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to feel ashamed and disgusted? Should I be showing compassion?(Long - sorry)

(527 Posts)
BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:24:11

OK,

my DSis and I haven't seen eye to eye for quite some time - the last time I visited her house was in September 2009 when dd2 was a month old. Since then, I've given birth to DS1 - she didn't know I was pregnant with him as I asked people not to tell her. I didn't want her to know. The last time I had any contact with her was in August 2011 when she ruined my DD2s birthday party by starting a massive row with my inlaws sad

DSis has 4 DCs, and I love them dearly. I have maintained contact with them even though I haven't had any contact with her.

At the beginning of the summer hols, DSis was admitted to hospital with some unknown illness. My parents begged me to make contact with her, and I did - for them, not for me or for her, but for my parents.

She was discharged from hospital (without a diagnosis) and we met for the first time in 12 months at my parents house. She met my DS for the first time and it was fine.

On Monday this week I took a trip up to her house as it was her DC3s birthday on Tuesday and I wanted to make sure the card and gift was on time. DSis was not expecting me and immediately upon entering her home I felt very uncomfortable - nothing I could put my finger on but very uncomfy.

Her DCs 3&4 told me upon my arrival that I shouldn't use the downstairs loo as mummy has been sick in there and it smells. DC4 also said that Daddy was still at work and he wasn't coming back.

Alarm bells started to ring, and I just felt that she wasn't herself. I thought she had been drinking, but talked myself out of that as I know how ill she has been. DCs asked if me and my DCs could stay for tea - DSis said we must and she would go and fetch takeaway. At this, I said we simply couldn't and had to get home.

I left after approx 45 mins.

On the way home, I called my parents and started off a whole chain of events which I'm devastated by.

I told parents that if I didn't know better I would say she was drunk - parents didn't believe me, so took a trip up to her house unannounced. The shit really hit the fan.
DSis denied drinking, but her whole attitude and demeanour gave her away. She attacked her DH, our parents and all in front of her 4 DCS who were screaming at their GPs to leave as they were making everything worse sad

It gets worse.

On wednesday, I got a call from DM to say I needed to pick her up ASAP and get to DSis' house.
On arriving there, we find, DSis sat in a heap on the floor covered in her own vomit. The living room floor covered in vomit with the youngest DCs playing in it and the family dog eating it <boak>

She was so out of it - sat there in just a bra, completely oblivious to her surroundings. This was at 5pm.
She had collected her children from school in the car in this state (but dressed) just over an hour before. Eldest DC had called her Dad to say they desperately so needed help as mummy was so ill. Daddy called GP and so on and so forth....

Dsis is fighting drunk. DCs are witnessing everything (and it was obvious by their reactions that they've witnessed it before).

Because of her recent stay in hospital, her DH and my DM thought it best to take her back to hospital - she is denying all the time that she has had a drink.

At 10pm last night, she was still twice over the legal drink drive limit - she wasn't fit to be seen by the MH crisis scene until after 2am.

She was vile to the hospital staff, DH, DM - everyone really.

It then all came out. She has been drinking in secret for YEARS. She has conditioned her DCs to say NOTHING by thereatening them with Social Services and telling them they would be taken away.
She has had numerous bumps in her car, and has been breathalysed on one occassion that we are aware of (obviously clear on this occasion). Her DCs finally admitted that mummy often mounts the kerb when driving and they have been covering up for her.

She also has major issues with dependency on painkillers. Again, she has denied this vehemently.

She was sent home from hospital soon after 5am today. She has a crisis team in place who will visit her daily at home. She is on a detox as she is severely alcohol dependent.

She missed her DC4s first day at school and her DC1s first day at Secondary school due to her drinking.

When she arrived home, her first concern was that she didn't want to see her MIL, and after that I received a call to ask if I had seen her iPad as she couldn't remember what she had done with it.

I dropped EVRYTHING last night to go to her and her DCs, and her major concern is updating her facebook status sad

I am disgusted, angry and ashamed of her. Right now I don't want to know her. I am livid that she has risked her children's lives and the lives of others by driving drunk on a daily basis for god knows how long.

