Alcoholic brother 3 kids care

(347 Posts)

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Deadcatbounce Fri 23-Apr-21 08:04:06

Hi All,

Grateful for some advice on this.

My brother is an alcoholic, every now and again he goes on a bender for a week or 2 and is in a very bad way during this time, been to rehab etc and lots of family support in the past

This time, situation has changed somewhat as his wife has a job so she has asked my 80 year old mum to look after the kids and drive them to school etc for a few weeks, kids staying woth my mum, 8 9 and 12. All different schools

My AIBU is my mum can't cope, she is in tears most days over the situation and is exhausted , widowed a while back and not coping with the stress of my brother health and looking after the kids

I've moved back to my.mums whilst I can WFH for the next few weeks and can do breakfasts and dinners and clean etc but it's not a kong term option

It sounds harsh but I feel like saying to my brother and his wife, this happens twice a year and mum can no.longer cope with it, you need to sort yourselves out and stop dumping your 3 kids on her for weeks at a time, the alcoholism has been going in for years , we have tried everything but it hasn't worked and my brothers wife is a bit of an enabler and not able to stand up to my brother

Help at wits end after seeing my mum in tears all day yesterday and not sleeping

OP’s posts: |
FelicityPike Fri 23-Apr-21 08:05:35

Tell them!

Deadcatbounce Fri 23-Apr-21 08:06:33

Should add my brother is still drinking at present and has just checked out of work and family life, not coherent on phone at any time, tired to get GP or referral to rehab buy they all require him them not us

OP’s posts: |
AmyLou100 Fri 23-Apr-21 08:08:19

Yanbu!! They are actually abusing your poor mum. How can she take care of 3 kids and cart them around. No these two CF need to be confronted with their behaviour. You standing up to them is actually not enabling them. I would be furious that they are doing this

sunflowersandbuttercups Fri 23-Apr-21 08:11:43

They're taking the piss - your poor mum!

If your SIL needs to work then she needs to arrange appropriate childcare and kick your brother out, not palm the kids off on your mother for weeks on end!

PathOfLeastResitance Fri 23-Apr-21 08:12:30

Has anyone been in contact with the schools? This COULD be a source of support. If you and your mum are so heavily involved you can contact them yourselves. They may not be able to talk about the children directly with you but once they are aware many schools may have systems and processes of support. Each school is different in their offer.

MyGorramShip Fri 23-Apr-21 08:12:58

The problem isn’t your SIL.

It’s your brother.

SycamoreGap Fri 23-Apr-21 08:16:45

It sounds like your poor SIL is pretty desperate for support. As for not standing up to him - what do you realistically want her to her? An alcoholic is only going to stop drinking when he wants to.

FeelinHappy Fri 23-Apr-21 08:20:19

Harsh to call them CFs, it's hardly rosy for SiL.

Tell them. Of course tell them. All this "being too polite to mention it" is ridiculous. They simply need to know it's untenable and things have to change. Your poor SIL probably has no idea how tough it is for your mum.

Bagamoyo1 Fri 23-Apr-21 08:23:30

What do you expect your SIL to do?

lunar1 Fri 23-Apr-21 08:27:29

Presumably your SIL is the only one keeping a steady income and a roof over their heads. Have you sat down and talked about the situation, does she realise how much your mum is struggling?

Deadcatbounce Fri 23-Apr-21 08:33:22

Hi, brother runs own business and has had a high income for many years , money is not an issue. Nice home etc

SIL got a part time job last year when kids were older

The problem is my brother but it's impacting everyone else and my mum this time just cannot cope with looking after 3 kids for weeks, plus worrying sick about her son. He phones periodically and is either abusive or apologetic but drink so hard to know what he is saying.

OP’s posts: |
someoneiou Fri 23-Apr-21 08:34:09

You're being incredibly harsh on SIL. What is she supposed to do here?

You call her an enabler because she won't leave your brother? She's probably in tears herself most nights trying to hold down her job, make sure her kids are safe, and try to support her husband. She probably can't leave but know this, she wants to.

What is the alternative for your SIL in this situation, tell us?

Hobbesmanc Fri 23-Apr-21 08:34:32

Alcoholism is an illness- although I understand it's harder to keep sympathy levels high when proper treatment isn't been sought. I feel desperately sorry for all concerned- your sister-in law, your mum and most of all the kids. I was that child of a relapsing alcoholic parent and it scars for life.

There's no real simple solution for this- but at eighty, your mum needs to be honest about her struggle. Can your SIL call on friends to maybe pick up the school runs?

