Can an alcoholic get declared incompetent?
My mother is an alcoholic with multiple suicide attempts. She's recently been in and out of hospitals over the past two week for suicidal intentions. The problem is that we can not get any to get a medical TDO for over 72 hours and she is released on her own wishes. She is not able to make these decisions, however she has not been declared incompetent by any of her physicians. How or is it possible to get her declared incompetent?
You ask about how to have an alcoholic parent declared incompetent, and state that none of her physicians have done so. I am not clear about whether your mother is actually incompetent. Suicide attempts and being an alcoholic do not, by themselves, automatically mean that she is incompetent under the law. Because being declared incompetent can lead to a complete loss of all freedom, physicians may be reluctant or unwilling to give a sworn statement that your mother is incompetent, which generally means unable to make safe decisions about money and other matters and to handle her finances and affairs. The first step is to ask the last psychiatrist who treated or evaluated your mother whether he/she thinks your mother is incompetent to handle her own affairs. If the doctor says "yes" to the question, you need to seek the advice of an elder law attorney to determine whether guardianship, a court proceeding, is appropriate.
If the question is about handling money and business matters, and a doctor says your mother is competent, you can ask her to appoint you or a trusted other as her agent on a durable power of attorney. That would allow the agent to make all financial and business decisions for your mother without going to court or having to have a doctor say that she can't handle her own affairs. If no doctor is willing to state that she is incompetent, and she does not want to appoint a durable power of attorney to assist her, there is no legal means to take over her decision making.
I am in this one up to my eyeballs. I hate it for you but as well meaning as the professionals are the bare, ugly truth is there is no help for being an alcoholic with out help from the alcoholic. Comsumption of alcohol is legal in all 50 states as long as you are 21. There are no laws that protect a person from drinking themselves into any mumber of health issues both physical and mental. None to help you either. My husband is 55 and drinks himself into a coma every night. He suffers from liver damage (end stage) and has for 4 years now. His doctor gives him pain meds which he takes in 3 days of a 30 day prescription (90). We have had GI bleeds, kidney failure, CHF and so many falls it is not possible to keep track of them anymore. When we go to the ER he tells them he got confused about his meds. They say AWWWWW! and give him more. He goes home and drinks them down. They don't call it a suicide attempt because he is sick and confused. AA is a joke to him. Being drunk/high is his world and it is the one he choses to stay in as much as possible. I have tried everything moral and legal there is to do to make him stop. With end stage liver disease, he still has no problem??? and all the doctors and test are lying. His DR will not declare him because he is terminal and feels it is unnecessary. He cannot handle his meds,or make it to the bathroom. He can however call the liquor store and have it delivered! He has credit cards he got online to pay for it. Sneaky yes, typical substance abuse behavior yes. According to all legal sources and medical professionals, until something happens to him that renders him medically incapable like a stroke or heart attack, car accident with legal charges or assults someone causing great bodily injury, he has every right to continue on the path he is now. You can just imagine how wonderful it is to come home from work everyday. I was however, informed that if he has a stroke or heart attack while I am away at work, and expires from this, I will be charged with neglect! Save yourself the grief of trying. Unless she hurts herself to a point of no return, you have nothing legal or medically you can do!
There are two other options not considered: 1-Baker Act: This can get a person involuntarily committed for a maximum of 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation if the person is in danger of inflicting self harm, threatens suicide or has a any form of suicidal ideation, thought, plans or intentions. 2-Marchman Act: Needs to be pursued through the court that can involuntarily commit a person to a substance abuse treatment facility via court order, and the court order will not be removed until/unless the person successfully completes treatment.
good luck. Praying for you.
