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Re: Caregiving is a very tough job. I concur. :-) Wayne But somebody has got to do it, right? :-) Wayne
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Maxine1234,

I grew up in the church being told that drinking was wrong and that would lead you to hell but I believe that is a human rule. I understand how you feel about the drinks, but I too do have a drink once in awhile to take the edge off.

Here is my thoughts on the situation, your beers to relax there is nothing wrong with it. Your religious believes are between you and God, God knows your heart and what you are going through. So relax and have a beer or two when necessary, the Bible says not to be a drunkard and you are not getting drunk.

For those that say you are being impaired, body weight, eating and other items go into whether or not a couple of beers impairs a person. Most of the time a couple of beers will not impair an individual to where they cannot understand what is going on and their ability to make a decision. I drink hard liquor and one strong drink will not impair me or delay my reaction time, but it will take the edge off the stress.

As caregivers, we have to remember to be kind to ourselves and that we each relax in a different manner. We have to take all things into consideration.

I have people that give me a hard time because I take my mom to chuch to sit with my older sister. My mom sits in her wheelchair and she will go to sleep for part of the service, but the pastor is aware and ok with it. Friends of the family tell me I need to go to church. At first I tried to justify it to them and explain it to them.
Then I finally told them that my relationship with God was my business, God knew what my life was like and if they had a problem they could take it up with God.

