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Old 01-12-2014, 05:59 PM
 
1,193 posts, read 1,530,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
I don't think CPS will take her son, my friend is still feeding her son and taking him to school with clean clothes on, and she's not driving drunk. She lives with her dad, so there is another adult in the house to help keep an eye on the little boy.
I don't know if CPS would take the step of removing the child from the home on the first report, but if she's drinking to excess it's going to take one time where her kid makes a comment to one of the other kids at school, or is worried about her one day and confesses to one of his teachers or the school counselor and then someone may very well make a report. Teachers and school staff are mandatory reporters and the child is of school age. Lots of abused kids show up in clean clothes, well fed. That's not the only danger to their well-being. She absolutely needs to have that on her radar and stop this NOW before it gets out of hand.

Can they afford counseling? This needs to be addressed both from the addiction standpoint and also from the angle of why she's getting drunk. Until she works through the stuff hurting her (the divorce, the cheating, and whatever else), she's going to always have that drive to do something to numb it.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:55 PM
 
Location: a primitive state
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I think you and the mom need to find someone who is an expert in that kind of intervention. I'm not sure what strategy would be most helpful. This is a serious and delicate situation.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:37 PM
 
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Tell her mom to look into doing an intervention. In the meantime, express your concern. Avoid enabling. Tell her she's more fun when she's not sober, and you're concerned about the behaviors she's modeling for her son. She'll blow you off, but you're on the record saying it, and when a few more negatives pile up in her life, she might figure it out.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:20 PM
 
2,575 posts, read 4,676,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
She doesn't sound as if she's really an alcoholic if she's not to the point where she's driving drunk and she's actually taking care of her son, although she might be on her way to alkie-ville.
My mother never drove drunk and fed and clothed me, but I consider someone who drinks to the point of oblivion every single night, ignores her children's pleas to quit, and dies at age 60 of alcohol-related heart disease to be an alcoholic.

And someone who rarely drinks can drive drunk.

As far the OP goes, as a friend I would stay out of it. Why is her mother asking you to intervene? If anyone does, it should be your friend's parents. They have a grandchild to consider.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:30 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,145 posts, read 20,343,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukiyo-e View Post
Why is her mother asking you to intervene? If anyone does, it should be your friend's parents. They have a grandchild to consider.
I think she's afraid if she says anything to her daughter, her daughter may quit talking to her and then she won't be able to look out for her grandson.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:44 PM
 
10,366 posts, read 8,372,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
I had to hide the alcohol in my house because she will help herself whenever she comes over.

Her dad used to be an alcoholic, and her brother is addicted to prescription pain killers, which I think is why her mom is so worried at this point about her drinking. Her mom said she didn't blame the husband for leaving because it's miserable living with an alcoholic, but I told her I thought the husband was cheating before my friend started drinking like this. Her mom is sure that she is an alcoholic at this point.

Anyhow, I don't want to scare my friend with CPS or lecture her or anything. I just want to tell her something like, "Hey, I know you're drinking more than usual because you're hurting right now, but your son and your future (she's applying to law school) are so important, I don't want anything to get in your way. I'm worried about you." and then suggest some things that might help her, but I don't know exactly what...a program like AA (there's one for women called Women For Sobriety that looks promising), maybe talking to her doctor about antidepressants, I don't know what else.

It sounds as if you've already looked into what AA and similar programs can offer, which is a good start. See if your local Al-Anon has a hotline and local meetings - your friend's mother would benefit from their advice, too. Meanwhile, would writing your friend a measured, concerned, and honest but non-accusatory letter be helpful? Sometimes after initially expressing concern (because she is a much-loved friend, make sure that's included, along with the good reasons for your concern that you've listed above), including incidents which disturbed and worried you or adversely affected her or others - especially her little son - can help break through the denial. Examples might be

"When you came to my house on January 3, I smelled alcohol on your breath, and later discovered that the almost full wine bottle which I'd left in the refrigerator was hidden in the back of my kitchen cabinet and was half-empty. You were the only guest in my house during this time, and you swore you weren't drinking, which was not the truth."

"I noticed that your speech was slurred and you didn't seem to understand what our friend Mary was saying when we went to lunch last week. You had four drinks with your salad - the rest of us had one glass apiece. You continually interrupted everyone, slurred your speech, and lost your balance when you got up from the table. You visited the ladies' room three times during our 90 minute lunch".