I am at my wit's end w/my 60 yr old alcoholic spouse who runs a company then comes home (drunk) after liquid lunches and is now in full-blown dementia, to boot. DUI this spring finally (gratefully) sent him to a work-release rehab and we had high hopes. Guess who never stopped drinking and is now sneaking worse, more, earlier in the day than ever. Conversations no longer make sense, his kids hate him, he seems to be making less and less sense at work acc. to the phone calls he makes from home (he comes home earlier & earlier each day -- I know because I have to pick him up cause he lost his license for three months)... Sadly, everyone loves my husband but me and the kids. We are humiliated, disgusted, depressed, embarrassed by his outbursts and inappropriate sexual innuendos when watching tv/eating at restaurants with us/out in public... The best part of all??? He REFUSES to go to any and all doctors. Even at the rehab... he is a total con artist and managed to get in and out of a 28 day program with promises of going to see a doctor soon.It has been 20 yrs since he has had a physical; he is emaciated and sickly. No appetite...all the signs of major alcoholism and now the dementia on top of it. He is in total denial. WHERE DO I TURN FOR HELP??? I still have a high schooler at home, a Mom with frontal lobe dementia living home alone and I just lost my father...I am ready to take the first plane outta here!!!! Anybody have any ideas?!?!
I finally found a solution. I posted above. Using a laptop, I taped his entire Saturday with a minicam. Embarrassment works wonders!
Wow what a great idea to video tape. I am a recovering alcoholic who for years drank and thought AA was a joke. I have been sober for a little over 6 years and I have done it with AA's help among other services. There is nothing anyone can do to make a person quit. I was locked up, prayed over, you name it and I didn't stop till I was ready. Tough love works far better helping an alcoholic reach their bottom than someone who stays and continues to pick up the pieces. Most people won't quit till they have lost people who love them, or they lost a job,go to jail ect. I was shocked at some of the posts i read, all I could think is some of you sound sicker than the person who drinks cause you stay, and you don't even have alcohol to buffer the feelings. Maybe some of you should check out alanon that program has saved many a wives and family members. There are people who care and understand what you are going through. Try on the computer just google it and read some of the stuff. Good luck Peace & Blessings
Funny you should mention a video tape. That is finally what I did to make my husband stop. When he SAW himself fall over into several potted plants, pee on himself, puke all over the couch, and act like a starving caveman over a piece of day old pizza he had stashed in the chair.....he was humiliated! He cried for four days but has not had a drop of booze since. His lab numbers are improving and I might get some quality time with him before he dies. Technology is wonderful. Some of us who stay might be sick. Point taken. But some of us made commitments to our significant other like we make commitments to aging parents who fear being put into long term care facilities. All the children in our family care for our own as promised. We are also from the old school of thought (1940's or so) and we don't throw away our mentally challenged relatives either. While being responsible for an alcoholic is the hardest thing I have ever done emotionally and physically, bar no other challenge I have ever faced on any level, I got the rest that will come my way with bells on! Congrats on being sober for 6 years! I found Al-anon in my area to be the biggest waste of time ever. It was filled with whiners with no solutions but plenty of poor sorry me stories.I was looking for a solution, not stories. Had a pocket full of those myself. Video taping my husband in all his glory worked for him.It might for others too. Am I sick? Maybe! Or you can classify me as dedicated to those not completely whole, I have promised to care for.
Okay, the idea of videotaping is a great one but for the King of Denial, how do you suggest I even get him to actually WATCH it? This is a man who has not gone to drs.,not eaten properly,has stopped going to Mass, deceived the entire Rehab facility about his issues...And people think he is going to sit down with a box of popcorn and watch a movie of his repulsive life? HA!
I am still here because I set a goal of 4 yrs, 3 and a half yrs ago. Shape up or I am shipping out. I need to keep a household running. Leaving now would only throw my family's world into further chaos. I owe my kids a bit more than that after staying put and allowed them to watch their father die slowly. Should've left when they were very young before they realized what their gene pool is filled with. It must be terrifying for both of them to see this and know it is in their veins. As for those that say staying together for the kids is best? They have not lived with an alcoholic spouse. Obviously.
