General Question

BBawlight's avatar

Should I send my mom to rehab?

Asked by BBawlight (2427points) June 5th, 2016

I cannot believe I am actually asking this question, but as some on here may know from a question I asked long ago: my mom is an alcoholic. It has only gotten worse since then and it is becoming unbearable and we have no idea what to do.

A member of our family suggested that we send her to rehabilitation and that her family had to do that for her and she is grateful for it.

Last night dad said that he was ready for it, but I don’t think I am. I’m afraid it won’t work and that I won’t get my mother back even if we send her. I don’t want it to make things worse and I’m afraid that she will push us away even more. I am so afraid for my mom and my family and I just don’t know if we should or how we would even do it or if it will even work…

I’m sorry for any grammar mistakes or anything. I’m just really stressed out at the moment….

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43 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

I think you probably need to trust your dad on this. You’re losing you mother any way you look at it, but for the chance of a successful rehabilitation.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, send her to rehab. And you need to get to an AlAnon meeting. Your reluctance to confront her drinking in a healthy manner is called co-dependence, and it is killing her as much as the booze is.

You are afraid of losing your mother, but you lost your mother along time ago. She is not your mother now, she is an active alcoholic.

Your father is ready, support him and his hope to get his wife back.

Alcoholism is a family disease. Your mom needs to get sober, your dad needs to learn how to support her sobriety, and you need to learn how to quit being codependent and making excuses for your mother.

Best of luck to all of you.

Buttonstc's avatar

The largest part of the hurdle to her sobriety has been overcome since you said that your Mom is grateful for the oppirtunity to go.

I grew up with an alcoholic mother and I’m totally baffled by your reluctance to have her go. I would have been thrilled if my mother had been willing to go to rehab.

You say that youre afraid it wont work. But youll never know if you dont try. And, yes, she might relapse. But some people need a few tries before they get it right. Just keeping things as they are now will not help at all.

If i remember correctly, in your previous Q you also mentioned that shes also taking large amounts of pills. You do realize dont you that those combined with alcohol can possibly kill her?

A good rehab facility will also educate her about this. I honestly have no idea why you dont want her to go.

You can find help and strength by going to an Al-anon meeting (for family members of alcoholics ) they also have groups for teens. All you have to do is find the phone number for the AA group in your area either online or in the phone book. . Give them a call and they can tell you when and where the next meeting is. Perhaps you and your dad can go together.

You should be greatly encouraged that your mom is willing to go to rehab. I know that any kind of change is scary. But this is q good change.

But start going to meetings. It will be so helpful to you to be around people who know exactly what youre going through because theyve been there themselves. Going to rehab is just the beginning for your mom as she learns how to live life without pills and booze. You can be a tremendous support for her. But you also need some help and encouragement from others familiar with the journey.

You and your dad need to suppirt and help each other so that you both can helo your mom. Trust that by taking her to rehab your dad is doing whats best. Dont stand in the way. I know that change can be scary but its a good change.

BBawlight's avatar

@Buttonstc She didn’t say that she wanted to go to rehab. A family friend of ours told me that her daughter and boyfriend sent her (the friend) to rehab and she was grateful for it.

And you’re right about the pills thing. She often self medicates her depression with alcohol, and she tries to counteract all of the side effects of drinking every day with actual over the counter medicines. She seems to be in a permanent hangover with her getting headaches all the time and her “stomach problems”. Often she cannot hold down solid foods and she blames it on IBS but this didn’t happen until recently. She also gets sick a lot and says that it’s “adult-onset immune deficiency disorder”. I just have a hard time believing her at all anymore since I have trust issues with people who have been drinking and the lines between drunk and sober have been blurred so much that I can’t really tell the difference anymore.

I really just want my mother back and I’m worried that if this doesn’t work then nothing will and we will be even worse off….

Buttonstc's avatar

So, how is your dad planning to get her to go to rehab?

And I know that you want your (sober) mother back, but how do you think that will happen if she does not go to rehab?

