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Am I enabling my parents to drink?

Old 12-06-2010, 06:09 PM
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Question Am I enabling my parents to drink?

My step-father's nagging (and drinking) have driven my mother to drink. They are both alcoholics (67yo and 63yo, I am 36yo)

I have learned to live with their problems and try to pretend it is not a problem. They drink daily starting around 3-4pm and I cannot carry on a conversation with them once the drinking starts so I simply only see them at breakfast/lunch time. My brother, who still lives with them, reports to me all their horrible behavior.

I am at peace with myself, I know this is not my battle to fight, I am an entirely happy person. However, my brothers and sister do not want to "enable" their behavior by pretending nothing is wrong while their alcoholism gets worse and worse.

As I see it, there are only three courses of action:

1) We ignore it
2) We confront them and ask them to get therapy
3) We cut them out of my life as an incentive to get them to change their behavior

And finally...before someone says it...

I *have* been to a local Al-Anon session. I did not find listening to other people's problems useful. I have also made several visits to a therapist who was less than helpful, turning the discussion about how I feel rather than giving me the tools to cope.

I am looking for experienced and reasoned advice, not a shoulder to cry on. Thank you very much for your responses.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:46 PM
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Hello there Tony, and pleased to "meet" you

Originally Posted by TonyKC View Post
.... As I see it, there are only three courses of action:....
Actually, there's a _lot_ more than just those three.

Originally Posted by TonyKC View Post
.... And finally...before someone says it...

I *have* been to a local Al-Anon session. I did not find listening to other people's problems useful. I have also made several visits to a therapist who was less than helpful, turning the discussion about how I feel rather than giving me the tools to cope.

I am looking for experienced and reasoned advice, not a shoulder to cry on. ....
cool. We'll skip over all of that and go right for the hard core material.

Your 3 choices don't have any goals. There's no specific target behavior you want to see from your folks. Without solid goals none of those will work.

Also, there's no flexibility in your choices, you need to put in a lot of "if they do this we'll do that".

Your choices are too overarching. It will take months if not years to get any of them to work. You need to break them down into much smaller goals and consequences, the kind you can do in a week or two.

There's no system of fall backs, what if they do _not_ follow the plan, you need fall back to a previous goal and go in a different direction.

There's no staging of the goals. If you decide to ignore them it works _way_ better if you ignore them _only_ when they're drunk, or _only_ when they're abusive.

You completely missed the option of "Intervention", and there's several different variations of that.

I think you've got the right idea in having specific courses of action, but you've got a _lot_ of work to do still to turn those courses into a workable plan.

You want advice? Here you go. Start by reading all the "sticky" posts at the top of this forum. There's tons of good information there. Next, look up the alcohol rehab centers in your area and go visit the "intake counselor" at each of them. They're the experts at setting up an "intervention". When you are done with all of that you will be able to go back to your courses of action, include your brothers and sisters, and come up with a series of plans that will actually work. Expect at least 10 pages for each course of action.

Then you can all decide which plan to follow.

Oh, and by the way, look up that concept about "My step-father's nagging (and drinking) have driven my mother to drink." It doesn't work that way. As long as you have that bit of mis-information in your plan you're going to run into serious problems.

there, that should get you started. As you do your research feel free to toss out whatever questions you may have, that's what we are here for.

Mike
Moderator, SoberRecovery
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:23 PM
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Thank you very much for that response, I really appreciate it.

You are right-on when you correct me about how I said my step-dad's behavior "drives" my mom to drink. I misspoke.

From your response it sounds as if you feel that an intervention might be our best hope. I will be in contact with the rehab centers and do some investigation with them to see if that is indeed the best course of action.

We have tried everything else up to this point...I do not have much to lose.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:47 PM
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Just a note...

...to let you know that if you only went to one Al-Anon meeting then it is highly unlikely you know if it will work for you or not. One meeting and you know Al-Anon won't work for you? Really?

Desert Eyes was very kind to share with you what he did, much of it from Al-Anon, where there is a lot to learn if you give it more than one shot. Every meeting is different, people with open minds who listen can learn even from a "bad meeting," and if you haven't gone to at least six different meetings before deciding if it's for you then the only person you aren't giving a chance is yourself.

Also, a good way to make sure very few people will respond to you here or in a meeting is this attitude right here, "I *have* been to a local Al-Anon session. I did not find listening to other people's problems useful. I have also made several visits to a therapist who was less than helpful, turning the discussion about how I feel rather than giving me the tools to cope."

The common denominator is you. How you feel is directly related to "the problem."

Good luck. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak

Last edited by Cyranoak; 12-08-2010 at 04:48 PM. Reason: Removed some sarcasm.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:51 PM
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In my alanon group we really focus on the solutions..not the problems..try a different meeting and go with an open mind would be my suggestion.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:51 PM
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