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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


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.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:25:13

Apologies for any typos too.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:27:03

I should clarify that every hospital asmission this summer has obvioulsy now been alcohol related, but until last night she was denying that she ever had a drink.

Narked Thu 13-Sep-12 22:27:44

You can't help someone unless they accept they need help.

You can make sure her DC are looked after by a sober adult.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 13-Sep-12 22:27:51

She needs help and compassion.

If I was you I would be angry and disgusted too, but try and keep it to yourself and help her and her family however you can.

Narked Thu 13-Sep-12 22:29:07

Her children need help and compassion.

ThreePly Thu 13-Sep-12 22:29:56

Blimey. Don't know what to say but I didn't want to read and run. I don't think you should feel ashamed... I think you need to focus if possible on supporting your sister's children if you can.

Good luck.

SummerRain Thu 13-Sep-12 22:30:27

Oh god... I really don't have much useful to say bit couldn't read and run.

One thing that struck me though... You should not feel bad for speaking up and bringing this to light. Those poor children need someone to step in and help them... Thank god you did.

ILiveInAPineapple Thu 13-Sep-12 22:30:30

I couldn't leave this unanswered, but I don't really know what to say :-(

Your poor DNs :-( I hope your sis gets the help she needs, and I think YANBU to feel how you do, however alcoholism is a mental illness, and your sis needs help to get through this.

More than that, your DNs need the help and support of the family as well, so whatever you feel, try to put it aside for them.

What a huge thing for you to be taking on board, it must have been such a shock for you

I can understand your anger and disgust, YANBU there

But, you will get over that and you will realise that it is the drink that has made her so selfish, and once she is dry, you'll see your sister of old again

Try and be there for her, support her and her DC any way you can, she's got a long road ahead of her

Dear god what a sorry sad tale....poor you....poor her (she's in a right state) and most of all her poor DC's what have they been going through. Has their Dad walked out then.

YANBU to feel revulsion and YANBU to find it it hard to show compassion but I think maybe some tough love to help her stay on the wagon would be a start. You have to think of the DC;s now & you & DM & the restof the family must help.

Must be awful for you & the extended family.....hugs.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:30:55

It was her MIL that said she needed compassion. I'm finding it hard to find any.

Without wanting to drip feed - she has said truly awful things about our alcohol dependent uncle over the last 10 years, including wishing him dead.

Its the lies she has told and the fact that she hasn't even tried to hide it from her DCs which angers me the most. She has exposed them to so much and god only knows what they have witnessed.

nokidshere Thu 13-Sep-12 22:30:57

Yes - you are being unreasonable and yes you should be more compassionate.

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Thu 13-Sep-12 22:31:59

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.

being angry is the right emotion for what she has put the children through, though expressing it in appropriate ways is very difficult.

nokidshere Thu 13-Sep-12 22:32:46

Sorry posted too soon....

I agree that I too would probably feel disgust and anger at the situation but also incredibly sad that she has got to this state without anyone knowing.

Nagoo Thu 13-Sep-12 22:33:30

I don't know what the difference is between unconditional and enabling sad I think I would contact Al Anon. They have a group for people affested by alcoholism, sorry brain gone dead and can't think what it's called.

Matesnotdates Thu 13-Sep-12 22:34:01

What a nightmare.

I don't think your reaction is unreasonable. I think you and grandparents should come up with a plan to look after the children while she sorts herself out.

Matesnotdates Thu 13-Sep-12 22:34:42

Nagoo - good suggestion. It is Al anon I think - for people affected by alcoholism rather than the alcoholic themselves.

PerryCombover Thu 13-Sep-12 22:36:12

It's difficult to witness but harder to be her or her children
Please try to keep that in mind

Try try try not to judge her.
If she were horribly uncontrollably diabetic or epileptic suffering hypos and storms she would have your sympathy
She has an illness. She needs support to get the treatment she needs for her illness.

I know it's hard to observe but try to provide the help you'd hope for if you were at the bottom of a pit

Iatemyskinnyperson Thu 13-Sep-12 22:36:22

Alcoholism/drug dependancy is a disease. I know her behaviour is appalling, but the alcoholism is the cause surely?

I can truly empathise how difficult it is to be sympathetic to an addict who has been so destructive, but ask yourself- can you imagine that she WANTS to live this way? Can you imagine how painful it is?

I know it's easier said than done (personal experience) but do try to support her recovery, without enabling it.

PooPooOnMars Thu 13-Sep-12 22:36:29

Where has her dh been in all this. Did he not realise she was drinking? To get in that state frequently enough for the children to notice i don't see how he could not. So why has he been leaving the children with her?

Lovelygoldboots Thu 13-Sep-12 22:38:21

I am so sorry, dealing with an addict in your family is so distressing. Of course your feelings are to be expected. The lying is hard to listen to. My oldest brother has been drug and alcohol dependent for years. He has a family that loves him and I can't begin to understand. I wish I knew what else to say. Your concern for her children is wonderful. Helping them may help you.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 13-Sep-12 22:39:16

You are not being at unreasonable. Not in the slightest. You can't help how you feel and your feelings are valid.

Being related to an addict is not an easy thing, and it is not something that only every effects one person. Her alcoholism has affected out whole family, obviously her dc mainly, but no one can expect you to not have feelings about it and to just be a tower of strength to support her.

She does need your support, bit to be able to do that for her and her children, you will need support yourself. Do some research and find out what help is available to you, as the sibling of an addict and as the aunt of abused children, and then take whatever help you can. It's the only way ou will be able to provide good emotional support for her dc.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 22:39:46

So far, yesterday and today, I have "acted" compassionately towards her - so as not to anger her really.

I don't think I actually feel any compassion for her, but will do anything to support her DCs. Her DH is still very much there and is very supportive |I think, but it appears that he enables her to continue with this behaviour.

My opinion is that he needs to grow a pair and put his foot down - tough love yes yes. But she makes his life hell. I am surprised he is still there TBH, a lot of men would have walked years ago. He loves her, I'm certain of that, and he definitely loves his DCs too.

Am trying to answer all questions as they come up - sorry if I miss anything.

I am happy to take whatever on board to help the DCs.

I understand that alcoholism is a disease and she does have some MH issues, of that we are now certain.

I want to help her, but she has to want to help herself doesn't she?

thetrackisback Thu 13-Sep-12 22:41:51

She is an addict. Addict's do terrible things to themselves and their families. I think the adults of the family need to have a serious discussion how this is to be dealt with. For the sake of the children you need to be there so you need to put your anger to one side and try and see your sister as ill. You need to discuss with the crisis resolution team what the next course of action is. Unconditional support doesn't equate to enabling her behaviour. Has anyone talked about sections yet?

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

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:21:09

TheEnthusiasticTroll I fear you are right and she will hate me and her abuse will be directed at me for a while.

Currently, she is unaware that it is me who started this chain of events after my unannounced visit to her house on Monday.

It is inevitable that she will find out, and when she does, I suspect she will attempt to stop my contact with her DCs. She will say I have deliberately created this situation to make myself look good - this is so far from the truth it is unreal.

There has, for a long time, been a deep-rooted jealousy from her towards me. She sees me as slimmer, more attractive, more successful with well behaved children who sleep. Yet the reality is so different.

I used to be slimmer when i was twenty something but 3 DCs of my own put paid to that
In terms of attractiveness - we've both got something good I think.
Success? She had (and could have again) an amazing professional career. She chose to be a SAHM which is great.
I graduated from Uni as a mature student 2 years ago and have never used my qualification yet. I'm now a SAHM.
Yes, my children are well-behaved, but they have routine, consistency and a bloody firm hand at times. They sleep mostly, but again, this i feel is down to routine.

She has a beautiful house, the DCs want for nothing - except their mummy to not drink sad

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 23:22:44

she can help it and that is the message AA would give her, that she can change it.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference".

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:23:00

block her from facebook...dont get drawn into any of that

SharpObject Thu 13-Sep-12 23:24:43

Oh Babylon I'm so sorry, you are such a lovely person (seen you around on other threads offering massive support to others)

I don't have anything helpful to say but just wanted to add my support and a hand to hold.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:27:32

I don't have any concerns that DH could cope with the DCs if DSis left the home, however, he would likely lose his job and they would then lose the home.

DH needs to keep his job, to keep the home - so that there is something "norrmal" to return to eventually for the whole family unit.

I had considered that DSis could move back home to our parents for a while, but DSis currently lives 40 miles away from me and I don't think it fair to move my DCs from school - which I WOULD have to do if i went to care for her DCs in there own home.

It wouldn't be fair to leave my DCs with my DH while I go to care for her DCs, and besides that, my DH has a full time occupation which he needs to fulfil to keep the roof over OUR heads.

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:28:11
BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:30:48

WRT FaceBook angry

I very rarely use FB. She has been blocked from my profile for a long time. The last time I posted anything on FB was to congratulate a friend on her pregnancy, as seen by me through a premonition which wasn't true blush

Cue a rather embarrassed me, friend having to explain to people that she wasn't pregnant and to me about the private msging facility.

But yeah, i don't do the whole facebook thing - i don't like it.

Devora Thu 13-Sep-12 23:30:51

Another one here with alcoholism and MH problems in the family. I agree with others that people suffering these problems need compassion and support. BUT it is so hell to live with that family members can be forgiven for not always feeling like Mother Teresa. In fact, I'd go further and say that feelings of anger, disgust and contempt may be quite functional in keeping you afloat - you may need to feel a bit distant from your sister in order to avoid being dragged into her worldview; you may need to feel angry in order to resist enabling.

Go easy on yourself, because this is a very tough situation. And also because by being kind to yourself, you will get extra inner resources in order to get through the next few months looking after your dsis and most especially her children.

Best of luck.

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:31:14

that is why it is called a family disease sad

you cant hold it all up and arrange and manage everybody/ everything so that it resembles normal. It isn't normal. Most often you have to let it come crashing down. You cant really stop it

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 23:32:11

none of that does sounds very fair, you are right. maybe take it as it occurs then, nothing is ever clean cut untill you find your selfs dealing with it. I would definetly get alot of input from the crisis team.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:33:21

Thank you. I do try to help others. I am capable of feeling compassion etc, just struggling to find any for DSis as I don't understand why she doesn't just stop drinking.

To my mind, everything that is happening to her is self-inflicted. But her DCs didn't ask for this and they deserve better.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:40:12

Thank you all so much for your posts and kind words this evening - it is very much appreciated.

I really must try and get some sleep soon and catch up on other threads last night was a long night and I think there may be a few more of these ahead sad

Just one more question...... does anyone know how long the recovery process could likely be? Or is that like asking how long is a piece of string?
I'm guessing its the piece of string option, and i know it won't all be fixed by this time next week.

Thank you again smile

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:40:18

just reading back through your posts.....

you cant help her, she has to help herself. You can help you and you can look after her kids

She wont get 'long term intervention' IME. She is an alcoholic. She will be put on a detox programme if she requests it. On discharge, she is on her own, it is her responsibility to attend AA (or whatever she decides to do to stay sober)

If she takes care of her kids in the day and her husband is out at work, her kids are 'at risk' and are in danger of being taken by SS. They are also at risk of death. Someone (you?) does need to take them OR her husband needs to have her removed from the home

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:41:14

The recovery process never ends
it is a lifetime commitment
she will always be an alcoholic

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:43:01

detox is generally 2-7 days (?) as an 'inpatient' sedated on drip to control DTs

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:47:32
TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 23:48:50

yy mrdobanlina. life long.

it can work though!! a very close family member is 12 years sober this year it is a life long comitment for him, not always a battle (but sometimes) though it is always a comitment.

but he hit a life threataning low and made his own decission to maintain support and help for the long haul. It took him a few months of non engagement and everyone elses fault etc and we where all bastards of the lowest kind, but something in him changed. and he has a wonderfull family now. he does take alot of time out for AA and often appears and is accused selfish, but what is the better of both evils.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:49:34

MrD she is on a 7 day detox at home with the relevant drugs? Being cdelivered daily by a member of the crisis team. This is short term intervention. there has been talk of her attending a 12 steps ? Programme too but I guess the onus will be on her to actually go.

Her car keys have been confiscated. She will no longer be driving.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 13-Sep-12 23:51:59

what area are you in? are there any other mners or family attending AA that could offer her a lift of somethimg for the first few times who could NC and then PM op to make arrangements?

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:53:03

12 Step Programme is AA

The alcoholics i know who maintain sobriety go to AA meetings at least every other day, even when they are on holiday

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:54:38

She is SAHM - though now all 4 DCs are in full-time school. It is this that is part of the problem I think.

She needs a job (pt) so she has something for herself other than being "just" a mum.

In the short term, DH has arranged for the DCs to be transported to and from school. It is the period between 3.30 and 7pm when she is alone with dcs that is most worrying.

A referral has been made to SS. it's a while since I was part of the process of CP for my job, but how likely is it that she will be allocated a support worker to help her reinstate some teatime/bedtime routine?

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:55:18

I'm in south Derbyshire, she's in the north of the county.

BabylonPI Thu 13-Sep-12 23:56:25

I should say, I am on maternity leave currently and I will happily drive her to whatever AA meetings whenever.

MrDobalina Thu 13-Sep-12 23:58:45

I don't know about SS 'duties' Babylon

how are you going to know if she is drinking again/is drunk between 330-7pm? Are you going to let SS lead? I.E. wait for them to say dcs are at risk and need removing?

I think it is unlikely they will check on her daily???

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 00:00:12

IMO you should not drive her to meetings. Or arrange transport for her

She has to do this herself

You, however, should drive yourself to an Al-Anon meeting

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 14-Sep-12 00:04:10

could you all attempt for someone to be there most evenings, even if it is a neighbour or friend.

Im not sure how much support could be made availible. That depends if and what funding is availible along with what riosks your dsis is deemed to be presenting to her dcs.

It may be more of a Child protection measure they look at in this instance. It may be down to you as family to ensure a cover otherwise they may advice or ask that someone takes the dcs in full time and if not they may look at foster care.

it is difficult to make any guesses on a thread, but there are a number of options and social services will make you as a family very much part of them options prior to considering any other care measures.

It is too dificult make any predictions, but I would prepare for some decissions needing to be made as a family if social services make any requests.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 14-Sep-12 00:07:02

in my experience it is not unusual for someone in AA to make an effort to offer a lift to another person showing an interest in attending but may be reluctant. agreed though it is not for the OP to be giving a lift.

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 00:11:50

i dont think supporting her to the extent that she has someone with her and the kids all the time is useful? for her. or the kids

I think the kids should be removed ASAP, until she has proved that she is committed to sobering up

The kids will be in a constant state of anxiety and ready and practiced at covering up and being the adult of the situation

can i recommend this book?

there are also lots of lovely ladies in the Relationships section who can give first hand accounts of growing up with an alcoholic parent

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 00:13:01

I agree ET but dsis needs to make that connection herself IMO

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 14-Sep-12 00:17:06

I agree she does of course but sometimes another person who has that conection already is the best person if any.

Im not suggesting any random mner does this, But I thought that if someone was in the area and could invite her to see what she thinks may be helpfull in her taking that first step. My family member does that very often, he does not make any emotional conection, he offers a lift hives his limited contact details and will offer a lift so long as it is wanted.

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 00:19:52

it makes me so sad and so angry

fucking alcohol, man

TheBigJessie Fri 14-Sep-12 00:24:02

I don't think there's anything wrong with how you're feeling, and I think Devora hit the nail on the head about it being the alternative to being sucked in to an addict's worldview.

Don't worry about facebook. She probably won't get judged there. < Is bitter over watching friends listen to what they want to hear from people who mean well> [cross emoticon]

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 00:37:03

Already discussed options with parents, her MIL and DH about "spot check" visits, which will be daily for the next month at least.

I know we cannot rely on SS to check daily, that is beyond their responsibility.

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 00:39:10

i think you need to decide between you then, what 'the line' will be; and what will happen if it is crossed

And remember, she has successfully hidden her drinking from you for years

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 00:41:00

I too think the DCs should be removed ASAP as we cannot trust her not to drink. She has lied and lied and lied some more and yet she has convinced herself she is fine.angry

I would hope for this to be a short term arrangement, but who knows sad

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 00:44:45

Thank you for the book recommendation - I have ordered x 2 for me and for my parents to read too.

I also agree with the sad & angry wrt alcohol.

I drink, my DH drinks, my parents and DBro all drink.
We do not drink alone, we rarely drink to excess and never to a point where we are beyond control.

We enjoy a drink socially - that is all. And I get a terrible headache after more than a couple of glasses of wine sad

saffronwblue Fri 14-Sep-12 00:47:14

Poor you, Babylon, what a ghastly situation and I can totally understand your anger towards your sister and your protective feeling towards her DC.
I don't see how she can be left alone with them in the afterschool slot. I would try to get them or her out of the house in at last the short term. If she realises that she has in effect lost the right to be their parent it may be a wake up call for her. Sorry if that sounds judgey but having had a similar situation among one of my cousins, I find that it is the lies and manipulation of the children that is very hard to forgive and will impact them for the rest of their lives.

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 01:16:24

this is what i think should happen;

your dsis's dh should get a court order (Occupation/ Non-Molestation) to have her removed from the house/prevent contact, because she poses a serious threat to her children

She will then be homeless and be given a place in a hostel or similar. Where she can continue her detox and embark on AA or similar. Hopefully loosing her home and her family will be her rock-bottom and she will stop twatting about on Facebook and take her recovery seriously. After she has proved herslef to be sober and commited to staying that way, her dh can choose to remove the court order and have her back at home, or not.

Her dh can arrange child care (a nannny/ au pair perhaps); quit his job and downsize to look after dc; or you/other family members can take care of kids either in their home or yours

Protecting the children is the priority

Of course, even this may not be dsis's rock bottom and she may continue to drink any way

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 01:17:53

Thank you Saffron it is almost certainly the manipulation of the children I am struggling most with.

They are anxious, withdrawn, and they always looked to me like they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders - now I know why sad

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 01:22:49

MrD I am inclined to agree that it may take drastic action such as you have suggested to make her realise.

Her DH is not strong enough to do this and follow it through. IMO he has no backbone, however I am beginning to realise that he is completely controlled by her. She uses their children as emotional pawns and she thinks nothing of threatening to stop him from seeing them.

He would be frightened of her divorcing him if he initiated a court order against her. sad. He needs to man up, fast.

NurseRatched Fri 14-Sep-12 01:32:26

BabylonPI Oh god bless you. I'm rubbish at advice - just wanted to send you my best xx

garlicnutty Fri 14-Sep-12 01:33:02

Babylon, I'm too tired to read your thread properly but couldn't ignore it. First, well done for getting your sister seen to. Things are bad now and, if you hadn't done that, they'd already be worse.

Secondly, my overwhelming reaction to reading your OP was sadness for your sister. Yes, I feel a ton of compassion - more - but I have been in rehab. I understand how these things go, and why. Of course it's just all a bewildering puzzle to you, and of course you feel angry.

It will help you to get in touch with Al-Anon.

You seem to be feeling a very understandable desire to manage her and her illness. This isn't possible. Rule three: You can't control it.

Compassion isn't all soft and yielding, neither is it cold and hard. If you want to help, and I can see you do, get some insight from Al-Anon first. If you can, aim to support her (practical help, even listening if you can handle it) but don't try to change her or 'make her see'. She already hates herself, I can promise you that.

You're a good friend and sister!
I'll come back and read you properly in the morning smile

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 01:34:33

if you and other family members were not around/prepared to step in, and your sister continues to drink and he allows her to take care of the kids alone, they will both be deemed 'unsafe'. he would be failing his duty of care as a parent and the kids would be taken from them

his feelings for his wife and his marriage, and his fears for the future have to take second place to his childrens safety and welfare

you might be doing them a favour, to stand back and let this happen

if her husband is determined to hold the family together, he is unlikely to agree to you having the kids live with you? presumably he wants them to stay in the family home as a family?

Get him to Al-Anon
And buy him a copy of that book

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 01:38:37

Thank you again. I'm going to try and sleep now but will come back in the morning smile

diaimchlo Fri 14-Sep-12 07:46:14

YANBU... what you are feeling at the moment is completely normal and tbh I would be the same but as the reality of the situation sets in you will most probably find it easier to cope with these feelings, they are most probably a mixture of total anger at her for allowing her to get into this state causing massive risk to the health and well-being of her DCs and at yourself for not picking up on this ages ago (which you are definitely not to blame for as addicts are very clever at covering their tracks). Without being able to understand the reasons for her drink dependency it is very hard to feel compassion so do not bad about that. No one can help an alcoholic until they admit they have a problem

The children and her DH will definitely need unconditional support from as many people as they can get it from and a big hug to you for being there for them.

PooPooOnMars Fri 14-Sep-12 08:07:25

Why can't the children go to a childminder before and after school?

Dawndonna Fri 14-Sep-12 08:24:10

Was her primary concern updating her facebook status, or was it that she was avoiding facing up to what she has done to herself and her family? She will know somewhere in her mind that she is going to have to deal with that fall out and she may not be quite ready yet.
Poor woman, what on earth has driven her to drink to such an extent?
She and her family need all the help, love and compassion they can get.
Of course she said horrible things, but it wasn't really her talking was it, it was the addiction.

RubyrooUK Fri 14-Sep-12 08:30:03

Babylon don't be ashamed of your feelings towards your sister. They are understandable. Do contact Al Anon though.

Al Anon were great for advice for me and help many years ago when my ex was an alcoholic. He had a daughter (not with me) and his drinking was so bad, he gave up seeing her because he hated himself so much. Sometimes he said he didn't care about her as she just got in the way of his drinking.

Al Anon helped me cope (as I found him not having contact with his daughter unforgivable and couldn't understand it) and learn to be supportive without enabling him.

It was hard and our relationship ultimately didn't survive, which was more to do with our personalities than his drinking in the end. But he did manage to start seeing his daughter again and is now a great, involved dad. I'm very proud of him for overcoming a very serious illness. So it is a very hard road but can have a good ending.

So don't feel bad about how you feel. Alcoholism is an awful destructive disease that makes people horribly selfish and irresponsible. But it is an illness. Hope things improve for you and your sister very soon.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 09:06:00

One thing that you should bear in mind is that the children will back her 100% sad. She is their mum, they love her, they won't see you helping her, they will see you splitting the family up. And they will also view her going away (or them being taken away) as punishment for them for not keeping it quiet.

They really need someone to talk to, especially the eldest who (if she is anything like my friend's eldest) will have been holding the family together for years and will feel very responsible.

My friend's oldest hated her dad for a long time for forcing her mum to get help. It's only now, ten years later, that she can see that her dad was doing his best.

Their mum spent a lot of time brainwashing them, saying their dad was controlling (because he tried to stop her drinking), saying that he chose to be out at work (he didn't, she was spending a fortune that he had to earn), saying that she was under so much pressure looking after them all and that he couldn't be bothered, etc, etc. Their opinion of their dad and of other people was so skewed it took years to unbrainwash them.

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 09:27:16

I am not a saint. I had to deal with alcoholism in a close relative, too.
My gut feeling is to act on what is best for her children, keep that as my focus in all future actions. I could not find a well of compassion for her beyond that. She will suck your compassion dry if you take any other line.

Recovery is a life long thing. You can't fix her. You may be able to make a difference in her children's lives, though. That's not the same as interfering & deciding what's best for them; remember she's their mom & they want almost more than anything in the world for her to stay in their lives.

Morning Babylon -how you feeling today? Hope you got some sleep.

I know it's a lot for you to take on but is there anyway your neices & nephews could come to you short term-or would that be too disruptive to their schooling (not sure of the distances) ?

I know you have a new baby so that may not be possible-k=jiust thinking aloud really.

Sounds to me like her DH needs some emergency time off work to support his wife in her de-tox & to be there for when the kids get back- would his work be amenable to this?

Or as suggested upthread he could maybe find some before & after school care? (Unlikely a CM would have 4 plces free at short notice but you never know)

(big UN hugs anyway)

RuleBritannia Fri 14-Sep-12 09:46:57

This is just an idea but could your sister's credit cards, debit cards and cash be removed from her so that she can't go out and buy alcoholic drink. Someone else (her DH perhaps on Saturdays) could do the shopping and be refunded by the husband.

I don't mind if anyone doesn't agree with me but a lot of money would be saved by the sound of things.

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 09:51:47

Thank you all for sharing your experiences with me, it is so comforting to get any kind of an insight into the why's and wherefores of what is happening.

