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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's MY money...

This morning Riley came into my office, much the same as he does every other morning, and we started having our usual rational conversation. Things were going well. We were talking about upgrading him to a real twin bed rather than the twin sized futon he has always preferred sleeping on. Jade sleeps with him and the cot sized mattress is just too small for the two of them. The discussion went on to how to re-arrange his room to accommodate the larger bed. Like most houses build in the early 60s, the bedrooms are on the small side and furniture arrangement must be thought out to make the most of the space available.

I thought he was actually WITH me. We drew a little picture of his floor plan and showed how we both thought the room would be sit up the best. Riley likes to be able to see out the window first thing when he opens his eyes. That’s important to him. And he has to have a desk for his computer and writing.

As I was drawing little pieces of furniture on the paper, he said that it would all be a moot point if I didn’t get his car registered so he could have transportation. I kinda shook my head and asked what transportation had to do with his room arrangement. I wasn’t even really paying that much attention to him. When the words came out of my mouth, I knew I had lit a fire that would not easily be extinguished.

If the car is not registered by January 18th, he will stop all his direct deposits, collect his checks and move out. Of course, that started the round of me trying to make him see logic. Even us caretakers who know the ropes have a tendency to hold onto a shred of hope that somehow we can reach that part of the brain that houses logic and reason. I should have just said OK and let it go. But… NooOOooo… I didn’t shut up so the argument continued for more than an hour.

This is not the first time this month that Riley has threatened me with not financially participating in our household expenses. It’s been happening more and more often. Because of that, I think now may be the time to seek a court ordered competency determination. I wasn’t sure how to do it, but I knew what I wanted the end result to be.

1)                  Not let him have control of his money so that I could continue to keep him in this house where he would be safe, warm, comfortable and supervised.

2)                  The next thing was to keep him from having the car registered, thereby keeping him off the streets.

I did some research and I found that having someone declared incompetent in the state of North Carolina is really not as hard as I had thought.

First, I have to draft the petition for incompetency. Second, state the reasons why I think Riley is incompetent and why I’m seeking guardianship. Third, file the petition in the county courthouse. At that time a hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of service of the petition to Riley. He will have a right to obtain an attorney and/or request a jury trial. Fourth, present evidence and call witnesses supporting my allegations that Riley is incapable of taking care of himself or his business. Fifth, the judge or jury will determine whether or not Riley is competent.

This morning when Riley was arguing his point of view about driving, I made a video of the conversation. I have also taken pictures of the status of his bathroom and the results of his fall onto the fireplace. My housekeeper is willing to be a witness. I’ll spend the next 30 days preparing my evidence and gathering witnesses. It won’t be a very hard task. Riley makes it easy for me.

I'm also armed with my Workbook which shows each detox and rehab center and clearly indicates his physical condition. It will put everything in an order than can easily be understood.

It is unfortunate that it has come to this. But, maybe this will actually be the wake-up call that he needs. He is always saying that I’m the only one who feels that he can’t take care of himself. The fact that he has been told that by a couple of doctors and his brother, just doesn’t seem to be something he can accept. He truly believes he can live in drunken chaos and still be competent to take care of himself.

For some reason, I really think he’s fighting a battle that he cannot win. Sad – because he could win if he weren’t so intent on killing himself.


Karen E. said...

Do you have power of atty? What about a guardianship..that may help. My mothers car insurance expires this month and her drivers license expires in March. My atty suggested as POA I can add my name to the title of the vehicle, get insurance in my name with no concerns of gift taxes, etc. We do use her car occassionaly. I will let her license suspend. SHe doesnt communicate like Riley does... lucky for me! There has to be something you can do.
Your workbook is a godsend..THANK YOU.

Syd said...

I think that you may find this more difficult than you think. Especially, if Riley presents himself well in court. My father tried to do this with my mother who was severely depressed and was denied this in Virginia. Being an alcoholic does not automatically mean that anyone 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 Riley is incompetent, which generally means unable to make safe decisions about money and other matters and to handle finances and affairs.

If the question is about handling money and business matters, you may be able to get durable power of attorney. Because alcohol consumption is still legal in every state, it is difficult to get a physician to declare someone incompetent.

Gerry said...

Oh, oh, always another crisis to contend with in the care of a worsening alcoholic. This step by him even made me mad and want to argue with Riley. How could he be so irresponsible when it comes to driving a vehicle? Thank Goodness, Doc had long since lost his car and Pierre I was able to talk into selling his and riding the bus. Or a taxi when his pride would not let him take a bus, but I think Riley must be kept out of a vehicle since he is drinking constantly as Doc is. He is not safe in car for others let alone himself. And the problem is he would likely have no qualms about falling back in your hands if at some point his plan proved too difficult to execute. It boggles the mind what people not in their right minds can try to do. He has probably been able to convince people in his past he was competent while being an alcoholic and thinks he can still do it when he is so obviously in such bad condition any judge ought to be able to see it who is alert to danger on the road. Good luck.

jo said...

i agree with syd. judges are NOT eager to take away a persons rights. it could get expensive,too. then he will be yours..and you will face the idea of making him live like you want. i dunno.....

gerry seems to have the prob i always have. i keep thinking they are normal and will think and react normally. they wont. that is a concept i just cant get to. im always surprised at how insane they really are.

thing is. legally , riley can do what he wants. if its live in filth and kill himself or another, he can do it. and he is plotting, make no mistake. he thinks on this a lot...trying to figure a way. from what you say he says...he is plotting.

what would i do in this instance? no idea. make sure im not legally responsible for his actions if he does leave..my name isnt on his car, or his bank account..or anything. if he is sued, they will come at you, also, if it is on anything. even if it results in his death, the others might come after you if you have money and he doesnt.

make sure you want this responsibility. i wont tell you what to do...EVER...i will say think it thru real good with the legal ramifications.

of course they are incompetent. but enough for the law to step in? prob depends on the judge. this is why we have so many homeless, mentally ill people on the street now. the supreme court said they couldnt be made to do anything like take meds...or a bath. and now how sad is it for them all/

i will be interested to see how this all works out.

and then riley will be back and forth, if he leaves...he will be back. they always are.

ah, life is fun/. NOT.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

Serious stuff. Their lack of insight is the hardest thing to grasp. I'm listening with great interest. My alcoholic isn't drinking (no money) - but his pension starts in March - and I'm not expecting anything good - since he's not been able to acknowledge his addiction.

take care... and thanks for the workbook.