Just turn the volume up! Human curiosity will take care of the rest. And watching the whole thing is not necessary. Just a small clip with all the "reality" for all to see!
Thanks for all the answers
IF your kids have already seen how he acts, then if the volume is up and they are watching it won't he head over to see what's going on?
Why would anyone stay in relationships w/people who wont help themselves? Been there myself, he got sent to the curb! Not worth my safety or that of my then toddler. No sympathy for drinkers here, period.
Ito did the video thing, he watched it, he was totally upset. Two weeks later he was drunk again. mine in a binge drinker. Don't work, eat wwash, or anything. Just sits and drinks. The longest time was two months. he is the smartest drunk I have ever known, not to mention, lucky. In his case I KNOW it is a choice. he will not take anything to help stop the edge,. And he only does and says, what he KNOWS the courts and who ever want to hear.
Alcoholism is a family disease. You and your children are sick too and need help. Continually trying to help to no avail just puts you in the victim role which seems to meet a need that's been created by the disease of alcoholism. It's an ugly vicious cycle that will eat you up! I've been sober over a year, have two beautiful kids and a loving husband for which I get on my knees for, cry and thank God for every single day! Alcoholism is progressive. I lost my job, my husband shamed me with pictures, my kids cried, the list goes on and on. I had to be ready for treatment and help. There's absolutely nothing you can do for him, but you can help yourself with alanon and counseling and the same for your kids with a-lateen/alanon and counseling etc. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage the change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
I went through all this at a time when drinking was my life. First make sure that she is incompetent by getting her to a psychiatrist. He has to agree that she can’t get over the addiction by herself. The next step is to have every single person in her life to agree and attest that she is in fact incompetent. This should make the process fairly simple. If you are anywhere in Canada, I’d suggest you to take a look at - some sites which has <ahref=”http://www.canadarehabreviews.com”>many reviews on good addiction treatment programs in Calgary and nearby areas.
My ex husband went through three rehabs and was still so drunk that he couldn't walk straight, was incontinent, didn't bathe, and didn't own any underwear. He differed from the homeless stinking street drunks only in his possession of enough money to drink and stink at home. Pictures and videos do not help someone who is that deep in denial. And I reject the idea that I or my children are somehow sick or in any way supportive or enabling of his addiction. The answer to this issue is DIVORCE.
The real question is , how do you get power of attorney to take care of someone who OBVIOUSLY isn't capable of caring for himself. And, what kind of institutional care is available for someone who does not want to get sober and is not homeless?
I don't think anyone who has ever loved someone so deeply would question why the spouse stays for so long. Hope. Hope that the person you fell in love with would get well. Hope that the dreams you shared would finally come to fruition. Hope that the loss of the last job, new DUI, accident, or anything else that should be a wake up call would sink in this time. Hope that the lifetime you invested in this person that you thought you would grow old with would come back to reality. Hope and love are the hardest things to fight. At least they are for me. I finally realized all these things died a long time ago. He isn't that person anymore. I'm trying to get the courage to scoop up the pieces and move on.
I wish there was more legal assistance for families of alcoholics. Not necessarily to help them get well, because everyone who stated this was right, they can't be forced. But what I wish is that something could be done immediately when the situation gets so bad that the family or spouse is about to lose everything waiting for the divorce to become final.
I look at my husband with his dimentia and wonder when, not if, he will kill someone. I wonder every day when I'm driving home from work if I will find him dead, the house burned down, etc. He has been sitting here all evening coming through his phone contacts over and over with no intent. He is by all rights no longer capable of making sound decisions, but still has access to our money and his car keys. Why won't the laws help???
I was ready to baker act him until I did some research. I guess this type of insanity doesn't qualify.
I have lived all of the nightmares that other people have described. We had Spring Board Power of Attorney and it is impossible to find a doctor, let alone two, who will declare someone incompetent unless they are comatose and stay that way for over a week. I know, I have tried repeatedly.