A lot of people at the moment are saying that they knew it, they had a gut feeling, and worst of all, I told you so.

I am just replying right now with: thanks for your input, it's really not very helpful right now.

Later today, we are holding a "meeting". There will be me and my DH, our parents, DBro, her MIL, her DH and our Aunty.

Dsis will be present but it has already been made clear that decisions will be made with her best interest, whether or not she agrees with them. I have said it may be easier for her and for us if she isn't there, but she wants to know what is being said about her.

It is unclear yet whether a social worker will be there, however it is likely that there is going to be a CP conference very soon where all 4 DCs will likely become subject to a protection plan (not the at risk register anymore).

If we can have a plan in place before this, and SS are happy with it, then hopefully that will make it easier all round.

Our primary focus is the children. They will remain our focus and in good time we will arrange for the children to receive counselling. Especially the eldest. She is just 11, and it seems she has been parenting the younger 3 when dads been at work, maybe for as long as the last 2 years - could be even longer sad

Please keep holding my hand. I'm feeling wobbly myself this morning. DBro called me in tears - he has also had no contact with Dsis for a long time. He too is gutted. He wants to help and the one thing we all do agree unanimously is that we will offer unwavering support to the DCs for as long as we need to.

donnie Fri 14-Sep-12 09:52:07

I don't think YABU. It is a dreadful situation with no quick fixes, sadly. You are rightly there for her children and they will need you a great deal but your dsis is going to have to have major intervention if her addiction is to be addressed in any meaningful, effective way. I agree with llkjj - you can't help her but you can make a big difference in teh dc's lives. Good luck.

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 09:56:46

Hi bossy, I did get some sleep - not loads, but enough.

Short term I could take all 4 DCs - I've already secured provisional school places for the 3 primary age DCs.

Her DH has had an awful lot of time off work already, and although he is a partner, and effectively his own boss, we are all too aware that partnerships can be dissolved. sad. That would be catastrophic.

WRT shopping, her DH has already sorted for it to be done online. He has taken her cash and cards from her, and her car keys. She is not in walking distance of a shop - but we're not daft - if she wants a drink she will try anything.

That is something we will work hard to manage as best as we can.

RuleBritannia Fri 14-Sep-12 09:56:49

I'm glad that things are going forward for you all. I do hope that there is a satisfactory outcome for the children. It's good that there are so many in the family who are concerned with their welfare and I'm sure they feel comfortable with you because they know who you are and why you will be at the meeting.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Fri 14-Sep-12 10:02:04

good luck with the meeting later. asking her GP for a residential rehab may be usefull.

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 10:10:06

Her DH has had an awful lot of time off work already, and although he is a partner, and effectively his own boss, we are all too aware that partnerships can be dissolved. . That would be catastrophic

its already catastrophic

WRT shopping, her DH has already sorted for it to be done online. He has taken her cash and cards from her, and her car keys. She is not in walking distance of a shop - but we're not daft - if she wants a drink she will try anything

do not baby her or try to manage her behaviour to this extent. She is an adult. She is not recovering whilst you are with holding access to money etc. she has to manage her own behaviour or you are no further forward.

You need to find out about 'enabling' being 'co-dependant' and most importantly 'detaching'

Solo Fri 14-Sep-12 10:33:57

Hi Babylon I have been reading your thread and been quite upset for all of your family.
I have limited experience of alcoholism, but I just wanted to say that taking away your sisters cards will not necessarily stop her from buying. My exh2 willingly gave me all his cards, cheque book etc and they were locked away by me. He just phoned the banks/cc companies etc and ordered replacements and continued spending on them. His addiction was shopping and yes, it ruined us as a couple.

I do hope that things improve all round soon.

CrunchyFrog Fri 14-Sep-12 10:40:45

I can only sympathise, and echo what MrDobalina said - you can't control her, if she's going to choose to drink, then she has to accept that there are consequences. If she's going to choose to recover, then she has to be allowed to do that.

My DSis is an alcoholic and drug user. There is nothing we can do, pure nothing. DM enables constantly. The MH team will not tackle her "illness" until she's off the drink, but offered her day hospital, which she would not go to.

So she's on a mass of anti-ds and anti-ps, unsupervised by any medic, scrounging from friends and family, living in a shit pit and living such a risky life. Thankfully no kids yet. It's very hard to deal with.

You are doing a good thing, being there for the kids. I wish you strength!

saffronwblue Fri 14-Sep-12 10:47:48

Handholding Babylon. You are a wonderful aunt . This will help the DCs; when they look back on the madness they will also remember the people who were consistent and loving.
What a mess- poor everyone.

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 10:49:22

We don't want to baby her, but short term we think it is important to aid the detox and cut off her alcohol supply. She is being given a daily dose of Librium I think to help with detoxing.

I don't know what the effects will be if she drinks while taking Librium.

mymar Fri 14-Sep-12 10:50:23

I can 100% sympathise with your situation. I have been there with my Dsis and her 4 DCs. I have felt all the emotions and ups and downs of dealing with a drunk and the emotional and physical side of the effect on her DC's. Unfortunately my Dsis was also deaf and incapable of dealing with everyday things thrown at her. The first time my Dsis was admitted to hospital with severe stomach pains and being unable to eat, i refused to go and see her because her DD(aged 14 when assaulted) was due in court to give evidence on that day against a man who had sexually assaulted her in her mums house and her DD was angry with her mum for being ill due to drinking, my Dsis was supposed to go to court with her and give evidence. Unfortunately my Dsis died 3 days later unexpectedly. My Dn and myself never got the chance to see her again. I have been riddled with guilt that I ignored my Dsis in the last few months of her life and will have to live with that forever. My Dsis had only been seriously drinking for 18 months. She was also a single mum.

Please help your Dsis and her children, I am now still dealing with the heartache and upset that my Dn's are now still going through 2 yrs later. My Dsis was 48 and her DD's were 14, 16, 19, 22 when she died.
There was only me and my Dsis (no parents or grandparents)

A couple of practical things that you may be able to help with that I used.

I arranged to take my Dsis and children out for the day to get her to interact with her DCs and to show her DC's that their mum was there for them. You could arrange to take your Dsis out for the day and get her DH to spend time with her DCs. Spend time with her and explain how her drinking is affecting everyone without sounding like a lecture. Say how much you love her but that she needs to know what damage she is doing to her DC's.

I had my Dsis and DC's stay at my house where Alcohol was not allowed (even though she would arrive absolutely drunk!) I would ask her if she had brought drink and then check her bags in case she had hidden any. This was all done with the idea that we would have fun together like we used to and then the kids could play with my DC and be able to relax. It is one of the memories that keeps me together somedays.

I never got to say goodbye or to tell my Dsis how much I love her, please help her.

Your sister is worth fighting for as are her DCs.

If you want to PM me feel free.

Of course YANBU.

All your feelings are completely understandable. She could have killed her kids driving. Priority here is the children.

Her husband and all the rest of the family need to now work out the best way to help the children who have already been through far too much. I think they've seen enough and do not need to live with her unless she has been sober for months, at the very least.

When you have the meeting you are allowed to be angry with her. You are allowed to tell her she was more or less naked, covered in her own vomit, in front of her children. She needs to be shocked. No more pussy footing around.

I am still trying to get over my anger towards a family member of my Dh's, who we ended up having to visit in the Intensive Care unit, at the same time as my FIL was dying, in the same hospital. Luckily the children she put through shit, despite her own very happy upbringing, have come out the other side and are wonderful and she seems to have turned the corner and has been sober for a few years now.

I wish you lots of strength through this. It is horrible, i know.

DunkyWhorey Fri 14-Sep-12 11:13:08

The 7 day detox she's doing is probably a course of Librium. It allows you to go cold turkey without side effects - its a bit like Valium - GP will prescribe it if someone wants to give up but is drinking over a certain amount a week in terms of units which is described as "dependent" levels.

If you are further on in the addiction process and can't do a 7 day home detox then you need a residential one, that's the bottle or two of Vodka a day for the past 10 years type people...Librium wouldn't cut it for them.

They are probably (crisis team) delivering them daily so she doesn't misuse them, because she obviously has a history of misusing over the counter stuff etc.

Its hard being a mum, as you know. Some cope better than others. Part of her recovery really is her wanting to stop drinking at dangerious levels or dependant levels - for some, abstinence is the only way, others can learn to drink "sensibly" again.

I go through stages of alcohol dependency, not in a physical sense, but psychologically - me and my husband both go through these stages where we know we are drinking too much and we cut back, have a month off, "dry July" etc, sometimes we have a month where we only drink "out the house" so we'll have one at the pub or a barbecue if out but not buy any for home, that kind of thing. Its our way of not sinking into the full on addictive type of drinking. I still drink too much occasoinally; its usually my vanity and exercise/weight loss efforts that stop me doing it too much. Its tricky if alcohol (well for me its Wine, I can happily leave anything else) is your vice; it can be so damaging, if you consider a woman isn't supposed to drink more than 2-3 units a day max - well that's a 250ml glass of Shiraz. HOW FRUSTRATING!!! grin - so its inevitible that people will drink over the recommended amounts but its scary to think it doubles your risk of breast cancer, for instance. And it's expensive.

Try not to judge her too much, but it has to come from her to an extent - she probably needs to deal with her MH issues which are possibly what turned her to "self medicate" in the first place. Get yourself to Al Anon and take it from there. She might not want to do AA - Alcoholics Anonymous - it doesn't suit everyone. The NHS are good, they have good guidance for people who are worried they are drinking too much and their info isn't "you have to stop forever" which I think for some people puts them off. I know AA don't tell people to stop forever but there is a bit of that about it, even if it isn't their official line...

Arithmeticulous Fri 14-Sep-12 11:31:34

If she's on Librium then she will still look/act drunk - the feelings/actions appear to be the same (IME, my relative slurs speech, staggers around and acts inappropriately on Librium, she might as well be drunk)

Has anyone suggested Antabuse so she can't drink?

SpicyPear Fri 14-Sep-12 11:36:34

I'm so sorry Babylon to read what you are going through. I have seen on other threads how supportive you have been of others and the practical things you have managed to put in place for your DSis and her DCs in such a short space of time is incredible.

My maternal DGM was an alcoholic and so I have experienced my DM's struggles as the child of an alcoholic. You are absolutely right to focus on supporting the DCs and trying to give them structure and, eventually, the psychological tools to deal with you DSis's illness.

As a person with a healthy relationship with alcohol, it is almost impossible to understand why your DSis has not had her wake up call and why she won't get better for her kids. We, relatives of alcoholics, just have to learn to accept that the disease does not work like that. Whilst in the grip of it she will continue to lie and lie and lie and behave in a way that you find despicable, because she is utterly controlled by her addiction.

It is so important for you and your family that you do not mentally take responsibility for 'fixing' her. By all means take responsibility for protecting her children and be there practically when she wants help, but it's vital for your wellbeing that you accept as soon as possible that there is nothing you can do to make her get better if she does not want to. Even if you cut off her supply, she will not be recovering in any true sense, just a dry drunk. Forgive me if I've misunderstood your posts, but it seems she is still in denial and therefore has a tremendous way to go before recovery. I only say this because I think it would have helped my DM if she'd understood this early on. For your family this week is a major crisis point, but if your DSis is deep enough in her illness it will not necessarily be so for her.

PerryCombover Fri 14-Sep-12 12:32:46

Also I know that this might be obvious but....

Try to be inclusive and very gentle in decision making processes
It will take time for your sister to come to terms with having alcohol rated issues. It might take much longer before she is able to allow her mind to process the damage she has done. Then to face that in sobriety.

Intervention type meetings of the type you are suggesting with your family can sometimes be very harmful to recovery.
Please speak to a substance misuse counsellor to get advice before holding the meeting.

By all means make sensible decisions to help look after the children but be very careful of having a gathering that could be heated/angry/accusatory at a time when your sister is in the early stages of drying out.

This will be so difficult for you all but try to be gentle and neutral until she is strong enough to go into a programme. Once that happens she will face up to all that she has done and again she will need neutrality and support. Facts when required but not anger blame punishment fury bewilderment.

You can tell her it made you angry sad whatever when required
I'm sorry it will be very very hard for you all but worth it.

ImNotCrazyMyMotherHadMeTested Fri 14-Sep-12 14:18:46

Hi Babylon, I haven't got any practical advice to offer but just wanted to offer support and a story of hope - I've an uncle who drank (including drink driving) for years, broke up his family, BUT once he hit his own rock bottom he took charge of his own recovery, is remarried, friends with his ex and has good relationships with his (now adult) children, and has been sober for over a decade.

I hope this happens for your sister but in the meantime her DH and DC's are incredibly lucky to have you and your family, and I hope you are able to look after each other as well as her.

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 15:01:21

Thank you a million times and more for your posts and PMs - there are lots of them, and I feel very humbled by some of the things which have been shared.

I've had a bit if a meltdown this afternoon and I've cried and cried for the sister I used to have. I know she can be her again, but probably not in the near future sad

It all seems very futile right now.

My DH will be home very soon and tonight I am taking some time out for my family. DH has been away all week, and I just want to catch up with him and spend some time hugging my DCs close.

mistlethrush Fri 14-Sep-12 15:04:22

When's the meeting Babylon? And have you got someone who can look after your DCs whilst you go?

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 15:09:01

Forgot to add, Dsis is still in total denial.

Her biggest concern remains the whereabouts of her iPad and updating Facebook sad

Because of this, her crisis intervention team have asked us to wait until Monday at the earliest before attempting any kind of planning meeting.

Her DH will ensure the welfare of the DCs over the weekend, and we shall take it from there.

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 15:10:30

I have a fantastic support network for me and my DCs - there are 2 of their god mothers within 5 mins walk/drive who will squabble over my DCs!! I'm very lucky in that respect.

Dawndonna Fri 14-Sep-12 15:11:54

As I said before, I think the ipad/facebook thing is a place for her to hide.
Being in denial is also about hiding, it is very scary to face up to and deal with an addiction, and in many cases the addiction is so very strong and the person isn't.
For now though, make sure you look after yourself and get some rest.
Good luck.

Hullygully Fri 14-Sep-12 15:12:38

Babylon, I feel for you.

My dad was an alcoholic and I am the oldest of four, I was around 11 when it got really bad. I would have given ANYTHING for responsible adults to step in, acknowledge what was happening, and bloody well help us.

Hullygully Fri 14-Sep-12 15:14:19

Oh, and I'm afraid I don't give a fuck about your sister. If someone wants to kill themselves, let them, just don't let them take everyoen else down the toilet with them...

itsjustmeanon Fri 14-Sep-12 15:18:49

No advice here, but I couldn't walk away from nephews and nieces. I'd probably visit twice weekly, and make sure she has the specialist help.

porcamiseria Fri 14-Sep-12 15:53:35

OP sad

I think your feelings for her are irrelevant, and I dont mean that in a nasty way. Of course you feel disgusted, its a normal reaction. But focus needs to be pon her kids, and getting her into rehab

she needs treatment

you and MIL and GP need to pull together and get a care programme for her kids


MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 16:04:39

you cant love someone better though mymar sad

if alcoholism could be cured by family meetings and days out, it wouldn't be the problem it is sad

springydaffs Fri 14-Sep-12 16:04:40

addiction in a family is usually a family matter - not just that it affects the whole family but that it can be the family structure that 'caused' it iyswim. Not always, but often. ie one member of the family can 'act out' problems within the family. Just a thought - do bear it in mind OP.

Although I find your disgust understandable, particularly where her children are concerned, I found it painful to read. She is very ill. It's easy, and understandable, to judge but addictions are complex.

It could be that you have to be around to care for/keep an eye on her kids but if there are other people on hand then perhaps take a back seat from visiting the house. I'm saying that for her sake tbh - she doesn't need someone around who feels angry and hateful towards her. If MIL etc can liaise childcare so you get to see her kids (at yours?) then that may be the way to go? In the meantime, try to get clued up on addiction, read as much as you can etc. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye.

thewashfairy Fri 14-Sep-12 16:05:50

hullygully I'm afraid I can only agree with you. I am also a child of an addict (drugs rather than alcohol) I can not get myself to feel any sympathy for your sister Babylon. I am aware I should though.

I would have given the world for anyone to notice what was really going on in our house and help me and my sister.

My DF stayed with us until me and DSis had finished school and then finally divorced her.

I could not contemplate living with my mother so all of us moved out on the same day.It sounds very cruel but it was the wake up call she needed.

She stopped taking drugs that day..... If only she would have attempted it before.....

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 16:08:11

please listen to the emotion that hully is conveying; this is your nieces/nephews speaking to you

They need someone to step in and be an adult and take care of them, so that they can be children again. They need to be shown that what has been happening is not their fault

thewashfairy Fri 14-Sep-12 16:17:43

Babylon I used to feel disgusted by my DM all the time. We never took any friends home as we never knew what we would find. Some days she would be ok,other days we would have to pull her out of a puddle of sick or she would be in bed,screaming and hallucinating......

We would have to pick her up from the neighbours as she had wandered in to her house and fallen asleep on their sofa.....

Please help your sister's children. We did not get help and are still dealing with the after effects of living with a severely addicted parent on a daily basis.I left home 30 years ago......

porcamiseria Fri 14-Sep-12 16:19:12

sending lots of hand holding and love your way

you are doIng youre best, and its upsetting


Proudnscary Fri 14-Sep-12 16:20:07

Feel so so bad for her children.

I do have some compassion and sympathy for your sister who is very ill, but threatening them with social services and making them keep a secret so frightening is something that is very hard to stomach.

Her children will already be horribly affected by all this but I hope to God they get ongoing, long term support and help with their feelings.

Btw I am a bit concerned that you've given away a hell of a lot of detail that someone on this very busy board could recognise.

caramelsmadfuzzytail Fri 14-Sep-12 16:46:35

I am glad that you are thinking of the DC's, with an alcoholic parent and a ground down parent they have no other adult to guide them.

Your sister is an adult, not a child, she is the one that has to make the choice to stop drinking, policing her will just make her find hiding places for her alcohol and will make everyone elses life stressful. Her DH has chosen to close his eyes to it because its easier.

The children are the most important, she has to reach HER rock bottom. I guarantee you that once the detox is over she will deny she's an Alcoholic and back on the merry go round you go.

If it were me I would do everything in my power to get legal guardianship and try and get her supervised visits.

The trouble with Alcoholics, is they will say what you want to hear and as soon as your back is turned, they will go back to the drink.

Have you got a local alcohol and drugs drop in centre?

caramelsmadfuzzytail Fri 14-Sep-12 16:55:51

I just googled a & d drop in for carers and this came up.

could you give them a ring?

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 16:59:34

Proudnscary I did think that myself - however if she is recognisable to anyone through this then so be it.

AFAIK she isn't a MNer - too much truth here for her and not many takers for her pity party invites.

But if she is and she reads this, then so be it. It might help to be her wake up call.

Hullygully Fri 14-Sep-12 17:00:06

yy washfairy


BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 17:09:54

Thank you Caramel - I'm going to organise dinner for DH and DCs then do some ringing round,

I'm also going to start completing a Common Assessment Framework form for the crisis team to look at. (This used to be my job, so I know what I'm doing here).

The CAF will help give us a care plan for the DCs.

We have discovered today that she has been drinking secretly since 2003 - just after the birth of dc2.

She was also abusing painkillers from approximately the same time.

The drinking has been sporadic, but was ramped up a gear last august after the removal of prescription painkillers and being unable to buy over the counter meds.

Since last august, it has been vodka, decanted into plastic (fruit shoot) bottles so as not to arouse suspicion. angry

I dread to think what would happen if one of the DCs got hold of the bottle sad

Earlier this year, she was prescribed codeine which she has had on repeat prescription, and totally over prescribed and a month ago she was prescribed tramadol too sad

She got thru 4 times the amount of tramadol she should have sad

Skellig Fri 14-Sep-12 17:35:18


In my opinion, you are not being unreasonable at all to feel this way, but you do need to try not to show it - which it sounds like you are doing brilliantly.

Your original post says you feel ashamed - completely understandable, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. You have done nothing wrong. One of the horrible things about alcoholism is the way that it is so often kept secret and hidden because of the shame that is felt not only by the alcoholics, but by their relatives, making it even more insidious.

My dad was an abusive alcoholic who eventually drank himself to death. He had numerous hospital visits with cover-ups and excuses. My mum spent years promising us as children and then adults that she would leave him: she never did. Even after his death, many members of my family will not openly acknowledge what we went through. For this reason, I agree with other posters that your sister's husband needs to think very seriously about the welfare of his children and what is best for them. It sounds like they have been put in a terrible situation which has the potential to have serious long-term effects on them. It shouldn't be your responsibility, but it looks like it may fall to you to make him see how serious this is and, if necessary, to make some tough decisions.

Someone on here has already mentioned Al Anon. I'd try them and I'd also see what other services for families of alcoholics there are in your area. I know I am biased, but I do believe that the most important people in this situation are the children; they are the ones who ultimately need protecting the most.

Good luck.

holyfishnets Fri 14-Sep-12 17:39:03

I think you need to walk away or completely change your attitude. Yes it is awful but she is obviously very very unhappy to have taken to drink. She will be getting help now and you can either help her to help herself or bugger off. She doesn't need to feel negatively judged by you constantly, you need to be looking forward and trying to build a positive future.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 17:42:41

holyfishnets, have you ever dealt with an alcoholic in denial? Let alone an alcoholic in denial who is in charge of small children?

Because it isn't as simple as that hmm.

But, Babylon, all your posts are about how you can fix your sister, which worries me a lot. Because you can't fix her, you can only mop up after her until she decides (or is forced) to fix herself.

garlicnutty Fri 14-Sep-12 17:47:04

It seems you're getting good advice and good support, Babylon. I know this must be whirling around your head non-stop; it's shocking and frightening. I'm glad you realise it's important to take time out for yourself and your life. As you learn a bit more and find out what you can realistically do to mitigate the situation (not mend it or manage it, unfortunately), your feelings will settle and you will find the level of compassion that you, personally, can live with. Don't allow other people to tell you how to feel ... you already know this, but it may be worth repeating whilst everything's so raw.

Some other posters have mentioned being 'gentle' with your sister. It's a good choice of word, imo. Whether alcoholism is a "real illness" or not, it does prove helpful to think of it that way. Addictions start off serving a purpose: it looks like your sister was desperately unhappy about something in 2003 and, like most of us, used a few shortcuts to numb the pain. This becomes an addiction when the substance starts to use the person, rather than the way it started out. Once it's taken hold, addiction attacks the person - mind, body and soul - like an especially bad virus or auto-immune disease. She - the girl you grew up with - is still in there but, most of the time, is under attack and controlled by the addiction/disease.

The gentleness is for the terrified girl inside. Addicts do know "they" are still here, somewhere, even if their substance doesn't let them express themselves honestly. As much as you can stand to, please try to steadily (and gently) address this girl, no matter what's happening on the outside. As far as you can safely ignore the raving/raging/weeping addict, ignore "it" and keep talking to your sister. If you can't find her in there sometimes, walk away but let her know you'll be back. If/when she gets better, she'll remember your faith in her.

I apologise for posting a homily! I wish all of you the best possible outcome. And only do what you can do without causing harm to yourself. Much love.

Mayisout Fri 14-Sep-12 17:48:05

I would negatively judge as she has already cocked up her DCs lives, if anyone thinks that this is a little blip which will have no lasting effects on them they are deluded. The Dcs need to be taken into care or fostered and well away from Dsis they won't recover from this horrible scary life they have been forced to live. But getting them away now won't make whatever they have been put through worse.

I'm all for sympathy and treatment for DS but just get her DCs away from her.

SpicyPear Fri 14-Sep-12 18:01:51

I'm very sad to read your update babylon.

I hope her DH will now understand that you need to be looking at long term safeguarding of the DCs now, rather than getting her detoxed. I'm no "love is all you need" idealist about raising children but a stable, functioning and available parent is much more important than a nice house and the other material things that his demanding job provides.

skyebluesapphire Fri 14-Sep-12 18:21:38

Babylon - sorry you are going through this.

I had a friend who was an alcoholic. It cost her her job, it cost her a relationship, after that she only had relationships with other alcoholics....

I tried everything I could to help her, but in the end I had to walk away as I just couldnt take any more and nothing was getting through to her. Other friends did the same in the end as we just could not help her.

She ended up anorexic and in hospital as she was barely eating enough to stay alive. Her mineral levels were through the floor and one was so low she nearly died.

