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Mother of the year award pending…

Old 10-21-2010, 04:52 PM
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Mother of the year award pending…

I am in desperate need of an independent (re: unbiased) sounding board. I need people who have been through it to let me know if I am on the right path.

Background info:
I am 30 years old and my mum has been drinking for the better part of my life. In fact, it came out recently (from her) that she even drank while she was pregnant with me. She’s gone to rehab a few times and been given numerous empty ultimatums from family members (including her husband). My teenage years were… rough. When I was 15ish, I had figured out what was going on and was absolutely miserable living in that house with her and my paranoid delusional stepfather. I moved out when I was 19 and I have lived away from the hometown where my family lives for 10+ years. I have kept my distance both physically and emotionally.

The most recent drama is what I need help with. In 2008 my mother came to visit me in NZ. We met in Fiji and spent a total of 3 weeks with each other. I had my suspicions that she was drinking then and asked her about it in Fiji (at the beginning of the trip), she denied it and we had a good talk about her drinking so I thought we were in the clear for the rest of the trip (oh, the lies we tell ourselves…). But, we honestly had a good visit together and in the two years afterward our interaction was improving and seemingly functional. We even spoke on the phone once a week and were beginning to get closer.

Fast forward 2 years: May 2010. I decided to go home for a visit and surprise my mum for her 50th birthday. She didn’t know I was coming and I even arranged a surprise trip for her to Las Vegas (LV). Why I chose Las Vegas… In hindsight it seems like the STUPIDEST place to bring someone like her. But, she has always loved LV and I knew she liked to gamble, but I thought it was under control and that we would mostly see the sights and spend time together instead of gambling (again, the lies we tell ourselves…). It was a NIGHTMARE. She was constantly choosing the drink over me. I won’t go into the nasty details, but by the time we got on our flight home, we were not speaking and sat separately. She was not yet aware that I had figured it all out, but she knew something was amiss.

Once we were back, I took my step sister to lunch to discuss things. She is 20 and still lives at home because her father makes her. He controls every.single.thing. she does; he is a paranoid delusional and has his own batch of problems (him and I haven’t spoken in 3 years). He will not allow my sister to move out. She told me that my mom has been drinking since I left home and has never really stopped. She told me that my mom and her husband have huge blow outs. She told me that she drinks at work (and drives to and from). She also told me that my mom has cashed out her 401k to help pay for her gambling addiction. AWESOME.

So, I returned to New Zealand and did some serious thinking. I decided to move home in December. There are numerous reasons for this, but one of them is my sister. No one has gone up to bat for that kid. It is my goal to get her out of that house – she deserves to be a normal 20 yr old. I also sent a letter to my mom and told her that there will be no more contact with me until she is sober. I offered to help bridge the gap and go to counselling together to help get the ball rolling when I am home. I have not heard from her since I sent the letter (end of August).

My concerns around this are:
• How do I help my sister? If she wants to move out, I will help her as much as I can with that (whether it is financial or getting the crazy parents out of the house so she can move out). I would love for her to go to counseling, but I can only suggest it, she has to want to go herself. Any advice surrounding this?
• What do I do about the extended family? It has come out in all of this that the rest of the family (including my mom’s parents) have been lying to themselves for years. There is serious co-dependency and denial going on with her 5 siblings and her parents… how (if at all) do I deal with that?
• How do I best guard myself in this whole process? I am embarking on a few endeavours and would like for them to be approached with a clear, healthy head. I am considering counseling. Al-anon meetings are an option as well, but I have been reluctant to go to some as I am an atheist and many of the 12 steps refer to god/praying. Guess I will never know until I try, right?

Thanks to everyone. There is strength in solidarity.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:02 PM
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oh, wow, now that is a complicated intertwining mess.

You sure you want to get involved?

I suggest you read the stickies at the top of this forum...they contain alot of accumulated wisdom.

I would want to get the 20 year old out too...that is such a bad scene to live in..but she is an adult.

Have you talked with her?
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:08 PM
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Welcome to the SR family!

Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself and share your story with us. Some of our stories are in the sticky (permanent) posts at the top of this forum. Also, lots of wisdom in those posts.

Wow, that is quite the endeavor to pack up and move to assist your younger sister! How does she feel about this change? Does she want you close by to help her on a day-to-day basis?

The rest of the family.......well they are adults and they will live their life as they feel is best. I have had to learn to "let go and let HP" (HP is higher power). I have learned to do that by detaching. SR (this forum) and Alanon meetings have helped. Also some self improvement books like "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie have helped.

