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alcoholic with cirrhosis drinking - what to expect?

I know there's no definitive answer to my question, but I'm hoping someone can share their experiences.  My mom is an alcoholic.  She had symptoms of cirrhosis for a couple years and refused to see a doctor.  Finally, her condition got so bad we called an ambulance last October.  She was admitted for liver failure and stayed in the hospital for 6 weeks.  She had advanced cirrhosis, with complications including ascites, edema, and pretty severe hepatic encephalopathy.  She was still in very bad shape when they released her, and I had to take care of her.  But, she actually started to improve, a lot.  Her liver tests were even mostly normal.  Her doctor was surprised and pleased at how well she was doing, and at 6 months sober, arranged an appointment with a specialist to see about getting on the transplant list.  And then, much to my horror, she started drinking again.  She's been on a binge, drinking a 750 ml bottle of vodka a day, or more.  Does anyone have a guess how long it will be before her health goes south again, and finally, how long she'll survive, if she doesn't quit drinking?  Have any of you had that experience?  Any suggestions for helping her quit would also be very appreciated, of course.
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3060903 tn?1398565123
Well, i'm so terribly sorry that your mother started to drink again, and of course, that's the nature of the disease of alcoholism.

It's a terrible thing for a child or adult child to watch. One thing that you can do for yourself, and therefore for her, is to go online and check out Alanon. There you will find their mission statement and meetings in a town close to you. It is a family group for the spouses and children of alcoholics. It will allow you to desensitize yourself from the situation to a degree and not allow your mother's drinking to make you crazy. It will allow you to discuss how not to enable your mother., for her own sake. There you can talk about Interventions, and how they work. I don't know  if you can get access to the show "Intervention" but basically the family of the addict get together and tell the addict that they can no longer support them when they are actively engaged in addiction. That's too much for anyone to bare for  a lifetime. It doesn't help the addict. Only by an addict feeling their consequences do they usually do something about it. If you are not willing to set this standard, you can learn how to not let the addict's poor choices daily affect your life, to the maximum that it could.

This is the website for online Alanonhttp://www.ola-is.org/

This is a meeting list for Alanon and Alateen......


Also, there is a group called ACOA or Adult Children of Alcoholics. A great group that I went to for a spell. There you can vent really , about how the alcoholism has affected your life. I met some fine friends there when i was experiencing the worst effects of my dysfunctional family, and simply could not go on one moment longer without talking to people that truly understood. You can reach their website by going to ....


First things first. LOOK AFTER YOU. This is a family disease. And like they say on an airplane, you must first grab the oxygen yourself in order to be alive, to help anyone else.

Then there's your mom. So your mom needs a "program" . Many need to go to a detox unit prior to going to rehab for 30 to 60 to 90 days, There are then sober houses available that continues to walk the addict through how to live sober, and work, or go to school. There's a gambit of resources available for your mom In "rehab" there is an Addictions Therapist component. There the addict goes back into their lives and finds out why they drank in the first place. Many times it can be post traumatic stress, from childhood. There may be a dual diagnosis. A mental health issue uncovered. For my husband it was Paranoid Schizophrenia. No problem. There's help for that and everything under the sun. Many times an "Intervention" must  be held . That would be with an Addictions Therapist that you can find in the yellow pages. They can help the family plan a meeting to get together and give the addict an ultimatum saying that they as a group (ideally) will support the addict if they accept help for their addiction, but will walk away if they continue using. Is that cruel? You think that maybe that's not the way to go, because aren't you hitting the addict when they are already so down. ? Well, the addict is on a downward spiral and without that type of ultimatum, the next step is often not being here to complain about the tough love. This sounds like where you're at, so an Intervention might be well warranted. if you are determined to save your mom's life. This would probably honestly be the best thing you could do for your mom, It sure is not for the faint of heart, which is why you need to gather around you a support system for yourself, and your family, and your mother.  You see? Your mom's life cannot be your responsibility. but you can equip her with the right resources to use her free will to save her own life.

In short, without the "process", your mom has a less than average chance of living through this. You Need Help. So, thank you for posting for your mom, and for your family.

Anyone of us here, would be happy to hear from you, and work with you. You need not be alone. You are among friends here. Truly.

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Avatar universal
Wow, thank you!  That was an incredibly helpful comment.  I have thought about joining Alanon, or ACOA, and thought they might have advice about what can be done locally, as far as rehab, and interventions.  I was going to check if they have online meetings, as circumstances here make it hard to attend meetings.

