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Help needed with setting limits/rules for my sister moving in

Old 10-14-2010, 08:43 AM
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Help needed with setting limits/rules for my sister moving in

I think that my adult sister will be moving into my home after she gets out of rehab next week. Her husband filed for divorce and she might not be allowed to go back to her home and kids.

My questions are what limits or rules should I set? I already told her that she has to follow all of her discharge treatment plans which I anticipate will be an intensive outpatient type of thing and will include meetings, and therapy. I think that her attorney for the divorce will have her do alcholol/drug screens so she can prove (hopefully) that she is clean. I told her that she can't sit around all day alone in our lower lovel of the house watching tv all day. She needs to be a part of my family. I expect her to be sad and cry but I don't want my 2 year old to see her crying all the time. I also told her that she has to stay clean because as much as I love her, I don't want my son to be a prt of her addiction.

I want to tell her that if her IOP doesn't keep her busy that she needs to volunteer someplace and look for a job depending on the suggestions of teh divorce attorney.

Am I missing anything? Nobody in my family has ever had an alcohol or drug addiction so this is new terrority for me, although I have been dealing with hers for 14 years but at a distance.

Any help/suggestions/advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:52 AM
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My suggestion would be have her find an apartment and maybe help her with basic furnishings if she can't bring any with her and has no money to buy them. Seriously.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:54 AM
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My suggestion would be to find her a sober house to live in.

Oxford House
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:55 AM
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Boundaries aren't so much about what she should do..it is about how YOU want to live and how YOU want to be treated.
She is an adult.

For example..I do not want to be around anyone who is under the influence and I will not allow my children to be around that either.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:10 AM
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There's no way I would invite that into my house. There is no way that I would expose my 2 year old to that type of dysfunction. There are programs for people who need them. You aren't a treatment center, and if she wants to drink, she can. Why would she want/need to get well if she always has a soft spot to land? It's her right to make horrible decisions.. as someone who loves her, allow her the dignity to find her way without enabling her. I would hate to see you here in a month, 3 months.. desperate for answers to how to kick her out, how affected your 2 year old is after being exposed to this situation, etc etc..
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Still Waters View Post
My suggestion would be to find her a sober house to live in.

Oxford House
I agree 100%. A sober living environment would continue to provide a lot of structure for her while transitioning back into the world.

The rehab should be able to find resources like that for her.

I made the mistake of taking my oldest addict daughter in after a lengthy incarceration because her husband was divorcing her, and I could write a novel about the chaos that ensued in my home in less than a month.

She is no longer welcome in my home.

You are not equipped to deal with an addict straight out of rehab, especially one who is already rehab-savvy.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:39 AM
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Her divorce attorney told her specifically not to go into a sober living facility. That once she goes into one she will pretty much lose any chance of having anything other than supervised parenting time with her kids.

I'm so confused. I love her, and don't want to see her out on the streets. I'm hoping this will be a temporary living situation because her husband will have to pay for her to get an apartment after the court action gets started (papers were filed while she was in rehab. She has been a stay at home Mom for 17 years).
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:40 AM
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What a horrible recommendation for her attorney to make. It would make more sense if the opposite were true, that she not be allowed visitation with the kids UNLESS she continues her treatment. You aren't qualified to be a 'sober house', or deal with someone out of rehab. You have a child to protect.

Her treatment and continued (life-long) recovery should be her primary focus.. and if it's not, well..

Good luck.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:50 AM
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If your sister does not make decisions based on her long term health and sobriety, but rather on current custody arrangements, she is sure to relapse.

You are not equipped to provide what she needs at this time. And her lawyer is clueless about this disease.

I would not allow her to live in my home.

Take care of you, and let her take care of herself. As so many here have said so often...we have to give the other person the dignity of living through the consequences of their own behavior. If she should not be with her children now, then she should not. Period.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Zappy View Post
Her divorce attorney told her specifically not to go into a sober living facility. That once she goes into one she will pretty much lose any chance of having anything other than supervised parenting time with her kids.

I'm so confused. I love her, and don't want to see her out on the streets. I'm hoping this will be a temporary living situation because her husband will have to pay for her to get an apartment after the court action gets started (papers were filed while she was in rehab. She has been a stay at home Mom for 17 years).
It is confusing, definitely. But look, your focus should really be on what's best for the children. Actually, your focus should be on YOU, but I totally understand where you're coming from.

You see, she isn't capable of being a responsible parent right now. And she likely won't be for a while. So, by trying to make her look like she is to the courts, you could potentially put her children in a bad situation. Her visits with the kids NEED to be supervised.

If her husband (I bet that poor man is totally fed up) has to pay support, then he can pay her monthly rent at the sober house.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:30 AM
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You see, she isn't capable of being a responsible parent right now. And she likely won't be for a while. So, by trying to make her look like she is to the courts, you could potentially put her children in a bad situation. Her visits with the kids NEED to be supervised.
I agree with StillWaters Zappy. I am a recovering mother. I went to six weeks inpatient while I was active duty, and the after treatment program was very closely monitored by the addiction specialist and my chain of command.
You are not equipped to handle this, and if she makes it short term to make it "look good" then she is doing a disservice to herself and her children.
Relapse will follow almost as sure as the sun comes up in the morning.