Deadcatbounce Fri 23-Apr-21 08:34:39

Yes me and other family members have told SIL that my mum is not coping at all

OP’s posts: |
Deadcatbounce Fri 23-Apr-21 08:36:00

We have offered to pay for alternative accomodation for SIL and kids for 6 months near schools but offer refused

OP’s posts: |
gottakeeponmovin Fri 23-Apr-21 08:37:31

I think SIL needs a nanny.

CuriousaboutSamphire Fri 23-Apr-21 08:37:40


The problem isn’t your SIL.

It’s your brother.

At the moment the problem is her brother, the SIL and her mum, OP included. All are currently enabling him and have become enmeshed. There is something quite casual about the way OP describes the idea of rehab - which isn't that easy to get into. It shows that she, OP, has become inured to this, it has become her family norm. Look how she has moved in with her DM to help too!

@Deadcatbounce none of that is blaming any of you in any way. I have been there myself, I know how weird it is when you wake up one day and see the alcoholic as they are and the rest of the family too.

The ONLY thing each of you can do is decide not to do anything for DB any more. No help, no support, no caring, no dealing with the fall out. Just a constant "No!" you won't facilitate it any more.

Contact Al Anon for yourselves. They are great at letting you talk it through, finding yourself again after time spent tring to manage or fix an alcoholic, they won't judge and won't set you any tasks, that isn't what they do.

But you all really do have to remember that you cannot change DB. You can only change yourselves, so work on that!

You didn’t cause it
You can’t cure it
You can’t control it

It's harsh but the reality is each drinker will take down as many family members as will stick around long enough. You can only do what you need to do and the drinker has to do the same. You absolutely cannot do that for them.

And it is shit! You will hate yourself for a while, others will judge you, everyone will feel sorry for him, for SIL, the kids etc. But the long term best you ALL can do is save yourselves.

Again, yes, it is shit!

20 some years on from our first decision to walk away we now face another - and it is weird but reassuring to know that we won't engage, whatever happens, though I have used here to vent about it a bit!

Best of luck.

Bluntness100 Fri 23-Apr-21 08:38:49

Honestly I think you’ve a bit of a neck calling his wife the enabler when quite frankly you and your mother are doing rhe exact same thing. If you two can’t say anything because he’s so wasted,what’s his wife to do other than get the kids to safety. And the only option is she leaves him too for that period, but potentially that could be a fatal decision.

If he’s not in any state to be spoken to, and couldn’t understand you need to speak to his wife. Thr children can’t be in the house when he’s like this. Can she find an air bnb and move out. I can see why she wants to work snd gain some independence from him, but this is a horribly difficult situation. She will need to find paid child care.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 23-Apr-21 08:39:23

If money really not an issue then SIL needs to make arrangements as if she were a single parent because that is in effect what she is.

Maybe fine to rely on you while she puts that in place but not long term. Your mother is too old at 80 to have three children living with her and having the daily care of them and responsibility for them.

Thatisnotwhatisaid Fri 23-Apr-21 08:43:05

You're being incredibly harsh on SIL. What is she supposed to do here?

What do other people do who don’t have extended family capable of or willing to look after their DC? They pay for childcare and that’s what SIL will have to do too. They are married so I assume she has access to a joint account of sorts, she needs to pay for a childminder rather than relying on your elderly Mother who cannot cope.

Your brother is ultimately the issue of course but it’s obviously your Mother who is suffering most here.

Ugzbugz Fri 23-Apr-21 08:44:09

This is utterly unacceptable. Who would they rely on if your mum was in hospital say or lived miles away or happened to be on holiday?

Deadcatbounce Fri 23-Apr-21 08:45:37

SIL thinks this bender will end in a few weeks and things can go back to normal again for a few months until the next one.

However this is not an option , mum can't cope and neither can rest of us

Pattern used to be once every 6 months or so but seems to be getting worse

OP’s posts: |
CuriousaboutSamphire Fri 23-Apr-21 08:51:06

You and your mum can only step away, say no.

SIL, like your DB, has to come to her own decisions. If you carry on facilitating her, your mum etc then nothing will change. I know the change that will happen is bloody scary, nobody deserves any of this, but life after an alcoholic is so very much brighter for all concerned.

And no, I am condemning your DB. There are a few alcoholics at various stages of recovery on here, they will say/have said the same, when they choose to deal with it they will deal with it and family members can begin to be supportive - though that needs to be well managed. But they have to do it for themselves.

Waxonwaxoff0 Fri 23-Apr-21 08:51:40

If money is not an issue then SIL needs to pay for childcare or hire a nanny or au pair. It must be incredibly difficult for her but it's unfair to ask an 80 year old to do so much childcare for 3 children.

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