To speak to my FIL about his drinking?(41 Posts)
We are currently staying with FIL and his girlfriend for a few days at the start of our holiday.
FIL got drunk last night out for dinner, slurring his words and being very loud and repetitive.
Today, they invited some friends over for a BBQ and he was completely plastered by 4pm, falling over, not being able to talk properly, drooping his glass etc.
He has always been like this and his long time girlfriend is at her wits end. He's had some heart problems over the last few years and is on medication and should not really drink more than the occasional glass.
Can I tell him that I really don't like our children seeing him this way?
In fact, we won't come and visit if his behaviour continues?
Or should I just keep my nose out if it?
I should add that sober, he is a lovely, warm, thoughtful, generous man and a fantastic grandad. But he seems to have no control over his drink at all.
Maybe it would be better coming from your husband?
Ex FIL is an alcoholic - I did not allow him to see DC when he had been drinking but ExH was supportive. I think you have to do what's best for your DC (which is not seeing their GF drunk).
Maybe organise to see him only when he's likely to be sober: you will not be able to control him or change him. He has a problem, he will not stop and will no doubt deny the there is an issue.
See if DH wants to talk to him, or craftily arrange so you only see him when he's guaranteed to be sober.
What you want to say will cause a huge shitstorm. In fact it probably will too if it comes from your DH, but at least he is his son, so much more inclined to listen - if not agree -
YANBU to not want your DC around him pissed. I would feel the same. Talk to your DH.
Thanks for the replies. They live abroad for most of the year so once of twice a year we visit and stay with them which makes being selective about when the DCs are with him pretty much impossible.
I will talk with DH today. He removed himself from the situation yesterday by saying he had work to do. I know it upsets him too.
FIL isn't an aggressive man. Am I being naive to think that us saying we will keep his beloved grandchildren away might be the wake up call he needs?
I have a dearly loved family member who I don't stay over with the children with. We meet up regularly but in the daytime- it helps that he's aware that he drinks to pass out so never drinks
or eats at lunchtime.
How old are your DC? This has to come from your husband btw. I can't imagine my DH having to sort out the situation with my relative because I did of course.
I think I'd tell your dh that until he sorts it out you and the dcs aren't going to stay with FIL
I know this situation. My own DF was an alcoholic. The fact that he wouldn't see his DGC grow up made no difference to his drinking. I understand how difficult this all is, but I really don't think that not visiting will change the situation. You can't make him change, only he can make that decision. You either have to decide, with your DH, that you don't see him with your DC or you do and have to make the best of the situation. For what it's worth, I'd go for the latter. Better for your DC to have a relationship with him than not, given that as you say when sober he's a lovely man.
I have several relatives who are alcoholics. We never stay with them. Regardless of their relationship to us or the kids. Because of their drinking.
Personally I wouldn't be staying there again.
Hopefully it will be his wake up call, but unfortunately most alcoholics have to hit absolute rock bottom before they admit it's them and not everyone else.
I honestly wouldn't be able to take my DC, I'd be so uncomfortable and anxious. I agree with PPs, tell your DH he can go on his own, but you and the DC are not going until this is sorted. Do not let him guilt trip/shame you, you're protecting your DC.
removed himself from the situation yesterday by saying he had work to do. I know it upsets him too.
That's your real problem. When someone's drinking is a problem scurrying away and leaving your wife and dc to deal with it wouldn't amuse me at all. It's not your job to deal with his drinking its your dh and the long term girlfriend's. If he drinks like this I'd follow dh out if the room with dc in tow around I wouldn't let him hide and leave me to deal with it.
Why would you not let him see your children, though? That seems like an overreaction. He's got to sort this out on his own, I'd stay well clear of it.
You 'talking' to him will make not one jot of difference, it should come, if at all, from your DH.
If you are guests in his house, not much you can do really apart from not use it as a holiday any more.
I agree with pp, he won't change his life because of you not visiting now and then. You say he's lovely normally.
Your dh needs to say something. Completely yanbu to say you won't stay if FIL is drunk.
That's your real problem. When someone's drinking is a problem scurrying away and leaving your wife and dc to deal with it wouldn't amuse me at all.
Except the children of alcoholics often have no other way of dealing with their parent's drinking. Scurrying away is often a lifelong habit, formed when the child had no ability to do anything else.
DH did much the same. He knew how bad his DM and SF were, but managed to be in their company and remain oblivious simply by using the tricks he had learned as a child - a mental Screen of Invisibility would descend and he would be fine, I would be left trying to make things normal!
OP, have a conversation with your DH - once you are no longer with FIL - and ask him how the two of you can deal with the issue, protect your kids from it. Don't ask him to fix it, talk to his DF, etc. Focus on your family unit.
As for the long term GF, she has her own decisions to make. Don't be tempted to join her in her misery.
Why would you not let him see your children, though? That seems like an overreaction.
Why would you want your children to stay with a man who is falling down drunk by 4 pm? In my case we stopped seeing my alcoholic FIL because it was physically dangerous for them - he was leaving lit cigarettes in ashtrays on the floor when they were at the crawling stage, hiding bottles of booze where they might find them, and in severe danger of falling over them. For older children, it just isn't good for them to see someone they are supposed to respect becoming incoherent, objectionable and stupid on a daily basis.
Not staying there in future, and making sure the FIL knows (maybe via your husband) is what I think you should do.
You or at least your DH needs to say something it's not fair for your DC to see this . However from bitter experience please do not for any minute believe that will be his "wake-up call"
Talking to him will not make the slightest bit of difference. I've been working in addiction for 9 years and if a talking to fixed my clients I would have been made redundant years ago! You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them (not) drink.
Fruit you may work in addiction but dealing with it in family situations is very different. Your clients will have a variety of relationships with their families and those families will be facilitating/ enabling/ avoiding difficult situations in a way that would be inappropriate for you to facilitate it or suggest as your role is
I hope to move them towards long term sobriety, rather than deal with the consequences of drinking day to day.
My family member and my children are very close and he's still drinking- we've just come to arrangements whereby they don't have to witness it. As they're growing older they may well stay over, but while they were younger I shielded them from the direct effects. How old are your dcs OP?
Thank you all so much for the posts. DH and I have talked and he is going to speak with his dad today (it's our last night here tonight so a nice restaurant has been booked, with nice wine of course).
And I realise now that I'm living in cloud cuckoo land to think that it's going to stop FIL drinking completely. But I hope that he will be able to agree to stay sober when the DCs are here.
The one positive is that my son has said he will never drink alcohol because he doesn't want to get like grandad.
Apocalypse of course I understand that personal relationships are different, but the outcome is the same. People will not stop using/drinking unless they really want to. Of course professionals can edge those who are ambivalent towards pre contemplation, through the use of therapeutic interventions, but telling a loved one off like a naughty child is not going to have the same effect. At the moment it sounds like the OP FIL doesn't even realise that he has a problem. He's probably not going to take too kindly to being told he has to sort his drinking out. In fact it could alienate him.
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