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Discussion in 'Personal' started by parttimeplease, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. My Mother in law is an alcoholic. She dried out last August and has been doing so well since then, really getting back to the woman we know then has crashed. For the last couple of weeks she has been drinking - we have found alcohol hidden and I have smelt it on her. I knew there was a high chance that she would relapse but I feel so let down and angry.

    I have been taking my 3 kids (her grandkids all under 4) to see her once or twice a week but she can't even stay sober for our visits. I am trying to remember that she is my husband's mum and I know it is hell for him but I can't face going to see her knowing that she is drinking again. I feel so naive to have thought that her grandkids and the thought of looking after them would keep her sober. I know that there is little that I can do to help, and in my head I have resigned myself to the fact that we just have to plan a future without her but I suppose I am just wondering if anyone has any advice on what can be done. I'm hoping I will just feel better after 'getting it off my chest'.

    Don't want to go on about it to my husband too much as I know how awful it is for him and how helpless I feel so thought I would just vent on here. Don't expect anyone to reply with a magic solution but just wanted to write it down.
  2. Writing it down does help. My /sister in law had the same problem and even being in hospital was not the wake up call it should have been. If she is hell bent on distruction then there is not a lot you can do. You might get some advice from here.
    best wishes to you and your family because it is so hard to deal with esp when you love them so much. But you do need to do what you can and feel is right for your own children to be honest.

  3. oliverferret

    oliverferret New commenter

    My ex father in law is an alcoholic dating back to my ex's childhood. He has now been sober for about 10 years but when my children were young we refused to take them to see him and would not admit him to the house if he had been drinking. My ex had many unpleasant memories of his father crawling around the floor so drunk that he could not stand and we did not want our children to see him like that.

    His family always made it clear that they were there for him if he wanted help and he had several stays in rehab (sometimes staying sober for a year or more), the turning point for him was when he spent several days sleeping rough (not sure why as he still had a home) and was picked up incoherent and rambling by the police.

    Now sober, he and I are still on good terms and he comes and visit once a week- he's now a much loved grandad.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is you can't sort out her problems and you need to do what is best for your children and for your family.

    (((to all of you)))
  4. doomzebra

    doomzebra Occasional commenter

    If you have not already done so, stop taking the grandkids to visit her and tell her exactly why. If not, she will not see her behaviour as anything but 'normal'
  5. I can only echo what has been said.
    Climber's step dad and his mum were both alcoholics, him chronic and she was getting there.
    You can only look after you and yours, your husband and kids.
    MIL will have to do it for herself.
    If like mine your OH needs someone he can moan to and not be judged then that is probably your best role with him (Al Anon is good but may not be his thing, Climber never went). I spent many years allowing him to shout and rant about his mum and then allowing him to contradict himself and love her unconditionally, my job was to remind him that he was allowed both feelings and shouldn't feel guilty about anything. He was very conflicted and, some 11 years after her suicide, still is!
    You will need to find some support for yoruself, I never did. Which may be why I always respond and offer help when I read posts like this. Feel free to PM me if you want to rant and rave in a more private space.
    Good luck ((hugs))
  6. Quite a few friends and relatives are alcoholics. It seems the older you get the more of your acquaintanceship joins them. I tend to ignore them during the drinking phases and then act as if nothing has happened when they have dried out. It is a rare alcoholic who never falls off the wagon again, and although it's a shame for your husband to have this worry and your children to effectively be deprived of a grandparent, you can only make the best of it. It's out of your control and you just have to work around it.
    I feel so naive to have thought that her grandkids and the thought of looking after them would keep her sober.
    Were you planning for her to be your childminder?
    Just as a tangential observation, now that my own generation are becoming grandparents, I am surprised at how many of them, especially if they aren't the childminder or otherwise don't see their grandchildren that often, are looking forward to seeing their own children on visits far more than their grandchildren.

  7. Somehow that makes me feel quite sad. Another nail in the family coffin!

  8. Me too. My grandparents, and even my mum, very obviously cherished the time they spent with my children (their great-grandchildren and grandchildren) to the extent that I sometimes felt a bit excluded.
    I totally agree with the advice given to the OP so far. It's probably better that the children see their relatives in the best possible light.
  9. I meant it the other way round: they don't feel the same excitement at seeing their grandchildren as they do their own grown-up children. Proximity is the key to love. It may be an expectation too far that anyone who rarely sees them finds your children as precious and wonderful as you do.
  10. Ah, I wonder how the children feel?
    In fairness, lots of us think our children are much more wonderful than other people do!
  11. Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my post and for sharing your experiences and views.

    Today I have been busy packing for a holiday that my husband booked for us last minute and I can't wait. Think getting away for a few days just us and the kids is just what we need.

    Hopefully things will improve but who knows, and my job is to keep my family safe and happy and that is what I will focus on. Such a terribly sad situation though.

    Thanks again for support and hugs x

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