Yeah, I get that you have a hard time believing her about anything. I got so tired of hearing “this is the last time”
(My mother was a periodic alcoholic, meaning she wasn’t drinking constantly. And after each one of her benders it was the whole declaration of “last time”) Yeah, right. I stopped believing that by the time I was 10 years old.

But, if your dad can get her into rehab you need to support that and don’t fight it. It’s her only chance at this point. She isn’t just going to wake up one bright and shiny day and decide to quit. She needs medical supervision and education about her disease.

Please, whatever happens, go find an Al-ateen group. It will do you a world of good. Trust me. You won’t regret it. I know we are so used to thinking that nobody in the world will understand. And for a lot of the rest of the world that’s kinda true. But this is where you find people who know EXACTLY what youre talking about because they’ve dealt with someone just like your mom in their own family. Do yourself a favor and just go and sit there. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. Just go.

alcanzox's avatar

As long as she is willing to help herself, I feel that it would be good for you to help her get into a rehabilitation program.
Also, as others have mentioned, it would be helpful to go to al-ateen group, to help better understand this difficult time and to receive support.
I’ve been in similar situations myself and what really helped me through those hard times was to respect the process of understanding addiction and looking for support from others.

Hopefully this helps you.

BBawlight's avatar

@Buttonstc Well our family friend will help as much as she can. She really loves us and wishes us the best, she just doesn’t want to confront my mom directly because she’s afraid of being pushed away. But she will help us with finding the facility and getting us numbers of places to call and such.

We want to do an intervention thing with all of the people in the house where we try and convince her to go willingly. That’s the scariest part for me. We also need to get my brother and Nana on board with it so we need to talk to them about it.

I actually remember the Al-ateen thing from my last question. I might try that again and maybe get my brother and me into that.

Buttonstc's avatar

The chief thing that you want to remember about an intervention is that there is a consistent theme of love.

If you’re thinking it’s purpose is mainly confrontational , that’s not accurate.

And there are people who are specifically trained in preparing families for the process ahead of time.

Where would such a person be found, you ask? One of those meetings we all keep yapping about could give you references to call :) or just call the AA hotline in your area. They’ll know exactly what youre talking about.

So, if you’re afraid of a nasty confrontation, don’t be. That’s not what people do in an intervention. The goal is to let the person know how much everybody gathered loves them and how their drinking has affected their lives and that they want the person back to their original self.

They used to have a weekly program on called “Intervention” have you seen it?

It’s no longer airing so I bet if you have the computer skills, you could probably find episodes online to watch for free. I think you’d find it encouraging.

Now, go and find the phone umber for AA and promise yourself that you’ll call tomorrow

BBawlight's avatar

@Buttonstc I never actually thought it would be this difficult to make a decision and actually you know… do it. It’s even more difficult realizing that my mother cannot get better on her own, no matter how much she tries and that there is no way she can get better without this.

I really appreciate the supportive answers you have all given me. You all have really helped solidify the decision in my mind. I want to get my mother back and this is the only way, it seems. Thank you all.

Buttonstc's avatar

I really hope you are successful in getting her to agree to go.

I do think it would be enormously helpful if you coukd all find a trained interventionist to prepare for the process because the better the preparation the greater the chance of success.

It was Betty Fords oldest daughter Susan who first approached everybody else in the family regarding her drinking. And they did have a trained interventionist to help them through the process.

She describes it in quite a bit of detail in the last chapter of her first book. You could probably find a used copy on Amazon for cheap if you want. Probably don’t need to read the whole book. Just the last chapter.

She has published numerous other books which speak more specifically about addiction and treatment. I’ll see if I can find the title of the one I mentioned with details of her intervention.


Here it is for the magnificent sum of one penny (but actually around 4 bucks for shipping) and it’s the last chapter titled “Long Beach” which gives details of the intervention.

BBawlight's avatar

@Buttonstc Thank you very much for your replies. They are very helpful :) And I do love to read so that would be great

JLeslie's avatar

It’s perfectly understandable that you are scared of what will happen. What will change. How your mom will react. It’s a scary time.

