Coping....Drinking And Smoking....


Registered User
Mar 31, 2008
Ohio USA
Hi Silver, I am new here too, just found this site yesterday. My dear mom has stroke-induced dementia. She was my best friend in the world and now she is just a shell of the person she once was. I know exactly your struggles with coping. I find myself tossing and turning at night and not being able to sleep and then sneaking downstairs for some wine or schnapps to settle my nerves. This is NOT good behavior for someone who had a drinking problem and gave it up two years ago.

There has got to be a better way to cope then turning to the vices that will hurt our own health in the long run. One way is to post and read on this message board. The people here are amazing and just knowing that someone else understands your struggles is so much comfort in itself....much better than drinking and smoking. A nice long walk outdoors and getting fresh air can also make a world of difference on your perspective on things.



Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Unfortunately the hurt never goes away due to this herrendous illness.
Then the nasty GUILT comes into the equation when all we want to do is the best for our loved ones.
My huband was diagnosed 5 years ago at the age of 58. He is now in E.M.I. Unit and in the final stage. Then how long is a piece of string ? Waiting for the blasted phone to ring.
Before A.D. my husband use to drink Barcardi and coke, Jack Daniels and he loved his roll ups.
One morning he did not have a cigarette, stopped drinking - he had forgotten he smoked and drank.
Just one of those strange things that happen with this illness.
Best wishes


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi silvergoblin

Welcome to Talking Point!

It seems to me that you ask two questions here, from the viewpoint of a reader - since readers may read your question in two ways:

#1 how does the person who has dementia copy with their 'vices' - that is, do they over drink, over smoke etc?

#2 how does the close family carer cope with the pain of seeing a loved one so ravaged - do they turn to drink, smoking etc, and what might be an alternative?

As Christine says, there comes a stage when the person with dementia will probably simply forget their vice, though there is a guy in my Jan's home who is still taken out for a smoke at regular intervals though he is well advanced in his condition. Not so advanced that the addiction does not cause him problems though. In a family home it can be a problem and dangerous - with cigarette fire damage possible.

For a carer, diversion therapy may work. Instead of drinking or smoking [and I tried to overdo both when Jan was at her worst at home; just made me feel worse!], find something else to absorb you. Sounds trite and simple, but it worked for me. This depends on having time of course, and also that other diversion.

Maybe it would be a good subject for a thread on TP - what have you found effective as a means of temporarily holding the stress and pain at bay?


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Silvergoblin

I expect there are 100s of ways we all cope, and sometimes we just dont, but struggle on anyway.

When things get tough, I visit Talking Point. Over the months and now years I have made some really close friends who have supported me through thick and thin, thank God for Talking Point. They lend a shoulder when I just want a good old cry, and an ear when I just need a good rant, and have also offered all sorts of suggestions to some of my practical problems.

Welcome to the mot supportive network there is in my view.



Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Maybe it would be a good subject for a thread on TP - what have you found effective as a means of temporarily holding the stress and pain at bay?
The most effective one by far is TP.

I've always been a reader, but when I'm stressed I can't lose myself in a book. The same with music, gardening, exercise -- you can still think!

But a few kind words from members of TP, -- perhaps a new solution to try, perhaps just sympathy from people who know exactly how I'm feeling -- well, they don't make the problem go away, but they do lighten the load.

'A trouble shared is a trouble halved'.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I never drank but I used to smoke.

I`m relieved I haven`t been tempted back onto cigarettes, and feel if I hadn`t stopped pre Alzheimers, I would be more than ever, dependent on nicotine now.

I have always used food as a comfort, now more than ever. Since the start of TP`s Slimming Club I have manaaged to regain some control.

But as Hazel said, TP has been my main source of support....... somewhere to offload, a place that needs no appointment, is free, is open 24/7 and full of the most amazing people I have ever been in contact with, each and every one knowing the trials nad stresses of dementia.


Registered User
Jul 7, 2007
Hello silvergoblin,

Mum was a 40 a day smoker with all its attendant risks until she had two weeks in hospital and just forgot ! (it still didn't stop her continually searching her handbag for something )

And me - ( sure I'm going to get banned from TP for life for sharing this )

I started smoking a year ago - think it was the stress - up to 20 a day now.

Off to light up as even the confession gives me a craving. Booze still waits till the sun is over the yardarm etc !


an even more guilt ridden


Registered User
Mar 27, 2004
Hello Silvergoblin

How does one cope without their vices....i.e.....drinking and smoking....I just want the hurt to go away
I gave up smoking years ago but since Margaret's illness my alcohol intake has certainly risen. Not I think so much to dull the hurt, but it definitely relieves the stress. I don't get paralytic or incapable, you can't when you are caring for someone, and like Germain I don't start until the sum is over the yardarm. I have no doubt however that I exceed the recommended units/week, but at 80 I don't think that is so important.

As others have said TP is a big help whenever you are feeling down, or even if you are not.

Cheers Barraf


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Firstly, dear Germain, you will not be banned:):) for admitting to taking up smoking. At present, it is what works for you.
We will be here however, supportive, when you try to cut down/stop.

Please, no one should feel guilty. We are all trying to do a very taxing, but wothwile task in trying to keep our loved ones 'comfortable'.

Dear Silvergoblin; Many things can help in diversion theraphy, and who knows you may find the answer in an unexpected place.

Having comfort eaten, like Sylvia, and drunk very much more than is good for me or necessary to ease the pain, like so many here TP is still my way of sanity.

