both anxiety and depression and was hospitalized multiple times for it. My mom fell on hard times when my grandparents became ill and passed away over the course of about 2-3 years, during which time she dropped everything and moved back in with them. During that time she started to abuse alcohol and sleeping meds, which escalated to the point of an involuntary stay at an inpatient treatment center for addiction. Prior to the rehab, she was regularly waking up in different states with no memory of how she got there. She got into car accidents, was likely mistreated by some of the shady characters she leaned on during that time, and my brother and I received about half a dozen phone calls from hospitals in different states. She ended up with some memory loss, but after treatment seemed much better. She moved into the same city that my brother and I live in (my brother is older than me and is married with kids. I am 22 and finishing my undergrad degree at a local university) and took a job that she hates. Admittedly, it's a depressing job. But she's held on to it for about 3 years now which is fantastic, and has just recently decided to quit and try to move somewhere new. Anyway, that brings us up to the current situation. So now she's telling me how lonely she is. She hasnt been with anyone in years, and the most recent relationships she's had have been enablers-- not the best friends to have for someone who struggles with addiction.
So, here's what I told her. I said, number one, I can't fix your problems and I can't fix your life. You're the only one who can do that, and you have to make choices which will bring you closer to the kind of life you want to lead.
I suggested that she join a group or a club or AA (an idea she hates), start doing some online dating, stop drinking, see a therapist and start journalling. I told her that was the best advice I had to offer, and that I have a strong feeling these changes would help.
My question is, am I doing too much? Not enough? I really want her to be happy, but I truly believe that I can't make these changes for her. I just kept quoting Ghandi "Be the change you wish to see in the world", yet she doesn't seem to be getting it. I'm concerned that if she's not able to kick herself out of this rut she's found herself in that she'll revert back to the level of substance abuse she was at prior to rehab, which devastated her life and all of her relationships.
"I just don't know how someone could get this depressed and lonely...?" She said. "Years of practice," I told her.
I feel all alone in this, given that my dad doesn't speak to either my brother or my mom, and my mom and my brother have such a rocky relationship fueled by years of built up grudges and unresolved fights... I feel like I have to shoulder all of this, and it's up to me to fix it. My brother doesn't even know the extent of it, and I don't think he wants to know. Even if I told him he would likely condemn my mother and that would just make everything worse... I'm at a bit of a loss. At the same time I feel like maybe I'm being wrong in assuming things about my brother... he's just so wrapped up in his kids that he hardly has time for a phone call or a quick lunch, let alone a serious "what should we do" type of conversation about our mother.