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Old 11-20-2010, 07:55 PM
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All at once...

my wife's family's alcohol issues rear their head. I had an...incident...with my sister-in-law last Tuesday. My MIL asked me to watch our nephew (SIL's son) for a few hours while she, SIL and some family members went out for a while. A great-aunt had died and family was in town for the funeral, and of COURSE the one thing they all want to do is go out drinking. (Yeah, I'm getting the picture that her whole family has alcohol issues). SIL was insisting that I had to watch him at her house but MIL promised they'd be home by 9 so I could get the kids and myself home to bed. My gut told me no (for many reasons) but I said I would. My gut was right.

No one showed up until 9:30. Nephew was lying in my arms crying because he was desperately tired but nothing I was doing was working. The kids were exhausted and I had a headache but no ibuprofen and couldn't find any of hers. She walks in the house, drunk as a skunk and stumbling (this after 2 hours out) and slurs "Sorry..." with a bunch of attitude. Nephew runs to her and I simply put my jacket on and started heading the boys out the door, all ready knowing she was in a bad mood and not wanting to do anything to make her mad (when she gets mad while drunk she starts swinging).

Well, apparently she didn't like the way I was walking or something because she started yelling and screaming, with profanity, about "copping an attitude" among other things, then starts pushing my kids toward the door behind me. It took every fiber of my being (that was all ready shaking in anger) not to yell back or punch her (and I'm not a physical person) but I didn't. She followed us out the door, still screaming and yelling from the back step while we were getting in the car (9:30 at night on a Tuesday, remember, with her screaming son in her arms). MIL was yelling at her to shut up and go in the house so SIL started yelling at her instead. It took me three hours to stop shaking and go to sleep. Then the next day I find out she called my wife after 11:00 p.m. New York time (when SIL knew my wife had to work at 3:45 in the morning) to complain about ME! Apparently she thought I should have hung around and chatted...while she was drunk off her butt and her child was screaming and needing to go to bed. Silly me for not wanting to have social hour.

I still shake thinking about it and she hasn't said anything to me about it, much less apologized-and she won't. She doesn't believe she did anything wrong, telling my wife as much the next day when she was sober. Come to find out later, after I'd talked to her at 9:15 and being told they were walking home (from across the street) they'd stood outside for 15 minutes talking while she could HEAR her son screaming inside. I have ZERO respect for her anymore, not that I had much to begin with for MANY reasons. I told my wife I will not, under any circumstances, watch our nephew ever again unless it's an emergency. She agreed and said she won't be either.

I'm dreading Thanksgiving. At this point I'm ready to forego it altogether with MIL, just stop over and say Happy Thanksgiving but stay at home otherwise. I feel like if I'm in the same room as SIL for more than a minute I'll rip her head off. You can bet if she senses I'm angry at her she'll get in my face about it, and believe me, if she does it'll be ON...and it won't be pretty. Maybe I'm venting more than anything here and I know skipping Thanksgiving isn't the right reaction so can anyone suggest what to say if the "incident" comes up? If I know what to say I can simply say it and remove myself from the house if she forces the issue before it escalates, but I can't think of what to say and how to say it. She DOES have what you would call an alcohol issue, choosing alcohol (and recovering from alcohol binges) over her son regularly, alienating people by her drinking, using it as a coping mechanism for anything...and while I feel for her situation with her dad, it still doesn't give her an excuse to go out and get blasted and then take whatever her issue was out on someone else.

What to do, what to do...?
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:17 PM
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ah, the joys of family togetherness at the holidays....

I had to put some pretty strong boundaries in place when it came to extended family and especially the extended family of my BF a few yrs back. They were all drinkers and it got ugly every single time they all got together.

I made a few plans ahead of time. First - I promised myself not to get into any kind of conversation, let alone an argument, with someone who had been drinking. And they were everywhere. I used my big five conversation pieces - oh, wow, really, huh and ya don't say?

I also made sure that my BF knew - ahead of time- I was going to drive my own car to the family gathering place, and that I would leave when I was ready. I told him it wasn't a judgment on him, no disrespect to him or our relationship, but I would leave when I needed to leave. It was my boundary,and my action.

It was a bit dicey, but it worked for me. I was able to have pleasant conversation with the various groups, and I left once the toxic behaviors started to escalate. I don't know what else happened after I was gone, because I was gone!

Others will be along soon to share what works for them....
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:06 AM
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I too had to sort out plans ahead of time.

Things like arriving late or leaving early when things started going downhill.