I think she should go to rehab if she is willing. Trust your parents to know what’s best. There is a good chance she will dry out in rehab, and unfortunately a good chance she might relapse once or twice before really sticking with it. It’s a process.

You won’t lose your mom because she goes to rehab. She loves you. She has things she needs to work through. She’s afraid too.

It will be hard for her physically and emotionally, so if she lashes out try to keep that in mind. Get support for yourself. Hopefully, wherever she goes for help has help for the family too.

Lastly, I would recommend you never drink. Nothing. It isn’t worth the genetic risk. Moreover, I’m a strong believer that the immediate family members should not drink alcohol when with the alcoholic family member. At least not for a long time, at least a year from when they stopped drinking. I think forever is better. The home especially should be an alcohol free zone.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^ What @zenvelo said in the second post on this thread. It can’t be said better, more succinct, or more clear. You lost your mother a long time ago. Do really want to get her back? The programs and strategy that @zenvelo describes is the way you do that.

JLeslie's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Are you addressing me?

BellaB's avatar

Please get yourself and your brother to Ala-Teen as soon as you can. You both need help with all of this.

Your father may be able to get help with resources through a work health plan. He should probably consider talking to his g.p. as well – that person may be helpful with referrals.

Good luck to your entire family.

marinelife's avatar

Whether it will work or not is up to your mother, but she is not going to get better on her own. What could it hurt?

si3tech's avatar

@BBawlight My heart is broken for you. No one should have to undergo what you are experiencing. @BellaB has good advice. Alcoholics Anonymous’ various programs truly help people in your situation.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@JLeslie No. I was just pointing up to indicate the direction of @zenvelo‘s advice. Redundant and confusing, now that you pointed it out. Sorry.

JLeslie's avatar

No problem.

ibstubro's avatar

It’s been a week, @BBawlight.

Can you give us an update?

BBawlight's avatar

@ibstubro Well my parents were out for a week when I asked this question so they just got back on Thursday. My dad is a truck driver and he invited my mom to go with him over the road. He has a Class A CDL with tanker and hazmat qualifications and almost 10 years of experience under his belt. He told me that when they were on the road together, she would drink alcohol in his truck, which is illegal and he can lose all of that experience and his qualifications if the DOT inspects his truck. It doesn’t help that last week was the week in which the DOT was beefing up their inspections to meet a quota of 1.4 million trucks over 3 days.

He went over this with her and, like a teenager, she was in denial that it would actually happen to them. Thank gosh it didn’t or his career would be over. Needless to say, he will not let her come on the road with him again.

These passed few days have been rough since they’ve been here. Especially yesterday because of my near constant arguments with my mom. I have fallen into a depression sort of and I am just done. I have not been myself lately and I even screamed at my mom earlier today. It has been very dramatic here lately. I apologized to her for screaming at her and we made up and all seems good but I’m sure that it won’t be. I can already feel an argument brewing as I type…

Her health has been deteriorating further, especially earlier today. She took some medicine “to help her feel better” which had her on the floor puking into a bowl and soiling herself. Sorry for the imagery it’s just what happened. I am most worried about her health. She is not healthy in the least and I know that drinking while taking NSAID medications because, as I’ve read on the packaging, will lead to stomach ulcers and bleeding. It is absolutely worrying.

I spoke to my brother last night about sending mom to rehabilitation. He is all for it. It only took so long because it was difficult to get him alone all week because he is very busy most of the time. I just need to contact the place and set up an intervention and that will take some time. We are planning a family trip to some caverns next weekend so I want it to be after that because I want to spend some quality time with my family before this major change happens.

Thank you for all of your encouraging responses and this weekend has really solidified the notion in my mind that rehabilitation is necessary for the change we want to see in my mother.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks for the update. You might have heard that people usually have to hit bottom before they will change. The bottom is different for everyone. If she admits to herself she needs and wants help hopefully this is the worst of it, but I’m worried that isn’t the case.

She’s willing to risk your dad’s livelihood. That’s pretty bad. No wonder your dad is getting to the end of his rope.