"When I called your house last Saturday morning at 10:45, your little boy answered the phone and said that his Mommy was still asleep. He was alone with you in the house at the time, which is why I came over to see what was going on and to make sure you were both okay. He had tried to fix his breakfast, and had broken a juice glass, leaving broken glass and spilled orange juice all over the kitchen floor. He was barefoot and wore only his pajamas. It was 15 degrees outside and the house was 65 degrees when I arrived. I had to shout and bang on the door to awaken you. You were unhappy to see me. You complained of a headache and nausea and stated that everything was just fine and that I should mind my own business, and scolded your son for making a mess".

And so on. Then, sit back and wait. If you have other mutual friends who can write similar letters, that might expedite things. Encourage your friend's mother to care for her grandson as much as possible, and to get in touch with Al-Anon as soon as possible for support and advice. A live intervention (rather than letters) might be effective, if rehab can be tentatively arranged ahead of time, so your friend would ideally admit that she needs and wants help, and could be taken to the rehab facility immediately - family and/or friends could pack her clothing and other necessities and take it to her within a few hours of her arrival at rehab. But this is something which her family will have to decide to do - friends can only participate by their invitation. However, you certainly could suggest it to her mother.

Your friend will have to admit that her drinking is out of control, that she needs help to stop drinking, that she will have to stop drinking completely rather than cut back, and that she cannot do this alone.
If she has any church affiliation or religious beliefs, turning to a "Higher Power" will likely be very helpful as she recovers (even if she stops drinking entirely, she will always be "in recovery" rather than
"recovered").

Good luck to you, your friend, her mother - and most of all, to her innocent child. Do whatever is necessary to protect that child's safety, both physical and emotional, even though it may anger your friend. His well-being takes precedence over all the rest right now.

It's a very tough battle, but one which many others have successfully fought. Your friend is blessed to have a caring friend like you, even though she may not realize it.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:47 PM
 
664 posts, read 1,466,076 times
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I’m an alcoholic. It’s really hard to explain alcoholism to someone who isn’t one. Consequences like CPS never really mattered all that much to me even if I really really wanted them to. At some point I hit a bottom but it was a long way after any reasonable person would’ve hung up drinking altogether. Everyone has a different bottom and until they hit it they’re just going to run roughshod through life and trample anything in their path. I personally found a solution in AA but there are other solutions out there.

There are also organizations out there whose purpose it is to support friends and family of alcoholics. I’m personally familiar with Al-Anon and I’ve seen it help people in my family deal with the alcoholism that is rampant in my family. There are a lot of things that seem to help an alcoholic but in reality only make things worse. Al-Anon does a good job from what I’ve seen of helping people do the things they can do without making things worse. You ought to seek them out (or an organization like them) for help.
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Native Floridian, USA
4,904 posts, read 6,101,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
I had to hide the alcohol in my house because she will help herself whenever she comes over.

Her dad used to be an alcoholic, and her brother is addicted to prescription pain killers, which I think is why her mom is so worried at this point about her drinking. Her mom said she didn't blame the husband for leaving because it's miserable living with an alcoholic, but I told her I thought the husband was cheating before my friend started drinking like this. Her mom is sure that she is an alcoholic at this point.

Anyhow, I don't want to scare my friend with CPS or lecture her or anything. I just want to tell her something like, "Hey, I know you're drinking more than usual because you're hurting right now, but your son and your future (she's applying to law school) are so important, I don't want anything to get in your way. I'm worried about you." and then suggest some things that might help her, but I don't know exactly what...a program like AA (there's one for women called Women For Sobriety that looks promising), maybe talking to her doctor about antidepressants, I don't know what else.
You are a good friend and I congratulate you on wanting to help your friend and are concerned about her child.
If your friends can't be concerned about you and want to help you, who else is there ? These people are often incapable, at the time, to discern how bad a shape they are in.

As someone said, she may not respond well when you talk to her. She may be in denial and be very defensive. Do the best you can and that is all you can do. Do not take on more of her problems than you can handle though.