He is now living in an Assisted Living Facility eight hours away from us in Southern CA near his brother. We took him to the only rehab that would take him and I did not know it was near his brother. His brother has told me off numerous times for dumping my husband on him. That was not our intent. He was supposed to go through rehab and then go into a sober living house for a year. The rehab released him after three weeks because they had to keep taking him to the hospital to have his Ascites drained and he would not participate in groups. He would just lie in bed.
I told him that I would not divorce him because he would lose his health insurance and I would reasonably support him for the rest of his life. He has end stage liver disease. He was sober for over 20 years. Two days after I was diagnosed with cancer, he started drinking and stayed drunk for six months. When he started threatening to hit me and kill myself and my son, I knew it was over.
I realize we are lucky that we can do this. The first time I talked to a therapist who was called in when I stumbled walking to radiation, she said somethin about me leaving "his" house. I told her that it was MY inherited house. However, if he had known and pushed the matter, I would of had to serve him with a 60 day written notice to vacate. I have been advised by my attorneys not to pursue divorcing him because I would have to pay spousal support anyway and he is not going to live that long because he is in end stage liver disease. Before he started drinking again, he had gone through a partial transplant evaluation at Stanford. His heptologist flat told him that he would not be eligible for a transplant because he smoked and his blood tests kept coming back positive for benzoids and barbiturates. He was supposed to follow up with a shrink and take more blood tests, he never did. Then he started drinking and all bets were off.
I am so sorry for all of you. It has made me feel not so all alone. I have known this man for 40 years and he was the love of my life. He was the perfect father for 20 years. The only way we can deal with it is that the person we knew is already dead. It is just the shell left. When I talk to him on the phone, he never asks how I am doing or how our son is doing. He just complains, sounds like his mother did for the last 35 years of her life.
I could not imagine bein stuck in a small house, trying to raise children, working full time away from home and trying to deal with a drunk like that. I feel sad and guilty at times. We tried keeping him home and bringing in help, he would just send them away. At least our home was large enough that he spent most of his time I the living room or the basement. I finally had to tell him to sleep in a guest bedroom. He would wake me up and tell me that if I touched him again, he would hit me. That was after I moved his arm that had a cast on it that was rubbing against my back. The chemo and radiation made my skin very sensitive and it hurt. He didn't care.
He chose his path and now he has to walk it.. Like I said, I know that most people do not have the luxury that we do. He has been through five rehabs. I don't think they do a thing besides cost a whole bunch of money. No one pours the booze down his throat. At least he is not here so he cannot take one of our vehicles and drive it. He got his license pulled by two different hospitals because of his ammonia levels. He is in end stage liver disease and bipolar on top of it. Of course he won't accept that he is bipolar and will not take any meds for it. When he is prescribed them, he just throws them away. .
I'm going through this with my mom...tried everything to get her into rehab. She is non-ambulatory because of falling and drinks a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka every day. She's been doing this for 7-8 years and it has destroyed her life.
She won't consider a facility, refuses any in home care, lays on soiled bedding and her "caregiver" is a little weasel who buys her booze and empties her pee bucket for $200 a month - not sure how she defecates but probably into bags. She is well off and hasn't lost her faculties yet but she is getting worse and signs of liver disease are becoming apparent (temporary dementia, massive weight gain, swollen neck and face, etc...
State agencies refused to intervene and she would fight any attempts at guardianship in court via a lawyer so that is out. What makes it even more difficult is that my sister just died of liver failure from drinking at age 46 - typically, this caused mom to kick up her drinking a notch. I don't think she would even survive a detox at this point...
I'm basically just waiting for her to keel over. Sad, but it's their choice.
