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Brother-in-law Alcohol and Drug Abuse

(42 Posts)
GinAndTeaForMe Sun 27-Nov-16 16:56:28

My BiL is an alcoholic and dabbles with street diazepam. I found out about this some years ago when he came 'clean' to everyone and decided he was going to seek help. Whilst I was aware things weren't perfect, I didn't realise, perhaps naively, that now he continues to abuse drink and alcohol.

Speaking with my sister today she told me about recent events whereby my BiL was out of it, for want of a better phrase.

Sister and BiL are supposed to be looking after my son overnight for the first time in a couple of weeks. Husband and I now feel this cannot happen.

What thoughts do people have on how I go about this? Whilst I feel I can be honest with both of them, I am so worried about the impact this may have on my sister, who told me today that she is at the end of her tether. Her mood is low and she is feeling very alone

ConvincingLiar Sun 27-Nov-16 17:00:10

Can sister come to your house alone to look after DS?

GinAndTeaForMe Sun 27-Nov-16 17:01:50

She could, and I'm sure she would. I am concerned about the impact it may have on her me asking that though...

Maybe I am overthinking?

GinAndTeaForMe Sun 27-Nov-16 17:02:42

It feels as if it means brothers addiction is affecting her in another way l.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Sun 27-Nov-16 17:12:00

I don't think you can intervene I'm afraid. Your BIL needs to decide to change and no amount of help or interventions will work unless he has decided he wants to stop.

You don't mention how bad your bil's addiction is. Perhaps his use has lessened since he sought help? He may be having the odd binge or need alcohol or drugs to function day to day, there's a huge difference. Until an addict's life is severely impacted by their drug use, they are unlikely to change. That impact could be losing their job, financial difficulties, partner leaving etc..

You can however be there for your sister and support her emotionally. She may feel ashamed and that is the reason she hasn't divulged the extent of the problem. It would be great if you could be someone she can turn to. There are also support groups for partners of alcohol and narcotic abusers she could look at online.

As far as the babysitting goes, why not have your sister over to your house? I assume she is capable of babysitting on her own?

mrscarrotironfoundersson Sun 27-Nov-16 17:14:48

Well of she's at the end of her tether perhaps this is the great excuse she needs to kick this dick out of her life? No chance in hell would I let my child stay for an hour, never mind overnight, with someone with those additions.

mrscarrotironfoundersson Sun 27-Nov-16 17:17:33

To be honest, I'd be wary of her looking after him at your house too. What if he's cross you've taken this stand and turns up at the door - is she going to turn her DH away?

UnbornMortificado Sun 27-Nov-16 17:34:44

Diazepam will kill you! I ended up in a coma for 5 days and a mental hospital for 9. It wasn't a huge overdose either.

I feel sorry for your poor sister sadno I wouldn't leave my child with him.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Sun 27-Nov-16 17:35:31

It's a big leap to assume that because he drinks and takes Diazepam ( a valium like sedative) that he won't let his wife out or will react aggressively or abusively if she is asked to babysit?

Some alcoholics use Diazepam when they are not drinking because it lessens the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (shaking, nausea, anxiety) so they can function during the day. This might be the case with your bil?

Best to be honest with your sister; You don't approve of her husband's alcohol and drug misuse and don't want your children around it. If her husband has always used drugs and had friends that do, then perhaps it has become almost 'normalised' for your sister?

Your sister may need a reality check from you that it's not acceptable around children, and she doesn't have to put up with it.

GinAndTeaForMe Sun 27-Nov-16 18:37:21

Thank you all. The comments are appreciated.

I agree that perhaps my sister has normalised behaviour.

I wish there was something I could do to help her.

I do think I have to be honest. I hope it doesn't cause too much upset. It is of course such a sensitive subject.

mrscarrotironfoundersson Sun 27-Nov-16 18:41:24

Why is it a sensitive subject? (Genuine not goady)

Sounds like a bit of bluntness is what she needs. Why don't you feel you can offer any help?

ohfourfoxache Sun 27-Nov-16 18:42:10

All you can do (whilst being honest) is to emphasise that you're there for her no matter what

GinAndTeaForMe Sun 27-Nov-16 18:52:30

Mrscarrot, I feel it's sensitive as sister is very secretive about it. She is ashamed and speaks very little about it. I worry that me saying I don't trust her husband to look after my child is another blow for her.

