Alcoholics in the Family
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  1. #1
    lgw
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    Default Alcoholics in the Family

    Has anyone here dealt with family members who are alcoholics?

    DH and I are dealing with a situation involving his stepmother and father, who both have a drinking problem. His stepmother may be an alcoholic, as she drinks from sunup to sundown and often get falling over, slurring your words, drunk. I am curious to hear how others have addressed these issues, whether by confronting family members or avoiding them.

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    Registered User Grayce's Avatar
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    My husband's mother was a very heavy drinker. Not only were there times that she was drunk and would act foolish, she would also do hateful, hurtful things. I am sure her judgment was impaired because no rational person would do the things she did. We finally just started avoiding her. We did not see her for 10 years (right up until she died 2 months ago at age 56).

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    Registered User nvmommyx6's Avatar
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    My sister is an alcoholic, the kid that drinks from sun up to sun down!
    I tried to be around her but the smell of her makes me sick and so do her words and actions! So, we avoid her like the plague, no phone calls, no visits, nothing!
    It is tough,but it is what is best for my children and I so that is what we have to do!
    Until (if) she wises up and pulls her head out of the bottle, this is not part of her family.
    Good luck with your situation, I will keep you in my prayers
    Mommy

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    Registered User freebs's Avatar
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    I have 2 brothers that are alcies, i havent spoke to them in 4 years! it will be that way till they change too!

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    Registered User EmilyD's Avatar
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    My father was an alcoholic and I avoided him as much as possible ... as a child and as an adult. Ditto on my first husband.
    Last edited by EmilyD; 12-02-2008 at 11:08 PM.
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    lgw
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    Thanks for your comments. Keeping our distance seems to be the best solution for us. It's difficult at the holidays, but I guess we can always leave their house if things get too out of hands.

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    No contact is your best bet. They aren't going to get help til they hit bottom and how are they going to do that with everyone avoiding the huge elephant in the room?

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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    I grew up with an alcoholic father who has since passed away from lung cancer. I've seen a lot of things while I was growing up that were a negative result of alcoholism that I wouldn't put either myself or any other family member in the same vicinity of, even at the holidays.

    My father and stepmother were the worst; they got separated and he moved to another state. My stepmother actually cleaned up after that, but my father didn't stop until about a year before he passed away. I didn't have good relations with my father at all, and my relations with my stepmother were pretty selective. I wouldn't be around either of them when they had been drinking after all of the things I've been through, and I keep my father out of my children's memories because they don't need to know all of the bad things I went through until they're old enough to know better.

    I've had pots and pans thrown at the wall within a few inches of my head while doing dishes in the kitchen. I've seen my father put holes in the wall, break glass tables over spilled koolaid, throw carkeys at my mother (I still remember the bruises on her leg), throw a wooden kid stool up the stairs and into the wall, break furniture through the entire house because my mother refused to come down during 4th of July fireworks to make him dinner after he came home, drive drunk so many times, and he even got into an accident once and told my mom he wished she was in the car so she'd lose the baby. That baby would be my sister. There's so many more bad things I've seen as a result of alcohol abuse, and I went through a stage of it myself. Luckily I didn't hurt anyone, but my ex-neighbor tried to rape me one night after a party after my side door was left open (so my friend could come check on me to make sure I was ok).

    Alcoholism, even with the programs in place and the support networks, isn't something that's easy to deal with. You can't just stop being an alcoholic; you can control it to an extent. I grew out of my alcohol phase, and my 22 yo brother is going through it now. My father, unfortunately, only stopped drinking heavily when he was diagnosed with uncurable lung cancer. I disowned my father back in 1995 and he passed away last June.

    My advice is to be around them until they crack open a beer or have that first drink. Kindly excuse yourself and leave the house, go home and enjoy the rest of your day.

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    Registered User PaulaMM's Avatar
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    My DFIL is an alcoholic. He still works but starts in as soon as he gets home and drinks all weekend. The one good thing I can say about it is at least he isn't a mean drunk Sometimes he gets a little belligerent and arguementive but normally, he gets really affectionate and wants to hug everyone. Sometimes he wants to play with the granddaughters and doesn't know when to stop. He'd never hurt them but sometimes he goes overboard and one of them starts to cry.

    Sometimes though, he becomes a little too generous and wants to buy stuff or give money away to others. My MIL just shrugs and says "it's his money."

    I do worry though about his health. My friend's FIL passed away 2 years ago this winter from cirrohsis. He was in the last stages of it when they found out he had it and died very soon after his diagnosis. I really hate the thought of losing FIL that way. He is the only grandfather my kids know and he loves his grandkids with a passion.

    Other than the drinking (and some chauvinistic behaviour) he's a really good guy. We tend to avoid the whole issue because he's a grown man and will do as he pleases. He quit once, was miserable and started drinking again. We did put our collective feet down when it comes to driving. NO driving under the influence. Absolutely, positively, under no circumstance will the grandkids ride with him if he has drank - even if he isn't drunk at the moment. And we don't have him watch the kids. Period.

    I'm sorry you and your family have to deal with this. It's no fun to watch someone you care about kill themselves by choice.
    Wife to Kenneth
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    Registered User cab54's Avatar
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    My dad was one--the whole time I grew up and the whole time my kids grew up. For the past 6-8 years (not sure) he has been sober. He was lewd (would call and ask if dh and I were 'doing it' --eww) and crude and mean.

