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Rough childhood for my mother, her family structure crumbled around her and throughout her life she has seen little outside of a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. Her husband, my dad, died at 40...just over ten years ago. So, basically, the roller coaster that is life has taken its psychological toll on her...but she's not broken by any means. She's a decent mother who's so sacrificing and loving--but she's quite fragile. End of optional context.

She uses alcohol and cigarette smoking as a means to cope.

On a scale of 1-5, 1 being a beer and ten minutes of cigarette puffing and 5 being chain-smoker passed out amid bottles of booze..she's like a 2.3. Not cause for insane panick...but I'm starting to worry about her longterm physical and mental health. I don't want her to face cancer fifteen/twenty years down the road...or sooner. I don't want her to have to rely on "drugs" to suppress thoughts/feelings.

What can I do as a son to get her to quit both habits? Sit down and have a long talk? Does she alone have the power to? I'm interested to hear your advice PerC and am an open receptacle for any related things you feel like sharing. Thanks for reading.

She's an ISFJ if that matters.
 

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MOTM Nov 2010
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Developing new habits to reduce stress may be the most effective way to go. I don't believe in taking away a person's old coping mechanisms before they are introduced or taught new ones. That would be setting themselves up to fail.

I like to run a lot to reduce stress. I also sing and play piano. I also like to visit this forum quite a bit for an escape.

Does your mother have any old hobbies she could enjoy? Things like knitting or cross stitching is good because they will busy her hands.

What is she doing for physical fitness? With physical fitness, she will actually have a release of endorphins that could elevate her mood for up to 24 hours. So she would replace a bad habit by being involved in something new, plus it will make her feel better over all and less stressed so that she wouldn't need things like cigarettes.

Also, I suggest helping her find a goal. Does she want to walk/run a 5K in your town for Breast Cancer? Race goals are good. But there are so many other activities she could get involved in. I would guide her to have a healthy, happier life. Her bad habits may dissipate on their own.
 

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It's quite possible that she may not have the ability to stop drinking on her own. You could probably judge that yourself. As for cigarette smoking, it's very hard to quit. Extremely hard. And until someone is really ready to give it up, they won't. I would have a heart to heart with her if I were you. Explain your concerns and allow her to give her side of the story. If she denies that she has a problem, she probably does.
 

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MOTM Feb 2010
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The biggest problem here is that she's an Si, which means that she finds the rationale for her actions through past experiences. It will be very hard to get her to change her ways because of this. This is not to say that Sis are beyond help. You'll need to approach her very openly and compassionately on her terms so you don't sound like you're attacking her. If you can detect her own recognition of the negativity or her choices, you may be able to help steer her towards more healthy choices. Exercise is way better than booze, in the short term and long term. Maybe tell her too that you'd like her to be around longer and that her current lifestyle is cutting her life short. Could you throw in something like "I don't want to lose both of my parents prematurely"? I'm sorry if that was out of line, but it may be a good way to get through to her.

Do you exercise and say off the sauce? Maybe you could get some mother/son gym time in?
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Great thanks and true appreciation to those who responded.

Hobbies and goals sound like great ideas. I'll also have to employ a heart-to-heart, because the writings on the wall for that being necessary. She wants to become more computer-literate, and we live close to a commmunity college so hopefully we can turn those means into an end.

I don't exercise often, but have an athetlic body type and am authoritatively against undertaking drinking/smoking. So, that does sound like a good idea. She's quite physically healthy, but the risk of illness only rises if these habits aren't stopped.

Time to get the ball rolling.
 

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I'm assuming she is trying to suppress some kind of anxieties/stress with alcohol and nicotine. So find out what is the source or cause of these anxieties and try to relieve them. Alternatively find other coping methods as pink already mentioned. If she had something very interesting and engaging to do with her free time she probably wouldn't spend it drinking alcohol and smoking, as then her mind would not feel clear enough to engage in other activities. But boredom, lack of purpose, lack of meaningful activities predisposes people to spend their time getting themselves high instead.
 

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I recommend please consult a doctor. She requires treatment. Its not easy to quit the vices...especially considering she's ISFJ !!!

Follow up with a good social circle around her ...lest she gets lonely n rebounds !
 

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Rough childhood for my mother, her family structure crumbled around her and throughout her life she has seen little outside of a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. Her husband, my dad, died at 40...just over ten years ago. So, basically, the roller coaster that is life has taken its psychological toll on her...but she's not broken by any means. She's a decent mother who's so sacrificing and loving--but she's quite fragile. End of optional context.

She uses alcohol and cigarette smoking as a means to cope.

On a scale of 1-5, 1 being a beer and ten minutes of cigarette puffing and 5 being chain-smoker passed out amid bottles of booze..she's like a 2.3. Not cause for insane panick...but I'm starting to worry about her longterm physical and mental health. I don't want her to face cancer fifteen/twenty years down the road...or sooner. I don't want her to have to rely on "drugs" to suppress thoughts/feelings.

What can I do as a son to get her to quit both habits? Sit down and have a long talk? Does she alone have the power to? I'm interested to hear your advice PerC and am an open receptacle for any related things you feel like sharing. Thanks for reading.

She's an ISFJ if that matters.

I'm no expert, but as an INTJ I think you should talk to her in a setting with nothing else going on, no distractions, and speak ALL of your feelings to her. I know it is difficult to do, but my thoughts are as follows. As an INTJ she likely has observed your mostly controlled, rational behavior for your whole life. You are more than capable of articulating how you feel and what your worries are verbally. This is where you break the mold, and let your inner emotions charge your words. Show her how much this matters to you in a way shes never seen of you before. If you truly let go, you may even cry, which likely would bring her to tears as well, and that would be good. She has to feel what you feel, in order to understand the gravity of your concern. Again, I'm no expert, but I honestly feel that this could bring about some positive progress, get things moving in a better direction, and bring about a willingness to really address this problem.
 
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