I will do anything to make sure the DCs are safe, but I'm not sure I can see her without without giving her a good hard slap angry

Is this wrong? Should I be supporting her unconditionally?
AIBU for being this disgusted with her?
Where do I go from here?

She has some deep rooted issues which she had told everyone she was addressing and was getting counselling for - this was also a lie.

I'm gutted sad

Sorry, I did say it was long.

Gingerodgers Thu 13-Sep-12 22:42:06

Try al anon, a support group for families of alcoholics. It may help you keep your sanity, some boundaries, yet still support her and her kids. Talk to her husband. Her family have been enabling this behaviour for years by the sound of things. On the other hand, she hasn't been in your life for years, and maybe you just don't need the hassle. Are you close to your parents? They will find this hard, and it might be them who need your support. Really difficult, you can only decide what to prioritize here, there will be no magic answer. Maybe try for rehab if she's anywhere near that level of readiness. Priory hospitals are all over uk. Expensive though. Good luck

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 13-Sep-12 22:42:10

no you do not help her unconditionally...I do not think that will help her to take responsibility for herself to get out of the mess she is in. you do need to help the children as much as you are able though.

This is good advice, as is the recommendation of Al Anon. The families of alcoholics are badly affected so you do need to protect yourselves from the fall out.

I wish you all the best.

How did her DH not realise?

I suspect that initially you were thinking that something serious was wrong medically and have only just discovered that she is, for want of a better way of putting it, an alcoholic.

I have not been in this situation but I can quite understand how you are feeling at the moment. I don't mind having a drink myself, but to have someone who is insensible in drink, who is out of control and is unable to do anything - because they have chosen to drink - that is horrible.

Yes the children do need protecting, and the family unit as a whole is in urgent need of help. As is your sis. Not only in practical terms but psychologically too. I am wondering if there is a root cause behind the drinking? Or whether it is now the case that it has become too difficult to hide, so that in effect, her behaviour (repugnant as it is currently) is a form of cry for help?
You can't change someone if they don't want to change, but I think that you may need to 'be there' for the sober times. Which hopefully, with the help of the crisis team will become more frequent.

I just hope that things don't spiral out of control. I won't post details here as it'll out me, but I know that for an acquaintance of mine, someone close to her did not 'rein it in' with tragic consequences.

<Realises I have said in a far more rambling way what Slim above put far more eloquently>

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:46:29

Her DH has a high pressured job, he works long hours and although he returns home daily - it is often late.

I remember an occasion over 6 years ago when I called at their house in the afternoon and DSis was working her way through a bottle of wine. I commented about how early it was and she said that she had to do it, as DH didn't like her drinking - so she drank before he got home from work and that way everyone was happy.

I had no idea (naive I guess) and i now see that this should have been a massive red flag but it wasn't. The same goes for the painkillers. I remember her calling and asking me to pick up painklillers for her for her period pain. Unbeknown to me, she had also asked several others, as well as buying her own sad

I imagine she DOESN'T want to live this way - but I'm also concerned that she hasn't yet hit rock bottom. I say this as her primary concern on arriving home was updating her facebook status and letting her "friends" know why she has been offline. This doesn't seem to me like the action of someone remorseful of their actions and wanting to accept help to change.

MomsNatter Thu 13-Sep-12 22:46:53

Shame and disgust are perfectly natural reactions - especially when its a close relative. You're angry and it will take a lot of adjusting before you can come to terms with it - let alone feel compassion.

It easier said than done at this stage, but try to see the skewed priorities (i.e. iPad) as part of her alcoholism.

Also, try not to think it's your job -or even think it's possible - to 'fix' her. All you can do is damage limitation. I think this can be best done by helping her children in whatever way you can.

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Try and appreciate that this will affect you too, bad relationship or not. Be kind to yourself.

I'm so sorry Babylon.
You and your family have a long hard road ahead of you.
You are going to need lots of patience, commpasion and understanding.