BBawlight's avatar

@JLeslie It’s not that she was willing to risk it. She sees the risk as nonexistent. She thinks that it couldn’t happen to her and that’s why I referred to her logic as that of a teenager.
I don’t know where the bottom is or if we’ve even reached it yet, but I feel like we’re close at least… I just don’t know what to think about her actions up to this point, as there are many and I need time to process what is actually happening. It will take some time for me to analyze my current situation and come to a conclusion. This trip that we will be taking can either be a much needed break and bonding moment or a complete disaster and I feel like it will be a major point in my analysis. Anything can happen in the next week, so I need to be adaptable as well.

As I said, it will take a bit for things to set in so I can plan things accordingly…

I know I sound a bit technical but I’m trying to keep a level head as much as I can in this emotionally charged environment and maybe even put a bit of logic in the situation.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I knew what you meant by teenager, it’s a good analogy. I don’t think she is at bottom yet. Maybe if she starts to feel like she is going to lose her family that will be her bottom. I have no idea what will do it for her. Hopefully, it doesn’t get that extreme. Maybe just having the family’s support will be enough for her to want treatment and stick with it. There is no way for anyone to know how compliant she will be.

I had a friend who dried out on her own a couple of times. She knew she had a problem. Then she went to rehab once. Then she had a car accident with her young children in the car, but if I remember correctly she wasn’t dui’ed, she knows a lot of people in the community, but she knew what she did. Then eventually, after a lot of other bad stuff, her ex took her to court and she lost custody of her children and couldn’t see them without being chaperoned. She finally has been dry for years now, and I made it all sound simpler than it was.

Is your mom driving while intoxicated? I don’t mean the truck, I mean driving a car. If so, that’s really scary. Something has to be done. I’m sorry this is happening. Sucks.

I think if you can stay somewhat objective and analytical it will help you get through it.

Let us know how it goes.

BBawlight's avatar

@JLeslie No she never drives when she’s had alcohol in her system. Meaning: she rarely ever drives. She had a heart spasm a while ago- like over half a year ago- and the psychologist that she saw a few times said that it was probably from DTs and that it could have caused a form of PTSD for her. She usually doesn’t go out anymore because she has severe anxiety that the psych said that her anxiety problems were made worse because of the heart spasm. So even if she stopped drinking, I think it would be a while until she could function well socially. So the drunk driving isn’t a problem.

And if she does need to go anywhere drunk, my brother’s friend is living with us at the moment to get back up on his feet and he is able to drive so he usually takes her places if she absolutely has to go.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’m glad she’s not driving. It sounds like she is self medicating with the alcohol. I encourage you to get her to go to a doctor if she doesn’t go to rehab right away. One thing inpatient rehab will test is her thyroid. They should anyway. That can be done by a regular doctor too. How old is your mom?

Edit: She should not try to quit drinking unsupervised. Detoxing can be dangerous. Your dad might want to find out about the program before you put her in. It might be important for her to wean down a few days. Make sure they know her medical history.

BBawlight's avatar

@JLeslie She’s in her mid thirties, but don’t tell her I said that (every birthday she says she’s still 29 as a joke).

JLeslie's avatar

Ok. So it’s unlikely she’s going through menopause.

BBawlight's avatar

Right. She just has a lot of psychological issues and physical brain damage (not something she made up) from several bad relationships. She says alcohol is “the poor man’s medicine” but she does recognize that she has a problem and she’s better than she used to be, but I know she needs help that her family can’t provide on their own. We can only do so much without outside help.

JLeslie's avatar

Has she ever seen a psychiatrist? I feel like the psychologist should have recommended that. Your mom really should have some blood tests run. It might be something partly physical. I don’t think that’s the whole problem, she’s obviously addicted at this point no matter what else is going on. Plus, seeing a psychiatrist doesn’t guarantee he would run the blood tests, but when I worked in a psych hospital all patients being admitted had blood work done for thyroid disorder. I hope all hospitals and rehab centers do that, I don’t know if they do.

Anyway, a psychologist can’t order a blood test, but a psychiatrist can. And, the psychiatrist can prescribe drugs that might help much better than alcohol.