That finally brought home to her what she was doing to herself. Nowadays she is a lot better. She still drinks, but not to excess and she works and drives and is sensible.

I think that you need to work with your family and her family, bring in any outside support that you can including social services, whose aim is to keep families together, not tear them apart.

But ultimately, she needs to want to get herself better or nothing will ever get through to her.

It seems to me that you are doing the best that you can. The children are obviously the first priority. If she has been driving around drunk then she has been putting their lives and other peoples lives in danger.

Kayano Fri 14-Sep-12 18:41:07

Call SS

Rhinosaurus Fri 14-Sep-12 18:49:20

Ditto Kayano

This is far more serious than a CAF. Her crisis team may well have made a referral already, and I would have thought the school definitely has if she is in the habit of picking up the children whilst drunk.

MrDobalina Fri 14-Sep-12 19:21:33

We have discovered today that she has been drinking secretly since 2003 - just after the birth of dc2

She was also abusing painkillers from approximately the same time

The drinking has been sporadic, but was ramped up a gear last august after the removal of prescription painkillers and being unable to buy over the counter meds

Since last august, it has been vodka, decanted into plastic (fruit shoot) bottles so as not to arouse suspicion

I dread to think what would happen if one of the DCs got hold of the bottle

Earlier this year, she was prescribed codeine which she has had on repeat prescription, and totally over prescribed and a month ago she was prescribed tramadol too

She got thru 4 times the amount of tramadol she should have

None of this matters. Don't torture yourself with the details. And don't chase the why's and the what for's. It a waste of precious energy, of which you will need lots. You wont get any satisfactory answers. And it wouldn't make any difference if you did.

Let your sister get on with her recovery. Decide what you will do to help the kids only

maryz is right...your posts are too much about your sister. You cannot help her

I know this is harsh. I also know you are not ready to hear it. You think your sister, your family is different. But we do need to keep telling you smile

biff23 Fri 14-Sep-12 19:27:47

I was brought up by a drunk. My opinion is that you owe her nothing, she's an adult and it's her choice to wreck her life. However the kids need your help and compassion, they are the only victims here. The way their young lives are going could have devastating effects on them in years to come. They need help and support immediately.

forgossake Fri 14-Sep-12 19:55:04

Coming out of lurking to let you know how much I feel for you. My Dsis is 31 and has been an alcoholic since early 20's. She has never really experienced a 'grown up' lifestyle and has been incapable of working for over 10 yrs due to her dependency. She lives with an older guy in a dump of a house. Thank god she has no children.

After years of trying to help her, supporting her, clearing up her mess and breaking our hearts over her, my DM and I had to take a step back and let her get on with it. There is nothing we can do.... Except let her know we are there for her once she has sorted herself out. The kick in the face is just too hard to bear every time she falls off the wagon.

So please don't feel bad for your feelings towards her. I have become hard hearted towards DSis over the years. Or else I would have had a bloody breakdown by now. I totally understand your feelings of disgust towards her. Alcoholism brings the lowest of the low out of people. Compassion will not help your Dsis. Hopefully the reality of losing her children will take her to rock bottom and she will want help. If she doesn't want help, you cannot force her.

So glad her Dc's have great support around them. Sounds like a strong family network, and that will get them through this. Can't believe you are such a great support on MN to people when you have all this going on!
( Like I said - usually just lurk wink )

springydaffs Fri 14-Sep-12 20:13:07

I've remembered the way I felt when I found my (much older) housemate unconscious at 9am - booze. I remember the horror and disgust - I had forgotten it. She wasn't a relative, she wasn't responsible for small children, but I remember that fear, utter disgust and profound shock, which lasted for a week at least. Part of it was feeling she had 'put me in that position' when, in fact, she hadn't put me in any position.

It's different for you - you will be shocked to your boots that this has been going on under your nose (addicts are masters at hiding their addiction) and also your horror that the kids have been living in this hellhole. That can give rise to a tremendous anger and disgust, which is apparently the standard response when the full extent of the addiction is revealed.

My immediate concern is the children, as I'm sure it is yours. the right people are on the case now re your sister and, I assume, will make decisions about the best thing to do for the children.
garlic makes a very good point about relating to/addressing that crushed girl inside her. Until you can do that, you won't be able to iyswim. Get yourself support first - Can you get some support to get you through this tremendous shock? the kids are in the right hands, though you may have some say in what happens to them.

So sad. There are no winners in addiction, only wrecked lives all round. awful sad

Jux Fri 14-Sep-12 20:16:54

Babylon, I typed up a massive post about my SIL who is an alcoholic. I can't begin to replicate it as I have another migraine and half my field of vision is obscured - reading is a bit hard at the moment. Anyway, she stopped drinking 20odd years ago, started again 12 years ago and stopped again. As far as we know she hasn't had a drop for 10years.

I just wanted to say, that of course you feel all those things. She has children, a dh, a gorgeous house - and yet none are as important as the booze. Your love and compassion for when at start coming through when you have dealt with the crisis and you have the leisure to feel gentler emotions. Atm, you need the fight to get you up and moving, give you the energy and determination to get things moving. Anger, disgust and so on are the ones which do that.

How wonderful of you to think about taking on her children. You're clearly one of the best! I suspect that your children will not really suffer by sharing their lives with their cousins. (There's no doubt hers will benefit massively.)

Good luck with it all.

MollyMurphy Fri 14-Sep-12 20:29:00

The children's safey and emotional well-being MUST be the priority above all else. So some tough love is going to be necessary. IMO this is what needs to happen:

-IMO she needs to leave the home and either go stay with relatives or freinds or at a treatment facility if one is available.

-The children's father needs to make them and not work and a bit house the priority. He needs to rearrange his schdule as needed or have family/daycare/nanny/friends/neighbours etc fill in the childcare gaps.

-Any contact with mom should be supervised until she follows through with treatment, participates in follow up community addictions support programming and has a period of stability. There should be NO compromise on this. She has been emotionally abusive and has been putting the children's safety at risk for years.

I would absolutly not be okay with a plan where she lived in the home and was alone with the children for any period of time. Such a plan doesn't lack compassion - you can feel compassion and still insist on the children's safety first and foremost.

So sorry Babylon sad my aunt's husband was an alcoholic and it is the most difficult thing to deal with. We always felt, at the back of our minds, that it was self-inflicted. My mum's cancer was actually easier to cope with as she couldn't be blamed for being poorly.
All the children are a priority. It seems like a lot to handle if her DCs were to come and stay with you. How able are your parents? Would they be able to look after the children? From reading other threads it is clear that you are such a lovely person. Don't feel that you have to take the DCs on if you might not be able to cope. Your children are just as important. There are other family members too that should help. It will be on going as opposed to recovery and such a hard way to live.
I hope your DSis is beginning to realise how serious things are.

Poogles Fri 14-Sep-12 20:58:02

Your sister cannot be helped until she has reached rock bottom & wants to be helped. As the child of an alcoholic mother, I can say I resented all the help & support she was given while we were left with all the responsibility she was abdicating. It is not always in the best interests of the children to be left with an alcoholic mother. Prioritise the children and what is best in THEIR interest. Your sister has a choice please don't enable her by allowing her to continue her life without changing/confronting her problem. Her children need to be children. Take the weight from their shoulders by letting them be kids again without having to worry whether this time mummy might not wake up etc.

Don't feel guilty because you are not feeling compassionate towards your sister. What she really needs around her is a team of people who care enough to let her hit rock bottom and start fighting her way back up. When she is ready, I have no doubt you will be a valuable asset to your sister in her recovery but she has to WANT to recover in the first place?

Good luck x


Hope you get some downtime with your DH & the kids this w/e & can relax a bit.

You have a terrible burden on your shoulders but it sounds like you have started making a plan as a family to support your BIL & DC's so that the professionals can start to deal with your DSis.

ginnybag Fri 14-Sep-12 21:11:36

As another child of an alcoholic mother, I second so much of what has been said here - please help hose kids, particularly the eldest.

I was the oldest child, with a brother and sister much younger than me. By twelve, I was taking responsibility for them, both still under 2, while she spent all day in the pub.

At fifteen, I was taking them to school and helping with homework. I cleaned the house - she never did.

That sounds unremarkable - and it's what most people, includig family, saw. What she told them. I was a good, helpful, older sister.

What no-one saw (or wanted to see, in the case of certain family members) were the many, many nights I had to st up waiting for her to come home from the pub till 1am, because she'd be too drunk to get her key in the door and would smash the glass instead, shouting and screaming, including every night before my GCSE exams. They didn't see the times I was up till 2am washing blood stains and vomit off walls and furniture so my brother and sister wouldn't get up and see them, or the times my mum would be so irrational she'd threaten me with kitchen knives for failing to do some task which should never have been mine to do in the first place.

All though my teenage years I was desperate for help. Desperate for someone to notice there was a problem and yet terrified of exactly the same thing.

I fought to protect my brother and sister from the worst of it. I think I succeeded with my brother but I failed with my sister, who came home one day at fourteen to find my mum's latest (also alcoholic) boyfriend vomiting blood all over, drunk off his head.

The really horrible thing is, although I knew it was bad, I didn't know how bad till I had my own child.

Your sister will be an alcoholic all her life. Her children, particularly the eldest, will be the children of one all theirs. You can't make a difference to whether she recovers. You can make a huge difference to them. Reserve your compassion for where it will do some good.

And, believe this, too. By helping them when she can't, you will be helping your real sister.

caramelsmadfuzzytail Fri 14-Sep-12 21:14:03

Another good place to look at is here.

I am not an alcoholic, but drink became a problem for me.

Maybe losing her DC's will be the boot up the arse she needs, probably not, but you can hope.

I still have weeks when I drink too much, unfortunately due to circumstances it's my coping mechanism.

One thing I can say though, is, my DS means that I will not decent into alcoholism because his sperm donor will not get his hands on him.

Poogles Fri 14-Sep-12 21:39:41

Ginnybag - could have written so much of your post myself! Worked my arse of as a kid to cover the problem at home. Will never forget the times we would get home from school & hide in the shed as our mother was in the pub and forgotten all about us (not allowed to wait on the doorstep - what would th neighbours think!).

Let the kids be kids. Babylon - you seem to have your head screwed right. You'll do the right thing (and we are all here to support & help you when you question yourself!)

BabylonPI Fri 14-Sep-12 22:10:04

Hi just checking in again.

Wrote a massive long post and lost it angrysad

I've read all of your posts and will respond to as much as I can:

WRT CAF - I know this situation is well beyond completing a CAF, and they are used for early intervention to be preventative rather than reactive - however, they are a simplified version of the AF9 form which the SW will complete (a referral to SS has been made).

I have spoken to al anon and got some info and advice from them. They were very helpful.

Everyone here is asleep, do I'm taking a bit of time just for me.
I poured a glass of wine to sit with and relax, and I actually heaved before it got to my lips. Is this a normal reaction?
I enjoy wine, I like to relax with a glass - am I scared that her illness is catching maybe?

I've got such a grand Prix of emotions racing around in my head right now.

Guilt has become a factor for me sad

Dsis called me back in April,just before I gave birth to DS.
I answered the phone, but I didn't realise who it was as I didn't see caller display.

She asked me if I had time to talk or if I wanted to talk to her.I replied no to both questions before I hung up the phone sad

Maybe I should have just talked to her sad

catwoo Fri 14-Sep-12 22:23:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

garlicnutty Fri 14-Sep-12 22:27:40

Babs, she'd already been drunk for eight years.

(May I call you Babs?? grin )

skyebluesapphire Fri 14-Sep-12 22:35:08

catwoo - uncalled for and nasty. The OP has given her reasons for why she has problems with her sister and it is not for us to judge that.

The children need to be the main priority in this situation. An alcoholic cannot be helped if they do not want to help themselves.

I have reported your post and hope it gets deleted as I dont believe that a personal attack is in the spirit of MN

catwoo Fri 14-Sep-12 22:42:28

Skyblue- where is the personal attack?
The Op has asked AIBU.I am sure she is a a big girl and can take it when people say SIBU
Her post read to me as being chock full of loathing and disgust for her sister, who is clearly very unhappy.I think the OP is doing more harm than good The sister has a husband and parents

Jux Fri 14-Sep-12 22:52:38

catwoo, I don't think you can have read the same op as I did. Perhaps you have your own issues to work through?

Rhinosaurus Fri 14-Sep-12 22:56:45

BabylonPI It is shame you are going through this. It would be almost certain that the children would go onto a child protection plan as they are being emotional and physically abused, and neglected. If your sister is still drinking and residing in the house, it is also likely she would be told to leave so that the father could care for the children, otherwise the children would be removed.

With all due respect - I know you are trying your best to help, I work in a safeguarding role, and a relative filling in the CAF will not be considered useful, due to the complexity of the situation it is unlikely to be objective considering your closeness to the situation.

It is also not helping your frame of mind completing your own CAF, as once you try to form the analysis you will become a lot more upset due to your closeness to the situation. Personally and professionally I think you should leave the assessment to the SW (who will do their own assessment anyway).

I also think you should ask the SW to set up a family group conference as soon as possible to sort out what the family can do between them to help.

SpicyPear Fri 14-Sep-12 22:59:09

babylon I know it's easier said than done but please do not go down the road of beating yourself up about things. Your DSis has been an addict for many years. Taking that call would not have changed that.

You have nothing to feel guilty about.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 22:59:48

While I agree that this thread should not be in aibu, and the original question was not well-phrased, I can't see how catwoo can say that the op should stay away, or that she doesn't care.

The thing is, as a onlooker of a family like this, the children must take priority. So the op looking at it from the point of view of helping the children is the right way to go about it. Because if the family don't help the children ss will step in.

And for those who think the children should be taken away or "rescued" - that won't work. Because she is their mother, they won't see being taken away as a good thing. They need to be protected from her behaviour, but allowed to continue a relationship with her when she is sober.

Because just "removing" children doesn't "fix" them - love isn't enough. Taking them away won't remove their brainwashing or their guilt, sadly.

You can't protect them from her alcoholism, but you can protect them from her day-to-day behaviour (by not leaving her alone with them). That is all you can do for the moment.

And don't look too far ahead. One day at a time is the AA mantra and it is just as important for families as it is for the addict themselves.

catwoo Fri 14-Sep-12 23:00:06

I have issues to worl through!!!
whose making personal attacks now?
Comments such as 'missing her child's first day at secondary school'
Emotive sounding, but what does it actually mean.You don't 'miss' anything because you don't take your child to Secondary and go and settle them in the classroom do you?
The breathalysing thing sounds bad (except that it was clear so why mention it) And the dog eating the sick ( that's the dog being disgusting)

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 23:00:52

Well said, MaryZ. smile

catwoo Fri 14-Sep-12 23:05:12

maryZ - the children have a resident dad as far as I can make out.Why on earth would anyone think his children should be taken from him?

skyebluesapphire Fri 14-Sep-12 23:07:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 23:15:37

The resident dad is obviously working long hours. So he isn't going to be there all the time is he? Of course the children won't be taken from him, but he can't be there for them 24/7 to protect them from their mother.

This is why it is (generally) easier if it is the dad who has the drink/drug/whatever problem. If one parent is a SAHP, that parent being unable to cope for whatever reason leaves the family up shit creek. Because there is no childcare currently in place, and quite possibly no money to pay for it.

So it will be necessary either for the dad to give up work (leaving little or no money to either live on or pay for rehab), or for others to step in.

And catwoo, I suspect the op used emotive words because she was emotional at the time. Finding a mother unconscious surrounded by her small children might just do that to you hmm.

Catmint Fri 14-Sep-12 23:15:58

So sorry, Babylon. Have nothing to add except supportive thoughts and to observe that your feelings seem quite natural and understandable to me, and that you are obviously doing your absolute best in a terrible situation.

Focus on the achievable. All the very best to you & all family. xxx

figwit Fri 14-Sep-12 23:18:53

catwoo I don't think the children's dad has been very protective of them so far. It sounds to me as if he has colluded in the emotional abuse of his children by ignoring his wife's obvious alcoholism.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 23:21:39

To be fair figwit, it may not have been that noticeable. My friend covered up by claiming depression and a bad back, and going to bed early a lot.

So her dh who worked long hours and did loads of things with the children at the weekends never realised what was going on. Which seems ridiculous looking back, but it had seriously never occurred to him.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 23:22:20

As well as the fact that her children covered for her and "protected" her from their dad as she had convinced them that he was the bad guy.

skyebluesapphire Fri 14-Sep-12 23:23:20

It's a very sad situation all round. I feel sorry for the sister as she needs help, but other people cannot achieve this for her, she has to want the help and to seek it for herself and alcoholics will NOT face up to the fact that they have a problem.

She could turn her life around.

Babylon - maybe its clearer in your head now - that it was the drink that caused her to do and say things. Not excusing the behaviour, but there is a reason for it rather than her just being unpleasant....

If you can get her through this, you can rebuild your relationship if you both want to

mathanxiety Fri 14-Sep-12 23:29:01

Babylon, you are a really, really good sister.
When someone is in the grip of alcoholism, alienation of those nearest and dearest is common. They fear the 'outside' world getting an inkling of what is going on and fear that if anyone knew what was going on they would have to stop. They defend their addiction no matter what the cost. Your sister was willing to throw her own children under the bus and ruin their childhood in order to keep on drinking, and I am sure she was happy to have you out of her hair too. In a way, your reaction to what you suspected proved her right -- you put a stop to it (at least you hope you have -- it will be a long, hard struggle for her and for you and everyone else too).

Don't beat yourself up with the what ifs and opportunities missed in the past. Unless she was detoxed you would have been talking to the drink, not your sister.

You are a really, really good aunt and daughter and I hope your parents are proud of you for intervening. I hope you are all able to support each other through the shock and the turmoil.

Take the advice of ALANon, and do as much as you can do to support the children and your brother in law.

The children are going to need a huge amount of help/therapy as they have been royally screwed up by their mother. Is this in place for them?

ImagineJL Fri 14-Sep-12 23:43:37

I went through a similar thing with my step sister. She's been sober for 4 months now, and has her daughter back with her. I tried to be supportive, but soon realised that the problem was far bigger than me, and all I could really do was look out for her DD. We are still on friendly terms, but I will never see her the same way again. She isn't the person I thought she was.

I was wondering - how long was she in hospital for? Because if it was more than a day or two she would have gone into alcohol withdrawal. If that had happened the medical staff would have known, and she would have been detoxed while she was there. This is significant because it's clear that she started drinking again straight away, so being detoxed did absolutely nothing to make her acknowledge she had a problem.

Nothing you've said makes me think she has any intention of trying to remain abstinent, so this problem is not going to go away, and you need to give serious thought to what your role may be with regard to her children. Social Services will want to use family help as much as possible beause it's free.

I really feel for you. It is an absolute nightmare. And I'm afraid I lost compassion for my step sister early on, after hearing some of the horrific things she did to her daughter.

Homebird8 Sat 15-Sep-12 00:49:40

Babylon, I've been reading and thinking. I know that I have nothing to add on the subject of alcoholism and can only feel for you in the emotions you are so eloquently expressing. I can support you in your plan to put your DNs' needs first though and I'm glad that you have some CP experience which may help you and the wider family to come up with a plan and to work with SS as necessary.

One thing I don't think I've seen anyone say and forgive me if you have is that to maintain the children's in their own home, without the presence of their mother, may help them to feel that there is some semblance of consistency about their very disrupted lives at the moment. The 11 year old will have been shouldering a lot of unreasonable responsibility for the home and for the DSibs over their whole life (if it started in 2003) and may find that they don't want to relinquish all of that independence immediately (although grownups may feel they want to relieve them of it). If your DS's DH had been widowed he would make arrangements to work and to keep his DCs using child carers of various natures. He needs to keep his job, but perhaps they can be a bit flexible for a few weeks if he is a partner, but he also needs to step up adjust to the new circumstances, insist his wife stays somewhere else and plan for the stability of his DCs.

Babylon, if you can help him, as the children's aunty, then with the warmth of your heart I'm sure you will. Maybe a regular one or two nights after school or a Friday sleepover?

SomersetONeil Sat 15-Sep-12 01:14:42

I'm so sorry for what you and your family are going through Babylon, and of course YANBU.

I wonder what has prompted the 'truly awful' things, including wishing him dead, being said aout your alcoholic uncle.

And the issues that she clearly needs counselling over, that she's lied aout and hasn't had.

I'm not asking you to tell us about these things - it's none of our business. But is there something/s that have happened that have precipitated this fall onto the abyss for her?

Her children are very lucky to have you all.

AdoraBell Sat 15-Sep-12 01:19:12


I haven't read the whole thread, just want to say please don't beat yourself up for refusing to talk back in April. At that time you were not aware of the real scale of the problem. Plus, you feel what you feel and you are still trying to help as much as is possible.

Regarding your reaction to wine, it's your subconscious telling you "don't put me into the same situation as DSS" You are not going to do that, that's why you didn't drink the wine. I also like to relax with a glass of wine, but at times of stress I cannot face even a sip of alcohol, the mere smell makes me nauseas. So, for now find something else to help unwind. Maybe a bubble bath before bed, a walk if that's do-able, reading, relaxing music. I would also suggest you start to keep a diary. That is something that helps me, and my DDs, to off load. You don't need to be eloquent, you can write ffs, why has she done/didn't I do/ do they expect me to/I wish I had/he had whatever you're feeling at that particular time.

Do the DCs talk openly now that the secret is out? Something I did for my DD when she was raging with anger was a tantrum box. A shoe box or similar with a slit cut in the top. She writes her tantrum, in whatever language she wishes to use at the time -as in she's allowed to swear on paper- and puts in the box.

Try to look after yourself in the midst of all this, it's a huge thing for all involved in different ways.

saffronwblue Sat 15-Sep-12 01:45:38

Babylon I have been thinking about you. I agree with many posters that your priority must be your DNs. You can't fix or change your sister. Taking that call in April would not have made a difference.
You can show your DNs that they can be children again and can be safe in the company of adults. Your DNs have been abused and put at risk over years - you are doing the right thing by focusing on them rather than your sister's illness and the choices she has made.
I hope you are getting a bit of time out for yourself. This is going to be a long haul and you need to pace yourself.

Thumbwitch Sat 15-Sep-12 02:05:57

Babylon, have just read the whole thread through and feel so so sad for you all.

I think that you probably do have some level of compassion for your sister but just at the moment it is completely overlaid by the disgust and loathing you have for her condition and what it has done to her children. I am sure that you still care about the sister you once had, and you want her back - she may never come back completely as you knew her, because even assuming she does get to the point of recovery, she will be (one would hope and expect) suffering from guilt over her own treatment of her DC as well, which is likely to affect her personality/behaviour.

I'm glad you've had some help from AlAnon, and I hope you continue to get help from that quarter.

Re. the children I think it's fantastic that you are looking to take them into your home, but apropos of what another poster has said about limiting disruption to their lives, have they been asked what they would prefer? I know that they've been conditioned for years to keep their mum's secret and look after her, but at the very least they should be asked, IMO. And if they choose to stay in their family home, then your sister should either be removed, or have another person with her full time. Preferably removed, for the shock value.

I also agree that, while it's admirable that you are trying to take on so much for your DNs, you have to be careful not to do too much - it's a fine line to tread, taking care to keep your DNs from harm but allowing your sister to still make her own mistakes. Which is another reason why I think having her removed from the family home might be the best thing to do - take her out of her comfort zone, help her realise what she is throwing away, she may continue to drink and take the painkillers to start with but it may also wake her up to herself. She would, of course, be better in some kind of rehab unit or somewhere that she couldn't then OD because she was so miserable.

I hope the meeting you all have is productive - and yes, it would be better if your sister weren't there because she may use whatever is said at the meeting to abuse you all later - but OTOH, if she hears how horrific her behaviour has been, it might be another step to the wake-up she so desperately needs.

Finally - as far as you feeling guilty for not noticing before/not talking to her in April/not realising she was ill - STOP IT. You are not psychic, you're not trained in spotting alcohol abuse, her DC never said anything, her own DH who lives in the same house as her was relatively unaware of the situation - you have done all you could under the given circumstances, and now that you are aware, you are again doing all that you can to help the people who most need it - your DNs.

