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What do you do when an alcoholic visits?

(19 Posts)
Possibilityofanisland Fri 12-Aug-16 19:38:35

Mil is an alcoholic. She is staying for a few days and is already all over the place.

DH looked in her bag and found a Schweppes bottle full of gin.

The DC are so happy to have her here and she plays kind of nicely with them probably because she's pissed

Every visit is the same these days. DH has confronted her in the past and she denies it. She has been an alcoholic his whole life, with various phases of functionality.

She's helped us out a lot over the years and she's very sweet but it's so horrid knowing she's drunk most of the time.

I don't know what I want from this, just needed to tell someone.


Bluetrews25 Fri 12-Aug-16 19:53:09

Don't let her babysit. Ever.
Other than that, not a lot you can do, is there?
I had one like this, too. It didn't end prettily.

PotteringAlong Fri 12-Aug-16 19:55:55

Don't let her babysit
Never get in a car with her
Don't leave her alone in your house (gas left on, fires can happen etc)

AlfrescoBalconyWanker Fri 12-Aug-16 19:58:40

Supervised access to DC, always.
Lock up your own booze.
Go through her bags and car to find out where the rest of her booze is.
I used to strategically place stairgates around if I/DC wanted peace and quiet - she couldn't work them out so we could go upstairs or in the garden and she'd be stranded.
Don't let her push the buggy or hold hands near the road.
Also remember that she probably won't remember anything you say so don't be worried about being rude or abrupt if she oversteps the mark with the DC.

And don't have her over to stay again.

Thefitfatty Fri 12-Aug-16 20:02:45

Other than the obvious,not leaving her in charges of DC's. Let it go. My nan was a raving drunk, but I never really knew it or cared. I saw her once every few months so it wasn't an issue.

HubrisComicGhoul Fri 12-Aug-16 20:07:41

Don't let her drive them anywhere, or have sole care of them. Other than that, if the children are happy I'd leave it. Although you need to keep a watchful eye and step in if they start to seem uncomfortable.

For context, my mother is an alcoholic and these are my go to rules for visits (which thankfully only happen every 18 months or so.

It's hard watching a parent drink themselves to death even though I'm pretty detached from her, so support your husband as he's going to be struggling with this flowers

junebirthdaygirl Fri 12-Aug-16 20:08:05

You could tell her she's welcome to come but one sign of drunkenness she is on her way home. Its hard but ye have to be tough. I have dealt with this in my extended family and zero tolerance was the only way to cope. Relative off drink for 3 years now.

Possibilityofanisland Fri 12-Aug-16 20:48:25

She's passed out on the sofa hmm

DH seems to take it all in his stride but I know it's very upsetting for him. She was dry for a few years but has slowly been building up again and now she's back to hiding booze and drinking secretly in the day.

We don't let her babysit or drive etc. We are always near when she's with the children.

Her visits are carefully managed and she only comes every 4 months or so. We don't visit her.

It's just so bloody horrible. The huge elephant in the room. I wouldn't talk to her about it unless DH asked me to.

My grandfather was an alcoholic so I know a little of what it's like. Poor DH.

whattodowiththepoo Fri 12-Aug-16 21:54:21

I feel for you and DH and also envy him seeming like he can take it in his stride.

newworldnow Fri 12-Aug-16 22:34:27

If its only every now and again and she's sweet and kind and you give her nil responsibility let it go. You are not the police.

category12 Sat 13-Aug-16 07:12:47

Fgs don't go through her bags, that's massively inappropriate. hmm

It's difficult to watch but as long as she isn't a risk to the dc, that's all you can do.

kittybiscuits Sat 13-Aug-16 08:25:55

It really isn't all you can do. You and your OH have a choice as to whether or not you let her into your home to behave like this. It sounds awful for your OH and I really wouldn't inflict this on my children.

vxvz Sat 13-Aug-16 09:08:28

The elephant in the room - walking on egg shells - it is always hanging over you all.

Your DH is the classic (adult) child of an alcoholic - he is not taking it in his stride - he is avoiding confrontation and humiliation.

He will have been shamed all his life, watching and anticipating her every move. Dont let your DC endure this.

I would look at al-anon for you and your DH - loads of advice on line. Detached love - no enabling/covering up - letting them hit their rock bottom is their approach.

Good luck - we are now dealing with MIL who is now disabled by her alcoholism - look up "alcoholic leg" - v common in women.

myownperson Sat 13-Aug-16 09:19:55

My Dad and his wife are alcoholics. Drink from when they get up many days.

The last time I saw them was a year and a half ago. I hadn't seen them in years and it was the first time they had met my youngest. They spent the whole visit drunk and I hated it.

My Dad drank throughout my childhood and it was awful and I realised I did not want drunk people around my children. It also made me very sad. I had had enough of joking it off, pretending I was ok with it.

So I decided I wouldn't have them to stay again. I haven't been asked though as they've completely dropped off the radar. I don't know how it would be if you had to explain to your MIL.

Possibilityofanisland Sat 13-Aug-16 16:01:18

I know it's hard for DH and we've spoken about it in the past but he has his own ways of dealing with it and I respect that.

As for going through her bag, in normal circumstances I would agree that it's totally out of order but DH wanted to know if she was drinking as she was behaving very strangely. It's pretty inappropriate to turn up to someone's house and proceed to get drunk on your secret vodka so I think we can call it quits.

I don't think I'm the police either. I'm not trying to police her behaviour. I am trying to ensure it doesn't impact on my DC though.

It's a very difficult situation to deal with, for me anyway.

myownperson Sat 13-Aug-16 16:32:14

Possibility Im guessing maybe some posters don't know what it's like to deal with a secret drinker. To wonder if you're mistaken, to think maybe this time they might actually be sober. To know in your heart they are somehow sneakily drinking but to feel bad for thinking that. After all who sits with their grandkids getting secretly drunk. Which must make you pretty angry.

I don't know if any of that is true for you or your DH but I just wanted to say I completely understand checking in her bag.

Dealing with a secret drinker is such a mental and emotional drain.

I think it's a very difficult situation to deal with. flowers

AlfrescoBalconyWanker Sat 13-Aug-16 16:46:28

To know in your heart they are somehow sneakily drinking but to feel bad for thinking that. After all who sits with their grandkids getting secretly drunk

Indeed. I also used to think who on earth could be drunk at 10am in the morning and how could they remain drunk throughout the day if I'd hidden all my alcohol and they didn't have a bag and I was with them constantly.

PrettyBotanicals Sat 13-Aug-16 16:50:44

Sadly the booze will always be more important than family.

You can detach and pit boundaries in place and your DH is not obliged to spend another second with someone who doesn't have his welfare at heart. flowers for you both.

Possibilityofanisland Sat 13-Aug-16 18:02:18

Thank you for your understanding and kind words.

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