So Maxine1234, God knows your heart and your life, if a beer takes off the edge then have one once in awhile. Relax and give yourself a break, being a caregiver is a noble job that does not get much credit. As caregivers we need to remember we are doing a very noble deed and to be kind to ourselves, we should not try to add more guilt to our stress levels. So I say relax, have a beer and turn your guilt over it to God. I believe God will say there is nothing to forgive you are doing good faithful servant.
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As a Ph.D. pharmacologist (not to be confused with pharmacist; a pharmacologist studies how drugs behave in the body), a couple of beers a day isn't much in itself but as jeannegibbs points out, it can impair judgment. That is the first thing to go with increasing doses of alcohol. A critical gauge is whether it harms your relationships and daily functioning. Talking to your physician is advisable. She or he can provide advice on alternatives, including medications under supervision. Like ejbunicorn I am on meds for anxiety and depression; it's no different than someone with diabetes needing glucose medication and/or insulin (among many examples).
I feel that Jesus will forgive you for the beers. I have one on occasion with dinner (never more because of interactions with meds) because it goes well with some foods. I like to think that God sends people to help each other, including the folks here.
Blessings!
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I've never used alcohol to take the edge off. I think I will stick to my fluoxetine that has helped me through so much. It is not a miracle cure for caregivers, but it sure does take the edge off. I also have hypertension, so this goes well with it. I started using it a couple years ago, when my Mom moved in with us and the dementia started. I did it on the advice of my daughter, who has anxiety and used
it during med school. She suggested that I mention it to my provider when I went to the doctor. I did, and I have been able to have a chuckle or laugh, when I more than likely would have been crying. I guess you could say it has been a miracle for me, because it has been a long, hard road of caregiving and is more than likely apt to continue for a good, long while. My best to all caregivers and hopefully you can find the right solution to take the edge off.
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Caregiving is a very tough job. What to do to alleviate the stress has many answers, depending upon the individual. There are many suggestions here that are effective. I personally have found that exercise is my solution. I love cycling and that burns off all the stress I build up. In the winter, though, that's a problem when I can't get out on the road to cycle. That's when I find that a drink of brandy or wine is very helpful. It also keeps you warm in the winter. But, any day, exercise is my number one choice. And, I benefit from the fact that, when cycling, I meet lots of people and talk to them, making friends along the way, and friends are a real asset for anyone. But, cycling and making friends is really therapeutic. I come back home and I can handle the stress of watching my Mother deteriorate with dementia much better. She is going to deteriorate. The trick is not going to crap along with her. Stress is a killer. (A high percentage of caregivers die before the person they are caring for! I don't intend to become part of that statistic!) So, if a drink helps, do it. But, one or two and that's all. As ferris1 says, it does kill brain cells and chronic use is a killer too, to say nothing of being addictive. But, please, don't use drugs, prescription or otherwise. They are all toxic and will kill you with long term use too. And drugs have become a substitute for finding the cause of the problem and fixing that. Drugs are nothing but a bandaid, not a cure. And, a bandaid is a protective device that is useful while your body heals itself on its own, given the chance.
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Alcohol will only kill your brain cells, but alcohol is really a depressant which will eventually cause you to become depressed. Keep believing you are doing your best, and when your best is not good enough, get some respite care. You need things outside your husband to benefit your well-being. Alcohol never is an answer, but your faith will sustain you. God Bless!
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I totally understand! The letters in my username stand for Lord give me patience & give it to me now. lol I have drank a couple of beers before but haven't lately because I just got Dad out of the hospital. There seems to always be something new to come up with Mom and Dad. I've even thought of going to a Dr. to see if there's something that could be prescribed to take the edge off. Thinking back no one ever told me this was going to be easy. One day at a time is what I tell myelf, and I've always heard God doesn't give us more than we can handle. I think he has more faith in me than I have in myself at times.
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I was recently so stressed with my mom's situation I didn't know what to do. I think I was literally hyperventilating! I know, sounds silly, but it was a very difficult problem. I do occasionally have a drink to relax, however I cannot do that all the time and what if I'm stressed in the middle of the day? So, I started yoga again, which I had used in the past when I was feeling particularly stressed. I have a couple of video tapes and DVDs I use. I can put them in any time. And it teaches you to slow down and breathe, you can do that anytime. I also take yoga classes at night, when I can. I purchased music that is specifically for relaxing. I am not using alcohol much at all, although I do enjoy an occasional drink, but I am not using it to alleviate stress as much. Hope this helps.
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I'm a little jealous you found something that helps you relax...but is it really if you felt the need for this post? I have been trying the treadmill with books on tape. Unfortuneatley my knees are getting in the way (too much weight not low impact enough) The few times I got through it I feel asleep easy.
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Your post gave me my morning chuckle. God knows, I understand now why my dad (or anybody else, for that matter) feels they need a drink. The stress of being a caregiver is overwhelming at times. I rarely touch the stuff now. I don't mind a beer or rum and coke now and again, but I don't want to keep the stuff around the house because I probably would not leave it alone. It's too much like having candy or any other treat. Makes me feel lousy the next day. Alcohol tends to make me feel sad anyway, but one with friends at a meal is nice.
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Great question. I think that if you sometimes had one beer, and if you also had several days where you don't have any - that would be less likely to become a habit. I grew up with two parents who were taught to have a cocktail at cocktail hour to relax, both were essentially alcoholics, as neither had learned to manage life stresses without alcohol, and it became a habit. I can't say what others should do, and I can't speak for older times of life. But as a child, what I hated was the confusion, of finding myself finally talking with a parent pleasant at one minute, thinking they had learned some valuable things about me, only to find they forgot the next day. I became afraid, not knowing whom I was dealing with, the happy parent or the blaming or miserable one, for their moods didn't relate to my behavior but the fatigue or lifts of alcohol. Issues between parents or family were never resolved, and differences between them were stressful, his job was stressful, transition from job to home was thus stressful - his communication had never included warmth, so he found it difficult to relate to his chidren but could not show that, meanwhile hers included warmth but never consistency, so it became sentimental, and she never taught or trained her children, and he saw the need to be the tough guy, but was thus too tough.
So, in my own life, I watch out for alcohol, and ask questions as you have. I'm not sure I'm a model person, so I can't advise, I struggle with things. But because I struggle, I can empathize, and share the life quest for solutions and gratitude and gifts. I found that by relaxing with alcohol every day, they did not ever feel the gift of desperation that often makes us sit down and say, is there anything else that I could do to make this easier, find new resources? When I've cared for elderly in my job in my own 60s, I've valued time for naps, and often took them, one or two a day, setting up break time, to read or nap helped a lot. An ollder person's energy level is lower (than children's anyway), so I was able to fit those in. When I didn't know how to deal with belligerence, I learned to say, I'll be in the other room, I'll be back in 5 minutes. When life seemed dull for me and my client, I thought: what can she like? - and found her poetry book "Poetry for Pleasure", which was really amazing, with humorous ones and nature ones, and sad ones, and reading to her was enjoyed by both of us. Or any other topic, or a shared song... I made routines that helped me as well as her, developed confidence to let her fuss a bit without rushing in every second, so I could get things done. Ironically, I've found that folks with Dementia can often still understand other people's struggles, and so - always remembering their time limits, I would tell something I struggled with, and found them brilliant. Another old man had handiman skills, so I would show him issues and ask his advice if anything came up. Getting part time help at least - can be very helpful, so you are not stuck trying to find every solution and be everything to the person all by yourself so much. As caregiver for my disabled brother, after growing up in the family I had - I felt that my job is to make sure that I feel good about giving care, or else find a replacement. Sometimes I've had worry periods or lack of sleep, but I've kept the need to balance myself out, and ultimately feel good and proud, so I've managed well, and my resillience, inspired his resillience in many ways too, even without words to explain it all. Keep asking the question, and you'll find the answer. Sometimes I like wine with dinner - but because of my background, I stop before I relax much, I treat it with wary respect -maybe I'm a grouch!
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Mom's at stage 6 Alz and nightly we have a drink together... Have for years and it's part of the routine but while it relieves stress, I won't allow myself to make that the objective. Since you've already made that correlation I'd recommend finding another stress reliever before it becomes a problem.