MrDobalina Sat 15-Sep-12 08:43:17

taking that phone call would not have saved your sister. People turn themselves inside-out trying to support their alcoholics in a way which will save them/mean they wont need to/want to drink. it is a very very powerful addiction. your sister drove her own children whilst drunk. all of them, the people who she loves most in the world, the people who depend on her. she put their lives at very high risk.

alcoholics are master manipulators and liars. Guilt is a hugely useful tool for them; it is always someone elses fault, then they never have to take responsibility for what they are doing. They will even create situations so that they have an 'excuse' to get drunk

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 15-Sep-12 08:51:32

Just to be clear, further to a request from babylon we have now moved this into our relationships topic but regardless of whether it was still in AIBU, it's worth bearing in mind that if there's one thing we could all do with, it's some moral support
<Peace, love and Saturday morning sunshine>

caramelsmadfuzzytail Sat 15-Sep-12 09:08:42

Hiya Babylon

How are you this morning? Which ever way you look at it, it's a horrible situation for everyone.

skyebluesapphire Sat 15-Sep-12 09:11:12

Hi Babylon. I'm glad this has been moved and hope you get some good support here.

Alcoholism is truly a family disease.

The 3cs re alcoholism:-

You did not cause it
You cannot control it
You cannot cure it

Alcoholism as well thrives on secrecy; everyone in her house was covering up your sister's alcoholism through coercion, codependency issues (on her H's part) and utter fear. Am not totally surprised this blew up in the way it did.

Their children are and must remain the main priority here; their wishes are paramount. Has the eldest been pointed in the direction of Al-ateen?.

Would suggest you keep speaking to Al-anon and read their literature.

I am glad this has been moved to relationships, this was never a thread for AIBU.

Jux Sat 15-Sep-12 10:11:11

Hope you're OK today, Babylon.

BabylonPI Sat 15-Sep-12 10:52:34

Now moved to relationships!

skyebluesapphire Sat 15-Sep-12 14:23:08

They deleted the post that I reported and I asked for my reply to that post to be removed. Although the poster did apologise to you.

I hope you are having a better day today and that you can get all of the necessary help for your sister that she needs and also the support for the children.

BabylonPI Sat 15-Sep-12 15:29:48

Missed that Skyblue ?!

Tomorrow I have arranged that we are taking all 4 DCs out for a day of fun. Just to give them a break really.

Will come back and read later x

Lovely Babylon- a day of fun being just kids is what they need, they have had to be too grown up & worried recently.

How is your BIL coping?

Have a fun day in the sun tomorrow! x

JuliaScurr Sat 15-Sep-12 16:28:33

I wish my mother's sisters had been like you when we were going through this.
hope they can help smile

BabylonPI Sun 16-Sep-12 02:52:03

Thank you, I'm afraid I can't sleep sad

There's so much going round my head, like how she managed to hide it for 9 years sad

It also sounds like she's still very much in denial too sad

BabylonPI Sun 16-Sep-12 02:54:23

I'm sorry, i posted in the wrong place too - I just felt like I really didn't understand my emotions sad

Homebird8 Sun 16-Sep-12 03:04:43

You don't have to be sorry Babylon. Some things can be sorted out by MNHQ and then it's all over. Other things the rest of us are here to support you over.

Your mind sounds to be in a real spin, and the wee small hours don't help. It's not actually the last nine years that matter so much now, as the present.

Have you had your meeting yet? Why would the crisis team suggest you put it off if your DSis isn't going to be centre stage. Maybe you making some decisions as a family now, perhaps led by your BIL, might be better than waiting. No expert, just a thought.

Anyway, this isn't helping you sleep. Have a warm drink and try some big breaths out. I always find that relaxing and may just help.

BabylonPI Sun 16-Sep-12 03:34:01

I'm still awake.

Crisis team felt it would do more harm than good to hold the meeting on Thursday Friday or Saturday. It is being held tomorrow whilst I am out with DCs. I have made my feelings clear and laid down what I am able to do wrt the DCs.

I don't want the DCs to be in the house while the meeting happens, and more than anything I'd like them to have the opportunity to just be

lasnosage Sun 16-Sep-12 04:58:23

Hi Babylon, I can't sleep either.

I wonder if your BIL played a part in trying to cover up/minimise her problem over the 9 years or do you think he was in denial about it all too?

My mums great aunt was an alcoholic all her life but her DH 'managed/controlled' it, ie kept it under wraps but enabled her drinking at the same time until he died. then everyone found out about it because it spiralled. the more she drank the more altered her personality became, she rarely appeared drunk. it was very difficult seeing her towards the end because she was so bitter/ nasty/ paranoid etc. thing was it was the drink making her like this. there were no children so my mum had to sort things out at her house when she went into hospital. she found bills from the local off licence, they delivered weekly crates of whiskey and we estimated that she was on a bottle a day, she was in her 70's. Very sad.

I really hope your sis can turn it around but as others have said, it's gotta be her steam that gets her there. she has to hit the bottom and it sounds like she's not there yet.

What you are doing for your DN's is great though. Lovely auntie Xxxxxxx

mathanxiety Sun 16-Sep-12 05:51:29

You are so right to not have the DCs there during the meeting. Hope you have been able to convey your thoughts, and hopefully your role in taking care of the children right now and during the meeting will encourage the team to understand that you are a solid and capable individual.

Alcoholics devote their entire lives and all their energy to their addiction. Feeding it, hiding it -- that is what their lives revolve around. It does not surprise me at all that she hid it for 9 years. Women who are alcoholics are especially good at it.

This is funny and very sad.

If you were to search the house and the car thoroughly (cisterns, containers in the pantry, way in behind pipes, in the mattresses, etc.) I bet you would find a lot of evidence of her addictions.

LtEveDallas Sun 16-Sep-12 07:07:58

Babylon, I had an alcoholic brother. He was also addicted to dope, and finally prescription meds. I grew up in a family that excused him all my life, until finally, as an adult, I said no more.

I dearly loved my brother. I probably had more understanding of him than the rest of the family - they were all too keen to hide it all under the carpet, to deny he had a problem. Until the day his problem harmed the kids.

I was there for that. He did something, not maliciously, but in his drunken state that could have killed his youngest. I went LOON. Sorted it as much as I could, but told his partner that she HAD to throw him out. She HAD to act. If she didn't, I would. I told her I'd support her totally, whatever she needed.

She threw him out. She protected her kids and she threw him out. She was lambasted by my family but I stuck by her through it all. Her own family were great and supported her all the way.

It wasn't a wake up call. He died. It took 2 years for my family to stop blaming my SIL, and me. It took years for me to stop blaming myself. It was my mum that came around first, and slowly the others followed. But the pain is still there and I do not trust them any more (and they don't trust each other).

Her eldest was already damaged. She was 14 and hadn't spent a day of her life without seeing her father drunk. She walked a hard road for a couple of years but managed to turn herself around. She had a child, on her own, too young. But that child is now a teen herself and is wonderful. My neice is still 'damaged', she has no confidence, hardly any schooling, cannot get a job and has no idea how she will survive when her child is grown. She has an odd relationship with booze herself, from complete abstinence to binge drinking, but never when her child is around. She copes and is a wonderful friend, mum, daughter. I love her to bits but she has no future until she can work on the confidence. And that's easier said than done.

My nephew was only 2 back then but has grown into a bloody fantastic young man. He didn't grow up with a drunken parent and is a confident, intelligent loving adult who has a great relationship with his mum and his sister. He asks about his dad but isnt defined by him. He has the best chance of being successful the rest of his life.

I miss my brother. I loved him so much. He would have adored my DD. He never got to meet his grandchild. I still cry over him. But I lost my compassion for him the day he nearly killed my nephew. I was angry and disgusted. I actually punched him - and I'm not a violent person. I broke the law and nearly got myself into trouble. I spent months thinking I would be found out and that would be the end of me, of my career.

Your feelings for your sister are valid. Your first concern is for her children. Don't let them grow up with a drunk, give them a chance to live happy, like my nephew. Support your BIL, but give him a kick up the arse - he HAS to step up here.

<<wrung out>> Hard, isn't it?.

Thumbwitch Sun 16-Sep-12 07:46:19

God, LtEve - that must have been so hard for you all. sad

LtEveDallas Sun 16-Sep-12 08:25:38

It was Thumb, but what can you do? 16 years on and the effects are still clear. My family was never the same again.

Thumbwitch Sun 16-Sep-12 08:31:02

No, and you still did absolutely the right thing, as you know and I'm sure they all realise it now too. The problem was your brother's alcoholism, tragically for you all.

skyebluesapphire Sun 16-Sep-12 11:32:11

Babylon, you are right to put the kids first, just be there for them and then for your sister. If she can get through this you can rebuild your relationship.

Alcoholism is a disease and addiction. All you can do is offer support, the rest has to come from your sister.

Babylon I hope today is a joy for you with the children, allowing them much needed downtime & fun with their beloved Aunty.

I also hope the family crisis meeting is productive & positive.

BabylonPI Sun 16-Sep-12 18:53:45

We've had a lovely day today.

I am completely wrung out though sad

Knackered doesn't even come close.

Jux Sun 16-Sep-12 20:41:41

Your dns will remember this day for ever. They are so lucky to have you. So many children in dreadful situations, whose wider family prefer to close their eyes. You are a marvellous person, Babylon, really you are.

BabylonPI Sun 16-Sep-12 22:15:24

Thanks Jux

When we were on the way home, I did everything I could to make them smile.

I taught them how to "scoop" to make the car go faster wink
I also taught them how to feel like you're running really really fast when you're in the car (think Dumb & Dumber)grin

With every mile closer to their home we got, they visibly shrunk sad and became quieter and quieter.
This made me very sad.

When we got home I took some time out to talk to eldest DN. she admitted she is frightened to ask for help or talk to anyone as she is frightened of what her mum will say - and that mummy will end up in trouble. I did my very best to reassure her - but I'm not convinced she believes me. All 4 of them have become so conditioned.

The meeting took place while I was out with the DCs.

There is a good solid plan in place for supporting the DCs and Dsis, as well as BIL. He HAS to go to work, but he has also been told that he has to talk to the partners at his work and make them fully aware of his situation.

Dsis is going to have a further 2 weeks intensive support from a crisis team MH worker, family support worker and daily visits from a registered nurse who will administer Librium for a further 3 days, Antabuse after that and metronidazol antiBs for the next 10 days as Dsis has developed an abscess in her mouth sad

There is a plan arranged for transporting DCs to and from school daily, and for the next 2 weeks initially, DPs and myself will be spending the day time (school hours and early eve) at my dsis' house.

This is two fold in that Dsis will not be alone and will hopefully not get the opportunity to drink.

Whoever is there supporting will be tasked with clearing, decluttering and cleaning an area of a room (it's a bloody mess)sad ALONGSIDE Dsis.

We all agree it is important she takes responsibility for herself, and her actions - BUT we cannot do it for her.

She used to have brilliant bath and bedtime routines, so we are going right back to basics and we will get the DCs back into good habits smile

Maryz Sun 16-Sep-12 22:32:39

You do know she is going to hate you, don't you sad.

And that you can't stop her drinking. Even if you manage it when you are there, she will be able to get it the minute you turn your backs.

Someone once said to me about addicts that the only way they will recognise and deal with their addiction is if they are more afraid of something else than they are of losing the thing they are dependent on. So your sister is now at the stage where she has to decide - is she more frightened of losing alcohol or of losing her children.

Sadly for many addicts, the alcohol will win.

All you can do is sit it out for the two weeks and see what happens. Don't try to cure her, don't try to do too much (she won't be much use for decluttering if she is going through withdrawal).

Try to avoid confrontation - because if she is anything like my friend she will try very hard to pick a fight so she has an excuse to go back to drink.

And remember, one day at a time. You didn't cause this, you can't fix it.

The very best of luck to you.

mathanxiety Sun 16-Sep-12 22:35:42

It is going to be painful for you to be there and doing the clearing up. It will be shocking for you and for your parents when you come upon her stashes. Please look very carefully for hidden alcohol, etc. She will be angry and ashamed and probably in denial and unco-operative. Watch out for areas she seems to be guarding while you declutter. This is not going to be an easy task on any level.

However, the winners will be the DCs. They will take a good deal of time to adjust to having someone looking after them. Parentification is a horrible sort of abuse. Getting right back to the basics and having a routine will be a good way to help them feel secure again. Sometimes little gestures like doing girls' nails or setting a nice table for meals can go a long way.

Will there be a follow up meeting to assess how it is all going? What options as to residence of your DSis are still on the table if it turns out that having her remain at home is nor working out for her treatment or for the sake of the children?

mathanxiety Sun 16-Sep-12 22:37:34

Has someone informed the school?

skyebluesapphire Sun 16-Sep-12 22:40:17

Sounds like a good plan of action is in place.

I hope it all goes well and please look after the DC.

MrDobalina Sun 16-Sep-12 23:05:26

can i ask what professionals were at the crisis meeting?

what is your sisters opinion of the decluttering idea? it doesnt sound like a great idea for someone trying to detox....?

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 16-Sep-12 23:13:23

I think that the decluttering will be neccessary for the welfare of the children MrDobalina, it will also help dsis to begin to take some control of her home situation and parenting capacity. I would imagine that it is a key goal for her. She will understand that those around her are supporting in her in what she needs to do regardless of her own priorities, this will be benificial to her.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 16-Sep-12 23:24:51

I would imagine that she is reciveing care under the care programe approach also, this is very common especialy that she is a parent and from the onset the focus will be to emphasis and enhance her abilty to take care of her own basic needs and that of her children, so the fact she is recovering in a clean and stable house will be one less thing for her to worry about and get on top of her each and every day. It will be far easier for her to wake of a morning and maintain a routine if this achievable in a clean and tidy environment. It will be apart of working towrds longterm goals as well as the here and now, which is what childrens services will be wanting to know. The crisis team will be working in partnership whilst sharing a large responsibilty for the childrens welfare in what they can realisitly sustaine for the family in terms of support.

MrDobalina Sun 16-Sep-12 23:34:34

it seems to me, like too much, too soon

she is likely to be very sick, weak, tired and emotional. I would have thought trying to organise/ have people organise around/with her so soon, would be very irritating/destabilising? And Im not convinced that she will understand that those around her are supporting her???

my experience though is not with the main care-giving parent as the alcoholic

MrDobalina Sun 16-Sep-12 23:36:06

anyway....i should have said.....i hope it all goes to plan. Sending lots of positive thoughts and strength x

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 16-Sep-12 23:44:18

It well be most definatly you are right, but I think if it seems necessary, it will have to be done.

Unfortunatly she isnt the only person having to live in the house and the childrens welfare and health will also be priority. It will be ugly Im pretty sure of it, and those around her may not be fuled with sympathy but it seems thier is a lot of emphathy and commitment, she will of course not see that all of the time.

But Im also sure she will not be flat out cleaning all day, a small achivement will im sure be recognised and aknowledged, Op has said one area of a room will be what they aiming for, so sounds like it is pretty dire.

She will be involved in the planning at all times, her own comitment at times may not be great and she will probably agree to what she feels is the minimal she needs to or is able to in order to remain in the home with her children. Her support packadge will be pretty robust to ensure that aswell. I agree though it will not be a smooth road. But she has lots of resourses that are being invested in her and childrens future and hopfully she will recognise that when she is slightly stronger.

AdoraBell Mon 17-Sep-12 02:50:42


I'm so glad you gave the DCs a normal day out. Well done. Their reaction upon returning is understandable, I've had the same thing. Felt really ill at home, gone out & felt great only to go downhill on the drive home. Even though they need the stability of their own home it is the seat of extreme stress for them. That will take time and a lot of effort to shift to being the haven it should be in their minds. Just keep plugging away with telling them that none of this is their fault. And something I taught my DDs, this was a light hearted thing,

-children don't get grown-ups into trouble, the grown-ups do that themselves.

I can't decide if the decluttering is a good idea right now, or not. The DCs need a return to routine in a tidy house as soon as possible, but it could be too much for your sister right now. I think I would go ahead with it because the DCs need it and expect to get some abuse (probably) from your sister, at least to begin with.

mathanxiety Mon 17-Sep-12 04:29:45

I think it is important for the Dsis's sense of priorities, or in order for her to recognise reality, to clean up the house for the sake of the children. Alcoholics are incredibly self absorbed and over the years the Dsis will have convinced herself that what she was doing was fine and hurting nobody.

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 09:08:15

FWIW I too think it is quick and possibly expecting too much too soon.

I am fully prepared and expecting this to be a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing.

At the meeting there was an addiction specialist worker, a doctor from the hospital managing the addiction and medication regime, a family support worker, Dsis, DM, DF and BIL - MIL has decided she doesn't want to be involved and has withdrawn her support sad

The decluttering NEEDS to be done as a matter of urgency - it is pretty dire.

I think DM is perhaps pushing a bit too hard, and hasn't realised that she cannot fix Dsis, however she also said that whilever Dsis has a task, is busy and distracted (and supervised) she hopefully won't be searching for an opportunity to drink.

The thinking behind that is that she will detox of alcohol completely over the next few weeks and hopefully break the cycle of habitual drinking.

I think it will take a lot longer than a few weeks personally, and as I have said before, I am fully expecting a massive relapse sooner rather than later.

There are plans in place for the DCs if that should become necessary.
At the drop of a hat, all 4 can (and will) be removed to DPs house. DPs have purchased a small selection of clothes for all 4 which will be kept at their house for the time being.
This was also arranged at the meeting yesterday. Dsis is quite resistant to this, but she wasn't given a choice.
She is not being allowed to drive the car, the children will be taxied to and from school with Dsis acting as chaperone.

Thank you all for your messages of support - it is so appreciated. smile

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 09:12:08

Just to add, school are aware - or at least they will be this morning.

mistlethrush Mon 17-Sep-12 09:40:33

I'm so pleased that the DCs had a day out with you and were able to be children for the day at least. I hope your DBiL's mother will be able to give him some emotional support even if she is not prepared to give physical support.

Hoping all goes well

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 10:26:20

Unfortunately MIL, it seems, just wants to take sides and apportion blame, which is not helpful. She also has a very "told you so" attitude which is just annoying.

I shall continue to offer as much time and support for the DCs as I can smile

LtEveDallas Mon 17-Sep-12 10:28:16

Babylon, well done, you've got an awful lot sorted already. Be prepared for it all to go wrong, be prepared to be the villan of the piece, but remind yourself daily that you did this for the kids - and they are what matters.

They may go off the rails themselves (particularly the eldest) but with your support there is no need for that to be the end. There is a support network for teens suffering from family alcoholism - I wish we had know about it when my neice was suffering, I think it would have helped.

Antabuse didn't work with my brother, the pull of the alcohol was strong enough for him to 'suffer' to still have it - but it is still worth a try.

Good luck

Lemonylemon Mon 17-Sep-12 10:29:46


My siblings and I have been dealing with my alcoholic mum. We've had her falling down the stairs and laying in the hallway for 9 hours before being found; we've had her constantly being sick and having diahorrea and looking as white as a sheet as her blood level was so low, she was half dead.

We've had her fobbing off the doctors and us about how she is. We have taken the bull by the horns and spoken to her doctor and got her admitted to hospital (which has had to be done several times).

She hated my sister and I (not my brother so much as he was not so active in all this, but backed my sister and I up fully).

She's now been dry for about a year. Please also note that paranoia plays a part in alcohol withdrawal. My mum gets paranoid from time to time. Confusion also comes into play. There's also shame and denial all at the same time and all contradictory.

Now that my Mum has been dry for a while, she now realises that we had to do what we did. We have spent months just getting drawn into this huge drama of hospital; illness; diagnosis (she's terminal and doesn't have THAT long to live); care (she's getting care through the council); prescriptions; organising finances etc. etc. etc. It's absolutely bloody exhausting.

For a while you will be in there and then you will need to pull back. Otherwise it will send you bonkers. For what it's worth, my siblings and I feel a multitude of emotions about Mum: Disgust at the vomit/diahorrea (incontinence); pity because she's been carrying her problems with her since childhood; disbelief (how could she sink into self-pity when she has us and her grandchildren) - you name it. I think that after a while, once you get your head around it all, compassion is what's left.

But this story is a lot different to yours in that there are no young children "directly" involved. Would Surestart be of any use for the after-school period before your BIL arrives home? Or an au pair? Nanny? Just throwing some more ideas in the pot to think about.

<<<HUGS>>> to you and all your family. It's a very, very tough situation.

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 10:32:44

unfortunately babylon MiL's approach is probably the one that is most likely to help your sister sad

Please please please go to Alanon meetings - you are all been drawn onto the merry-go-round of enabling and are in danger of becoming co-dependant

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 10:34:33

drinkning whilst taking metronidozole makes you sick---so that may have been prescribed for dual purpose, all with the antabuse?

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 10:38:37

MrD I agree with much of what you are saying. Therefore my priority is to the children only.

It pains me to say it, but Dsis can drink herself to oblivion if that's what she has to do - but over my dead body will it it be at the risk of her children angry

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 10:40:39

I dont agree that MIL approach will be the most helpfull, It may be the right choice for MIL to make for herself and that is also finefor her, but the support is needed and the children deserve this. The alternative will be very different and Im pretty sure in the long run that is not what should happen. What they are doing is certainly not enabling her to drink and maintain her previuos life style it is enabling her to help her family. But you certainly do need to make sure you are preserving your self and your own family and accessing the helpyou need and I do agree that should through alanon. So long as the saftey net is thier for the children if you need to step back you must do so also.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 10:42:14

xpost baylon, I think that is a very good approach and mind set just now. with a bit of luck that respect for your dsis will be earned by her again.

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 10:45:40

dsis is being shielded from the consequences of her drinking. If her lovely lovely family werent there/prepared to clean up, collect and supervise the kids, she would either be removed from the house or her children would be removed from her. As it stands she has no incentive to stop doing what she has been doing for the last 9 years

she is not being enabled to take care of her family; she is having her family taken care of for her

seriously if this approach worked....alcoholism would not be a problem. I dont know anyone who hasnt tried variations of this technique, a million times over...

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 10:46:37

she needs to hit her rock bottom...she hasnt...and she is now being protected from it

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 10:51:49

I think that is a difficult assesment to make, If this is not her rock bottom then the safeguards in place are even more neccessary to keep her family afloat.

I think it is impossible to apply the same rules to a mother with 4 dcs as it is for any single person. Her children will be removed if she is hitting her rock bottom with no safe guards. She is detoxing, if she choses to go and drink that will be upto her no one can physically prevent that either way all they can do is reduce the blow and impact all round.

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 10:59:35

I think it is impossible to apply the same rules to a mother with 4 dcs as it is for any single person

I am not doing that ETroll
I was married to my alcoholic husband, the father of our children, for 12 years. I had him removed from the house

catwoo Mon 17-Sep-12 11:10:26

What is your Sis's husband doing about all this? I don't understand why it is all up to you and your parents to sort out.She is not a single motherThey are his kids FFS? Did he not realise the extent of her drinking?

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 11:10:37

Im not underestimating what you are saying, I think that removing an alcoholic father and husband has very different consequenses when they obviously have a very able mother.

I grew up in a very similar household as you describe. the damamge that has occured for my self and my siblings is untold, there was no support and intervention. DV and alcoholism was not recognised in the harm it does to children. The priorirty is the children, thier father is expressing concerns of being able to maintain thier care alone. The LA will want at all costs to avoid any care precceedings as this does have damaging effects on the children also.

Sadly it is not a prescribtion situation where one size does not fit all. I do tend to agree with you though, that the impact will be far less if Ops sis was removed and maybe undergoing residentail detox and rehabilitation, but there is just not the funding for that. I think it is correct to have the goal that one day she will be sober and caring herself for her family. But the reality is the LA will be more interested in the childrens welfare and what is inplace to protect them and reduce the harm and long term effects.

The relism is that all harm and negative effects cant be totaly removed due to so many differnet and political issues and cosntarints. But she is also thier mother and they will love and defend her and her removal may have a longer lasting effect, especially if the dcs are up rooted to thier grandparents house. I dont think any approach will appear to be the right approach. I do respect and understand your concernes also agree to some extent that for the dsis, there are other options and long term concerns about thye success of what is happening, but I can see why what is happening has been put in place for the best for the children in maintaing a sence of help and normaility.

With all respect MrD as you obviously had an awful time but that was your situation & removing the alcoholic was absolutely the right thing to do as it left you & the DC's in the family home to rebuild your lives. Your DC's still had a carer who was there for them.

In this case removing the mother or children from the home would fracture this damaged family still further it seems to me.

ALSO non of us has all the details, we don't need them. The HCP involved are working out a strategy for this family and if it is deemed to be the best thing for that family then it's as good a plan as any.