I have bee in a relationship with an alcoholic now for 5 years. I agree with the person who said that love and hope are very strong and the relief of the sober times make those feelings stronger. My fiancé is very successful sober but completely opposite drunk. Unfortunately he is drunk to a comatosed state 3 weeks out of any given month and sober one. My only role has been to get him sober, it's all I do. All he talks about is wanting help, getting help, he's going to beat it. He has so so much support and love around him. But as soon as he gets a chance, he completely contradicts himself and drinks. He cries then and says he cannot get sober alone. It's a viscous maddening circle. I have walked away many times, I then get the calls that he says he's overdosing, and I panic and think he's lying at home dead and I run there to check on him. Nothing, nothing makes him change to want sobriety. I video him, I tell him detailed accounts of what he is like drunk (verbally abusive which has progressively gotten worse) he's been to 3 inpatient programs in the last 10 years, 2 for a month stay, one for 7 months (not by his choice though so I know now in hindsight they were pointless), he got a 3rd dui and had to go through a court program. That is the ONLY thing that kept him sober for over a year. He was incredible during this time. He stayed sober for the court but won't for himself, his family and obligations. He said he did it because he did not want to go to jail. He had a good life then, it was not hard for him to do. This is where I struggle with his inability and difficulty to stay sober because he did it very easily for the court. I realize by all accounts he's basically saying I am not important enough for him to stay sober, but then he begs and pleads for me to stay and pulls the guilt trip on me. Actually all of thisbI can turn my back on but seriously, it is the moral obligation I struggle with. When I get a call for help and he's in very bad condition like .478, I should just ignore it? One of these calls from him I ended up calling an ambulance, .478 is a lethal dose of alcohol. I appreciate the comments of "just walk away" but I'm sorry, it's not that easy and I'm not wanting to stay as I know it's a losing battle. Is there a court program that I could try to get him into? I was told if 4 of his family members petitioned the court it is possible. Thus was told to me second hand from a friend so I do not know what it entails, if anyone does please let me know.
Wow all these stories have made me feel like i am not in my own personal hell and that there are others who share the journey of alcoholism that's not only a family disease, but the most selfish one. My husband could care less about who and how I am and not only am I resigned to the fact that he will die, he will in fact die young of this, less than 45 years old. He's been given so much love support and opportunity to succeed and I am happy to hear that it is his choice as echoed by others but I am also convinced that alcoholism is in his DNA as is mental illness and that combo never leads to any kind of success. I initially read this blog to see how I can get him out of my home and institutionalized but it doesn't seem hopeful. I too have been met with Drs who just prescribe pills and say don't drink and move on to the next patient. Thanks, but it doesn't' work that way. My husband has been to detox 5 times in this year alone. 2 rehabs in this year alone. Its not looking promising now is it. Sad but I will have to leave my home in order to get away from this man. He won't save himself , so I need to save me.
friendsof: Do not leave your home. Kick him out. Change the locks, stay inside and let the authorities know what the issue is. I am an alcoholic. It is not a selfish disease it is just one that we have no control over when we are in that place. I didn't get it until I lost my home, my kids, my job, my car, my friends, etc. I went from making double 6 figures and being a great mom to standing on a street corner with a change of clothes, no place to go, nobody to call and not even $2 in my pocket to ride the bus. It wasn't until that point that I realized that life is so much better without alcohol (and I had dried out for a few days at that time becausee I didn't have money to buy alcohol, to be able to realize it even then). If you let him have a place to live and money to buy what he wants, then you are part of the problem. Go to Al-Anon and get help from others that have been through it too. Save yourself and let him go. He will eventually get it and come back but absolutely no amount of telling him what to do is going to change him.
Jm0501 how was this able to be legally enforced against you?
This is just crazy. I can't believe these responses because it is like you are telling me the last 8 years of my life. The only difference being we only had 3 days of court ordered counseling due to DUI. He said the counselor told him he doesn't have a problem he just got caught. He won't even discuss getting help and we are on the verge of financial ruin. He is in danger of losing his employment and nothing seems to phase him. I set dates for this to end but seem to always find a reason to extend them.
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