It's quite normal and understandable that you are feeling angry right now, but anger will not solve anything and will not help the situation.

Please get some help, for you, your sister and for the children. There are people out there who can advise and guide you down the long road you have to travel. It's not going to be easy and there is no quick solution.

None of this is your choice or your fault but unfortunately you and your family are going to have to step up and help your sister and her family.

I wish you good luck and lots of strenght.

MomsNatter Thu 13-Sep-12 22:50:06

And no one can 'reign it in' other than the alcoholic themselves.

MomsNatter Thu 13-Sep-12 22:52:03

Oh sorry notgeoff think i read that wrong blush

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:54:44

WRT to sectioning her - this is what we (DH & DM) were hoping for yesterday. She needs long term intervention at an intensive level IMHO.

I haven't been close to her for years, she has been a horrible person to be around - but we now realise that this is becasue of the alcohol abuse.

I am close to my parents and will support them as much as I possibly can.
I will also do everything I can to support her DCs, and if that means taking them on as my own for a while, then that is what I will do - it will be hard, and may be detrimental to my own DCs in the short term, BUT, I will not see them suffer if I can help them.

I'm not a hero, and I know I can't fix the world. Please forgive me for what I am about to say, but yesterday when she said that her DCs would be better off without her, in my head, I agreed with her sad And it makes me feel sick to admit that - but it is what I thought.

I'm hurting for her, I want to understand why she has developed alcoholism. My parents like a drink, as do myself, my DH and DBro - but not to the extent that we willingly and knowingly put the lives of others at risk. Yes, I've been in some right old states in my 34 years, I've never risked my children sad

Journey Thu 13-Sep-12 22:56:10

I don't think you should be disgusted by her. I think you need to get over the shock of finding out she is an alcoholic. Understanding why she turned to drink may help with the compassion.

You need to support her by helping her children. Anger towards your sister won't help. It is a waste of energy.

No problem, moms - I was rather rambling - put it down to tiredness!

mistlethrush Thu 13-Sep-12 22:57:19

I'm so sorry this is happening to you Babylon. Given what you're feeling, I would concentrate on the children - they clearly need help - this isn't their fault and will need help to get past it.

I hope that you will be able to get back to better feelings when your sister has actually started to take steps to get back to a better place.

Maryz Thu 13-Sep-12 22:57:19

I have a friend who was like this sad. She continued (including driving her children around when drunk and making them cover for her) and refused to admit she had a problem until the day her dh stepped up and said she couldn't be alone in charge of the kids until she had sorted her drinking. He gave her a choice, rehab or he would make sure that someone was always in the house with her (he roped in various family members, and had to threaten police in the end).

She did go to rehab, and apart from one or two lapses has been sober since. But it was a hard road for the whole family.

I remember her mil saying that it would be easier if it was the dh who was drinking, because the mum could kick him out, but because it was the other way around if they split he would have to leave the children with her (she was a sahm and he was afraid a judge would rule that she got custody).

Compassion and understanding got him nowhere. Putting his foot down worked eventually. But she hates him for it, and they have a rather unhappy truce now. But it took him a long time to get to the stage that he was willing to do this - he had tried compassion for years, and the kids had covered up for years sad

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 22:58:55

contact alanon. your reaction is however quite right and normal, but I guess you want to help her dcs that may involve helping her. I would sugggest it will be a long and at times very ugly road, but I personaly think if you can be strong enough be there for her, If it all goes tits up do everything you can for her DCs. Would you be willing and able to take them in, in a worse case scenario?

You need to come together as a family (quite possibly without your dsis) and have the discuission as to what may or may not happen where the childrens care is concerned, do not feel compled if you are not able to physically house and care for them but give it genuine consideration and make clear what everyones realistic expectations may be and could be.

I think this the begining of a very long road. I would want to know from the MH team what happens now and make clear also what should happen now, but the end result needs to be your dsis stops drinking, or she will lose her dcs.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:59:57

DM is feeling horrifically guilty and wants to know what she has done wrong - but she has done nothing. We were all bought up the same.