As I see it Babylon is the one who needs our support here- not long a new mum again herself, ( if I remember correctly Babylon?)the strain of this must be immense.

skyebluesapphire Mon 17-Sep-12 11:40:43

I dont see how Babylon and family are enabling if they have got in as much support as necessary and are protecting the children. i would say that Dsis has pretty much reached rock bottom, the state that she was found in.

MIL walking away is up to her, but that is not going to help the children in any way and she should be ashamed of that.

Babylon - you appear to be doing the best that you can for your dsis and the children in what is a very difficult situation.

I would say that keeping your sister busy and helping her to sort her life out is a good thing to do..

takeitaway Mon 17-Sep-12 11:42:31

Hi Babylon, have a huge amount of sympathy for your situation.

I think that the approach you and your family are adopting will give your sister's children the best chance for the future. If yourself, your brother, your parents, and your sister's PILs can all draw up a rota for the foreseeable future so that someone is always there for the after school period, before your sister's DH comes home from work, then you may all be able to establish a more normal, happy routine for the children.

Also, the more of you that are involved, the less likely your sister will be to feel hostility towards any one of you for taking over. Admirable though the offer to have her children live with you was, I am sure it would have very negative implications on her feelings towards you.

It may well be true that your sister has not yet reached rock bottom, and that by having you and your family sweeping in as the cavalry will mean that she doesn't face the implications of her alcohol abuse. But surely the most important factor is damage limitation for her children, and for them to know that they will be protected and cared for by you guys.

Best of luck to you all

saffronwblue Mon 17-Sep-12 11:51:18

This is all such early days for Babylon and her family and they are doing an amazing job. Of course there will be backsliding and drama and anger etc etc but the main thing is that the children will not be left again to bear such a dangerous situation and awful secret on their own.
My cousin and his wife both had significant drug problems for much of their lives. Their two small boys were completely in the thick of it, including being told at one point by their mother that they would probably find her dead one day after school. She always threatened them that they would end up in a foster family if people found out how bad it was. My cousin took his own life when the boys were teenagers.
This all took place in another country from me and my family. Those two boys are adults now. One has his own drug and alcohol problems. The other has worked and studied incredibly hard, never put a foot wrong and for the rest of their lives will be sending money back to support his mother and brother. He has never really been a child.
I feel very strongly about the damage inflicted on children by adults whose lives are out of control. Babylon I so admire your focus on the children.

Lemonylemon Mon 17-Sep-12 12:06:25

"dsis is being shielded from the consequences of her drinking. If her lovely lovely family werent there/prepared to clean up, collect and supervise the kids, she would either be removed from the house or her children would be removed from her. As it stands she has no incentive to stop doing what she has been doing for the last 9 years."

I disagree a bit with this statement. The clean up/collect & supervising kids is a short term emergency action until things calm down and their Dad can organise things with work etc. It takes a few days to get an action plan functioning. I don't believe that sister is being shielded, more like they're helping the children - the focus is giving the children a more stable framework rather than the sister.

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 12:10:41

BB unfortunately my experience is the same experience shared by most people who have a relationship with an alcoholic

babylon does need support

I will bow out

good luck

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 12:13:24

sky being found unconscious in a pool of vomit is fairly normal for most is unlikely to signify her rock bottom

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 12:16:05

I dont think you should bow out MrD. I think all perspectives are helpfull for the OP, All situations have thier own uniquness. Even though some other posters myself included have some other ideas to you, that does not mean that the OP is not finding any of your words helpfull to her ecpecially in understanding this situation and helping her define and remain justified in her own feelings about her dsis.

skyebluesapphire Mon 17-Sep-12 12:23:22

so what would rock bottom be and how are the family supposed to let her get to that point without it affecting the children?

Not looking for an argument, just genuinely interested in what would be considered rock bottom? and whether the children are supposed to be there to see it or not......

My friend ended up in hospital on the verge of death, which I would call rock bottom, but she had no children.....

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 12:31:17

ET I feel too strongly I think about the importance of the dsis being removed or the children being removed....a quick blood let approach, rather than the slow leakage and appliance of sticky plasters.

IMO the best outcome will be if dsis falls off the wagon sooner rather than later and save everyone a lot of time and effort; ditch this support plan and go about supporting the kids only

Its not the approach babylon and her family are taking. I dont think I can add anything which is useful and OP probably doesnt want be asserting my dissenting view over and over grin

Very very very best wishes x

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 12:31:23

In fairness I think rock bottom is different for different people. I think its a myth that rock bottom is the life or death scenario. I think it is more about recognisisng the life or death and what continuing on the path they are on will mean to them and those they love.

I know people who have escaped serious illness and injury by just facing what alone thier future will look like, the may have been able sustain such a life style for another 10 20 years or they have killed them selfs the very next day with one dodgy does of heroin and I have none other people who have sustained so much damamge over such a period of time, that one drink would inevitably kill them. I just dont think you can give a proper definition of rock bottom.

Happylander Mon 17-Sep-12 12:34:21

Hiya Babylon. I haven't read all the thread but wanted to say my dad was a drunk although not to the extent your DSis is. My Auntie used to come up and rescue us when he was particularly bad i.e. being aggressive and we would stay at her house. I, as do my siblings, have a great relationship with my Aunty and Uncle and will always be grateful they added some normalcy to our life. You will be in for a tough time but you are doing the right thing by the DC's and they will appreciate that.

Good luck. xx

lemonstartree Mon 17-Sep-12 12:34:50

'Rock bottom' is not what other people cosider it to be Skye its what she , usually in retrospect, recognises as her lowest point. Sadly it may be someway down from here - she has a home, a husband and a family bending over backwards to support her.

What does SHE say in all this ? does she recognise there is a problem ? does she want to stop drinking ? is she remorseful , does she have the slightest idea what her alcoholism has done to her kids ? Does she care ? What about her husband ? he comes aross as ineffectual at best .....

Babylon , you and your family have my respect and I wish you all well, your DN's are very lucky to have you all on their side. Sadly, unless your SISTER wants to stop drinking and is prepared to engage fully with the support to do so; I fear it may all be for nothing

DOI exH is a drug addict and alcoholic (still in denial)

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 12:36:13

everyones rock bottom is different huh husband was hospitalised, vomitting blood. Lost jobs/ driving license/ our home/ crashed his car/ lost us, his family....still drinking

A persons rock when they feel bad enough to stop...some people never reach it

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 12:36:40

well I think that is understandable, maybe have a read about early interventions and some of the ideas and reasearch availible that considers the impact of early intervention and what difference supportive networks can have on children and thier families for the better.

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 12:38:32

i should add...he has had the same job for the last 7 years

He was regularly asleep in piles of vomit and faeces...despite this, no one else would have any idea he was an alcoholic-highly functioning

skyebluesapphire Mon 17-Sep-12 12:39:51

yes, I see that. I know that nothing will work unless she wants to stop drinking, but is it better to step in and try and help her see that, or to leave her to possible die rather than help her? I know from experience with my friend that nothing I said or did could get through to her and it took near death to get her to change, but at least I had tried to help, I suppose thats the point Im thinking of....

MrD, I see what you are saying and I suppose that if Dsis does not respond to family trying to help, then they will have to remove the children.. which is what you are saying

Thumbwitch Mon 17-Sep-12 12:42:30

I think you're right, Enthusiastic - in reality, rock bottom is the point at which each individual realises what they're actually doing and chooses to do something about it - whether that's continue and kill themselves, or try and turn it around.

It might be considered trite or irrelevant, but I found Marian Keyes' novels on the subject of alcoholism/drug addiction very interesting to read - the realism shone out of them - which makes sense, because she is a recovering alcoholic. Rachel's Holiday is far lighter in tone, but shows that what might be considered rock bottom (nearly killing herself with drug and alcohol OD and having to be stomach pumped) really wasn't; it was falling off the wagon after being in rehab for a while that hit her.
In This Charming Man, the alcoholic woman is only one character of many - but she drives her children drunk, she sleeps with a co-worker, all sorts of terribly degrading scenarios - and her rock bottom is when her DH leaves her and takes the children with him. BUT it might not work for other alcoholics - losing home and family might drive them further into the arms of their addiction.
Might be worth a read (although be warned, if you haven't read it, This Charming Man is primarily about DV and abuse)

Re Babylon's family situation - obviously the Crisis team has experience in this situation and I assume that they've made this plan with the best intentions for everyone involved.

What I may have missed is how long this plan is for - is it a "let's see what happens and review in a few weeks" plan, or is this it? Because in that respect I also think that the sister is being helped too much and that in reality, while everyone else will feel better about the situation, Sister is just going to be going through the motions until she gets let off the leash again and she will just self-destruct as soon as she's "allowed".

garlicnutty Mon 17-Sep-12 12:44:56

Babylon, you are fucking amazing!

Just needed to say that smile

rock bottom is different for different people ... Of course it is.

Since my primary experience was in rehab, followed by AA after discharge, the addicts I knew best were those who had received intervention. A smart intervention can BE the rock bottom and, ime, those with enough people caring about them made a safer recovery than the majority I met in meetings, who'd been alone in freefall.

Babylon's sister has been very lucky in that her family was - and is - prepared to muck in; even luckier that the appropriate professionals were marshalled so efficiently (you're a marvel, Babylon, you really are.)

There's no guarantee it'll work. But the odds are far better than if she were left to her own destruction. You're right, sweetheart, it will be three steps forward to steps back. If you can keep it up, an 'observational' mindset will be most useful to you I think. Quite interesting, too, in its own way.

MrDobalina Mon 17-Sep-12 12:57:23

a google search threw this up
looks very relevant, although i have only read the contecnts page
it is an NHS document

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 13:12:20

that is interesting pages 25 to 30 are particualrly relevent. Im not sure how upto date that review is in terms of date being 2006 but it certainly shows some of the ways that support is organised in recent times I would imagine. Im no expert but I imagine that any ways forward are very much modeled on family support and service user choice and envolvement, and that is because it shows results.

Of course everyones POV is an interesting one & good to have to help in making decisions when a poster has a problem.

I just think trying to assess the Dsis problem & the effectiveness of her treatment & support at this moment in time from the thumbnail sketch we have from Babylon is not going to be terribly helpful as we are not the HCP's involved with ALL the details.

As I see it the empathy & support that Babylon has been given & I know MN-ers will continue to give, is the key here not trying to second guess if the DSis is getting the right treatment ( I too wonder if she actually HAS reached that rock bottom stage yet but I'm not there to assess)

<forgive me if I'm wrong Babylon >

It is so sad to hear of all these other awful histories and I think you are all terribly brave to share them

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 13:56:17

I don't think Dsis has reached her rick bottom yet - I am genuinely preparing for a relapse in the next few weeks/months.

The support being offered now is short term support, ie let's see how things are going in a few weeks.

If there is no significant improvement, then the plan will be reassessed and DCs removed for there own safety.

The level of support being give now is simply not sustainable longterm - purely because of the distance she lives from me and DPs (approx 35 miles) which is an hours drive, or more in rush hour.

I am keeping an open mind regarding Dsis' progress. At the moment I think she is being compliant to get people on side, but she won't be able to sustain it for any length of time - hence I don't think she has reached rock bottom yet.

I appreciate all of the support and hand holding - and I totally respect all of the different POVs - I've never dealt with this before with a family member, where it impacts directly on me and my dcs and DH.

I am a recent new mum, my DCs are 7, 3 and 4 months - I need to make sure they are protected too from some of the behaviour of my DNs as well as from seeing Dsis in any kind of state.

Catwoo Dsis' DH has minimised her drinking and at times covered it up. He is scared of her we think, and is struggling himself to accept what has been happening under his nose sad

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 13:56:50

Oh FGS stupid iPhone angry

Obviously ROCK!

skyebluesapphire Mon 17-Sep-12 14:15:30

i was wondering what Rick's bottom looked like and if I could have a stroke of it grin

it is sad when people cover up for alcoholics because of course they are not actually helping them. My friend had a partner who was very good and made her go to bed when she had drunk too much, but her next bloke was an alcoholic nightmare and once lay down in the road in front of a bus to get her attention hmm shame it didnt drive over him

she always ended up with alcoholic partners, so that they joined her and didnt try and stop her......

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 14:20:33

just recieved link in my email inbox for anyone who may find it interesting, click on the purple link for silent voices.

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 21:14:14

Today the two eldest DCs have been spoken to at school by a family support worker. The FSW has reported that she is disturbed by much of what she has heard from them, and she spoke to BIL this afternoon to say she didn't really have any option but to take forward a report under Section 47 of the children's act (child protection) as opposed to Section 17 (Children in Need).

We are now awaiting a date for a CP conference. If there is no significant improvement by the time the conference happens, and as a family we are unable to enforce a robust and adequate care plan, then i suspect we will be facing care proceedings under an Emergency Protection Order sad

Poor children sadsad

legoqueen Mon 17-Sep-12 21:45:40

That's very worrying for you I know, but may help focus support to prevent this happening? Could bil not get an au pair to help with school runs & after school care? Did the fsw indicate what could be done to prevent the DCs being removed? Thinking about you x

Oh Babylon ...... What a sad situation. I am glad they have been seen by the FSW but so sad that they are now subject to the CP team although that might be the best thing long term.

<<hugs to you>>

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 21:53:44

is the family support worker part of the crisis team? I was assuming from your previouse posts that it would have been multi disciplinary team.

Im am surprised the crisis team have not made you aware that CP assesments would be taking place if not already happening, has no one mentioned the CAF or carried one out? from my understanding they would need to make childrens services aware of youir dsis parenting responsibilities in such a situation.

To be honest I would have expected a S47 under these circumstances rather than a s17. I would not fret this too much but I think someone has messed up along the way in allowing you to feel that this is a fail safe plan that is in place if it is was not already part of child prtection planning.

Im sorry this is very stressfull for you OP.

TET you are obviously in the business & your concern is palpable but what good does firing all these technicalities at the OP?

As I observed upthread we do not know all the details & why should the OP share them all (if she indeed knows them all) we are not here to judge. smile

cfc Mon 17-Sep-12 22:26:23

Op has been in child protection previously. Tet can use tla's (see what i did there?!) to babs, i believe. Am i correct babylon?

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 22:29:09

Bossy it's ok, I'm up to speed with all the reports etc - my previous career before maternity leave was local gov children's services - I used to to train the professionals on information sharing, lead professionals and how to complete a CAF so I know all about S17/47 referrals and af9 reports etc!!

I'm a bit out of practice but I remember enough wink

The FSW is part of the multi-agency team now, but as you will he aware TET there are now TAC (team around the child) meetings and because of the different ages, there are different workers. There's a worker for infant, junior and secondary in Dsis locality area, and the 4 DCs are split across the three age groups.

Unfortunately information sharing protocols don't appear to be the strong point for this locality either, and all 3 workers have made contact separately angry

cfc Mon 17-Sep-12 22:31:31

I believe kinship placements are the goal whenever children are removed but bearing in mind father is on the scene it may be that sis is the one removed...

I am so sorry for you all babs - chin up kid, you'll not let anyone down. You are doing everything right for your situation because there is rarely black and white. Everyone needs to get through a day at a time now, hourly, possibly in your sis's case. And you're doing that without any further damage to the innocents. You're some woman. All the best.

BabylonPI Mon 17-Sep-12 22:39:41

Without sounding too harsh either, I think a section 47 CP referral is actually the best thing that could happen in terms of DSIS accepting responsibility and facing up to what she has become.

I tried to explain to DPs today that while we are pussy footing around making the house nice and lots of cups of tea, the only thing DSIS has actually lost is the alcohol.

She still has her family, her DH and DCs, she still has her dog and her 5 bed detached house - with the added bonus that someone else is cleaning it for her and cooking for the DCs and doing the ironing etc.

So far, it is only spoken words that have held any threat of losing DH or DCs - temporarily or permanently sad

I think it would help to make her face up to her addiction if she were made to sit around the CP conference table and see what has been written about her in black and white yellow in this authority wink

I don't want to see her lose her DCs for any length of time - but she needs tough love, and fast.

She also needs to understand that what is being said is not an idle threat.sad

I am so sorry for what you and your family is going through.

I have absolutely no experience or no advise, but on reading this, it strikes me that the husband has been a very neglectful father, allowing this to happen under his nose? She has let the family down no doubt, but she is ill from alcoholism. What is his excuse? Busy working late?

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 22:49:32

hmm bossy, Im not firing anything at her. It is usefull to be informed. I have not asked her for any details and I have not judged her. I think based on waht OP has already posted it is Ok to

Op has already made clear up thread that she is already knowledgable herself. So Im not sure what your critisim is. My earlier posts where in responce to another poster who I was exchaning some upto date information with in support of OP as i felt that this would be benificila in allowing that other poster to understand some of the reasoning around what has been arranged. I dont have any direct experinces but I think it is benificial to share as much knowlede as possible to ensure OP understandsa and is able process and discuss her situation.

I was just coming back on to read any updates from OP and reassure her that S47 does not always result in care procceedings, which Im sure she already knows but needs time to proccess the info she was given already today.

Anyway Babylon I dont think anyone should have a monopoly of what is being posted as support to you, You are obviously a very capable lady experincing a very difficult situation, and i appologise if I have over estimated that in my posts to you. I would definatly not panick about S$& But i would if I where you discuss with the crisis team coordinater your concerns and ask any questions as to what you should expect.

Jomato Mon 17-Sep-12 22:49:58

Given the amount of family support the children have available it's highly unlikely anyone will be thinking about care proceedings. They will be looking to ensure the children's safety so may push for either the children to go to your parents or your Dsis to leave the home. The last thing anyone will want to do with a family that is working so hard to protect the children is start legal proceedings. The plan you have put in place will reassure children's services that the children's needs will be prioritised and protected by the wider family. If a child protection plan is put in place this does not mean the children will be removed, in the vast majority of cases this does not happen, particularly with a family like you looking out for the children.

Jux Mon 17-Sep-12 23:01:25

Oh, Babylon, how horrid. I'm afraid I assumed child protection were already involved, too. Does your sis understand this though? You're very switched on, so if you'd not realised it, it would be easy for your sis to miss. Maybe it will help focus her mind a bit?

You've already accepted how hard this is going to be; don't let it grind you down though. There'll be problems, you'll need the patience and determination of a saint, tolerance never seen before, and great fortitude. Sometimes you won't manage it. Don't beat yourself up about it when it happens. Come here, rant, rave, cry, whatever you need to do to get yourself through it. (eat cake)

I'll say it again, those kids are lucky to have you.

Thumbwitch Mon 17-Sep-12 23:01:37

Babylon - I expect you'd know this anyway but if there is family available to take the children, won't they look at that before taking them out of the family entirely? Even if they have to leave the family home (although I have to say I still think it would be better for your sister if she was the one who had to leave), they have your parents and your own offer to house them, and neither you nor your parents are going to leave them in their mother's care unsupervised.

Ah of course you are /were Babylon <slaps own forehead> I'll wind me neck in then! grin

However this....

Unfortunately information sharing protocols don't appear to be the strong point for this locality either, and all 3 workers have made contact separately

Makes my blood boil...I've seen it with vulnerable adults, why are some of these people so bloody terratorial with their info? Surely in this sort of case (& it's hardly unique I'd have thought) a FAMILY conference implies shared information. It's this sort of nonsense that leads to Baby P type cases.

Anyhoo....I hope you all get the support you need. You are an amazing aunty!

TheEnthusiasticTroll Mon 17-Sep-12 23:09:57

And i do agree with you on the info sharing Bossy it is very frustrating, particularly with vulnerable adults. that is where my direct experience is and you are right very terratorial, if many workers where as upto speed with what they should share rather than over worry what they are not sure about, things would be far more efficient. Many proffessionals are very misguided when it comes to sharing info.

mathanxiety Mon 17-Sep-12 23:48:06

I wonder if info sharing just doubles or triples the chance that details would fall through the cracks or it would all turn into a game of 'telephone'. Looking on the bright side here maybe..

Surely taking the children out of the home would give them the message that they were the ones who had done something wrong, especially if they do not get a family placement. Removing the DSis seems to me to be the absolute best option and if the BIL is as high up as mentioned in his profession then maybe he could pay for private care for her?

And I also think the BIL needs to step up here. No use raking over what happened and how he managed to be so blithely oblivious over the years, but if this has been his habit it needs to stop and he needs to get a firm grip of the situation for the sake of his DCs.

BabylonPI Tue 18-Sep-12 04:28:31

Can't sleep again sad

Just to be clear, CP involvement is a given now, considering what eldest DCs have spoken about.

A conference will happen very soon and at that conference we have no doubt that the DCs will become subjects of a protection plan. If the professionals involved are not happy with the plan we have in place, and they seek to remove the DCs to a place of safety - that place of safety will be either my house or their grandparents house.

I'm hoping it doesn't come to that, but maybe it has to to make Dsis realise?

WRT information sharing, I don't know of a single professional who ever got disciplined for sharing too much information. I know of plenty who have been disciplined for keeping it to themselves.

When I was training them, I instilled in them that they should never be the only person who knows the information. Sadly, some people still believe that knowledge is power which is where a lot of the problems arise, thinking specifically now Victoria Climbie and Baby P sad

Again thank you everyone for your posts - I am overwhelmed by the support being offered here and I appreciate each and every one of you taking time out to comment and share your experiences.

Please don't ever worry about me being offended by your opinions etc, I'm sure you've realised I am a pretty tough cookie and I have skin like a rhino when I need to!!

I am taking time out for me and my family each and every day, and my DCs will always be my priority. But as ever I shall continue to offer as much support to my DNs as is necessary/I can manage.

Hello Babylon

blood y hormones keeping me up!!

Your mind must be c hurning ..but remember this in yrs to c ome your DNs will be okthanks to you .

BabylonPI Tue 18-Sep-12 04:49:39

Thanks bossy

I've been up to breast feed DS, and just wide awake now sad

Going to make myself a big fat hot chocolate and see if that helps smile

My mind is churning, there's so many little thoughts flitting about - but hey ho, I guess that's life! smile

Maryz Tue 18-Sep-12 08:08:37

Babylon, just joining the group of people who think you are doing the right thing.

It's all very well to say "kick her out" and support the children at home, but dealing with a SAHP is very different from dealing with, say, a father who is an alcoholic.

This was the problem my friends had - if it had been him who was drinking, the mum could have simply asked him to leave, and the family would have continued happily (if a bit poorer financially).

Because it was their mum, and she was there all day every day the children had been much worse affected. In addition, there was no normal childcare to send them to, suddenly sending them to a childminder/creche would have seemed like a punishment to them. And they were brainwashed to blame their father for everything, and had spent years protecting and covering for their mother (hence why the father hadn't realised how bad it had got).

So simply removing the mother and leaving father/children/minder at home wasn't an option. It had to be done much more slowly.

In the end the mum went for a 6 week residential detox, granny moved in for the six weeks, and things improved vastly.

Look after yourself too - don't forget, that is important.

MrDobalina Tue 18-Sep-12 09:26:04

maryz with respect, I resent your use of the words simply and happily; there is no ‘simple’ or ‘happy’ about it

I am not denying that having the main-care giving as the alcoholic is far more complicated, but having daddy removed is NOT simple or happy

I am inclined to think it is more important to have the alcoholic removed if that is the main care-giving parent; they are in a position to cause far more damage to the kids. And in this instance dad has not been stepping up to do anything to reduce or minimise that harm

If my husband had been the stay at home parent whilst I was out at work all day, I would have had him removed MUCH earlier. I never never ever left him in charge of the kids whilst he was drunk/ hung over

Chopstheduck Tue 18-Sep-12 09:51:20

I've been lurking on this thread. Horrible situation, and you are an amazing sister for the support you are offering to your sister's children.

Will you be attending the case conference? I think some of the comments about the dh are very relevant. SS will consider that he has also neglected the children by ignoring the situation for so long (similar personal experience with ss). He really needs to get his priorities right. All this time he has been going out to work leaving your Dsis to it, and even now, he is still leaving the children in her care. Surely the children are more important than a 5 bed house! He needs to urgently show some real commitment if they are to hold on to the children.

Could he get annual leave for now? Drop to part time?

