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Dealing with a Drug Addict

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Old 05-25-12, 04:59 PM
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Default Dealing with a Drug Addict

I'm going to try to keep this very very brief.

My mother in law is a drug addict. My wife is not 25 and thinks her mom started when she (leslie) was in high school, so she's had to deal with it for a while. When I first met Leslie she told me so this isn't something I went into blind.

Here's the problem, she's not a constant addict, she goes on binges every so often. For years her faminly, Leslie and me, and friends have tried to help her but nothing works. She just moves from relative to relative and manipulates everyone into feeling sorry for her. While no one thinks she'd do anything to directly hurt the kids we both agree she cannot be trusted.

If it were up to Leslie and I we'd totally remove her from our lives at this point. The hard part (and reason for this post) is the kids. Leslie feels like it would be punishing them to cut her from out lives. I'm not so sure, I feel like maybe it's better to do it now than to have them realize at a later date the truth, or worse case have to deal with a OD or something like that. To make things even worse she totally uses the kids as pawns and makes all these statement along the lines of "the grandkids are the only thing I have to live for" etc. which are vague threats to harm herself if she can't see them. The really sad part is I don't think she cares about them per say, I think she thrives off of the love and attetion the kids give her (because no one else does at this point).

My wifes current solution is that she can see the kids at our invitation and discretion and only under our direct supervision.

Has anyone dealt with anything along these lines? I just feel lost and a little powerless due to the fact I have to pretty much do what Leslie feels is best because it is her mom.

Sorry to lay this on you guys, this has been going on for as long as I've been on the BabyCorner and I never wanted to really talk about it, but I could really use some advice at this point because we've basically accepted that she is not going to change and we need to "adapt".
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Old 05-25-12, 06:37 PM
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I am so sorry you and Leslie are going through this.

I haven't wanted to say anything either, but wish I had as well. About a week and a half ago my brother died from a heart attack due to complications from alcohol. He was 45. He suffered with extreme alcoholism, and has for about 15 years. I have spent the last 3 months preparing for the day when the police comes to the door. And they did. This has been the hardest days I've ever had to endure, which is why I disappeared from here last week. I'm slowly healing, but this will obviously take some time.

We did everything, as you have. Up until about 6 months ago my entire family had spent our time, money and all our resources helping my brother, giving him places to live in our homes, driving him to and from rehabs every few months, both near and far, cleaning up behind him as he drank, providing for him financially. We got him into a sober house in Boston. He stayed sober the longest in Boston (about 9 months). We were all so grateful that finally something had worked. But he decided he was better, came home, and started drinking again in December of 2010 and things got worse again.

I rarely use let my kids around him. About 9 years ago, he lived here with us. It was heart wrenching the day I had to comfort my daughters after an incident with my brother and answer their question: "What's happening to Uncle Mike, Mommy?" They were in hysterical crying, and very confused and scared. We told him to leave. After that my girls were only allowed to see him when he was sober. But they just couldn't look him in the eye anymore, or play with him or talk to him like they use to. I was not going to let my children witness that ever again.

We stopped helping him about 6 months ago, and cut off contact. He always knew he could call us, but we stopped keeping track (as much as we could), cleaning up the messes, and watching him kill himself, and tried to create some kind of life that didn't involve looking after him all the time. It was very painful to do this to him. And he begged us not to.

In alanon, they tell us, not to give anything, including money, items, or even too much of our time and it took me about a year to realize, that everything I was doing was only making it worse, enabling him and making excuses for him. Seems like the worse thing to do, yes. And it took me a long time to not help. I really wish I could have done more, but I know I couldn't. No one could. There really is nothing you can do once the power of drugs and alcohol take over. And it rips families apart, and causes so much pain all around, even for the young kids.

He stopped asking to live with all of us and tried so hard to get sober and stay sober on his own. The alcohol has gripped him to point of no return and his rooms that he left in our homes, became storage units while he roamed from town to town and motel to motel working as a traveling car salesman. He was so talented when it came to sales and business.