I think it is the lies and the secrecy that has got to me most - and that she has allowed her children to witness it.

I think this last few days has been a cry for help, but i don't think she intended this fallout IYKWIM.

thetrackisback Thu 13-Sep-12 23:06:56

If you think she needs a section then you need to speak to crisis resolution team to see if this can happen. If it is a serious mh problem that is underlying then you might stand a chance of getting her in for treatment. However it is better if she does this for herself.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 23:09:20

im sure she did not indent this fall out as it exposes her and in effect it creats obsticals to her drinking. be honest with her all the way, dont play it down, you will not be doing her any favours, she will hate you and Im pretty sure you will be the one who gets all the crap and abuse from her, but keep at it and support your DM and DN&N. But bwe sure to take time for your self, she has a DH too remember, be honest and frtank with him too.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:09:20

In terms of taking in her DCs, I have already approached my local school and secured primary places in principal for 3 of them. The eldest DC is Y7 and we would have to appeal, but as a LAC she should get a place.

Physically housing them is doable, but would in effect mean I take responsibility for 7 DCS aged 11, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3 and 5 months. It would be hard work, but they would have routine and consistency while DSis had the space to get well and confront her demons. This would be good for everyone I think.

I will support my parents as much as possible and will speak to them about al anon. I think it is a good idea myself, if only to help me understand the mindset of an addict.

One of my biggest fears now, is that she will be gearing up to start her facebook pity party - which will undoubtedly mean involving people that will judge her - and I don't want her to be judged (even though I feel like I have almost written her off as an alcoholic myself).

I want her to be well, I want her to be a great mummy to her DCs - and I know she can be -s he has been before.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:11:52

Thank you for not flaming me. I feel horrible for the way i feel towards her, but at least I now know this is a natural reaction, and hopefully once i've dealt with the shock of her addiction, will be replaced by some more kind feelings towards her.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 23:13:14

would it be more feesable to ensure the Dh is in the home with the dcs and dsis is removed from the home, rather than them being housed by you, that may be a far better and less unsettling solution, could the dh cope with this with support from your self?

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 23:14:42

I dont mean removed as in taken away, I should have said leave the home.

I understand 100% where you are coming from as I grew up with an alcoholic for a mother.
Do not under any circumstances feel disgusted by your feelings or thoughts. Allow yourself to have them and if needs be at times step back from the situation. Sadly alcoholism changes a person massively, be prepared for setbacks. It is and will be a long and hard journey one that will challenge everyone involved. Where to go is unfortunately not up to you, your sister needs to want to change and accept what she is until then sadly it is basically like running around in circles.

laptopcomputer Thu 13-Sep-12 23:16:54

It doesn't sound as though she is anywhere near wanting to do something about her problems, so I think you should be prepared for things to get worse. You also all (family) need to come up with a system to make sure her DCs can be protected from as much as possible, and they they know how to get help if they need it.

You might feel a bit more compassion in a few weeks when it is not all such a shock. She sounds terribly unhappy and will probably be more so before she gets better.

lovebunny Thu 13-Sep-12 23:18:31

i am so sorry for your sister, her husband and children, for your parents, for you and everyone involved.
she's an addict. she isn't doing it on purpose. she can't help it.
i don't know anything at all about it, but for some reason i want to ask you to help her take small, very small, steps to help herself. things like getting dressed, or washing up. very small.

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:20:28

When it comes to alcoholics, what you should be feeling is completely irrelevant

Get thee, your mam and your dad to Al-Anon. This is a rocky rocky road and they are excellent at supporting you. Which, whether you know it or not, you will need. There are really good on-line chat forums if you cant make meetings. But there are many many meetings all over the country at all times of the day, every-day

How old are her kids? Are they old enough for Al-Anon? there are teenage branches. They will need alot of support to come to realise it is not their fault and they cannot control it, it is not their responsibility to cover it up

ill try and find some links

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