MrDobalina Tue 18-Sep-12 10:45:58

BTW I was not/am not a SAHP; me and my husband work full time. Child care was finely tuned and depended on both of us to make it work.

he was unreliable and I often missed work/ was late to cover for him being absent/drunk

Its advised by Al-Anon to 'detach' from teh alcoholic before making teh decision to perservere with the relationship. Sofamily life is arranged without depending on the alcoholic for anything. This minimises disruption to the kids and the other parent, minimises arguements and opportunities to enable/ lessens co-dependency

Ive watched my kids witness their alcoholic father, his bodily fluids, his incoherency; his absence; his letting them down. They defend him to the last; they make excuses for him, because they LOVE him unconditionally , he is their DAD

It is not OK

charlottehere Tue 18-Sep-12 10:53:52

It must be really hard to witness, poor children. sad But your dsis has an illness which she needs help with. Ultimatley it is up ti her but she will need all the support she can get.

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 10:55:13

I have never experienced anything like this, but my instinct tells me it's the children who should matter more to the family at the moment, rather than your sister, as she is ill and that needs fixing by professionals, whereas you can all step in and take care of her kids until she has improved.

If it was my nephews and nieces I would be considering taking them in with me for the duration, and sorting their lives out as far as possible. More stable, tbh. BIL needs to concentrate on their mother for now.


re this part of your comment from your post of 17th Sept at 22.39.

"I think it would help to make her face up to her addiction if she were made to sit around the CP conference table and see what has been written about her in black and white yellow in this authority".

But equally it may not. Also she may well be still mired in denial (as her both enabling and codependent H certainly has been and perhaps still is). What's happening re him; he has also played and still plays a role in her alcoholism. Infact you are all playing roles now; this is what happening within families where a family member is an alcoholic.

Is he talking to Al-anon, I sincerely hope so.

Your sister has to have to want to help her own self here; people running around after her will achieve nothing and it will not help her.

Quite apart from yourself Babylon, its their children I feel the most sorry for in all this; both their parents have let them down abjectly.

There are no guarantees re alcoholism; your sister could well go onto lose absolutely everything and she could still choose to drink afterwards.

MrDobalina Tue 18-Sep-12 11:30:05

ATila you articulate in 1 post, what I have been trying to say for days smile

Im a bit confused by the links that EnthusiasticTroll and I posted earlier; he document I found was NHS. There is talk in these documents of supporting the ways which scream 'enabling' at me. It seems at such odds with everything else

Id be really interested to hear your thoughts on that....

"I am inclined to think it is more important to have the alcoholic removed if that is the main care-giving parent; they are in a position to cause far more damage to the kids. And in this instance dad has not been stepping up to do anything to reduce or minimise that harm

If my husband had been the stay at home parent whilst I was out at work all day, I would have had him removed MUCH earlier. I never never ever left him in charge of the kids whilst he was drunk/ hung over"

MrDobalina has voiced my thoughts exactly.

Which begs the question: What action will they take with the children when both parents have been equally neglectful.

MrDobalina Tue 18-Sep-12 11:57:43

QS I was told by my lawyer that, if i was not seen to be protecting my dcs and keeping them safe, I was in real danger of having them taken away (this did not need saying to me BTW)

i dont know what constitutes 'real danger' though

Maryz Tue 18-Sep-12 12:32:42

Sorry MrDobalina, I wasn't trying to say it was easy - I don't think it is ever easy with addiction (and I live with an addict so sadly I know far more than I would like to about it).

I suppose a better word would have been "straightforward".

Because the children have been with their mum 24/7, because they are programmed to see things from her point of view, it isn't possible to deal with this situation in they way it could be dealt with if the children had been more sheltered by being with the non-addict parent most of the time.

I'm not saying that it's ok just to leave her there indefinitely.

Lemonylemon Tue 18-Sep-12 12:34:01

"Infact you are all playing roles now; this is what happening within families where a family member is an alcoholic."

But in the short term emergency situation, the children must be taken care of - and that means that the family is stepping in and providing the children with what their own parents are failing to do. When the immediate emergency is being dealt with, that's what you do - for the sake of the children.

The aftermath will be dealt with by SS etc. and if the sister will not/cannot face up to her alcoholism and act accordingly, or the BIL, for that matter - then action will need to be ramped up.

While this initial shock/fall out is occurring, I just don't think that going in with hobnail boots will solve/help anything.

BUT: I am not arguing against any poster who has said that the sister needs to be made aware/face up to what will happen if she doesn't stop drinking. I totally agree.

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 12:46:01

The kids were playing in their mother's vomit an hour after being picked up from school. The dog was eating it.

For me, this would be a RIGHT, THAT'S IT moment, and I would have scooped them up and taken over their care.

They would be in my house with regular meals, clean clothes, a lovely comfortable room, regular homework and parents' evenings, and an awful lot of TLC in order to allow them a normal life. I would not criticise their parents, I would not do anything other than keep them well looked after for as long as necessary. I would feel this was my duty.

Am I alone?

Jux Tue 18-Sep-12 12:47:48

To be honest, I think if I had been one of those children, then I would be much happier if I went to live with a relative, as long as my brothers and I were together and the relative was kind. Even if it were for a whole term (or longer) and I had to go to a different school. What I would understand from it would be that there were people who were most definitely family - full time family; that they cared enough about us to look after us as if we were their own. Also, I would have been distracted enough by new places, new things, new school, new routine etc that I would not spend a great deal of time dwelling on what was happening at home. I would have missed all that was familiar, and want to see dad and mum, and would probably be horribly homesick at night time. I wouldn't feel punished.

I don't know whether that throws the cat among the pigeons. It is - I am as sure as I can be - how I would feel.

MrDobalina Tue 18-Sep-12 12:47:54

there is no 'emergency situation' though lemony

the situation is as it has been for 9 years

only difference is, people know about it now

EldritchCleavage Tue 18-Sep-12 12:53:52

Delurking to say how much I admire what you have done for your DNs, Babylon.

I've no doubt they've suffered a lot, and that suffering is sadly nowhere near over, but I feel the love from their extended family, and the readiness of that extended family to care for them and protect them, can only stand them in very good stead. My heart really goes out to you all.

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 12:55:51

I think that's how I would see it as a child as well. You need order and predictability, as well as kindness and people being interested in how you are doing. Imagine living on your nerves covering up for your ill mother, or wondering where your next meal is coming from? That is just plain awful.

Lemonylemon Tue 18-Sep-12 12:56:08

The emergency situation is that now people know, action is being taken and the children can now talk about what has been happening. Once the children start to talk, the floodgates will open and the emotional fall-out of the children needs to be taken care of. That's what I meant. smile

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 12:56:57

I think this is one of the few circumstances in which I would consider giving up my job to concentrate on my kids and nephews and nieces full time, btw.

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 13:00:10

I would be lining up GPs and Counsellors for the aftermath, as far as the kids are concerned, but day to day care needs to be addressed first.

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 13:02:56

OP, I would probably not feel compassion for my sister because even though I know alcoholism is a disease, deep down I feel appalled when people self-sabotage. I would not push the compassion things for now, just don't behave in a judgemental way, even if you feel like being judgemental, as that might bite you on the arse later. Just move forwards and do the decent things generally.

Thumbwitch Tue 18-Sep-12 13:04:31

The children have been covering up for their mother for years, especially the older ones. Now that she has been "found out", they may be experiencing some (entirely misplaced IMO) guilt over it. Removing them from the family home could be seen as punishment for failing to continue protecting their mother adequately (not saying this is a given, just a possibility).

In all of this plan, the best possible outcome for the DC must be sought - including taking into account how they might feel about the discovery of their mother's problem.

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 13:08:04

Let them feel guilty whilst well fed, and clean and comfortable. Let them feel guilty in the full knowledge that a functional adult is taking responsibility for their well being. Let them feel guilty while they are taking time to be children for a change. For that is surely the best way of feeling guilty.

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 13:09:35

I would tell them that full hotel services are being provided at my place while their mum gets back on her feet, and ask them what they want to bring from home for the duration ...

catwoo Tue 18-Sep-12 13:19:05

Why doesn't the dad take emergency time off for dependants or whatever it is called?

MrDobalina Tue 18-Sep-12 13:20:15

the best way to allay that guilt is to spell it out loud and clear that their mothers and father's behaviours are not acceptable and they should have been protected from them

Actions speak louder than words

this care-plan, shows them that the right thing to do is to keep supporting mum (and dad) /clean up after her/ look after her etc etc

the primary focus of the care-plan has to be the dsis. Alcoholics have to be very selfish/ self-absorbed/ focus/ single-minded to be able to recover. The children need to be in an environment where they are the focus, and their recovery

Jux Tue 18-Sep-12 14:41:57

Boffinmum, I agree with you.

garlicnutty Tue 18-Sep-12 15:03:26

Babylon, I was thinking about your plan last night in relation to the way rehab worked. Obviously it isn't possible for you to impose 8 hours of therapy and two AA meetings per day on your sister - but the principle can be applied, and to me it looks as though your plan does so.

Replace therapy with "being supported to look after her own life" (and leave the AA meetings in!) ... You're pretty close to that. You and the others aren't proposing to bustle around like a house full of lackeys while she reclines on silk cushions, if I understand correctly. You wrote of helping her: supporting her, with love, to get involved in sorting things out. Whenever you've got the moral strength, I'm sure you will prompt her to think and talk about what's been happening and how she can continue constructively with the processes you're initiating. It's a domestic version of rehab. Looks good to me smile

She's a lucky girl.

mathanxiety Tue 18-Sep-12 15:31:24

'A conference will happen very soon and at that conference we have no doubt that the DCs will become subjects of a protection plan. If the professionals involved are not happy with the plan we have in place, and they seek to remove the DCs to a place of safety - that place of safety will be either my house or their grandparents house.

I'm hoping it doesn't come to that, but maybe it has to to make Dsis realise?'

Babylon, I am inclined to agree a bit with MrD here that there is an element of enabling rearing its head. Don't get sucked into the alcoholism merry go round.

What happens to the DCs is for their benefit and no arrangement for them should be contemplated in order to have an influence on the Dsis. They DCs must not be used by anyone in this situation with any other end in mind than their welfare first, middle and last. End of. I hope that is what the CP referral is about and I hope you and the GPs understand that.

The Dsis can do what she wants, and her H too. The DCs' welfare comes first. They are children. They have enormous needs and those needs must be met, if not in their house then at yours or the GPs, and I have no doubt that you and your parents will be up to the task. I am glad if they are moved it will be to family and not farmed out in the community.

Yes, the Dsis might be made to sit up and pay attention if the children were removed, but this cannot be the primary reason to move them. The adults' circumstances are up to them to deal with. Decisions about the DCs need to be made only on the basis of what is good for them.

Thumbwitch Tue 18-Sep-12 15:46:15

Absolutely agree with that, math.

What math wrote.

Alcoholism is truly a family disease. Your sister could very well go onto lose everything including her children and she could still drink afterwards. There are no guarantees here re alcoholism.

The childrens welfare (rather than your sister's or indeed her husband's) must remain uppermost in everyone's minds here.

I would suggest you read the following (it is online)
"Alcoholism a Merry-Go-Round Name Denial" by Joseph L. Kellermann.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 18-Sep-12 20:32:10

there is a real split here, I hope Op you are able to consider the issues thrown up from both sides of the fence. I agree with MrsD that if DBIL does not step up then alternatives to your current situation may need to be considered and those would be absolutly the right thing to do, Im just not sure now is the right time. I would like to see a few more days and dsis being able to activly say and behave in a way that shows she is fully aware of what is going on around her and make the moves to prioratise her family, it needs a realistic time line, I think the CP conference will provide this.

I didnt read the link I posted but I did skim it so not sure I can say if I agree or not about the enabling, But i do think there is a big difference in enabling recover and enabling drinking/ risk bahaviour and not facing up. I still think the current situation is enabling recovery, but DBIL must be keystone otherwise it will be far to difficult for you to sustain. It has been almost a week now and I think although progress is expected to be slow just now, I worry how you can keep going.

I tend agree more with lemmony and garlic, but It must be DBIL keeping the children safe and everyone else supporting Him, he needs to be making some of the big desion making and doing most of the practical stuff for the children now he has had this time to get his head round things and his feet on the ground.

I hope you are bearing up and remaining strong

BabylonPI Tue 18-Sep-12 21:33:52

Hi everyone.

TET I am fine with having all options thrown up for discussion - as I've said before I've not had to deal with this at such close quarters before.

Previously, I've dealt with alcoholism from a professional POV and I've always had very clear signposts to follow - I've also only ever had my "bitesize chunk" to deal with - I've never had to consider the whole thing in one go before sad

Tonight I've had a long conversation with my dad. He isn't a happy man at all sad

We are into day two of our plan and already DM is doing more than she agreed, and more than she should be doing.

DF is rightly very concerned about the impact this is having on DM, and will continue to have. She isn't old, but she's no spring chicken either.

Yesterday and today she has been at DSIS' house before 9.30am, so DSIS has not been alone in the house for more than 30-40 minutes.

She has washed, shopped, cooked, cleaned and decorated - with the help of Dsis - but has stayed until after 8pm both evenings.

She called me to tell me how well things had gone today. While she has been there, I have been running DMs business - nothing strenuous, but even so....

DF, BIL & my DH have all been at work.

DF isn't happy as he is very concerned that DM is trying to fix Dsis. He is shocked and angry that 40 year old parents of 4 DCs are unable to parent their own DCs - he is aiming this mostly at BIL.

BIL came home this evening from work and apparently the DCs just went wild. He does not have any control over them, he cannot discipline them and he doesnt try to instill any calmness in them.

DF has expressed his concern tonight to me, that he fears Dsis will relapse when DM attempts to withdraw a little. He has also said that he thinks DM knows this and for that reason she will stay as long as she can each day for an indefinite period.

Rightly or wrongly I've forwarded some of the links from here to my parents email address. I need DM to read about enabling and hiding bottles and the merry go round of alcoholism.

I've read them and taken an awful lot of them on board - I need DM to do the same.

DM seems to think we are on the up and have turned a corner - DF and I still think we're on the way down and we've yet to hit rock bottom sad

I hope we are both wrong.

Dsis seems a little too compliant IMHO, she is too willing to make positive changes.

Again I hope I am wrong sad

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 21:49:07

She is nowhere near the bottom yet, because you are all still helping her. When she has utterly alienated the lot of you, and you are no longer helping her, then you will know she has hit rock bottom.


garlicnutty Tue 18-Sep-12 21:51:11

I don't want to wave false flags of hope, Babylon, but could it be that BIL's general apathy/passivity has been a major thorn in her side? That she couldn't cope and couldn't admit it?

If that were the case, she's got every reason to feel positive.

I read a lot of negative posts here about "cries for help" but, often, they are real. Perhaps SIL wanted you to find her in that state & see how desperate she was?? Needless to say - even if this is true (and there's no guarantee it is) - she's going to hit some very hard downswings at various points. She really will need to have lots of relevant support in place: AA people and care workers, for preference. Plus, importantly, BIL's going to have to start looking after his home and family, or stand up and confess he can't do it.

I feel for your dad ... and am really touched by what you said about your mum! She feels the patient is engaging positively, then? I can see where you got your general brilliance from smile smile

garlicnutty Tue 18-Sep-12 21:55:04

Boffin & others - I'm not pushing any one perspective on alcohol addiction, because I've seen them all. Yes, we "look for the similarities" but alcoholics are individuals, you know. I'm really bloody glad no-one had that attitude towards me. I know how it'd have affected me and, ultimately, would have proved you right. The people who had powers to decide my fate showed more faith in me, thank goodness.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 18-Sep-12 21:57:42

well you will only know if you are right or wrong if she is given the oppertunity to take control her self.

I think it is understandable and only natural that your mum has been there and done the things she has done over the past two days. Afterall it is her dd and she wants to shield and care for her. But your DF is right she does need to step back and soon it is maybe a little of what your dsis needs to feel to an extend, but it cant be over an extended period of time obviously or enabling probably will take over.

Sounds like BIL has his head firmly in the sand still. The thing is if she relapses she is going to relapse, Dm cant have control over that or remove it.

Dsis does need time on her own and DBIL needs to take the riegns when he gets home. Is it suggestable to DM to maybe go in at lunch time and leave at tea time. or pop in the morning for a short period and then again in the evening? I think it is important to go back over with DM the original plan too and contact the crisis team and inform them DM is doing more than is agreed. the plan needs constant reviewing by them too.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Tue 18-Sep-12 22:02:56

just to add I think someone does need to take DBIL to task. His behaviour and his role in all of this needs to be confronted. If I where his SIL or his PIL I would be serving him with some very serious ultimatums about his role and commitment in this family unit.

Maryz Tue 18-Sep-12 22:09:26

Oh dear, that doesn't sound good.

Your mum should only be there to make sure that she isn't alone in charge of the children. She shouldn't be doing any shopping, cooking, cleaning. That won't solve things.

Thumbwitch Tue 18-Sep-12 22:23:49

I agree with TET - it seems like your BIL is being way too passive in all of this and just expecting everyone else to deal with it?

And I know that the plan that has been set up suggested that people would be helping your sister to do things around the house, mainly tidying, but it sounds like your mum has just stepped in and taken over wholesale, like she would if your sister were physically ill and unable to do anything.
I realise of course that alcoholism is an illness; but your sister has been at least partially functional up until this point - I can't see how removing her need to stay functional will help her much. She needs to stay functional but with a bit more support, surely? In reality, your mum would be better off doing childcare and leaving your sister to do the rest, just helping out with the room clearing, as you said before.

I know it's a mother's instinct to want to fix the situation - have enough problems with my own MIL and BIL to know that sad - but it doesn't help long term.

Ginga66 Wed 19-Sep-12 00:06:36

Your dsis is an alcoholic. It is an illness, it makes her vile. She needs to get to alcoholics anonymous once she is detoxed. You need to get to al anon which is for families etc of alcoholics, they will help you work through your feelings.
Bottom line is if she wants to stop there is a way out and she can be a completely different person. If she isn't there is nothing you or anyon else can do about it except be there or this kids.

Ginga66 Wed 19-Sep-12 00:07:23

She may be better off going to rehab for a while?

mathanxiety Wed 19-Sep-12 03:00:11

My heart goes out to your mum. No doubt she is completely heartbroken and hoping that love will fix it all. Hard to stand by and see your child struggle, and maybe easier to deal with the shock of everything by being incredibly busy too?

Someone needs to stage an intervention with the BIL. There is no way he should be still working. He needs to take at least a long weekend, if not the whole week.

He needs to book himself in for counselling and be honest about his role here. Maybe family therapy with you and your parents? You could vent in a safe place that way.

He also needs to go to long and thorough parenting classes and learn how to parent his children. Whether your Dsis recovers or dies (those are the options) he needs to be a 100% better parent to them than he has been. Either that or he needs to think unselfishly about their future.

He sounds like a worse than useless lump. Again, it doesn't matter what it may have been that set your Dsis off on the road she is on, but he seems to have indulged his vanity to the extent that he turned his back on his children's plight and sought the ego stroking that being successful at work entails for a long time here. Who comes back from the office to a house that is awash in vomit, the bathrooms stinking, and think everything is fine and dandy on the home front? Living in such a state of denial for so long is not great for someone without children, but for an adult to see his own children forced to live in dirt and stench and clutter and to turn his back on them is inexcusable.

Has he told anyone at work what is happening?
What plan does he have to get his sorry arse in gear here for the sake of the children? -- he needs to be asked this.
If his plan doesn't involve profound soul searching on his role in what happened, not with the Dsis in mind but in the context of how he failed his children and figuring out how to become the parent his children need, then I hope your dad and all the rest of you set him straight.

Pisces Wed 19-Sep-12 04:11:00

God she is at the end of her tether. You do not become a drinker through happiness and contentment. She is obviously trying to block out something that is very, very wrong in her life. She needs your help, compassion, sympathy NON JUDGEMENT and support. I have been there, I am coming out the other side, it is not easy and you hate yourself but when it is at its worst, you cannot help yourself. Please do not judge her, help her with time, space, housework and decluttering. Might sound daft to you but a tidy home helps a tidy mind.

She will love her children and they will love her and even at her worst she will make sure the children are okay.

The BIL (DH) sounds like a tosser - she has taken too much on and something has broken the camel's back and when you "feel" like you are the only one coping, and when things get "sorted" then that is when you go off the rails.

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 07:17:23

WRT the BiL; if your sister recovers, I would bet my socks that she will separate from him

He sounds very unengaged and has probably been very unsupportive of your sister in parenting the kids (before the drinking). If he is less than a positive in her life, your sister will need to ditch that negative drain/distraction if she is to continue her sobriety.

He might want to consider that.

I would also bet that he is MASSIVELY co-dependant and petrified. He needs some help, Al-Anon meetings at the very very least

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 07:21:32

babylon can you persuade your dad to physically take your mum to an Al-Anon meeting?

Maybe he could scoop her up from your dsis house, and then give your dsis a couple of hours by herself

i think this is something you should be doing as a priority, rather than something to think about for the future....

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 07:46:45

there are loads of podcasts on this site, and literature to order i think, which might give useful insight into your BiL position; and also the danger in your mother becoming an enabler

I do agree with all the posters above about DM enabling-lont term it won't help plus she'll wear herself out.

However it is still early days. Maybe by just physically helping Mum can show her support, help DSis get the house straight (which *Babylon said is a tip) and then gradually withdraw with support of the rest of the family?

babylon hope you slept better last night.

catwoo Wed 19-Sep-12 09:19:08

'do agree with all the posters above about DM enabling'

I would imagine the sis will be experiencing some pretty unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.Surely she needs the DM i's help with cooking and cleaning to 'enable' her to detox.

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 09:22:16

problem is bossy gradually withdrawal takes tremendous effort and resolve; which is why so many people get caught up in enabling/co-dependant

They are going to do this; but for their own sakes, for the kids and for dsis they need to have their eyes wide-open

Its great now, whilst dsis hasn't had a drink. What is going to happen the first time they find dsis drunk in a heap, caked in vomit? will they withdraw all help and support immediately? Or will they clean her up and try a bit harder? What about the second time she falls off the wagon.....?

Indeed catwoo good point, she hasn't got this way overnight, it will be a long job & I think having her Mum around at least initially will be supportive.

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 09:24:32

and will DM feel 'hurt' and 'let down' after all her efforts, when dsis gets drunk? How will she deal with those emotions? will she blame dsis? will she argue with dsis?

Who knows MrD but if that's the way she feels is helpful then maybe for now that's what DSis needs. She has been hiding this for so long, whatever the outcome (and yes I'm not so naive as to think there won't be relapses) having the support of her family to try & get the house straight for the kids will be a one small step in helping her find her self esteem surey?

As a Mum I couldn't abandon my daughter in that state either, even if tough love is called for. She is doing things WITH her not FOR her.

Lemonylemon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:38:21

Babylon Stay strong. The can of worms has been well and truly opened and it's going to get messier before it can get better. Your BIL really worries me and I'm with other posters who have mentioned that his inertia may well be one of the factors involved in your sister's state.

Your Mum needs to look after herself and not overdo it - she'll burn herself out. Your Dad is rightly concerned about her, but I wonder if she's keeping herself really busy to stave off her heartbreak at the situation.

It is very, very early days, so it's possible that after a week or so, a kind of balance will start forming and your sister can start to get her act together. I'm hoping that your sister will start to make some sort of sense of it all in her own head too. I'm with MrDobalina on the separation issue.

Your BIL definitely needs to be taken to task. He cannot allow every other adult member of the family to shoulder this and not step up to the plate himself.

Could she not have done detox in hospital? I think it would have been far less chaotic. Our family member did several detoxes, some at home and some in hospital and only had the one child still at home.

I think it might be a good idea to talk to Social Services Babylon and get some extra help and support in, because it is still very early days.
Your BIL clearly can't cope. I'm amazed he at least didn't take the week off work, unless he can't get time off?

I realise living miles away and having small children there is only so much you can do yourself. What a nightmare situation.

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 09:53:10

Who knows MrD but if that's the way she feels is helpful then maybe for now that's what DSis needs.

but those questions and her answers to those questions are very very important. She needs to think about that and she needs to research alcoholism

I am not advocating leaving dsis to rot in hell because she doesn't deserve help, because i am a cold heartless bitch. I am saying that what appears to be 'helping' isn't always when it comes to alcoholics; sometimes (often) withdrawing from the alcoholic is the best thing for them

I can see that dm is trying to enable recovery and whilst dsis is not drinking that's all lovely. BUT as soon as dsis starts drinking and dm is cleaning up/shopping/doing the childcare you've slipped into 'enabling' territory.