I had a signal with my first husband when going to my mother's when it was time to leave and he kept to it. His family was harder as we had to travel and stay so we had a signal when it was too much for one or the other and took turns "resting" or "napping with one of the kids.

IDK if you have the problem we had of my inlaws taking offense to not drinking so we would take one and made it last/ let them know we would take care of ourselves with refills. That seemed to help.

With my AH in recent years, I just planned on things not going as planned. I made plans and back up plans. I included him but didn't expect him to show up. I let him vent went he missed out. And when he wanted to cook the turkey I had plenty of snacks available as it never got done on time.

It was my beef that things never went the way I would have liked but i realized that I was in control of how I felt and what I did about it. Once I had alternatives in place, I got through it fine.

Here's hoping you weather this holiday better than in past years. And if need be, some have posted here through the day to vent and gain support. So remember you are not alone in this.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:48 AM
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well, after trying various methods and plans.....which all did not work.....i finally hit upon what worked for me.

after being what i have been through with the effects of alcoholism, i cannot stand to be around drinking of any kind. the sound of ice in a glass still makes me sick to my stomach and the sound of a beer tab being pulled makes me cringe. my problem, i know.

my sister is an alcoholic, and i practically raised her first child. she would ask me to watch her while she went to the store and i wouldn't see her for a week. which was fine with me, because i knew she was in a better place with me than with my sis.

i always insisted that she bring my neice to my house, so i wouldn't have to deal with her when she arrived home.....drunk.

she used to bring her hubs over to play cards with our group of friends and of course, it always turned into a drunken, psycho, brawl. none of the rest of the group drank, so they would bring their own.

i had a heart to heart with sis, and told her they were welcome to continue to come over, but from this point on, we were alcohol free card parties.

of course she really got angry and barely spoke to me for over 2 years.......but i still got my neice every week.

sometimes i worried so much about my neice that it didn't bother me at all when sis pulled her disappearing acts.

so far, in this point in my recovery, i am not ready to attend any function where there is alcohol. so that works for me.

and i put the odds in my favor by having my neice at my home.

i'm sorry that you are dealing with all of this.....another person affected by the effects of alcoholism.

as far as thanksgiving goes, i've never had to deal with drinking and the holidays because our family concentrates on food and all the goodies.

i do remember one time when my sis came to my home drunk for thanksgiving and i got her a ride back home. another year of not speaking to me. but i was very comfortable in doing so.

best to you
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:31 AM
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I detached from my dads side when i was a teenager...boy ole boy everyone had reasons "why" but none was of the ALCOHOL, its still till this day not TALKED about..I am 42...I would pick and choose when I was "feeling in control" and would go...but only for a few a occasions..now, with the recent suicide of my cousin...its still at close doors, but some of us "do talk about the issues at hand"

I miss my cousin...and sad...now we are slowly talking(my cousins) BUT the adults...wow! nothing...just nothing...amazing...nothing changes...
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:50 AM
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I may be a little more sensitive than others IDK but at this age (over 40) I have Zero Tolerance for drunken or otherwise toxic ******** in my life. I love my peaceful and serene life and I live by the No Drama rule. I don't care if you are the Queen of England (no offense to our friends across the pond), if you pull ANY of that, you are OUT-I will not have you in my life at all. I will not allow you in my presence. Honestly, my body physically cannot take it any longer. Stress kills and stressful people I cannot control but I can control whether or not you are in my life.

I avoid the holidays because where there are holiday celebrations, there is alcohol and I am allergic to alcohol and people who consume it. I have not yet found a place where alcohol is not involved in holidays. The holidays have also only ever brought me pain, sadness, wanting, and disappointment, so I do not subscribe to their practice. I take care of myself and my responsibilities, I give thanks to my HP and the people in my life I am grateful to EVERY day, and I live a very simple, un-commercial life.

Thank you for your share. I hope you find the answer to your situation that is the healthiest for you, your spouse and your children.
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
I may be a little more sensitive than others IDK but at this age (over 40) I have Zero Tolerance for drunken or otherwise toxic ******** in my life. I love my peaceful and serene life and I live by the No Drama rule.
Same here, I have zero tolerance. I refuse to be around toxic dysfunctional people, whether they are drunk or not.
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:07 PM
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driving separately has been my lifeline many a time.
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Freedom1990 View Post
Same here, I have zero tolerance. I refuse to be around toxic dysfunctional people, whether they are drunk or not.
It warms my heart to have a SOUL SISTER (wish there was a cute smiley for soul sister...maybe two smileys with afros?)
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post
It warms my heart to have a SOUL SISTER (wish there was a cute smiley for soul sister...maybe two smileys with afros?)