    I went over there one day to see him and he asked me why his belly was really bloated and hard (I'm a nurse) and I said it's probably ascites (fluid that collects in the abdominal cavity due to a cirrhosed liver). It's the first time I ever addressed anything pertaining to his drinking--it was always something we just didn't talk about. He looked surprised. But after a couple of years I noticed he was never drunk anymore. He quit on his own. I clean his house and have never encountered him drunk again or any booze in the house.

    It takes all of the forgiveness I can muster, but I do go over there and clean, take him food, and see what he needs. He had a work-related foot injury and can't get around well. My one sister helps him also. HIS version of how 'things went down' when we were growing up is a BIT scewed. He has painted a rosy picture of what kind of father he was---I suppose in order to be able to carry on. We just smile and go about our business. We know. He is an old, sad man, who (having left our mother for a child of 19) is all alone and soooo regrets it.

    I don't know why we do it. I guess because we would help an old guy one the street, so why not our father?
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    Cheryl

    "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition." -------Martha Washington

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    Registered User cheapskate 49's Avatar
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    I too come from a family of alcholics my father drank whenever he could,we were very poor because most of the money went to booze,he didn't beat up on us kids but he did my Mum.He died at age 57.....2 of my brothers are alcoholics but one managed to get help and has been sober for 15 years and my sister died at age 52 of liver disease.
    It is a terrible thing to have to deal with and I agree with to other posters you have to stay away even though it's hard,you cannot save folk who don't want to be helped

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    You know what is hard for me to understand? I grew up in a very abusive home and neither side of my mom or dads family drinks. Never a drink because both sides was so religious. It's only by the little grace I have left in my heart that I still have somewhat of a relationship with them as they are getting up there in age. Me and my sisters have confronted them several times and they deny it and child molestation runs rampid on my dads side.

    In saying that I guess I could relate it to kids that grow up with alcoholic parents. When I was a child a few of my friends parents drank and they seemed cool and not out of control.

    My husband's dad is an alchoholic and he tells me stories all the time about what it was like growing up. I mean his dad would just snap and ground him or make him do some hard labor around the house if he drank too much and he verbally abused his mom.

    My husband told me his dad would pop a beer in the early morning just like people drinking coffee. He retired from GM. He is one of those people that can be a happy drunk and just snap if he has too much to drink. He gets up early to drink and goes to bed early very drunk. My MIL has shared stories with me.

    He might have diabetes from his last blood check and refuses to go to the doc. He doesn't want to go back and face reality. He will drink himself into the grave and he doesn't seem to care.

    Now what is crazy is my husband grew up in a small town. His dad was a volenteer firefighter for years and has tons of pictures. I've seen him drunk at the bowling alley before and get a call and go save someones life. I was just so blown away by that.

    My husband has to find the time to talk to his dad at the right time.

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    Registered User frugal is fun's Avatar
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    avoidance is good but tell them why you're avoiding them.

    I kept quiet for years until I just couldn't take it anymore. I realized I was an enabler by not saying anything and just playing along.

    Tell them you love them but you will no longer do XX if they are drinking. This way you are honest, upfront and you don't have to constantly ask yourself if you're doing the right thing.

    Do not give them money, don't pay their bills, don't do anything that will make it easy for them to keep drinking. They will find their own way with or without you so for your sanity, make sure its without you.

    Hugs and Good Luck!
    Judy


    never loose site of the big picture

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    Registered User frugalwarrior's Avatar
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    My DH mother is an alcoholic. She ran his fathers business in the ground after he died,wrecked more than 1 car and brought a new daddy home from the bar. She's the kind of alcoholic that doesn't drink everyday but can't/won't stop at 1. My DH doesn't really get how abnormal this is.
    When the kid were little I had a rule if we came to visit her she was not to drink. If I saw alcohol,smelled alcohol or even suspected alcohol we turned around and left w/o visiting. I openly told the kids "grandma broke her promise we can't stay." I wsn't worried about hurting her feelings,like I said she didn't drink everyday,so it wouldn't be an example they would see.
    This of course has always been a huge problem. I could never leave her alone w/ the kids for fear she'd drive. She didn't get to see them much. She made outrageous promises of trips to Disneyland and couldn't understand why I wouldn't pull them out of school so she could play w/ them. My DH couldn't see it clearly. I just couldn't have that example for my kids.

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    Registered User MaryCarney's Avatar
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    Man, this is all so hurtful to remember.

    My mother was an alcoholic growing up, and I was the oldest of five. I was 13 (and my youngest sister was five months old) when she announced she no longer wanted to be our mom and left.

    We had no contact for several years, and then she returned, as if nothing happened, wanting to be the mom again.

    I am a Christian, and believe the Bible's promise that if we honor our father and mother, it will go well for us. It is extremely hard to know how to honor in these situations.

    In the end, my mother stopped drinking, and I planned to take her into my home after an incredibly complicated open heart surgery, when she suddenly died.

    Those of you on the outside (and I'm GLAD you're on the outside) cannot possibly understand how it messes with your life on so many levels.

    I just finally had to come to a place where God handles it for me, and trust that He has my good in mind in all things.

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