I have seen "Intervention", and have thought about staging one for her, but didn't know how to go about it.  Now I know a lot more, thanks to you.  I thought about doing it for years, before she ended up in the hospital, but I just knew she had no interest in quitting and would probably react very badly.  My mom was a very mean drunk.  But the situation is different now and yes, it may be her only chance at survival.

Though, she did see her doctor last week and admitted that she's been drinking.  The doctor is trying to help.  I already talked about this in another post, but I'll repeat it here.  She gave her the name and number of a therapist and prescribed a few medications.  Ativan is apparently for withdrawal, but my mom doesn't want to take it, she wants to quit her way, which isn't working AT ALL.  She's trying to wean herself off of it and hasn't managed to cut down even a little.  I have a few concerns of my own, since Ativan can be dangerous mixed with alcohol so I think it's a bit risky in an uncontrolled environment where someone can still get liquor.  She also wanted to give her a shot of Vivitrol, which seems like it could be really helpful, but I read it can do liver damage and doesn't seem safe for someone with cirrhosis.  She's also supposed to be off alcohol for 7-10 days and have a liver function test first, which the doctor didn't do or mention, so I'll have to discuss all this with her.  Maybe it's a risk vs. benefit kind of thing, because obviously the booze isn't good for her liver either.  If she can't use Vivitrol I think rehab is the best place for her, because it seems like she's just not going to be able to do it on her own.  So depending what happens with the doctor and the therapist, I'll still be considering an intervention.

Thank you again for taking the time to comment and being so amazingly helpful.
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3060903 tn?1398565123
No problem, when we get a "program " for ourselves, it's written in Step 12 (to carry the message to alcoholics) and again, in the 12 traditions,
and is whole concept of AA. Your mom would have so many caring friends, if only she could let go and let God. (good orderly direction if nothing else) Chapter 7 in the Big Book talks all about how to approach an alcoholic that needs help.

It might help you to drop in and pick up a Big Book and a 12 step book. Since you're considering an Intervention. it might be a great idea to research detox, units, (because it's important for a women in the shape that your mom's in to be medically supervised) She can easily have seizures as i'm sure you've heard. trying to cut down on her own. (not that she' serious about that yet) :(  

Maybe if she ends up in the hospital you can rally your forces, maybe with an Addictions Therapist, and consider telling her you cannot continue to watch her kill herself. and that if she wants help, you will continue to support her in recovery. The aid of the Addictions Therapist can help you to know how to talk to here, but as I said Chapter 7 in the Big Book talks about how the program works to help other alcoholics and by reading it yourself you may be able to sell AA. AA is what saves peoples lives. People detox all the time , and go back to drinking only because they don't have a program. The Steps, are pretty simple. The first being that she has to say outlood, I am powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable. Is there any way you could get her to come on here, and let me talk to her. Maybe even by email. I was a terrible terrible alcoholic. and yes, a mean drunk. I drank as a result of coming from an abusive home, and when i drank, i was mean. Maybe your mom is mean because of her childhood? etc. and if we can get her talking about root causes, that's when the healing begins.

I'm proud of you, You're doing the right thing reaching out to the professionals. If you can grab the books, let her see you reading them. Talk about whatever it is in the book that you think might give her pause. Be as precise as possible. But if you read it and something tugs at your heart, and you think it might help., talk to her about what you're learning about alcoholism.

We're in this for the long run. You and me and medhelp and hopefully other AAer's and Therapists. I think reading the big book would be really really good for you. frankly. Just so that you' know that you've done everything you can. You can go to any "open" meeting of AA, and get the big book and 12 step book. and also maybe an Daily Inspirational Book.

It's like, when my son was supposed to get blood drawn by his family doctor, I got my drawn first. So that he knew it was going to be okay. By you reading up on the program it no longer is just a blank ... you know?

Others may chime in here yet. No worries though, if not. I've got you.

xo Liz
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14257691 tn?1433627206
Unfortunately for us alcoholics, drinking in moderation (or trying to "ween down") never works. We cannot just have a little. That first drink leads to more. Our defenses are down after the first drink and the thought "I will quit or slow down tomorrow" happens over and over and over. Your mom has cirrhosis. She needs to stop drinking. Period.
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