I'd probably sport an afro if I let the hair grow and not style it with the dryer. Dad passed his natural curl onto me!
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:59 PM
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Evenkeel you wrote I'm dreading Thanksgiving. At this point I'm ready to forego it altogether with MIL, just stop over and say Happy Thanksgiving but stay at home otherwise. I feel like if I'm in the same room as SIL for more than a minute I'll rip her head off. You can bet if she senses I'm angry at her she'll get in my face about it, and believe me, if she does it'll be ON...and it won't be pretty. Maybe I'm venting more than anything here and I know skipping Thanksgiving isn't the right reaction so can anyone suggest what to say if the "incident" comes up? If I know what to say I can simply say it and remove myself from the house if she forces the issue before it escalates, but I can't think of what to say and how to say it. She DOES have what you would call an alcohol issue, choosing alcohol (and recovering from alcohol binges) over her son regularly, alienating people by her drinking, using it as a coping mechanism for anything...and while I feel for her situation with her dad, it still doesn't give her an excuse to go out and get blasted and then take whatever her issue was out on someone else."

"What to do, what to do...? "What to do, what to do...?"

I want to ask WHY isn't skipping Thanksgiving with your in-laws an option? You are NOT the person who should feel guilty about the situation you described! You shouldn't be the person who has to feel responsible about how Thanksgiving Day turns out!

I've been there......and still have hostility towards my in-laws. In my ole days of co-dependency, and according to my AH, I was the one that was expected to be accommodating to my mother-in-law at my own daughter's memorial service. I was in complete SHOCK after my daughter completed suicide, and, yet, they expected me to play the gracious little hostess! Thank God for my own sister and her family that helped hold me together during my darkest point in my life.

I suggest you and your own family start your own Holiday traditions. Maybe take yourselves out to a nice restaurant for the Thanksgiving meal, and afterwards go to the movies, or something else you enjoy!

If your in-laws want to know why......tell them!

****************************************** ******************
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Old 11-21-2010, 04:29 PM
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You could do as Pheonix suggests, and if they do ask, when sober, you can tell them

"I was doing a favor for my SIL, watching her child, and when she arrived home drunk she verbally chastised me, literally ran me and my children off, while her child cried and cried."

Tell them you are hurt and are afraid it might hapen again and ruin everyones Thanksgiving.

Speaking freely can feel really good.
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Old 11-21-2010, 04:49 PM
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I want to ask WHY isn't skipping Thanksgiving with your in-laws an option? You are NOT the person who should feel guilty about the situation you described! You shouldn't be the person who has to feel responsible about how Thanksgiving Day turns out!
I agree with Phoenix. I was wondering why you HAVE to go there?
I, too, have developed an allergy to any and all substance abusers. If anyone looks at me cross eyed, I am outta there.
Geez, just my experience, the holidays are tough already, why add to the load?


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Old 11-21-2010, 05:44 PM
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I've never been in that sort of situation before so I really don't know what I could recommen. As far as the situation you just went through, you did the right thing by being mature and the bigger person. I can understand your reluctance in spending thanksgiving with them. I'm an alcoholic and recovery and my moms family are all drinkers, alcoholics if you will. I don't plan on spending thanksgiving with them and my mom is telling me I'm over reacting. Am I really? my moms side of the family are El Salvador and they have the notion that I just need to learn how to control my drinking, as if I haven't already tried that countless times before. I simply told her that if they can't respect my decision not to drink anymore than they shouldn't expect me to show up. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, a very mature person. Why don't you try going, if you SOL starts acting like an ass, then leave. Be the bigger person that you already are. I know I sound like a hypocrite because I'm not going over to families gathering. I don't have a licences so I'm not able to drive, if I go over there and they start offering me booze I'll be stuck there without a means of leaving. My sobriety is way to important to me to give it up over a family gathering. I have two kids I have to think about. I still have to be a father to them and there is no possible way I can be one if I'm still an active drunk. Like I said you seem like a smart responsible man with a kind heart. I'm sure you'll make the right decision.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:21 AM
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Do you have any family you could visit for thanksgiving? Or could do something at your house with you wife and children. If you do go, and if she gets angry, just be the bigger person, tell her she wasnt sober that night, (she probably wont be on thanksgiving), and that was inappropriate, if she continues to bother you, leave, your children dont need to see that
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:41 AM
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This is difficult...