BBawlight's avatar

She hasn’t seen a psychiatrist. She has a huge distrust of the psychology field and it was difficult enough for her to see a therapist for a few weeks following her heart spasm. This is another concern I have about getting her into rehabilitation. It won’t work if she doesn’t trust the doctors and I feel like she won’t

JLeslie's avatar

In my opinion (I’m not a doctor) she needs to be medically supervised while she detoxes. A psychologist can’t do that. Initially I’m less concerned about her getting the therapy she needs and more concerned about her physical well being. It all goes together in the end of course. You probably know a psychiatrist is a medical doctor a psychologist isn’t.

BBawlight's avatar

Of course. I want to have a career as a therapist so I know the distinction very well. I do think her physical well being comes first as well. She cannot be mentally treated if she is not physically there to be treated. Her physical and mental well-being go hand-in-hand.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know what you mean by physically there to be treated?

I’m worried about her risk of seizures and something worse.

Plus, she’s most likely dual diagnosis, so inpatient is the best place for that initially anyway.

If she is reluctant to see therapists it probably won’t be easy to get her to rehab. Or, maybe her reluctance is just that she doesn’t want to give up the alcohol, and hopefully that will change.

BBawlight's avatar

I believe her reluctance is mostly because of her distrust of the mental health system in general and partly because of her dependence on alcohol.
What I meant by not physically being there is if another, more severe, heart spasm or, god forbid, a heart attack happens she most likely won’t be alive to get mental treatment. That is what I worry about the most.

JLeslie's avatar

The friend I mentioned above, part of her schtick at first was that “she wasn’t like those other people in rehab.” She already had quit a few times on her own remember. She knew she had an alcohol problem and had admitted it years before, and wanted to stop drinking. her not buying into the idea that she was like them in her thought process was her biggest obstacle I think.

I understand why your mom is skeptical and not trusting of people in the psych field and doctors. I also have trust issues with that. I’ve had some very bad experiences with doctors. Less so with therapists, but even there I know some really bad therapists.

Buttonstc's avatar

I just want to clear up one common misconception. People are so used to hearing that an alcoholic has to hit bottom before they will seek treatment that they think that’s the one and only way.

That’s old time thinking. For some people, their bottom could be death. That’s exactly why more and more the recommendation is for a well planned intervention.

An intervention basically is a way of “raising the bottom” so to speak. Rather than just standing passively by while life and medical circumstances continue to take a heavy toll, the intervention Ideally brings the person face to face with the consequences of their drinking as one after another of the people who love and care about them the most tell them how their drinking has affected them.

Hopefully, this causes an emotional bottom for them and if things are well planned, they enter rehab immediately.

In this day and age, a person no longer has to be two inches from deaths door before they become amenable to seeking treatment. When confronted with the care and concern of EVERYBODY who matters the most to them, that is enough of a bottom for many alcoholics to realize how bad things have truly become.

Hopefully, this can be a lifesaving effort that can get your mom into treatment.

BBawlight's avatar

At the moment I am very confused on which way things are going. My mom is seeing a therapist once a month or so. I talked with her the other day and she said that her therapist told her that her DTs are so severe that they could actually kill her. With this in mind, the therapist is helping her wean off of alcohol slowly without causing many issues.

My mother also said that she doesn’t want to drink alcohol at all and the only reason she continues is to hold off the DTs.

One of the reasons why my parents fight so much is because of miscommunication. My dad doesn’t know or understand any of this and is, like I was, under the impression that her alcohol usage is unregulated, when it’s not. She said that the reason why they don’t talk about this specifically is because she is very prideful.

I’m not sure where I should go from this or how I can use this new information. I don’t know if I should continue looking towards rehab or if I should help my mother become more transparent and get us to support and talk about her progress as a family. It’s just very confusing to me and this new information conflicts with my preconceived notions of her progress.

Buttonstc's avatar

What an addict SAYS and what an addict actually DOES are usually two very different things.

Unless the therapist is with her 24/7 there really is no way that he has any factual knowledge of how much or how little your Mom is drinking. He basically has to rely upon whatever she tells him.