When this time comes how is a mother going to walk away and leave her daughter to it? Its natural and normal to just want to *try a bit harder*/ don't tell anyone about the 'slip-up'/get back on track etc....a few 'slip-ups' down the line DM is feeling let-down by her dd/hurt/upset/angry....starts presenting her daughter with these feelings in another attempt to get her to stop...daughter has a drink to blot out her DM and her emotions/ the guilt she feels-blames DM for 'nagging' her and 'driving her to drink'

People end up bang in the middle of ^THIS before they know what is going on. And it is so so so so difficult to walk away from because by this point DM will feel like she ^IS partly to blame

If they are going to support dsis and 'enable her recovery' then they need to have very very clear plans of action for given scenarios IMO and the first one i think should be;

what is going to happen when dsis gets drunk the first time?
what will DM do when dsis gets drunk the first time?

Like I said before, if it was as straight forward as tidying the house and cooking and cleaning/ doing childcare for/with the alcoholic whilst they detoxed, alcoholism wouldn't be the problem it is, would it?

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 19-Sep-12 10:17:10

I think mrD those questions are all very relevent and should be considdered by everyone involved on a daily basis. I think where it becomes muddied is for the welfare of the children and that is what the original plan was set up for and I do think the original plan set out by Babylon and the crisis team and the family is workable but it does take the comitment of Dm to not over step those bounderies and enter into enabling territory.

I think earlier on in the thread, I for one was very quick to dismiss your questions about enabling, but after readind some of the literature we have posted on here I think im inclined to be coming round to your way of thinking.

I do think babylon you need to be addressing all of this with your Dm now. have you heared anything from childrens services yet?

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 10:34:42

enthusiastictroll can I ask you why you were quick to dismiss my concerns about enabling? not in an argumentative way; but because i think it might be

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 10:40:22

sorry...more to add! (I didn't bow out at all did i?! grin blush)

i worry that DM will shoulder responsibility for 'holding the family together'

this plan is set up from babylons POV (and the DPs?) to keep the children in their own home

when dsis drinks/gets drunk it is not DMs responsibility to hold it altogether so that the plan continues and children stay in the home. DM should be sure that her responsibility is then to have children or Dsis removed (if that is the plan...i think i understood that correctly)

lemonstartree Wed 19-Sep-12 10:49:50


She will love her children and they will love her and even at her worst she will make sure the children are okay.

I'm sorry but this is a bloody stupid thing to say. Alcoholics can't "make sure" ANYONE is ok. they dont understand, accept or admit the effect of their actions on anyone else. How can children who have been foced to watch their mother lying in a pool of her own vomit be 'okay ' - and this is just what we know about. It appears the children have told the safeguarding team about a whole load of other horrendous scenarios they have been witness to/involved with.

These kids are NOT ok. they are frightened, damaged and neglected emotionally if not physically. They are lucky that they now have a strong, capable, loving Aunt and Grandmother (and extended family) looking out for their interests. But their mother has not made sure they are OK

Please don't make comments about something you clearly don't understand. Or maybe you are making excuses for yourself ?

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 19-Sep-12 11:10:25

MrD I was quick to dismiss because I think the original plan the family have come up with was and still is the best way to support Babylons dsis and her children.

I also at the time thought that the crisis team where going to be very active in "protecting the children" I thought it was forming part of the child protection plan and there would be alot of input from services. But that seems not be the case now. So i felt that as much as your concerns where relevent I thought it was detracting from the plan that was in place and I wrongly assumed that it was putting negatives in the way.

I was looking at the plan more in terms of the best thing for the children and I probably underestimated the effects of "alcoholism" I think from reading some of the links and the review i poted myself the nature of alcoholism is very unique and is not always fully understood. I was guilty of looking at in anrrow perspecive of what is best for the children in terms of providing a supportive environment rather than "removing" them or thier mother.

What has altered my view mostly is because of what babylon has posted abouit her Dmum is taking on to much and trying to fix everything. i think what you say about crossing over the relms of enabling is in danger of happening.

I do still think that a supportive environment is essentail, but there are complexities with regards to the motivation from everyone involved and I think you have brought some very relevent concerns that need to be considered all the time, I think it would be easy for babylons family to get swept along and do things for dsis without the proper guidance and support from the relevent services.

Thumbwitch Wed 19-Sep-12 11:23:21

"even at her worst she will make sure the children are okay."

Yes, she was doing that while driving them around while she was drunk ,wasn't she hmm. It's pure luck that they haven't all been killed.

I get the impression that your Mum is falling into the enabling trap by being there and helping keeping this sinking ship afloat. It could well cost her health and emotional wellbeing in the longer term; it is vitally important that she speaks to Al-anon and ideally attend their meetings. She has to learn to detach with love.

I am not convinced at all that the intervention that has been staged will be effective in the longer term. Professional people can also play a role in further enabling (see the Merry go around called Alcoholism). Unless your sister is completely serious about wanting to address her alcoholism (along with her dependency on painkillers) this whole sorry state of her drinking and her family picking up the pieces and enabling will continue hence the merry go around analogy. People end up playing roles; the roles of the husband, alcoholic wife and dependent children are already well entrenched.

I am not surprised either that this has gone seemingly unnoticed for so long; alcoholism as well thrives on secrecy. Those children could well be affected by all this in their childhoods for the rest of their lives and it could all spill over into their adult relationships in terms of anger, feeling great responsibility for the other person etc. This is not a short term problem. This is the toxic legacy they have been left by their alcoholic mother and her enabling codependent husband.

"She will love her children and they will love her and even at her worst she will make sure the children are okay".

No because her primary relationship has been and continues to be with alcohol. Everything and everyone else comes a dim and distant second to this.

BabylonPI Wed 19-Sep-12 11:54:24

I am attending an al-anon meeting later today - I am going to do my damnedest to get DM to come too - she needs to.

BIL is still minimising everything angry

But how can the family step back & "leave her to it" when the whole idea is to help Dsis get the house straight For the children whilst the professionals do the counselling/support/detox of the alcoholic.

In sheer practical terms as said above the physical effects of detoxing I know can be horrendous.
IF Dsis is serious about giving up the booze ( and I know many fall off the wagon but we have to hope she won't even if statistically its very common) and IF everything is in place that can be from the support POV then having a better living environment for them all is going to help I would have thought.

DM may well be upset if her daughter turns on her later or is nasty to her but I'm sure this will be the same wether she intervenes or not & getting a basic standard of decent living for her DGC's is probably more important to her right now.

I do agree thought that all family members (particularly DH who seems to have totally abdicated his responsibilities it seems- possibly a coping mechanism?) need to get family & individual counselling to help get them through this.

BabylonPI Wed 19-Sep-12 11:56:32

I am completely drained sad

Not helped by DS who had me up 5 times last night hmm
I think he's ready to start weaning, may stave off his hunger a bit!!

Will update more later - I have a very rare opportunity for a nap and I'm grasping it with both hands!! smile

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 19-Sep-12 11:58:49

enjoy that nap grin

Good for you nap whilst you can, being drained is not good for you or anyone else!

mathanxiety Wed 19-Sep-12 19:59:09

BIL needs a big fat kick in the pants.

BabylonPI Wed 19-Sep-12 20:50:23

Nap was great and much needed thank you!

Al-anon meeting was not what I was expecting confused
There weren't as many people there as I was expecting there to be (only ever seen them on tv) blush

I picked up lots of information and leaflets and some good contact numbers too. I will go again, I think they could prove useful.

Dsis has had another ok day today - she has now completed 7 full days of detox. She has been jittery today, but otherwise ok.

BIL has also sought out some information re attending al-anon meetings for himself too. This has to be a positive step, yes??

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 21:15:47

I'm glad you went babylon how was it different to what you expected? I remember it wasn't at all what I expected, but I'm interested to here your opinion and preconceptions, if you want to share them grin

I never went to that many meetings in total. This thread has inspired me to go again smile

Some times you need to go a few times before it helps. And often, i found the usefulness kicked in days/weeks later after I had processed what people had said

did your mum go too?

It is good that BiL is finding out about Al-Anon. He is admitting there is a problem

BabylonPI Wed 19-Sep-12 21:42:19

The meeting was quite informal. I was expecting a circle of chairs where we all faced inwards and said "hi I'm BabylonPI and my Dsis is an alcoholic"blush
I did say I'd only ever seen these meetings happen on tv

Instead there were tables and chairs dotted about the room, with tea and coffee and biscuits aplenty!

The meeting leader was younger than me, which I wasn't expecting, but she was nice and assertive and definitely not full of jargon.

It was more a sort of Q&A session really, with the group leader answering many of the questions and making suggestions; but also asking the advice of two recovering alcoholics present.

We talked a lot about enabling, and about the things that are really helpful to recovering alcoholics and the things that aren't.

The first thing I picked up on is that I am still allowed to enjoy a drink - it's not a bad thing as my relationship with alcohol is healthy.

It's also not expected that we abstain from drinking alcohol in front of Dsis. I was quite surprised at this, however it was explained that abstinence by everyone else will not stop Dsis if she wants to drink. She also has to accept responsibility for her drinking and she needs to develop the ability to say no to alcohol.

In these early days, it obviously isn't a good idea to take her to the pub and buy her an orange juice, it isn't a good idea to take her to the pub at all.

However, eventually, like a diabetic says no to sugar etc, she WILL be able to sit in a social situation and refrain from drinking alcohol - that will be her choice.

I was there for just over an hour and it went really quickly. I've got to go again as I think there was just so much to take in, and I really want DM to come with me.
She couldn't come today as there was a meeting at dsis' house with some new medical staff who are taking over dsis' care.

I'm glad I went smile

BabylonPI Wed 19-Sep-12 21:44:57

Oh and I learnt that we shouldn't refer to recovering alcoholics as "being on/off the wagon"

That is definitely not helpful.

skyebluesapphire Wed 19-Sep-12 21:46:43

Im glad it was positive for you Babylon - and I confess that I thought exactly the same as you lol, that these meetings involve everybody sitting in a circle, lol. TV has a lot to answer for!

Everything sounds good at the moment, it seems that BIL is starting to take note of WTF is going on around him!!! and about time......

I was wondering how Dsis was getting on with detox. How is she in herself? Is this something that she wants to do?

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 21:53:25

I'm glad you are glad you went smile

The ones i went to we did sit round in a circle and introduce ourselves and people could say whatever they some people shared ALOT grin and some people 'passed' but would speak another week.

The first week i went i cried continuously, i could only manage my name. I felt such a dickhead. Someone held my hand and fed me tea and biscuits and didn't ask me anything. It was such a relief to let it all out, with people who just knew

I was surprised at the diversity of the people there (i had expected them all to be needy weak people) and the range of ages

I remember being petrified because most of them that were there because they had alcoholic partners...had left their alcoholic partners; and i didn't want to, I wanted to make mine stop drinking sad

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 21:55:42

We talked a lot about enabling, and about the things that are really helpful to recovering alcoholics and the things that aren't

what did they say about this?

lem73 Wed 19-Sep-12 21:58:45

As child of an alcoholic mother I'm not very sympathetic to your DSis. I do agree you can't help an alcoholic until they admit they have a problem but that doesn't mean the family has to sit and tolerate it until then. I personally wish my dad had been more aggressive because it might have shocked my mum into realising what she was doing to us. My advice is to be there 100% for the children. When one of my mum's friends approached me when I was 16 and told me she felt so bad for me I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Please do everything you can to support the children, practically and emotionally. It will make such a difference to them if you reach out to them.

BabylonPI Wed 19-Sep-12 21:59:46

I still feel that Dsis is being too compliant wrt the detox, but she's done it now.

She's been jittery and jumpy, lacking concentration, headaches, nausea etc, but I suppose it's like one hell of a hangover in a way isn't it?

She hasn't been properly sober in a long time, and she has admitted that she hasn't gone a week with a drink in at least 4 yearssad

She is adamant that she was sober during her pregnancies 4 and 6 years ago, and her DCs 3&4 show no signs of foetal alcohol syndrome.

She has been prescribed some diazepam to help calm her anxieties, but as yet she has not taken any. She is allowed up to 4 pills per day at regular intervals (6 hourly) and they are to be administered by either DM or BIL, she is not allowed to have them. They are being delivered daily currently as they have been advised to keep no medicines/painkillers etc in the house at the moment.

skyebluesapphire Wed 19-Sep-12 22:04:11

MrD - thanks for restoring my faith in television grin

seriously though, I think that these meetings are great help for those who attend them

When I was at school, a girl I sat next to for a couple of classes, went to ??Ala-teen"?? or something like that, a group for children of alcoholics. It was the only place that she got support

BabylonPI Wed 19-Sep-12 22:06:45


It was very general really.

Not helpful to take over and do everything
Not helpful to remove responsibilities and control over simple day to day stuff
Not helpful to remove money/cash/cards etc
Not helpful to constantly supervise/be there all the time
Not helpful to constantly talk and ask why etc

Doing any/all of these things are more likely to allow or enable a drinker to carry on drinking - except with more secrecy.

We talked a lot about being judgmental and feeling ashamed of the drinker too. That was a release for me.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 19-Sep-12 22:15:09

I think that is a good sign with regards to the diazepam though Babylon, that she has not felt the need to take any, I would have thought she has made that as a concious decision.

saffronwblue Wed 19-Sep-12 22:19:45

Babylon I am so glad that the meeting was helpful to you. I keep forgetting that you have a baby yourself and you are stoically doing all this with broken nights etc. Grab those nap opportunities when they come along smile

porcamiseria Wed 19-Sep-12 22:29:10

pleased you went and it was useful, remember this thread from last week x

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 22:37:00

babylon i have a friend who was a MH nurse in a detox unit-she said alcohol detox is far worse than heroin detox

so, yeah, i think 'bad hangover' doesn't even come close smile

have you spoken with your mum/dad today?

MrDobalina Wed 19-Sep-12 22:43:37

its from wiki, but it covers most of it i think;

Alcohol withdrawal

As with similar substances with a sedative-hypnotic mechanism, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, withdrawal from alcohol dependence can be fatal if it is not properly managed.[44][50] Alcohol's primary effect is the increase in stimulation of the GABAA receptor, promoting central nervous system depression. With repeated heavy consumption of alcohol, these receptors are desensitized and reduced in number, resulting in tolerance and physical dependence. When alcohol consumption is stopped too abruptly, the person's nervous system suffers from uncontrolled synapse firing. This can result in symptoms that include anxiety, life threatening seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, shakes and possible heart failure.[51][52] Other neurotransmitter systems are also involved, especially dopamine, NMDA and glutamate

Severe acute withdrawal symptoms such as delerium tremens and seizures rarely occur after 1 week post cessation of alcohol. The acute withdrawal phase can be defined as lasting between one to three weeks. In the period of 3 – 6 weeks following cessation increased anxiety, depression as well as sleep disturbance is common;[54] fatigue and tension can persist for up to 5 weeks as part of the post-acute withdrawal syndrome; about a quarter of alcoholics experience anxiety and depression for up to 2 years. These post-acute withdrawal symptoms have also been demonstrated in animal models of alcohol dependence and withdrawal.[55] A kindling effect also occurs in alcoholics whereby each subsequent withdrawal syndrome is more severe than the previous withdrawal episode; this is due to neuroadaptations which occur as a result of periods of abstinence followed by re-exposure to alcohol. Individuals who have had multiple withdrawal episodes are more likely to develop seizures and experience more severe anxiety during withdrawal from alcohol than alcohol dependent individuals without a history of past alcohol withdrawal episodes. The kindling effect leads to persistent functional changes in brain neural circuits as well as to gene expression.[56] Kindling also results in psychological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal becoming more intensified

DTs is not just the shakes;

Having seen several patients have the DT's in hospital it is not pleasant for the sufferer or supporters.

Babylon if you can persuade your DSis to take the valium it will help a lot, I can appreciate why she is trying to do without but it does help calm those jitters just a tad. It won't be a huge dose but needs to be taken consistantly to get best levels.

SO glad you found the meeting helpful & agree it would be good to get DM there in fact the whole family at diffferent times.

Jux Thu 20-Sep-12 00:13:36

Glad the meeting was helpful; it must have been such a relief to be with people in the same situation as you. I hope you manage to get your mum to go with you next time. I never managed to persuade my MIL to go to AlAnon, even when I promised to go with her. The result was she kept on rewarding SIL every time she spent the entire week's budget on booze, leaving BIL and herself with no food. MIL would just trot along, take SIL off to the shops and pay for everything, pick up the missed mortgage payments and bills. poor MIL never understood how that was the opposite of what was needed to get SIL to stop drinking.

BabylonPI Thu 20-Sep-12 10:23:15

Thank you so much for the unwavering support you have all given me, it is so appreciated. smile

I feel calmer and happier this morning, knowing that I am doing all that I can to support at the moment.

Dsis has this morning got all 4 DCs ready for school and has also cleaned up her own kitchen and got washing on etc, which to most of us is the norm, but hadn't been for her for quite sometime.

Small steps smile

BabylonPI Thu 20-Sep-12 10:26:30

Oh and also to say I have re-read this whole thread again this morning - what a difference a week makes smile

Homebird8 Thu 20-Sep-12 10:40:31

Small steps smile

corblimeymadam Thu 20-Sep-12 10:51:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Thu 20-Sep-12 18:16:39

sounds like positive steps babylon I am so glad for you that the commitment you have been showing is paying off.

keep strong belgianbun

corblimeymadam Thu 20-Sep-12 19:05:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BabylonPI Thu 20-Sep-12 20:18:59

belgianbun you have my every sympathy - you're right, it is hell.

Please feel free to hijack this thread for some support or a good old rant anytime you need to wink

corblimeymadam Thu 20-Sep-12 21:51:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Solo Thu 20-Sep-12 22:47:16

Gosh bb you have brought tears to my eyes sad

BabylonPI Fri 21-Sep-12 18:17:05

Well today DF has blown his stack with BIL sad

It would appear that all these years Dsis has had 5, not 4 DCs to look after angryangry

The car, which Dsis usually uses is desperate for a service, tracking etc and it was booked for this morning.

BIL was supposed to take the car to a garage 5 mins drive away, but 5 mins before it was due to be there, he realised that as Dsis isn't driving, he would be stranded - a whole 10 - 15 mins walk from home shock

So he phoned my mum to ask her what he should do??????

Oh ffs it's no surprise Dsis is an alcoholic if she has to look after him on that level too hmm fucking cretin angry

Well my DF lost it, told him to grow a pair, man up and find his fucking backbone!! And while he was at it, use his fucking legs to WALK home from the garage!!
The pillock said he couldn't walk as he didn't know the wayangryangryangryangryhmm

My DF put the phone down before he really let rip.

It is completely beyond me how a man of his intelligence, doing the job that he does, has so little common bloody sense angryangryangry

I mean really???angry

MrDobalina Fri 21-Sep-12 18:37:52

I like the sound of your dad babylon smile

what kind of person was your BiL, before you lost touch with your sister/ before the drinking?

He could be really fucking petrified/in a daze/ a bit a self-protection/ coping mechanism...a bit like is pretty traumatic and streeful living with an alcoholic

understanding why he is being like this (if he hasnt always being fucking useless) doesnt help the here and now though

sounds like they will need to be apart for them both to be able to recover though sad

skyebluesapphire Fri 21-Sep-12 19:45:02

shock at BIL, sounds like my ex. Couldn't organise his way out of a paper bag

Jux Fri 21-Sep-12 19:57:01

Oooooh, your dad's a good 'un! I did wonder how much your BIL had to do with your sister's state, particularly after your post on Tuesday, 21:53.

Do you think he's just a bit overwhelmed, or that he's got a bit of a rude awakening coming?

Homebird8 Fri 21-Sep-12 21:12:52

Those poor DCs. They've had nobody to turn to have they? Their DM an increasingly poorly functioning alcoholic and their DF no help, and scared to death to tell anyone else. My heart goes out to them and to all those of you who are trying to lift their lives out of the confusion which is engrained and all around them.

Babylon, sending you and your DF, who are keeping your heads so well, the strength and clarity to help them.

Yay! to your father.

mathanxiety Fri 21-Sep-12 23:08:59

The BIL is apparently perfectly capable and competent when it comes to work he considers a priority, and able to portray himself as a capable and functional individual to those who have kept him employed and perhaps even promoted him over the years, or he would be unemployed and not in some sort of senior position in his job.

He has clearly not prioritised his own children.

Thumbwitch Fri 21-Sep-12 23:21:20

Good grief - he doesn't know the way?? What kind of almighty idiot is he? If he can get his car from home to the garage, then he can get back from garage to home again. If he needs the sat nav to do it, then (Unless he has an uber posh built in version) he can take it out of the car.

I don't buy that he's in shock and suffering - if he was, then he wouldn't be functioning at work either. It also suggests that he has chosen to ignore his wife's situation for many years rather than being ignorant of it, and has just put all his energies into his work rather than his family.

Good for your father but dear god those poor children. sad
Perhaps they do need removing to a safe home, if neither parent is capable of functioning as an independent adult.

Homebird8 Fri 21-Sep-12 23:26:32

Exactly MathAnxiety. Well done to DF for telling BIL? My DH had to be shocked out of his 'work trench' as he called it but only when the fog had time to clear could he see where he'd been. I hope DF's words may have helped to do this for BIL and he can put his DCs first. I shudder to think what will happen otherwise...

TheOneAndOnlyMaryZed Fri 21-Sep-12 23:33:36

Bloody hell shock.

And I was feeling a bit sorry for him, because he was going to have to stand up and take over.

I'm beginning to think that this will end up with SS intervention and forcible removal of the children. I know dsis seems passively agreeable atm, but imo that usually signals "I'm waiting until they stop watching" rather than "I recognise I have a problem and I'm going to sort it".

ds tells me that three weeks is the limit. Addicts can last three weeks, then it all goes belly-up, so although it sounds hopeful at the moment, you can't really afford to relax yet.

Do remember to look after yourself. And make sure your parents do too. My friends parents nearly ended up very ill themselves after picking up the pieces.

BabylonPI Fri 21-Sep-12 23:39:46

3 weeks is what I was thinking before a lapse sad

MrDobalina Fri 21-Sep-12 23:42:05

thumbwitch dissociative disorder could definitely account for BiL being able to function fine at work, but become 'useless' at home

I have myself felt symptoms of Depersonalisation Disorder and PTSD from being married to an alcoholic

BiL is going to find himself short of sympathy though because he has failed to keep his children safe

There seems to be little benefit to trying to keep the children in the home at this stage I think. IMO lift the children to safety until the adults and their relationship has imploded and stabilized, and then see what is left to go back to.....

RandomMess Fri 21-Sep-12 23:44:26

Just shock at your BIL

Glad life is feeling a bit better a week on, but it's going to be a long slow haul sad

TheOneAndOnlyMaryZed Fri 21-Sep-12 23:44:45

ds1 has a major addiction problem. Every time he gives up (cannabis in his case), he gets a week of feeling quite proud of himself (despite horrific withdrawal symptoms), a week of thinking "I've beaten it" and then slowly over the third week starts to think "what's the point, life is no different" and goes back on it.

I hope you get another crisis meeting next week. Do you have a plan in place for the next time she drinks?

Unfortunately if their dad is as useless as he sounds, simply removing her isn't the answer; you will probably have to take them. Can you manage them for a month or more while she goes as an inpatient, because that is probably the next step.

Obviously I hope she is clear of it, but the law of probabilities indicates otherwise sad.

Thumbwitch Fri 21-Sep-12 23:49:10

MrDobalina (as a completely trivial aside, I keep thinking of you as a man even though you're not) - yes, I don't know enough about it really. Just doesn't seem right that he could be so feckless over walking home from the garage - if it has been cooking the dinner or something completely home-based, I wouldn't have been so disbelieving, iyswim?

MrDobalina Fri 21-Sep-12 23:55:26

AND thumbwitch he would have had to drive to the garage, so he does know the way!! hmm

But that's what made me think there was more to it than, just being feckless...? who's to know confused It would be nice to say, it doesn't matter, let him sort himself out, but unfortunately OP and parents are probably going to get involved in that sorry saga as well, because why he is a useless twat, is very relevant for 'what is best for the kids'...

Thumbwitch Fri 21-Sep-12 23:59:18

Well no, I haven't said "let him sort himself out" (and I can't work out if you're paraphrasing me at the beginning of your last post or those are your own thoughts, sorry) - he may well have dissociative disorder and he may well need help BUT the children have to still be the first priority of course.

MrDobalina Sat 22-Sep-12 00:06:32

lol thumbwitch no, that was all my own thoughts!