...because I have been exactly where you are now and what I want to say probably isn't gentle enough, so in the spirit of watered-down tough love I'll just say this:

Go to an Al-Anon meeting in person. Try at least six meetings to find out if it is right for you. If you do your life will change for the better. If you don't your life will stay the same or get worse. I guarantee it.

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Go to Al-Anon enough and I believe you will be able to answer your own questions about what to do in this, and almost any other situation as well.

To this Thanksgiving I'll ask only this-- what on God's green earth has you even considering immersing yourself in Thanksgiving with alcoholics? You're already preparing to fight, you already know what is going to happen. What would happen if you stay home? What would happen if you choose not to fight? What would happen if you don't help alcoholics get the freedom and convenience they need to drink? What if you stop cleaning up after them?

Consider stepping back, read your own post as if somebody else had written it, then see what you think about how that person is thinking, and what that person is subjecting their "self" to in the guise of helping or being a "good" family member.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak


Originally Posted by evenkeel View Post
my wife's family's alcohol issues rear their head. I had an...incident...with my sister-in-law last Tuesday. My MIL asked me to watch our nephew (SIL's son) for a few hours while she, SIL and some family members went out for a while. A great-aunt had died and family was in town for the funeral, and of COURSE the one thing they all want to do is go out drinking. (Yeah, I'm getting the picture that her whole family has alcohol issues). SIL was insisting that I had to watch him at her house but MIL promised they'd be home by 9 so I could get the kids and myself home to bed. My gut told me no (for many reasons) but I said I would. My gut was right.

No one showed up until 9:30. Nephew was lying in my arms crying because he was desperately tired but nothing I was doing was working. The kids were exhausted and I had a headache but no ibuprofen and couldn't find any of hers. She walks in the house, drunk as a skunk and stumbling (this after 2 hours out) and slurs "Sorry..." with a bunch of attitude. Nephew runs to her and I simply put my jacket on and started heading the boys out the door, all ready knowing she was in a bad mood and not wanting to do anything to make her mad (when she gets mad while drunk she starts swinging).

Well, apparently she didn't like the way I was walking or something because she started yelling and screaming, with profanity, about "copping an attitude" among other things, then starts pushing my kids toward the door behind me. It took every fiber of my being (that was all ready shaking in anger) not to yell back or punch her (and I'm not a physical person) but I didn't. She followed us out the door, still screaming and yelling from the back step while we were getting in the car (9:30 at night on a Tuesday, remember, with her screaming son in her arms). MIL was yelling at her to shut up and go in the house so SIL started yelling at her instead. It took me three hours to stop shaking and go to sleep. Then the next day I find out she called my wife after 11:00 p.m. New York time (when SIL knew my wife had to work at 3:45 in the morning) to complain about ME! Apparently she thought I should have hung around and chatted...while she was drunk off her butt and her child was screaming and needing to go to bed. Silly me for not wanting to have social hour.

I still shake thinking about it and she hasn't said anything to me about it, much less apologized-and she won't. She doesn't believe she did anything wrong, telling my wife as much the next day when she was sober. Come to find out later, after I'd talked to her at 9:15 and being told they were walking home (from across the street) they'd stood outside for 15 minutes talking while she could HEAR her son screaming inside. I have ZERO respect for her anymore, not that I had much to begin with for MANY reasons. I told my wife I will not, under any circumstances, watch our nephew ever again unless it's an emergency. She agreed and said she won't be either.

I'm dreading Thanksgiving. At this point I'm ready to forego it altogether with MIL, just stop over and say Happy Thanksgiving but stay at home otherwise. I feel like if I'm in the same room as SIL for more than a minute I'll rip her head off. You can bet if she senses I'm angry at her she'll get in my face about it, and believe me, if she does it'll be ON...and it won't be pretty. Maybe I'm venting more than anything here and I know skipping Thanksgiving isn't the right reaction so can anyone suggest what to say if the "incident" comes up? If I know what to say I can simply say it and remove myself from the house if she forces the issue before it escalates, but I can't think of what to say and how to say it. She DOES have what you would call an alcohol issue, choosing alcohol (and recovering from alcohol binges) over her son regularly, alienating people by her drinking, using it as a coping mechanism for anything...and while I feel for her situation with her dad, it still doesn't give her an excuse to go out and get blasted and then take whatever her issue was out on someone else.

