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Alcoholic SIL, advice please

(56 Posts)
Jux Sun 11-Nov-12 20:25:32

SIL sold her flat a fortnight ago. She is an alcoholic, but had been dry for years. As she wanted to move closer to us, she decided to put off looking for anything until completion and then come stay with us until she'd bout a new place. So, she's been here two weeks.

She is clearly drinking. We have a flat on the top floor of our house, in which my mum lived until she died (3 years ago). That's where SIL is; there is a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and sitting room. It is quite cosy and warm, and the views are magnificent.

The first few days, she would come down fairly early in the morning, and then the whole day in the kitchen with me, just talking. Every so often she'd go up to get her phone, or her fags.

Then she started not coming down, but would say from behind a closed door, that she was ill, had a bad stomach, or a cold, or was tired. We would cook for all of us in the evening because she said she would ve down, but as often as not would change her mind when it came to it.

The times she does come down, she is tipsy at best, completely sozzled at worst.

Two nights ago, she was so drunk she couldn't sit straight in the chair.

I haven't tried to talk to her about this, as we barely know each other for one thing (met twice before dh and I were married, and only a few times since - she and dh never socialised together and he has always baulked at having her over, as he felt he would have to hide the drink). For another thing, I wanted to talk to dh first - his family have a habit of closing their eyes and pretending everything's OK.

Since the last incident, he has been furious with her, but doesn't really know what to do. Nor do I. There is no doubt something must be done though.

She can't organise looking at the place she wants to buy because she's too drunk to think, takes down the wrong phone numbers, every excuse in the book to cover for the fact that actually she's got no idea what she's doing.

When she appears, she says things like she's expecting this or that person to call her back, but then her phone's upstairs so she can't take the call, and then she goes get her phone and doesn't appear again for an hour or so at which point she's that much more drunk.

Sorry, I'm rambling.

DH is going to tackle her tomorrow. Is it better to be go the severe, elder brother route, or the kind gentle elder brother route? (He will find it very hard to do the gentle one!)

He wants to tell her to pull herself together or find a b&b.

Jux Fri 21-Dec-12 23:50:24

Oh well, you were all right. I knew it really, but as dh isn't onside as it were, I was being really hopeful and optimistic. Usually I'm quite kind and thoughtful and considerate, but I'm not atm. I want her gone. I don't want her to be here over Xmas. She's spent over a week peed as a rat, unable to get out of bed most days apparently. The only good thing is she's been staying with friends, so not been here. Unfortunaly they don't want her anymore, and as they think she won't be able to get herself on the right train, they expect dh to drive 200 miles to pick her up. I've just developed the most horrible throat and am feeling like shit on top of the shit I feel every day because of ms.

I am feeling really uncharitable. I don't want her back. I am ashamed at my meanness. I want to have a nice Xmas with good food, good booze, good friends, without worrying all the time about what state sil will be in.

DH won't tell ehr to go, I know it. He keeps telling me he knows when she's been drinking and she hasn't been but she has.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get my hopeful head back on.

CaliforniaSucksSnowballs Sat 22-Dec-12 01:50:22

He's not really going to drive 200 miles to go and get her is he?
I'd go ape shit if my Dh went that far to get someone I'd told him I didn't want in our house.
I hope you get your good Christmas and she stays where she is.

Sorry Jux but am not altogether surprised at all this and the fact that her friends don't want her around any more. When drunkenness goes, chaos always but always follows. Bet as well your DD has been happier since she left.

It is not feeling uncharitable either to not want his drunkard sister in your house for Christmas. She has already outstayed her welcome and likely turned up on your doorstep because her soft touch sap of a brother would take her in. And you both did.

Its always about the alcoholic; it becomes all about them. You and your H have become drawn into this; you have both got to detach now and fully for your own sakes.

Presumably you have voiced your own feelings to your DH about his sister. He is enabling her by his actions, he is not helping her at all. He certainly should not drive 200 miles to pick her up. He'd be her enabler as well as a fool for doing so and she won't thank him for doing that either.

She'll be still in your house at Easter if you do not both act firmly.

NeverMindOhWell Sat 22-Dec-12 08:01:21

As harsh as it sounds, she is an adult. If she can't get a train on her own, she needs to wait till she's sober enough to do so. If that means checking into a hotel in the meantime, so be it. The only way your DH should pick her up is if she agreed to go straight to rehab and he takes her there. If she doesn't complete the stay, neither of you should have anything more to do with her. It's not selfish, it's generous of you.

She may have an illness but she still has a choice. Get well or stay sick. People only get help when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the fear of change.

Good luck x

Jux Sat 22-Dec-12 09:03:13

Luckily we are so behind on Xmas that he really doesn't have a day spare for driving her around. He got home late last night and I pointed out mildly that he simply doesn't have the time, and he agreed with me.

Yes, dd has been happier and more relaxed since sil went.

However, I am pretty sure that sil will sober herself up enough to get a train. All I can hope for is that the problems make it such a faff that she won't bother and will go somewhere easier to get to. That is so horrible.

No, Atilla, I'm completely fine with you being unsurprised grin so don't apologise. I'm not either. I just keep getting caught up in dh's fantasy world where everything is pretty and the flowers are out and there are little lambs gambolling....

I have been debating whether to post here again as I knew everyone would be saying "told you so!" (I don't mind, it's true). I needed to get it off my chest before dh got home so I could be calm and rational and careful how I spoke to him about it

I am considering my position and how to put it to dh that regardless of how little she drinks, she is a timebomb and we need her to go quickly.

She has enough money to rent a place. The are vacant rentals going for about £100 a week in the area she's going to settle in (eventually).

Jux Fri 18-Jan-13 17:55:16

And now it's end of March. I was presented by a fait accompli.

She has behaved well though and actually cooked for us on Wednesday. She seems to spend most of the day asleep.

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