(Barraf, I drank just a couple of glasses a night when Lionel was at home. Needed all my faculties to look after him, and you cannot answer the door to the paramedics worse for wear.

Drank so much more after Lionel went into care......I wasn't going anywhere and was lonely......still need some diversion theraphy. It's hard going 'cold turkey'.)

Take care everyone.


Registered User
Aug 21, 2007
Hi Silvergoblin and a very warm welcome to TP.

I thought I was coping admirably until my neighbour on discovering me in a bit of a tearful state one evening and after sitting me down and making me tell all my problems with Dad commented 'blimey, no wonder you have so many wine bottles in your recycling':eek:

Dad's now in a care home so many of my stresses have been more than halved, but I have a nice shiny new greenhouse and veg plot to play with and I find that a few hours gardening help me a lot. I'll try not to keep a bottle of wine in the greenhouse though......



Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
Can I confess..while we're all at it...:eek:

When I gave up work at the beginning of the year to look after Eric I started smoking you have company on that one, Germain...

Eric still enjoys a cigarette too..which is dangerous..but I make roll ups..and they go out if you don't puff he's usually asleep with one in his hand..but it's not lit. Otherwise I'm pretty sure the house would have burned down by now.

We both enjoy a glass of wine, too..the temptation is always there to drink more than I should..but I don't enjoy feeling ill the next makes caring for someone much harder when you have a hangover!

I'm trying to keep a diary and write things down when I feel the strain..

Or I offload many of you are aware. It is a lonely life..TP is like a room full of friends!! And it is the biggest help...:)

Love Gigi xx
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Registered User
Feb 20, 2008
West Yorkshire
Dear silvergoblin and all on thread
I think I could tick the items on everyone elses list! I realised the wine should be off limits when the recycling box seemed to be fuller than any other on the street! I also began to develop a face rash with red wine!! I used to smoke years ago, thank goodness i still dont altough its tempting.The worst problem I have is comfort eating, and Sylvia I might have to think about slimming club! The best therapy I have is playing(flute and saxophone). Listening to youtube videos of favourite artists. And of course, top of my list TP, its the best practical and emotional support I've ever had. Thanks to everybody.
take care
ps and sometimes cooking(and eating) fab things

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hendy, please feel welcome to join our Slimming Club at any time.

Some members are more successful than others, but we just keep trying and supporting ach other.

Ours is not like commercial clubs, it`s far more laid back and understands the pressures of caring. There is no competition, just a desire to take some control over our lives and eat more healthily.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
Chocolate, crisps and more chocolate.

Have never smoked though there have been times in the last 5 years when I thought I should have started most notably when I was dealing with the twin toddlerdom and Mum on the phone ranting simultaneously!!

A glass of wine used to be very useful but these days when I am down I don't touch but head back to the chocolate.

I had been successful at losing a stone in recent weeks (I carried on the 4000 claories a day after stopping breastfeeding..for some reason it did weird things to my shape :rolleyes:)but I have been binge eating today for the first time in a couple of months. I'll no doubt feel rotten tomorrow for it! With this cold and my training out the window for the Race for Life I will need to get back on track PDQ unless Mum has other plans for me!!!!

I think mostly though when the going is tough I surf the net aimlessly. It wastes hours and hours but I find that it helps distract my thoughts once the boys are in bed in an evening more than anything.


Registered User
Feb 20, 2008
West Yorkshire
Dear Mameeskye and Sylvia
Chocolate is a very good substute for red wine. At least you dont get a hangover with it. I suppose thats one way of looking at it!! And its so convenient, it slways comes in all sizes of packages in every shop imaginable!! Life with out chocolate?...
Sylvia I suppose I am going to have to 'pluck up' the courage to get on the scales then, I just know that i've crept up the dress sizes, well thats the depressing bit!!
take care
ps and I almost forgot, crisps are very nice as well!
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Registered User
Mar 31, 2008
Naples, Florida....USA
Thank You all so much for your posts and the warm welcome....Jesus....I wish I would have found this site and all of you at the beginning stage of Dad's Alzheimer's or even in the middle stage....otherwise I never would have become some and drinking more....first it was the Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot but I gained too much weight with those so now I am sticking with my other drink of choice....Maker's Mark bourbon/whiskey....that with a splash of far as the recycling bin goes....the recyclables only get picked up once a week here (Saturday) and I haven't put mine out for is sitting in the garage chock full....the recycling bins here are the same size as the trash cans....I have a whole kitchen counter covered with wine and whiskey bottles....When I get home from work it is just so relaxing to have a few cocktails....especially since I call my Mom everyday after work to see how she is and for news on Dad....


Account Closed
Nov 23, 2007
Hi Slivergoblin

Time to put the trash out.

Mountain's -well they only get bigger.
Take it from one who know's
Love Barb & RonX

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
North Derbyshire
Phew, what a reassuring thread! Glad to be in such good company.

We are all human and vulnerable.

I am not admitting to teh extent of my vices re smoking and booze except to say that I have them both, and am trying to regulate them both and failing miserably. I must win the world award on smoking, I gave up when I was 24, and started again when I was 44. Now 55. Am I stupid or what? Drinking. Trying hard to have the prescribed two days a week with no alcohol. Manage one day every week. Not helped by hubby thinking all this advice is daft.

Maybe we should have a thread on here re giving up the booze and fags. We all know we should do it. Would one of the moderators like to set such a thread up?

Love to all boozers and smokers and to remind you to STOP! Who am I to talk?