What to do, what to do...?
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:16 PM
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Thank you to everyone. I really appreciate all the insight. No, I don't have to go, even if her family's mad about it, but now I might have to go on a moral level. I had decided to tell my wife the boys and I wouldn't be going to her mother's...and then we got word today that FIL probably won't make it until Jan 1st, 3 months at the most. As soon as they can figure out whether he can eat solid food without aspirating they're sending him home, probably tomorrow. If he's home, the idea of having wife be at her family's Thanksgiving alone knowing that feels repulsive to me. I feel like I would need to push any issues aside and be there for her and MIL's emotional support.

My mom has invited us to her house for noon dinner and the boys and I are going regardless of anything else. Whether we go to MIL's kind of depends on whether FIL is home. If he's home I want to be there for my wife, but if he's not I don't really feel the need to be there when I could spend an extended amount of time with MY family and be happy. If FIL's home wife isn't going to my mom's, which complicates things more...I could stay with my mom longer but then I wouldn't be with my wife. If FIL's not home, wife will go with us but then we'd have to get back in time for her to get to MIL's, even if the boys and I don't go. *sigh*

And then, underlying it all, it's what to say to SIL if she says something. Everyone knows what happened (mostly from SIL's POV, but who really cares) so I won't have to explain anything. I don't believe she'll try to get on me about it again-it'll be more like she senses I'm ignoring her (which will be the truth, within reason) and say something along the lines of "Why you still copping an attitude, b****? I didn't do anything wrong!" It's THAT that I'll have to react to, concisely and firmly, and leave if she tries to escalate it.

It's just not going to be a fun Thanksgiving all the way around, and I have to make sure that I have the boys and I covered without doing it at my wife's expense. Drinking...I can guarantee that they'll be drinking if FIL's not home (they absolutely won't be if he is) and I don't want to deal with that either...
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
...because I have been exactly where you are now and what I want to say probably isn't gentle enough, so in the spirit of watered-down tough love I'll just say this:

Go to an Al-Anon meeting in person. Try at least six meetings to find out if it is right for you. If you do your life will change for the better. If you don't your life will stay the same or get worse. I guarantee it.

How to find a meeting in the US/Canada/Puerto Rico

Go to Al-Anon enough and I believe you will be able to answer your own questions about what to do in this, and almost any other situation as well.

To this Thanksgiving I'll ask only this-- what on God's green earth has you even considering immersing yourself in Thanksgiving with alcoholics? You're already preparing to fight, you already know what is going to happen. What would happen if you stay home? What would happen if you choose not to fight? What would happen if you don't help alcoholics get the freedom and convenience they need to drink? What if you stop cleaning up after them?

Consider stepping back, read your own post as if somebody else had written it, then see what you think about how that person is thinking, and what that person is subjecting their "self" to in the guise of helping or being a "good" family member.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
Thanks for that. I need to internalize this even more. I've finally built up the spine to feel this way about my wife-now I need to do it for her family. I should have listened to my gut about watching my nephew-and I was taught in a very cruel way that I made a BIG mistake. I WILL not be making that mistake again. Al-Anon...I've been meaning to go but by the time I remembered it last Friday and Saturday it was too late. I'm definitely trying to get there...
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:41 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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Evenkeel I promise you this...

...if you go to an Al-Anon meeting with an open mind and a desire to be happier your life will improve. I resisted going for three years because I'm stubborn to a fault and had difficulty giving up controlling things in my way and without help.

Please, please, please be smarther than me-- if not for you then for your children. My daughter sufferred needlessly for three years longer than necessary because of my bullheadedness.
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:08 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
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I'm angry. I am so angry at all of this. Why do people feel it's OKAY to abuse alcohol and let it affect their families like this? I have my wife with her alcohol issues that are under control for right now but have very nearly driven us apart in the recent past. I have my SIL who neglects her own child because of and for alcohol and my heart aches for him. I have my FIL who is within a few months of dying of alcoholism and all of the crap that has led up to this point. I'm angry at my SIL for treating me like that because of alcohol. I'm angry at my FIL for making my wife cry because of his choices. I'm angry at my MIL for faciliating all of them and helping to get to this point in all of their lives. I don't blame her for them being where they are but I'm angry that she made those choices. I'm so frustrated, and angry, and sad, and just....everything.

I know I don't have to hang around and deal with this....I know none of them have to either (morally at this point with FIL, maybe, but not otherwise)...but yeesh, really? I feel bad for being angry but it feels good to get it out. I'm telling myself that it's okay to be angry, even normal, and to just move on but I'm stuck in this rut where the anger gets bigger every time the docs say FIL is a little closer to death......
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