Caregiving can also foster anger which is hard to jettison with relaxation alone so if the other excellent suggestions don't sound powerful enough, consider using an activity rather than relaxation to reduce stress. I use various isobaric exercises that can be done without anyone even noticing. As an added benefit, I'm improving and maintaining myself in the process. When the day has been particularly rough I'll take an evening jog or even spend some quality time in front of my punching bag (yeah, yikes. But it works!!!)
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Me too! What kind of beer do you like? Actually, I prefer dunkel (dark). Prosit! :-) Wayne
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Maxine, your faith can be your strength. However, every hour of every day you are caregiver to your husband. You need to relax your body and mind or you will not be able to keep going. Many good ideas have been suggested. I hope you find a way to relax yor mind and sooth your spirit. Please don't feel guilty, it is an emotion that uses up too much emotional energy, as cargivers we need all the energy we can get!
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I personally wouldn't use alcohol for stress, but I do not enjoy the taste of it nor how it effects me.
That being said.....what I do use is medicinal cannabis (legally), in moderation, to relax and for anxiety and insomnia. I also meditate, use aromatherapy, bach flower remedies, herbal teas and avoid caffeine, sugar, flour, gluten, refined foods and non-organic foods. It's amazing how ones diet can either enhance or relieve stress and anxiety. Also walking for 30 minutes to an hour every day really helps.