GinAndTeaForMe Sun 27-Nov-16 18:54:19

I would never allow him to look after my son, to avoid saying that by the way, but if ever lying if it hadn't crossed my mind to just cancel the night away and say room was double booked golf something. I appreciate honesty is the best policy though.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Sun 27-Nov-16 19:15:55

I think it is a sensitive subject. It won't be easy top tell your sister that you don't like her husband's behaviour or want your child around him, particularly if you've never voiced your opinion before. She might react defensively, get upset or minimise his addictions. She might also feel she cannot bring her dh to any future family gatherings.

Nevertheless, it's a conversation you need to have with her. Try not to be accusing or judgemental. You can explain it's not that you dislike bil, it's his addictions you can't be around. Good luck.

NicknameUsed Sun 27-Nov-16 19:22:14

I agree with Ilost. You do need to have this conversation with your sister. She isn't responsible for her husband's behaviour, but if she is looking after your son she is responsible for him and she needs to understand that it isn't appropriate for her husband to be around him.

Why can she not come to your house alone and look after him?

mrscarrotironfoundersson Sun 27-Nov-16 19:31:26

Ah, I understand, you don't want to drive her further away (to his way of dealing with it).

Dozer Sun 27-Nov-16 19:34:19

Honesty is best. Perhaps offer support if/when she decides to end the relationship.

GinAndTeaForMe Mon 28-Nov-16 10:27:21

Thank you.

IrregularCommentary Mon 28-Nov-16 11:39:12

You have my sympathies OP. We're dealing with a similar issue ourselves, and it's a really difficult situation. The desire to not rock the boat and not upset people is very strong.

However, you know it has to be done as you can't leave your dc in that environment. All you can do is be as non judgemental as possible with your dsis and be there for her if she decides she needs support. Good luck.

Haffdonga Mon 28-Nov-16 11:50:45

Of course you mustn't leave your ds with BIL and you must tell your sister why. By being honest about this with your sister will help her because
- you are not letting BIL's behaviour be brushed under the carpet and be hidden by your sister (out in the open is easier for her to ask for help)
- you are not letting BIL's behaviour be normalised (your sister's living with it day to day and may have a distorted impression of what's bearable)
- you can openly offer your sister your support. (if you make some vague excuse about the event being cancelled then she will get the message that you aren't able to discuss this)

lemonormelon Mon 28-Nov-16 13:58:56

I agree with haffdonga.
Being in a similar position to your DSis myself I know it would be awful for her if you were to make an excuse as she would feel you were trying to distance your family and yourself, not only from her DH's behaviour, but also from her. She needs to know you are there for her but won't tolerate his addictions around your DS. Offer her the opportunity to come to yours to babysit, make sure she knows you're there for her whenever she needs you.

MrsCarrot it's not as straight forward as you seem to think. OPs DSis isn't in need of a wake up call, she needs support from those who love her. Believe me, shunning her because of her DH's behaviour will not help her in the long run and will only serve to isolate her even further.

Please update us OP. Hugs to your DSis, hers truly is an awful position to be in

GinAndTeaForMe Tue 29-Nov-16 11:31:04

I am going to speak to my sister about it today. I feel nervous. It is very unlike my family to actually be honest with each other about any problems, but here goes!

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 29-Nov-16 12:10:19

smile Sounds like my family.
Good luck, I'm sure it will go well. You're really coming from a place of concern for your sister and a need to protect your child so keep that in mind if it starts to get a bit heated.

GinAndTeaForMe Tue 29-Nov-16 13:14:27

I have spoken to my sister. She was very upset, and tried to reassure me that her dh would never be drunk outside their house.

She doesn't want the responsibility of telling her dh, so I will contact him.

She was silent towards the end of the phone call, but did say we think it is worse than it is.

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