I didnt mean to say you had said 'let him sort himself out'.....I mean it reallY would be good to just let him sort himself out and not waste any time or energy thinking about him with all the other stuff to worry about

None of my previous post was disagreeing with you at all/put words in your mouth.....i was thinking out loud/agreeing with you smile

mathanxiety Sat 22-Sep-12 00:12:56

'There seems to be little benefit to trying to keep the children in the home at this stage I think. IMO lift the children to safety until the adults and their relationship has imploded and stabilized, and then see what is left to go back to..... '

I agree, and he needs to be assessed as to competence.

BoffinMum Sat 22-Sep-12 07:28:38

I agree with the others - kids need to be temporarily removed to extended family while their parents sort themselves out, whatever the reasons for their behaviour.

Thumbwitch Sat 22-Sep-12 08:13:18

I am a bit dim sometimes, MrDobalina! Probably due to babybrain, sorry! smile

mistlethrush Sat 22-Sep-12 08:29:08

Babylon - I was just wondering whether there was anything you could do to make a transfer to your home as speedy and painless as possible if its needed?

I hope that you can perhaps take the children out for a day again.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sat 22-Sep-12 08:57:44

has there been any child protection meeting yet.

I have only just caught up with your update, Im shocked at BIL, there is something giong on with him for sure, wether that be that he is a uselesss fecker who is behaving deliberatly obstructivley or there is something else underlaying as MrD suggests.

Has your ds experienced DV at the hands of DB, I just wonder as this could be explination that he is being deliberaltly obstructive as to keep Dsis down.

I have no idea really justy looking for explinations for such odd behaviour from him.

Jux Sat 22-Sep-12 12:27:00

I think that there is no one in your dSis's home who is competent to look after the children during the night. Though there are people around during the day etc, that's not so much when the kids need you. Can they go for a 'holiday' to yours, or GP's home? They know what's happening, and would probably be mightily relieved when all's said and done.

Hi Babylon,

Yes maybe an extended holiday with the GP's & you just chilling when not at school & being part of proper family life would be ideal.

How are they doing with all this upheaval at home, are they OK at school, hope their teachers are being understanding & supportive?

puds11 Sat 22-Sep-12 15:29:58

Maybe BIL is worried that if DSIS sobers up she will realize what a useless fuckwit he is.

How are you doing Babylon?

garlicnutty Sat 22-Sep-12 15:51:24

Hi, Babylon smile Just sending you a supportive cheer from the sidelines!

Not surprised to hear about BIL. Something prompted your sister to try and hide from reality after DC2 was born. Maybe she'd been making excuses for his failure to muck in with DD1, then realised she was in for a lifetime of single parenthood with a whingeing partner for extra points. Conjecture. Well done, your Dad!

Really glad you 'got' Al-Anon and are planning to go again. Keep making time for you! <waves pompoms>

Pumpkin20 Sat 22-Sep-12 20:00:36

<<<Babylon and family>>>

Would COAP (Children of Addicted Parents) be helpful to you and the DCs? Don't know anything about them except that I remember them being mentioned on the telly recently. Might be useful for the eldest especially to get support from others in similar situation, just as you are getting from MN?

Just a thought.

BabylonPI Sat 22-Sep-12 21:42:33

I typed out a long post and lost it sad

I'm ok thank you, tired but ok.

Will check back and update tomorrow.

MrDobalina Sat 22-Sep-12 22:35:26

i hope you are having a peaceful weekend babylon

MrDobalina Sat 22-Sep-12 22:37:09

thumbwitch its probably me, I don't think I express myself very well in this media...i should use more emoticons smile smile grin wink

skyebluesapphire Sat 22-Sep-12 23:05:46

MrD - (I also keep having to remind myself you are not a man, lol)..

I think you express yourself fine. I am glad that you stayed with this thread as I think you have been very helpful to Babylon. grin smile grin

It is great to see Babylon getting such support on here after being so helpful to Lou

BabylonPI Sat 22-Sep-12 23:30:14

You are all so supportive and I appreciate it so much. smile

BabylonPI Sat 22-Sep-12 23:39:19

Today was not such a good day.

We found another hiding place with dsis' stash of vodka sad

She had hidden it in the garage and got really pissed off when DM found it sadangry

I'm glad it was found - not because she can't now drink it, but because it emphasises and confirms that Dsis cannot yet be trusted - she really is waiting until we're not watching anymore (at least that's how it seems).

It also brings it home to DM that a sober week does not cure an alcoholic.

There is a plan in place whereby the DCs can be lifted quickly and without fuss to either mine or GPs house.

BIL isn't a bad person, he has a severe lack of common sense. For someone with his level of intelligence, it's quite scary.

He's a good dad in his own way - lots of patience for the DCs etc, but treats them all like little adults, so doesn't really parent them IYSWIM.

He doesn't exert any control or authority over the DCs and he wouldn't have a clue about discipline.

I struggle to have a conversation with him as he's so bloody intelligent and we just don't have anything in common at all sad

BabylonPI Sat 22-Sep-12 23:40:25

Thank you also for the various links to support groups etc, again it's very helpful and definitely appreciated smile

MrDobalina Sat 22-Sep-12 23:43:09

i'm just going to sleep, so will be brief;

it is advisable not to look for hiding places. And don't throw any alcohol away that you find. Leave it. Don't tell dsis you have found it

Thumbwitch Sat 22-Sep-12 23:43:34

Babylon - that's often the case with high intellect people - they seem to use all their brain energy on intellect and leave none for "common sense".
But you do have something in common - the children. And he needs to start changing his focus from his intellectual pursuits to his children, so I suggest you start talking to him about his children a lot more - try to make him understand that they are still too small to be independent and still need care and guidance. If necessary (don't know his field), describe them as a "project" to him, to get through to his intellectual side so he actually takes an interest in them.

Glad you found the stash, despite its implications. Hope there aren't too many more - is there a garden shed? or a drain cover?

Thumbwitch Sat 22-Sep-12 23:44:26

Xposted with MrD - that's interesting - why would you leave it there, MrD? To prevent enabling again?

TheOneAndOnlyMaryZed Sun 23-Sep-12 00:46:36

Yep, throwing it away just makes them feel justified in feeling resentful "of course I wasn't going to drink it" and "I forgot it was there, proof that I'm not an alcoholic".

Leave it and see if it is drunk.

You can't stop an alcoholic from drinking. You simply can't. Only the person themselves can decide to stop.

MrDobalina Sun 23-Sep-12 00:50:02

because you achieve nothing positive by throwing the drink away;

the alcoholic can always get more
it makes them angry
it will intensify any craving they have
they will just find a better hiding place next time
you affect your own self, by becoming a person who is always looking for the hidden drink, which is not a healthy supportive role
you cant control the person or their drinking

anecdotally...a husband of a friend kept his bottles under the floor cant go ripping up floor-boards looking for drink can you...its crazy

Thumbwitch Sun 23-Sep-12 00:51:06

Thanks both - wouldn't have thought of that aspect of it blush

Jux Sun 23-Sep-12 01:51:55

Babylon, please don't be taken in by the impractical, head in the air scientist boffin, brain the size of a planet but can't tie his own shoelaces stereotype. My dad's IQ was more than 3 standard deviations above normal, so were most of his friends', and so was my mum's, my little brother's and my big brother's is off the scale somewhere around the 200 mark apparently (but the psychologist said that the numbers become meaningless when they get up there).

The more brainy you are, the more easily you can see what needs to be done. It's sheer laziness that he doesn't pull his finger out. He's using his intellect to dump all responsibility for the day to day stuff on everyone around him. It's an excuse, because the day to day stuff is boring. I really am beginning to see why your sis took to the bottle.

mathanxiety Sun 23-Sep-12 03:35:40

'I struggle to have a conversation with him as he's so bloody intelligent and we just don't have anything in common at all'

I don't know about people of high intelligence being difficult to find something in common with -- unless they make it difficult. Please consider the idea that this is part of his defence mechanism against reality. If he wanted to find common ground, I think he darn well would. If he was seriously up himself and inclined to look down from some lofty height at the rest of humanity, and get away with making as little effort as possible with children, practical day to day life, and a relationship with his wife, what better way than to be aloof because of his alleged superior intelligence?

What I am saying is there is a chance he is choosing to be unapproachable, and choosing to make others feel inadequate in the face of his intellect. That sort of choice comes from the realm of personality and not intelligence.

BoffinMum Sun 23-Sep-12 09:34:42

I am another one whose IQ is enormous, hence my MN name, but I am sure we could have a proper conversation if we met. Everyone takes a dump after breakfast, as they say. We are all human and IQ is such a small part of who we are.

Don't be intimidated by someone who can't read a map and who is an accessory to letting his children play in sick. He's not that clever if he has let his family get so fucked up, is he?

garlicnutty Sun 23-Sep-12 09:41:55

Absolutely what Jux and Math have said about brainy people. I come from a family of very intelligent people and have some very intelligent friends. In no way does it render normal behaviour and/or conversation impossible. Some have a superiority complex and can't be bothered - but you don't need to be brainy for that, just an arse with an inflated ego!

If you feel blindsided by BIL, bring out your bullshit detector. He's got no more right to manipulate you than anyone else has (ie, none).

Agree with Mr D about the booze you found. If it was somewhere daft and you can't leave it where it was, box it up and put it on a shelf - labelled.

One of my family members was desperate to chuck my wine away while I was in rehab. They told her not to. If she'd thrown it out, I wouldn't be 'choosing' not to drink at home; I needed to control that choice myself.

Sounds to me like he has been burying his head in the sand about his wife for long enough and is quite happy for you and your mum to do all the dirty work for him Babylon. Maybe you need to sit him down and all tell him how it is and he needs to get with it?

fiventhree Sun 23-Sep-12 11:04:49

Babylon, my strong suspicion is that BIL has long been unsupportive- he didnt even seem to know when/whether the kids were meant to be in school, did he, and he was not taking much notice of the problems previously.

Now you have stepped in, he is leaving it all up to you and basically his wife's family to sort. First he ignored his own problems at home, then he has absolved himself somewhat, then you all stepped in, and now he just lest you know when he has a problem which his wife was expected to deal with.

I think your DF was right to bawl him out; he needed to hear it.

I can also attest that it is less than fun being at home with 4 plus (I had 5) children with one of those h's who love their work, get all their kicks and status from it, and even more so if you have any problems at home, because they view home as somewhere where their own egos are stroked- when that doesnt happen enough- after kids- they stay at work, and in my case, eventually find OW.

My h also treated the kids like 'little adults', and needs to have everything explained to him. He wuld only help if asked, or nagged, etc etc. Of course, everyone liked him outside the home, very fun to be with and easygoing and all that.

I also dont think it will help to look for alcohol in dsis's house. If you find it, you should let child protection and BIL know, because it just confirms she isnt serious. Cross when you found it??? What does that tell you? That she really isnt serious.

Poor you and the rest of the family, including the children. In an ideal world your sis and BIL would be shut on a desert island for 6 months and forced to sort themselves out.

garlicnutty Sun 23-Sep-12 11:13:16

I don't want to appear to be insisting she will stay sober - I don't know - but I don't think the existence of vodka in the house is evidence of a plan to cheat. She will have bought supplies before the intervention.

FWIW, I kept 18 bottles of wine at home. They were too good to throw out! (And had been 24 the week before I went to hospital.) You could always ask her what she wants to do with the vodka - it may be a bit soon, I don't know. Can you get advice on that, Babylon?

mathanxiety Sun 23-Sep-12 16:01:33

I agree there GN. She will have laid down a supply like squirrels bury nuts. (Some alcoholics have been known to hide vodka in containers that once held other things, like white vinegar bottles, witch hazel bottles, etc.)

BabylonPI Sun 23-Sep-12 22:10:56

I have told DM she needs to read this thread now as she is getting very narky about the negativity I am displaying towards dsis.

I've tried to explain I'm being realistic but she's having none of it angry

I've emailed a link to this thread and told her to read it - every single post.

Was that a good idea?

PipsWife Sun 23-Sep-12 22:25:41

Yes very good idea.

(Delurking - know you from LouP's thread.)

It will be good for your DM to read what advice and experiences others have been through.

Thinking of you Babylon - horrible situation and those poor poor children.

MrDobalina Sun 23-Sep-12 22:27:56

i don't think its a bad idea

couldn't say whether it will help her in anyway...if she is determined you are being negative, wont she dismiss any 'negativity' on here also??

what specifically have you gained from the thread, that you think is important to her?

Maybe your mum, would like to ask us some questions?

BabylonPI Sun 23-Sep-12 22:35:35

I think my DM will assume I have exaggerated the advice I have got here, or dramatised it or something so it'll be useful for her to read exactly what I have said.

I have learnt so much here in terms if alcoholism and how it effects the whole family, stuff that I'd never have thought of really.

I think DM is desperate to believe that Dsis is on the road to recovery and anyone who dares challenge that is taking away hope IYSWIM - I don't want to take her hope away, but if/when Dsis relapses I think it will be better if DM is prepared, rather than it dropping on her like a ton of bricks and it being another massive crisis point.

Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know confused

I'm not being deliberately negative though. There are positives and I'm trying very hard to recognise them too.

MrDobalina Sun 23-Sep-12 22:43:04

i've started and deleted a thread many times today...there are a number of people that i know whose experiences i want to share with you...but i'm not sure how useful it would be;

i think when you are in the stage your mum is at, it is easy to dismiss other peoples experiences, believing your own situation is different.

so i think this is what i want to make you aware of;


MrDobalina Sun 23-Sep-12 22:48:34

I think DM is desperate to believe that Dsis is on the road to recovery and anyone who dares challenge that is taking away hope IYSWIM - I don't want to take her hope away, but if/when Dsis relapses I think it will be better if DM is prepared, rather than it dropping on her like a ton of bricks and it being another massive crisis point

i think this is EXACTLY right and VERY important

i know some success stories. They haven't featured in any of the advice i have offered because i know that in you/your families situation you are desperate for your sister to stop drinking for good. Its really common to cling to the 1 success story in a sea of a million bad-outcomes, and it helps no-one; sister included

EldritchCleavage Sun 23-Sep-12 23:08:10

Delurking again to say:

I think you and your father are amazing;

Babylon's mum: please don't shoot the messenger. Babylon is right. I know a couple of alcoholics and their stories are desperately bleak, and recovery is very slow. It is two steps forward, one step back at best. Much as you want to, you can't do this for your daughter. She has to try, fail, try fail, cheat, fail, try, try etc until she does it. Herself.

Agree with Jux and Math about the BIL. The 'no common sense' thing is an affectation designed to allow him to opt out of parenting.

achillea Sun 23-Sep-12 23:49:28

My main concern here is the children. Having an unpredictable family life like theirs must be very hard and very damaging. It's good that you have had a good relationship with these children in the past and perhaps it will help you to focus on them rather than DSis as you can make a real difference with them.

How does DSis feel about potentially losing her kids? Also, how does her gormless 'extra child' feel about losing them?

Has anyone discussed emergency plans with the children? I know if I was little I would definitely want to know what would happen if I called someone in an emergency - so far they have probably avoided asking for help because they will have been scared of losing their Mum or being taken into care. There is something really not right about the fact that gormless DP has failed to support her, he has perhaps been keeping things quiet for the same reason the children have, and that is not a good sign.

mathanxiety Mon 24-Sep-12 05:50:51

The family has to take it one day at a time just as you would if you were the alcoholic going to AA.

(It's not one day at a time with the children and the BIL. For that, looking at the present with an eye to the future and at what went wrong in the past so as to make better plans for the future and avoid past bad habits is important, and of course seeing to all their needs in the here and now is vital..)

Leaping ahead into the future or dwelling on what happened in the past to set her on this path are both examples of not taking it one day at a time.

Maybe your mum could try to see it that way. If she is a person of faith maybe she could sit with this awhile:

'God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can,
and wisdom to know the difference'

My heart goes out to her. This has to be the most horrible shock, a true living nightmare. Your Dsis is her own child.
Try to be gentle with her -- not everyone can always be on the same page or going at the same speed, especially at such an early stage in the game. She needs support.

TheOneAndOnlyMaryZed Mon 24-Sep-12 08:39:00

Oh, God, MrDobalina, that link describes my friend absolutely. I didn't realise there was a term for it.

She may not be actually drinking alcohol any more, but she has channelled her behaviour into other things. She is bitter and resentful, she is horrible about her husband, manipulative with her children, and has turned her addictive behaviour into spending money. She is as unhappy as she was when she was drinking - but insists she doesn't have a problem because she is actually "dry".

It makes scary reading.

Babylon, I think you are doing very well. I recognise that you are trying to protect your dm for the shock if (and I hope it doesn't happen) your sister relapses. But math is right, one day at a time is the way to go.

And (in my experience) the people who do best are the ones who recognise they have a problem. If your sister is saying at this stage "oh it was a bad patch, but I'm fine now" then she isn't. If she is saying "I'm really in trouble, this is going to be a long road", then there is more chance of her doing well.

My thoughts are with you and I wish you all all the best smile

SpicyPear Mon 24-Sep-12 11:36:30

Hi Babylon. I posted a few pages back about my DGM's alcoholism and have been following your thread. Really impressed at how you've responded to this situation and glad that posters like MrDobalina are giving tough but great advice.

I've delurked to share a bit more about DGM. Didn't want to mention it before as it was probably too soon, and I'm not saying this is what will happen to DSis, but just putting it up in case it helps your DM understand how this can work.

Basically, DGM drank for 40 years until the day she died in hospital aged 70 with cirrhosis of the liver. This was despite having a loving family, DCs and DGCs trying to help her. Many times over the years she ended up in hospital at death's door and was repeatedly told by doctors that she was killing herself. It is frankly miraculous she lasted as long as she did. For several years DM refused to take us to see her because she was in such a state. Still, nothing was bad enough for her to overcome her denial. Until the day it killed her she "just liked a little drink now and again, what's wrong with that?" and the doctors/family were trying to ruin her life. DM went to hell and back emotionally trying to support her to recover. Every detox had a time limit because she did not accept the problem and did not want to stop.

I think this was at least partly because she was protected from hitting rock bottom by circumstances. The death of my DGF prompted the drinking but also meant she had a mortgage free house and widow's pension. Not masses but enough to keep a heated roof over her head and whisky in the glass. If sharing this helps anybody protect themselves from the rollercoaster of believing every crisis/detox is "the one" that will cure them, I'm pleased to write it. It really is one day at a time and you cannot love an alcoholic better. This doesn't mean they won't recover, but the sooner these things are understood the more the heartache can be minimised.

fiventhree Mon 24-Sep-12 12:16:32

I agree with all that has been said here.

Can I add also that, professionals would agree, but add a positive and true note that each true attempt at recovery is of value, because even if the alcoholic fails, s/he has learned something new about what she needs to do to succeed next time.

Also, if you are the mother of a child with addictions, I dont think it is actually possible to believe in advance that the first attempt will fail. You have too much personal investment in the outcome, because of the closeness of the relationship, and you need that hope. In fact, I think it is often only after three or four times that the penny drops that:

- you cant do it for them

- the safety net may be part of the problem

- criticising the addict doesnt help either- they need love, but not to be removed from consequences of their actions- a very tricky balance to pull off

- you are not a bad person/parent because your child has developed these issues.

BabylonPI Mon 24-Sep-12 19:45:04

Thank you again for all the new posts and replies.

DM has read this thread and will continue to follow it.

She hasn't said a lot, but then there is a lot here for her to take in. She has printed off the information link about the dry drunk, and has today taken that up to Dsis for her to read.

She won't share this thread with Dsis as we both think that will be unfair at the moment.

Still working on those small steps smile

MrDobalina Mon 24-Sep-12 21:25:32

<squeezes Babylons mum's hand>

BabylonPI Mon 24-Sep-12 22:12:49

She'll like that mrD, thank you x

TheOneAndOnlyMaryZed Mon 24-Sep-12 22:45:32

I also really feel for your mum ((((((hugs))))))

I think the position of being the mother of an addict (as I am) makes it much more difficult to deal with it all dispassionately, because of the guilt. I spend so much of my life thinking "if I had done things differently/loved him more/been more or less strict/etc then he wouldn't have had to turn to drugs".

There is a huge need to fix your child, because you blame yourself for them being broken sad.

It has taken me years to get to the point that even if I did cause his problems, I still can't fix them. He has to do it himself. Your mum will realise that over time.

She (and you) also need support - someone independent to talk to would be great for her. Counselling gave me the space where I could talk honestly about ds, whereas I couldn't talk to people in real life because I felt I was betraying him.

achillea Mon 24-Sep-12 23:47:50

So sad, all of this, but there are some very astute posts, by some very experienced posters -

Mathanxiety - (It's not one day at a time with the children and the BIL. For that, looking at the present with an eye to the future and at what went wrong in the past so as to make better plans for the future and avoid past bad habits is important, and of course seeing to all their needs in the here and now is vital..)

Lemonylemon Tue 25-Sep-12 09:43:56

(((hughs))) Babylon's Mum.

It's all so very sad. How are the children?

BabylonPI Tue 25-Sep-12 23:31:23

Hi all

Still small steps, but still not had a drink which is good.

Children have all said how much calmer things are, and how nice it is to have a routine again.

Gave Dsis info on the dry drunk - she will read and digest it.

Feeling positive but apprehensive if that makes sense confused

Will update more tomorrow <knackered> smile

garlicnutty Tue 25-Sep-12 23:48:35

"Positive but apprehensive" makes perfect sense!

Good to hear from the DC that they're feeling more secure - and able to say so smile
Happy dreams, Babylon & family.

Babylon'sMum You are amazing, doing what you are doing for your daughter & the grandchildren,it must be so hard and heartbreaking.

Can't add to the great advice here already but lots of hugs & strength to you.

Babylon that goes for you to of course! Hows that scrummy baby of yours, hope you still get time for lots of cuddles?

BabylonPI Wed 26-Sep-12 16:16:18

I have just spent a rather lovely few hours with DM and dsis.

We've chatted a bit, I did a bit of ironing because I like it and find it very therapeutic we laughed, which was nice.

Dsis has had a kick in the teeth in the shape of dvla. Because she has been officially diagnosed as alcohol dependent she has to either volunteer her driving licence for 12 months or dvla will revoke it for 12 months.
If she had been diagnosed as suffering from alcohol misuse (rather than dependent) it would be 6 months.

I actually don't think it's a bad thing, but it does have huge implications for the school run over the next 12 months.

She was pretty gutted, and though I've honestly said it's not something I can help with (I have to get 2 of my own DCs into school each day) I will try to find a way to support her through it.

BIL being very unsupportive/uncooperative wrt this too sad

Basically he works four long days each week and has a day off each week. If he were to work five shorter days and not have a day off, he would be able to do the school run at least once a day - but he had the audacity to say that if he does that, when would HE get a break?angry

I was furious when I heard him (on phone to dsis) say that.
I shall ask him next time I see him when dsis gets a break or a day off, because even though she's a SAHM days off don't come easy with 4 DCs sad

I shall also be suggesting that Dsis starts to look for some p/t work. BIL can sort childcare for once.

Grrrrrrr angry

SpicyPear Wed 26-Sep-12 16:34:55

Very pleased that you've had a nice day and some laughs Babylon. That's great.

It's a shame for the DCs that your BIL is about as robust and useful as the proverbial confectionery teapot. I am shock. Could they arrange a taxi on account to take the DCs and DSis?

In recognition of your excellent work supporting your family I would like to make you a generous offer of an overflowing basketful of ironing to do grin.

BabylonPI Wed 26-Sep-12 17:04:13

Thank you!!

I really do love ironing and mowing lawns - if I could set up a business I would!!! grin

Your BIL really has not got a clue has he? angry

I second getting a taxi sorted out- HE can bloody pay for it too.

What did Dsis do workwise before the kids came along? Could she pick up something along the same lines or something less stressful for the moment?

Jux Wed 26-Sep-12 19:38:19

So this 'amazingly' intelligent bloke is really just another selfish twunt, then. (Excuse my language MamaBabylon).

Glad that despite his lack of care, you are all becoming relaxed enough to enjoy time together.

achillea Wed 26-Sep-12 19:45:22

Is there another parent at the school that can take the children in?

achillea Wed 26-Sep-12 19:45:37

I mean in to school, not in for good. smile

BabylonPI Wed 26-Sep-12 21:04:08

There are other parents who have offered to help yes.

BIL is indeed a selfish twunt angry

BabylonPI Wed 26-Sep-12 22:03:48

Dsis used to be a specialist cancer nurse before DCs smile