Alcoholic Father/Mother is an Enabler - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:20 PM   #1 (permalink)

Join Date: Aug 2011
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Alcoholic Father/Mother is an Enabler

I am caught in one of the most uncomfortable situations. My father is an alcoholic. He has been my whole entire life. My mother is the enabler. I am the oldest of 3 children. All 3 of us, deal with my fathers alcoholism in different ways. My brother, the youngest, ignores my father and doesn't get involved. My sister puts her foot down and tries to be the strong one, but always gives in at some point. Then there is me. I'm not really sure where I stand. I work with alcoholics and substance abusers everyday. I can help them because they want to be helped. But I feel 100% defeated, when it comes to my own family. I am the one who believes that alcoholism is a disease. I believe that my father needs to want to be sober in order for him to fight this disease. However, I also believe that me helping him, by getting him into programs, hospitals etc, really helps him. But it doesn't. In the end, I am the one who ends up getting hurt. He does the programs to shut me up, and then I am the one who gets let down because the cycle begins again. The last 2 years have been the absolute worst! I experienced 7 miscarriages, my dad got a DWI, lost his job of 30yrs, missed the birth of my niece because he went home to drink, pretty much ruined my wedding by going missing the night before, then was diagnosed with alcoholic cardiomyopathy. It was just horrible. It really broke our family apart. My mom has always been the enabler. And this time around, things are really bad. My dad was sober for 8 months after he was diagnosed with alcoholic cardiomyopathy. It scared him when the doctor told him if he continued to drink he would die. It was the best 8 months my family had together. During this time, I got pregnant and my sister did also, with her 2nd child. It was such an amazing moment! 6 months into my pregnancy, I was put on bedrest for preterm labor. At that point, my father began to drink again. My sister and I suspected he was drinking by his behavior, but my mother kept denying it. Anyway, one day, he showed up at both my sister's and then my house, drunk. That was it. I'm pregnant and I have my own stress. I don't need his. I told him if he didn't seek treatment, I would not be able to be a part of his life and he would not be able to be a part of his grandchild's life. Well, he thought I was joking and continued to drink. My mom continued to deny he was drinking and continued to bring him over to my house, miserable and nasty as ever. As I'm still experiencing problems in my pregnancy, my husband tells me that my family called him and told him that my mom found my father unresponsive in the backyard. He was drinking. He ended up being okay but again, my mom had been lying to us that he was drinking. In the middle of all of that, my mom loses her job. So now both of my parents are unemployed, and my dad is drinking and my mom is an enabler. The biggest issue that I have is I will be starting a family. I will not let my father take this happiness away from me. He wasn't there for me when I needed him. He has not changed any of his ways or made any attempts to get help in order for him to maintain his relationship with his children. So, I have just been ignoring him and not keeping him in the loop about me or my pregnancy. Well, then you have my mother, who as the enabler, lets my father treat her like crap, verbally abuse her, etc. and she still pretends that nothing is going on. She tells him to call us, even though I have made it very clear that I don't want to speak to him. She said because he enrolled in a program, that he's better now. Really??? He went one day, and drank the day before he started. He's refusing to go to an inpatient program because he wants to be here for the birth. But my husband does not want my father at the hospital. Now that I will have a child involved, I don't know how else to set boundaries. I try to hold myself to my boundaries with my father, but my mom makes the situation worse. I don't know what to do or how to make it clear that if he continues to drink, he will lose me and his grandchild. I have talked to my mom and told her to stop making him do things to make it seem like he cares, such as calling us. But she just doesn't get it. I have 2 weeks before I am going to have a baby...I don't know what to do!
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sometimes it's not only the addict themselves that we need to distance ourselves from. Unfortunately, you mother sounds every bit as toxic as your father. It's totally up to you whom you allow in your life and that of your new baby. Of course, that would require you to not accept calls or visits from them. A boundary is only as good as the person setting it is at maintaining it.

Welcome to SR! There are a lot of very kind and supportive people here. Stick around and read and post as often as you wish. You might also want to check out our Friends and Family of Alcoholic's Forum.
So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.
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"We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words."
- Anna Sewell
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Alcoholism is a family disease, your mother is as sick if not sicker than your father. You will never convince your mother to take a stand to not enable, she is weak and codependent and of that mindset to stand by her matter how it effects the rest of the family.

You have a choice, either go down with the ship, or, jump in the life boat and head for the shore.

There are bounderies that you can set with your mother, she appears to be the pivot point that you are trying to work around.

Read around the family & friends of alcoholics, lots of great information about bounderies, that if properly enforced can become the oar you need to paddle to the shore.
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:16 PM   #4 (permalink)

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Thanks so much for your support/responses and for your resources. I will continue to navigate the threads.
Thanks again.
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