If having a couple beers a day is what gets you through the day and keeps your sanity in check, it's not for me to say you shouldn't drink them. I would although, be aware if your 2-3 beers escalates to more and more.
You may want to try other forms of stress relief as well. You may find they are more useful.
Best wishes!!!
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I so understand this post...I am not drinking beer, I am eating, sometimes I feel out of control with it. And it's like I can't stop. Even on days where my stress level isn't high, I still eat. I think it's because eating is something I can control if that makes sense. I can't control anything that goes on with my Mother. But I can control the eating for emotional relief. And oddly, I can not contro stopping it. So frustrating to me.
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Hey there! I understand your need to relax,I myself am stressed out too.However I am an alcoholic,a sober one,for over 12 years.If you think you have a problem,you probably do.Take it easy.Check out an AA meeting if you need help.
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Do you feel the need to drink during the day? Do you often drink alone? Do you feel sad when you drink? Etc., etc.
When I was pregnant with my first child 36 years ago, my doctor recommended that I have a glass of red wine when I came home from work. I did. Now if you are even thinking about getting pregnant you aren't supposed to have anything alcohol. I think doctors are terrified to recommend what they used to because a lot of people either don't have a lick of common sense and a 4 oz. glass of wine or one beer turns into a case or a whole bottle. Or, people are so sue happy they immediately want to blame their doctors if anything goes awry. Point being, have your eyes wide open and be honest with yourself, but if you enjoy a couple of beers I personally don't see anything wrong with it. Make sure you are also caring for yourself in the way you eat, make sure you don't become isolated/have balance socially in your life, make sure you exercise. Could be that if you are worried about how much you consume then you are feeling like it's too much. But if you are feeling fine and doing other things to ease stress and relax as well, I say lighten up on yourself a bit. And don't drive if you are drinking anything.
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You have to get some help in there a couple days a week,so you can have some time for you!!Know drinking.There are alot of agencys out there.Ask for help.
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Why don't you try finding a substitute to help you to relax. (Because if you're thinking that 2 or 3 beers is too much, then it's prodding your conscience and THAT might cause you more stress) Can you find a tea that you like and use a special pretty cup? Can you get out of the house ... even if it's to sit on the front steps (my own special trick) or go into a closed room and call a friend? We definitely need to find something to help us to relax and you don't seem comfortable with the method you're currently using ... so try something else.
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I'm the caregiver for my 97 yr old father. He always has one drink of vodka and tonic at dinner time. I do the same. I look forward to having that drink at the end of the day while preparing dinner. Equally, I look forward to a cup of tea after that with my dinner. Like everything else only in moderation.
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Don't feel quilty, being a caregiver is hard, I have been doing it for over 5 years, I don't drink, but have high axiety and major depression so I take 6mg of xanax a day, it helps with the axiety and helps me to get some sleep
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Why is it wrong? Many health experts feel that a couple of beers or wine a day is healthy. (Not if you can't stop at a couple and not if that amount impairs your judgment, but in general a little alcohol might be good for us.)

In my opinion, it would be wrong if you can't afford it and you are buying beer instead of wholesome food or medicines. Or if you can't afford the calories and you are gaining weight, putting your health at risk. (The same thing could be said of potato chips or chocolate bars.)

It would be wrong (in my opinion) if the amount you drink impairs your judgment or your actions and causes you to take less good care of your husband.

It would be wrong to drink and drive.

It might be counterproductive if you have sleep issues. Beer might make you sleepy, but alcohol isn't conducive to restful sleep.

If you belong to a religion that opposes alcohol altogether, then you have to make a decision whether you agree with that particular tenet, and if you do, then drinking beer is wrong.

But if you like the taste of beer, you like the way it helps you relax, you can afford it, and you are careful to respect your limits, I personally don't think it is wrong. Perhaps your faith should be your strength. Is beer giving you strength? Or is it just a small pleasure in a difficult and often unpleasant situation? Is it really replacing or rivaling your faith, or is it just a brief period of human enjoyment? As I see it, you can rely on your faith and also enjoy a beer or a candy bar or a back rub. Treating yourself to something that you enjoy doesn't lessen your faith, does it?

Here is the one thing I worry about, a little. If 2 or 3 beers ease your day now, what will happen if the caregiving gets more stressful? Will it then be 3 or 4 beers a day? And then creep up to 4 or 5?

In very moderate amounts, alcohol can apparently be good for us. But it also has the potential for creating a lot of health and social problems when used beyond moderation. Obviously I don't know your size, but I think generally 1 or 2 drinks is considered moderate for women. Maybe try to cut back to that, and see if how that goes.

I don't drink alcohol, because of 2 drugs I am on. (Darn!) But my husband enjoyed beer and wine. His geriatrician and his neurologist both said it was fine for him to continue to enjoy 1 or 2 drinks a day throughout the nine years of his dementia. Dementia takes a way so much, his doctors and I wanted to avoid depriving him of any pleasure that was still available to him.

I know firsthand that there a lot of sacrifices and deprivations that go with caring for a spouse. I don't see any reason to deprive ourselves of harmless pleasures. Just watch very carefully that they stay harmless.

Hugs to you!
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maxine, I don't think there is anything wrong with having a drink, or maybe two on certain days. But if it is starting to feel like self medicating, then it can be a problem. If you feel it is becoming a problem, then I suspect it may be. Is there a way you can limit it to one? Then maybe if you feel you want another drink, get a glass of water or a bottle of tea? Sometimes I drink a bottle of Lipton green tea in the evening. It is tasty and seems like I am rewarding myself.
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