Beth
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:42 AM
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I know that she would be better off is a sober living home. I know that she should be supervised with her children right now. I know that I'm taking a huge chance by letting her come into my home. I know that she is likely to relapse. I know that despite me being a therapist, I'm the last person that can actually help her. I know that she should have to deal with the consequences of her actions. I know that her husband who isn't the greatest father and wasn't that great of a husband has been through a lot and dealt with her for a long time. I know that I need to be an advocate for her children who I love as much as my own son.

Having said that all that though, I'm letting her move in at least temporarily if she isn't allowed to go back into her home.

Does anyone have suggestions that I should require of her other that what I originally mentioned? I appreciate all the advice I was given, and even though I agree with everything that was said, I'm not in that place right now to not let her come and live with me. I'm sure it's going to be awful. I have never lived with an addict before and the last time we lived together was in our Mom's house before she went to college.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:44 AM
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Sounds awful that this decision is the only one to be made for her. She will not benefit in her recovery by living with you, temporarily. But it sounds like 'what's done is done'. My only recommendation would be to get your butt to an alanon meeting... and more importantly be vigilant as to how this will affect your child.

Obviously you can set your own boundaries.. and that depends on what you're willing to live with. One of my boundaries would be not to allow an alcoholc to live in my home or with my children..
Some of yours might be the plan you already have mentioned.. for her to follow her aftercare plan (what rehab DOESNT recommend sober living?? that's bizarre that it's not in her discharge orders). For her to remain sober. For her to be productive in her life and in your home. A timeline for her moving out and on with her life. A recovery plan. A sponsor. Course, she may come there and get stinkin' drunk every day, as that's also her choice. And if she doesn't follow what you are willing/aren't willing to live with, to take ACTION immediately... or don't, and enable her further.

Quite an unfortunate situation, for all involved.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:45 AM
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Zappy, you wrote "Nobody in my family has ever had an alcohol or drug addiction so this is new terrority for me". I have found out the hard way that alcholics are really SPOILED BRATS. Once you have set down your house rules with your sister don't expect her to honor them. The only thing that alcholics care about is how are they going to get their next drink or fix. Even if your sister doesn't drink in your house, she will have "stinking thinking", and try to control her environment, your home. I think I understand why your sister's lawyer told her not to go to a sober house. He's not there to help her get better but to win her case for her. What I read in your post those two goals are in opposite directions. If your sister isn't supposed to be around her own children, why would you want her to be around your two year old? What you will end up with will be two two-year-olds having two year old temper tantrums.

Remember:
You didn't CAUSE it
You can't CURE it
You can't CONTROL it.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:46 AM
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It doesn't matter what you require of her, or what boundaries you set. It is not up to you once you let her in your home. None of it will be in your control.

The only thing I can suggest is Al-Anon.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:46 AM
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I don't think the "rules" matter as much as the consequences. It's your house, you get to set whatever rules you like. But, you cannot make a grown adult follow the rules. So, you only get to enforce boundaries.

Think long and hard about what's important to you. But, think even longer and harder about what you will do when the "rules" get broken. Because, they probably will. That will be where the rubber meets the road. And don't threaten anything you aren't prepared to carry out.

L
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:49 AM
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Zappy,
I knew your mind was all ready made up. And it's your call.
I would suggest you go back and re-read your initial post tho' because what I see is that you have alot of plans and shoulds and musts for her and it sounds more like what we would do with a teen-ager than a grown adult?.
I think that is a set-up for you to be policing/parenting her and I can't see that ending in anything other than mutual anger and ressentment.
Have the two of you talked and do you know what/how she foresees her stay with you and what she will contribute?
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:07 AM
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If your sister isn't supposed to be around her own children, why would you want her to be around your two year old?
So much more simply stated than I could do. Thank you!
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:08 AM
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I told her what I expect of her and she agreed to all of it. Naturally she is going to agree though. I guess it's all just truly up to her and I need to be prepared to tell her to leave if it comes to that.

I won't leave her alone with my son. I stopped letting her babysit him when I found out about a year ago that she had relapsed.

How do you kick someone out of your house that you love? How would I not worry every second that she might feel like she has nothing left and just end her life? I have prepared myself for years that this could happen, but I just need for my Mom not to have to live through that. She has MS and this would literally be the end of her.

Blah. I'm angry that I'm in this situation at all.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:14 AM
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How to ask her to leave if it comes to that:

This isn't what we agreed to and it isn't working out, I am sorry. I need you to find somewhere else to live, in the mean time the Salvation Army has room available and they also have a program of recovery that can do more than I can. I love you and want all the best for you.
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