He never did reach bottom, even though he had lived homeless up until about a month ago when social services got him an apartment after another sobering up period and a week long stay in the hospital, which we thought was to sober up. No, it was his heart and blood pressure.
 
So I am thankful and very grateful that even though he was alone when he died, he had a roof over his head and was sober.

I wonder, if we had cut him off sooner, would he have gotten to the point he did? That I will never know. But now I feel guilty that maybe should have listened to the counselors at the rehabs a little more.

I miss my brother so MUCH, and I am trying so hard not to feel guilty, to focus on the good times from so long ago, and to let go of the "where's Mike? Is he ok?" questions that have haunted my mind every day for years. But that is very hard to do.

Like you, I've been carrying this around with me for a LONG time, never really wanting to speak of it, but only to a select few. But now more than ever, I see the importance of educating and sharing my brothers' and my family's story so that hopefully it will help another.

If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to post. There are others' that are going through or have gone through the same as you.

But I can tell you this. You should never have to adapt to anyone's addiction. You just need to adapt to pain that is caused from it.
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Thank you Elizabeth!
raabta01 (05-30-12)
 
Old 05-29-12, 04:20 PM
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Thank you so much for your response, it was probably just as helpful for you to type it out as it was for me (just to release the emotions/anger/etc.). The main issues I have are it is such a gray area as to if you are helping or enabling and you just never know. The other big issue is this is my mother-in-law, nothing I can say or do will be as effective as if I was a blood relative. Leslie does for the most part agree with me 100% but she'll always have a tiny bit of a soft spot for her mother, and I do understand that.

Right now we're pretty much done with her. As I said before the issue is the kids. She's never used or been under the influence around them, but they still get the negative side effects; wondering why they can't spend the night with Grandma anymore or why she keeps breaking all the promises she makes to spend time with them, etc. The kids still love her and that makes Leslie and I the bad guys when we make restrictions.

Thanks again for the advice, and I'm sorry for your struggle and loss.
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Old 05-29-12, 10:37 PM
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I have been in your wife's shoes but it was all throughout my childhood and into my adolesence. I decided in high school that I was finished allowing her to be the conductor of my train--a train that constantly derailed, yet I continually got back on in hopes of arriving at a different destination, only to find that it would be derailed by the same selfish conductor every time--and decided to take control of where my train was going. (*She only had custody of me until I was 2 but was in and out of my life from age 7 until I made the choice to stop seeing her.)

Unfortunately, she has continually chosen her selfishness over a relationship with me so she hasn't ever met my children and we haven't spoken in more than 20 years. Her behavior is toxic and I won't allow my children to be subject to the same hurt, rejection, sadness, and disappointment to which I was subject. My main job as their mother is to protect them from these kind of people--and sadly, one of "these people" is my own mother. She refuses to take responsibility for her actions and create a life for herself that is respectable and honorable--something of which my children could be proud. Therefore she chooses to remain unknown to them.

We have told our girls (they're 7 & 9) that I didn't grow up with her (which is true: my dad had custody and I rarely saw her until about age 11 and then it was sporadic until 14 and then not at all after that) because she made selfish, wrong decisions about being a mother and decided that she didn't want to live with me. Then I INSTANTLY remind them of how much I love them, that I will NEVER do that, and of how many people in their lives love them and care about them so they don't feel as though they're missing out on that "grandmotherly" person. Because when it comes to that role, she surely wouldn't be filling it anyway.
 


I'm sorry you're in this position. I know all too well how difficult it is.
 
Keep checking in and know that we're here to help.
 
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Thank you Dopey406!
raabta01 (05-30-12)
 
Old 05-30-12, 01:37 PM
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As my wife and I struggle with this, and she is back to her normal MO of acting like everything is fine and normal, it really comforts us both to know we're not alone and we both thank you guys for the help and advice.
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