DTs is present only in the advanced stages of alcoholism (in addition to blackouts). If someones disease has advanced to that level, the very best place for them is in an inpatient situation where trained mefical people can guide the process.

As a matter of fact, there are some rehab facilities which place someone this bad in a hospital for several days to detox. This is done for safety reasons.

The primary reason that the therapist is advising your mom not to stop drinking cold turkey is because he is responsible enough to avoid having a dead patient. I seriously doubt that he is under the illusion that your mom is gradually weaning herself off alcohol and will finally succeed in sobriety all by herself and seeing him a mere once a month. That is unrealistic beyond description.

And I’d be flat out amazed if he never tried to convince your mom to go to inpatient rehab. He has to know that he is dealing with a severe end stage alcoholic (if he is competent in his profession).

It would be hugely irresponsible for him to never try to convince her to consider an inpatient rehab program.

But, obviously your mother is leaving out that part.

Instead of being confused by what your mother is telling you, you should follow your gut instinct. The plain blunt truth is that there is no such thing as a severe alcoholic who is transparent and honest.

Please please get yourself to some Al-anon (or teen version) meetings). You really really need to surround yourself with others who have dealt with an alcoholic loved one, especially those who are a little further along the road (experience-wise). There is a lot of wisdom there.

There are several of us here on Fluthet who have dealt with addiction/alcoholism but writing on the internet only goes so far. What you really really need are folks in your location who are literally a phone call away.

People at these meetings are usually very quick to give out their phone number and are sincerely desirous to help. Of course we at Fluther will still be here to listen and give you caring advice but we are aware of the limitations of the Internet.

I’m sure that my blunt statement that there are no honest alcoholics may sound pretty cynical but many people here on Fluthet who are now sober and in recovery will tell you that while they were actively alcoholic, honesty went out the window a long time ago. And if you’re also hearing the same truth from an entire room full of people it enables you to get a solid perspective on how to best help your mom.

Don’t stop your efforts along with your father and others who love her to do a planned intervention and having an inpatient rehab situation ready to go.

You cannot rely on your mother to provide the slightest bit of accuracy about how much/how often she is currently drinking. She has spent a lifetime in denial and minimizing her drinking. Don’t expect that to change the slightest bit until she gets detoxed and makes a firm commitment to sobriety.

Lifetime habits don’t just change overnight.

Please find a local meeting and start attending regularly asap. And if that first one doesn’t feel that comfortable, keep trying others until you find the right one for you.

Dealing with your mothers severe alcoholism is a heavy burden for you to deal with at this young age. But you don’t have to shoulder this burden alone. You need all the help you can get. Please don’t hesitate to ask for it.

BBawlight's avatar

Goodness… I’m sorry I haven’t responded for such a long time. I’ve just been quite busy for a while with school and other things that made me forget all about this post (sorry).

Mom has been getting better and I can see it. I know it’ll take a while for her to stop completely and we have seen her make some major changes in her performance. For a while she was great and I think this recent…. kind of relapse has been triggered by my aunt because a few weeks ago we went to my aunt’s house and she is also an alcoholic so it may have triggered her.

What really bothers me at the moment is not her, actually. It’s the rest of my family. My dad drinks when he gets home on the weekends and gets very inebriated, and my Nana (my grandma) is also a heavy drinker and she is here with us for half the week usually and there really is no talking to her about it because she’s pretty old… With so much alcohol around her it really does seem difficult for her to stay away and that really worries me.

Buttonstc's avatar

I hate to sound like a broken record here, but being surrounded by this much alcoholic dysfunction on all sides, the best thing you can do is find yourself an Al-anon group. Good luck.

si3tech's avatar

@BBawlight I absolutely agree with @Buttonstc. Find a Al-anon group. That is where you will start to heal.

BBawlight's avatar

I would love to find a group. I really just have no time at all to do that. I’m a Senior in High School and it is extremely stressful… I’m fine right now, just really stressed with mom going to the hospital so much now and she’s getting better it just takes time I guess. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day I swear.

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