As you said, offer to help find resources and encourage her to go for assistance for her sake and her childs. You seem to be on the right track. Good luck to you and to your friend.
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:13 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,561 posts, read 74,435,804 times
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you can throw a friend a life preserver, but dont jump in the water to help--- they will drown you and them.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:28 AM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,508,506 times
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I'm a recovering alcoholic myself. I write frequently on C-D about AA, Al-Anon, getting sober, and enabling. I'd like to offer a few pointers based on my experience.

First, good that you and your friend's mom are confronting this issue for what it is and willing to help. As others have mentioned, you can help but don't expect miracles and don't hurt yourself trying to help. But you can lend a hand. I'd like to make one major suggestion: Don't take the lecture route. Don't make a list of everything she's done wrong. On some level, your friend knows her drinking is inappropriate. You're not a professional qualified to do an intervention. So take this slow. What kind of concern would you be showing if you thought your friend had any other disease that she was ignoring?

You know your friend and how she responds to things. Apply that knowledge to my other suggestions. Take her somewhere out of the house. To a coffee shop or out to dinner or something, but someplace quiet where you can talk. I'll bet at some point she will start complaining about something. Respond by saying you know she's still feeling a lot of pain about all she's been through (problem drinkers love empathy). Then, don't make statements, ask questions. Ask her if she's depressed. Ask her if she's feeling like it's hard to repress her anger. Suggest gently and BRIEFLY, "Maybe that's why you've been drinking a lot. Many people drink to alleviate depression and tamp down their feelings of anger and frustration." STOP THERE.

Wait to see how she responds. You've just implied directly that she drinks too much. See if she's going to deny or if she just lets your comment pass as if she accepts it. If she denies, I'd say, "Well, you're loved by a lot of people and we're concerned about you. If you really don't think you're drinking too much, OK. But you seem unhappy and we'd like to help if we can. So think about what you're doing." Again, THE END. Let her sit with this indictment for awhile. You've let her know she's being watched.

If she agrees that she's "probably" drinking too much, you've given her a safe way to discuss it since you've acknowledged to her that she is doing it FOR A REASON. You haven't accused her of being an out-of-control loser. She's depressed. She's has anger. It's justified. If she seems calm, continue to ASK QUESTIONS. What does she think would make her feel better? Would it help her to see a therapist? Does she think she needs some physical attention from a doctor? Does she want to figure out some alternative ways to address her problems that might be more effective than just shutting off her pain? Don't throw around the words "alcoholic" or "problem drinker." Take the attitude that her drinking is an end to a means for her. It may be temporary. If she actually says, "I think I'm an alcoholic," or "I know my drinking is a problem but I can't stop," talk to her about going to AA. Tell her she just needs to check it out. She doesn't need to approach it as if she's JOINING something for life.

If she asks you, "Do you think I'm an alcoholic?" say, "Only you can answer that. I know I'm concerned about your drinking lately, but I don't know if you can stop or not." Suggest to her that there are online quizzes that are very accurate about assessing one's level of inappropriateness with alcohol. I don't think you need to go any further with this on the first discussion. She'll need some time to think about what you've said. She might even go out and get drunk again soon, but she won't be able to feel the same way about it once she knows multiple people are concerned.

Be gentle. Be loving. Stick to questions and expressions of concerns. Stay away from indictments and lectures. There's plenty of time for that later. Give her a chance to get control of this herself. If she fails to, there are additional routes you can take. But start with the indirect, empathetic route. I know more than one alcoholic who drank far too long because they felt embattled by pressure coming from too many corners. They're already drinking because they're unhappy with themselves. If you put a spotlight on that, they may react with, "They think I'm a drunk? I'll show them." That's not the response you want from a young mother.

If you think she's receptive, here are four quizzes, any one of which will give her the diagnosis she needs:
Alcohol Abuse Quiz
Alcoholism Screening Quiz
Alcoholics Anonymous : Is A.A. For You?
Alcohol Abuse Self Test

You might want to take these tests imagining you're her and think about which test fits her personality or circumstances best. Then E-mail the link to her when you think she's receptive.

Above all, keep in mind that none of us can make another person WANT TO GET SOBER. It has to come from inside them. They need to want to stop hurting. They need to be willing to take another route. One thing they tell you in AA: "Your best thinking got you here." The alcoholic has to let go and let someone else be in charge. That's a hard thing for a lot of people to do. Another AA saying that applies to YOUR situation in this: "You're responsible for the effort, not the results." But good for you for being a real friend.
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