Give the Alanon meetings a chance. I try to remember to "Take what I like and Leave the rest". I live in the Bible belt of the southern USA, and most people at my groups refer to their HP as Jesus. I am not Christian. I have learned to love them just as they love me.

Keep reading and posting.
We are here to support YOU
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:08 PM
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I'm pretty new at all this, but a few things struck me about your post. First- it's commendable that you want to help your sister move out- but did she actually say to you that she wanted out? Have you two talked about this before you move and decided how to do it? I'm concerned that if she didn't actually ask you to help her, you might be disappointed in the results. She is not actually a kid any longer. However, even if she doesn't come to live with you, having you around may be a very positive change.

As for the last two questions, they are related. You can't actually help codependents until they are ready to BE helped of their own accord. You also can't maintain your own sanity while trying to help people who don't necessarily think they need help. What you can do is.... take care of yourself first. Really. I am not religious, yet I've found that Al-Anon is still very helpful for me. They tell you to interpret "higher power" however you see fit, take what works and leave the rest. Don't let the God thing get in your way.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:31 PM
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Hmmm, lots of problems here! How about staying where you are and offering a place for your sister to come to?

To be totally honest, I do not think that you will save her from the turmoil by moving closer to her...she is 20 and is of legal age , she can move anywhere she wants to right now.

I sense that there is even more to this story, I wouldn't rush into anything.

Keep posting, it will help.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:58 PM
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I can't live close to any of the madness that my loved ones live.
It consumes me, no matter how strong or careful I think I may be.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:22 PM
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I have read over what you all have said and some of the sticky topics at the beginning. I also spoke with my husband over the lunch hour (friday afternoon here in NZ) and have come up with this.

1 - My sister has expressed interest in moving out to me and to the parents. She always get excuses why she can't when speaking about it to her father. She is waiting until she graduates and finds a job. I will continue to express my support to her, but at the end of the day I do not want to fix the situation for her or control her decisions. I have my own life to lead and the best I can do is support her when she needs it.
2 - The rest of the family. Meh. They know the situation and what they choose to do with that information is up to them. I will concentrate on the positive, non-toxic relationships and keep the rest at arm's length.
3 - I am moving home for a variety of reasons - I am embarking on are a new marriage and in-laws (who are all kinds of awesome) and a new business - both of which need my full attention. I will go to counseling to make sure that any residual sh*t from my mum doesn't spill over into the relationships that I value. I will definitely consider al-anon and won't take the god thing too seriously.

I tend to be over-analytical. I am really digging this forum - cheers for all your help!
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:27 PM
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Do you know the Serenity Prayer? It is at the bottom of all my posts. I recommend working a 12-step program.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:35 PM
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I do know the serenity prayer and have always liked it. I replace "God" with "Universe", but it's all the same, isn't it?

Sigh. Being an adult always seemed so glamorous when I was a child. There definitely are days when it is just so hard and I want to hide in my closet...
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:15 PM
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winsome,

first of all, WELCOME to sober recovery. this is a special place, and you will find support here.

secondly, you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. my 2 cents is that you don't worry about/deal with the extended family, or really anyone that you think is mired in their denials. it can be so tiresome, futile, and can cause deep rifts.

thirdly, i think many heart-to-hearts with your young sister. as much as you may want to swoop in and do some saving (i know i would), probably the prudent thing is to take smaller steps.

al-anon and counseling are probably both really good ideas. it's awfully hard to get clarity without the assistance of others.

keep coming here; we care, and want to help.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:23 PM
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Welcome!

When I went to al-anon they were very good about not pushing religion. They explained higher power etc.

I mostly wanted to share with you that my biggest support person lived very far away and I didn't even talk to her all that regularly. She believed in me. She had faith in me. She validated me. She was the voice of reality when things seemed crazy. She did this without pressure, without telling me what to do, and without criticism of me or him (which is good because when people criticized him I felt the need to defend him - which is crazy - I was defending things I desperately wanted away from.) It was such a force. I am much older then your sister but if she is anything like e, if you can provide that kind of support to your sister it would be very appreciated and give her more power to move out then if you flew down there and took her hand.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:27 PM
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You have a great plan!

Wishing you the very best!
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:57 AM
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Sigh. Being an adult always seemed so glamorous when I was a child. There definitely are days when it is just so hard and I want to hide in my closet...

Reality can take a bite it's so true!!

I like your plan. Sounds very rational and focused on the things YOU can control.

Welcome -- stick around!

Peace-
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