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Mom, 93 years, recently moved to Florida to live near my sister, though she is still in the same cramped apartment while Mom's is being prepped. Mom wants alcohol every day, early on, and sister gives her as little as possible. No more wine, as she gets really weepy with that. She wants vodka! Sister adds water and gives her bits. This leads to morose behavior, martyrdom, tears and great negativity. Sister tries to divert attention from alcohol to activities, but sister needs a life, too. Should mention that Mom suffers from a heavy case of narcissism and a fair amount of dementia. She has done seriously damaging things to family members and burned bridges with friends.
Anyone have suggestions? How to get her off the sauce? How to distract her?

There is a drug available that causes people to vomit and feel unwell if they drink alcohol. I forget the name, though our neighbour down the road used to pull in on our road verge and take it – I found the packet and looked it up on the net. It’s not dangerous to health. It’s usually used by people who want to give up the booze, and are finding it difficult (this neighbor had just spent time in jail and wanted to turn his life around). I don’t know if it’s prescription only. If mother is legally competent, then technically it would need her consent. She might consent if she is given an ultimatum about leaving, or she might just accept it as another medication. She might find that ‘alcohol has started upsetting me so much that I’ll just have to give it up’. You might want to check it out.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Sloshy mom is an addict. Her drug is alcohol, and that means she needs a hit of booze every time she craves it. Her brain is now wired for it. There is no way she’ll be fooled by non-alcoholic drinks. She needs treatment for her addiction. That’s the bottom line.
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Reply to Fawnby
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Hopeforhelp22 Aug 25, 2022
Yes - I understand - you're right.
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Discarded - if you google "non-alcoholic drinks", you'll see many different types...non-alcoholic wines, beers, and cocktail type drinks - you can make martini's, margarita's - all different types...many are sold on Amazon (and there are also sugar free types too). How about your sister just lets your mom believe that these are real alcoholic drinks and serve them instead?
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Reply to Hopeforhelp22
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Has Mom always used some sloshing to cover bad times / bad feelings?

Mom is self-medicating her depression would be my non-professional guess.

But if this NEW behaviour, I'd discuss with her Doctor.

If I was your Sster I would say No to any alcohol.

The question to ask is: What is stopping your Sister from saying no? 🤔

What I *would* say is..

I will not serve you alcohol, unless under a Doctor's order. (Eg slow withdrawal)

If you are able to walk to shops without me to buy it - go ahead.

If you want to have a tantrum about it - go ahead.

If you want me to set up a Doctor appointment to discuss why you feel like you need alcohol - I will.

If you want to talk to someone about feeling sad, or low - I will listen. I will also find someone professional to listen.

Adjusting to old age IS tough!

Setting boundaries with tantrum throwers is also hard 🙃

A friend 's family had to do this very thing with 90 something Father afters few rounds of hospital-rehab-home, He was losing control of his ordered life, losing the power to boss his family around & he knew it! So more drinking + more bossing, (depression too).
Family then said a Firm No - for his safety.
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Reply to Beatty
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Alcoholism kills. It leads to heart, liver and kidney disease, pancreatitis, brain dysfunction such as Wernicke-Korsikov disease, more danger of falls, sleep apnea, stroke, driving accidents that can kill someone else and so on. So let’s look at it that way. Sloshed mom is heading down the road to an end caused by alcoholism if the dementia doesn’t kill her first. Personally, I believe it’s morally wrong to provide a sick person with more of the thing that’s killing her. Her doctor should be fully informed of the truth and perhaps the resultant advice will provide clarity to the family, which will then put her away where she can’t hurt herself or others.
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Reply to Fawnby
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Thanks to all who responded to the sloshed mom topic. Very helpful. They say getting old isn't for sissies. Neither is caring for people who are even older than we are!
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Reply to Discarded
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Why would your sister be giving mom 'bits' of vodka, to a woman with a fair amount of dementia? This makes no sense to me. How to 'get her off the sauce' is to stop buying the sauce for her to begin with. How is your sister supporting herself if she's staying home all day to 'distract' mom? Mom needs to be placed in managed care where she'll be tended to by a staff where there will be no alcohol provided and whereby your sister can move on with her own life now.

That's my suggestion.

Best of luck.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I am wondering if there was a time in her (your) life that Mom was active and happy with a productive life? Because if not, she is little different than she ever was. It sounds to me as though Sister is trying what works best for her and for Mom, and as she is the one in charge, and Mom is of an age, this is kind of self-limiting all on its own. Let sister handle this as she feels best. She will want to tell you her travails. Listen as you would listen to a friend, and try not to
"pick up the luggage" by trying to cure things.
Mom won't be getting off the sauce I think. I would suggest a few visits to al-anon, where you will get support and be able to speak with people who have "been there and done this". My best to you. For Mom, my biggest worry isn't the vodka, but a fall resultant.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Is mom the one driving to purchase the alcohol? We had this issue with my father…until we sold his truck due to unsafe driving. He no longer had access to alcohol because no one was going to purchase it for him and he couldn’t do so himself.
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Reply to Pmruns
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Did there and done with with my spouse. You can never change an alcoholic unless they want to. At her age it will be near impossible so either put her in a facility for Alzheimer’s.. However, took me years but it can be done one way or another. You can’t distract an alcoholic or distract.
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Reply to EnoughNonsense
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She is way past needing distraction. She needs a controlled environment— memory care— where she cannot get ahold of any alcohol and staff can medically help with her emotional issues or withdrawal.
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Reply to LoopyLoo
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