FIL is drinking again, while dying...

Old 01-03-2011, 07:01 AM
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FIL is drinking again, while dying...

My FIL is still knocking around. This is mostly unexpected with his doctors and the hospice nurses not really expecting him to make it until Christmas, but he's still here. And would the man look at this situation with optimism and want to take advantage of the fact that he's doing so much better than everyone thought he would?

No. He started drinking again, on the 26th to be exact, the day the court order expired saying if he took a drink he'd court-ordered into a nursing home. My wife found out on Thursday. MIL and SIL are the prime suspects for supplying it (he's not physically able to go get his beer himself) though neither will admit to who's doing it and both are trying to justify it. My wife went over there on Thursday to talk to MIL about it and found a case of beer in the fridge. MIL claims she has no control over his drinking but apparently "couldn't" get rid of the beer in the fridge. SIL supports his drinking, saying it's all he has left so he should just be left to it. I understand that he's an adult and if he chooses to drink then he has the right to. But that doesn't mean that anyone should buy the alcohol for him or allow it to be around if they have the means to prevent it.

But I know the focus here is how I and my wife are going to react to it. My wife wants to go over there regularly and take the alcohol out of the house. I pointed out that it's a battle she's going to lose. She's conflicted between assuaging her conscience with doing everything she can think of to keep him from drinking and accepting that there's ultimately nothing she can do. For now, she's having nothing to do with them. She hasn't spoken to any of them since Thursday except for a text from MIL on Saturday saying "Don't be mad" and my wife telling her off for enabling him and both of them for justifying it.

Me? MIL was watching the boys two nights a week while I worked but I've made other arrangements for them. They know grandpa is dying because of alcohol so I won't let them watch him drink. They won't be going over there anytime soon, either, nor will I. I'm staying completely out of it now and honestly, if I see them other than at FIL's funeral it'll be too much. My wife and I had also talked about their financial situation and had agreed to help out now since he wasn't able to work and she's waiting for her disability to kick in. Not any more. I refuse to do anything that might be seen as enabling or condoning any of their actions (or lack of action, as the case may be). I all ready had an issue with the idea of helping financially when it was them that created this situation. Family is family, though, and both my wife and I believe that we should help family if we're able to especially because they'd helped us in the past. I am so seriously done with all of the dysfunction and drama and enabling that I want them out of my life completely.

Am I being too much of a hardass? I know that I have to do what's right for me and I know that I'm not intentionally hurting anyone by making these choices. It doesn't quite sit right with me for some reason. Maybe that's the codie part of me saying that I should be doing something to make everything better when I know, logically, that there's nothing I could or should do. I am perfectly happy with the idea of never seeing any of them again, except for not seeing my nephew and my niece or nephew on the way. I ache for my nephew because he's stuck in the crapstorm that is his mom and dad's immaturity and irresponsibility and grandma's enabling of it. I'm so tired of everything else, though...
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:18 AM
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MIL and SIL are the prime suspects for supplying it (he's not physically able to go get his beer himself) though neither will admit to who's doing it and both are trying to justify it.
Cunning, baffling and powerful. Also insane.

Too much of a hardass? Are they your boundaries? Are you comfortable with them? Will you enforce them?

When my children are involved, it's easier to place and hold firm, healthy boundaries.

As far as the financial situation goes, if repaying their kindness is the right thing to do, it's not your responsibility what they do with the money. I'd see withholding fair repayment as controlling.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:55 AM
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Thank you for the post evenkeel. I know my family is going to come to this point too, with my father. IMO, your fil is likely no picnic to live with and mil and sil likely feel sorry for him and that's why they buy it. Your wife is not going to be able to change this now and to run over there and throw it out is just going to waste the money spent and create all kinds of drama etc. I don't recommend it; it never got me anywhere.

As for the money, here's what I do: Follow my heart. I have it to give and it helps them so I give it with no strings attached. When you GIVE something to someone, it becomes theirs to do what they want with it. I know in my heart it is the right thing to do; those are MY values: To care for my family the best I can. If you can't give it freely, or without strings, check your motivations for giving. Strings usually means I am attempting to control.

As for the nieces and nephews, all I could do is be the best role model I could and try to teach them how to take care of themselves. I hope that during the short number of years they were allowed in my life (that is, the years it was convenient for the parents) I was able to instill something good in them.

Take care. Stay well.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:34 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, these are my boundaries. When it comes to my kids there's no compromise. And I'm even more sure about them after my wife was bombarded with abusive texts regarding my decision to have someone else watch the kids. SIL told her that we're the ones with the problems, that we don't care about anyone else, that we're wrong and they're right. MIL was also trying to justify everything to my wife that "this is his dying wish" (namely to die more quickly by drinking) and my wife's taking it really hard. I found out tonight that we're not the only ones who feel this way. The entire family knows through some means or another and apparently everyone's decided that they're not going to have anything to do with them, either. According to my wife's cousin no one in her family has gone to see him since most everyone found out on New Year's Eve, even her dad who had been visiting him daily, and no one is accepting phone calls from them either.
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:10 AM
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What a sad situation. Alcoholism is a family disease. Sadly, right now, it is near the end of the alcoholics life and taking center stage.

I understand all of your emotions, the fustration of watching others enable and love someone even if what they do, kills the loved one, literally.

My father was a sober, yet dry alcoholic when he died of cancer. As a family, we dealt with alot of cracks in our veneer when he died. Al-Anon, and CoDependent No More has helped and is still helping all of us heal. This March, it will have been 5 years since he died.

I think along the sames lines as Learn2Live, if financially you feel like giving with no strings attached, thats fine. Your boundaries are yours alone. I still work on educating my children, and yes, myself on detaching with love. He is still your wife's father, her mother and sister. As much as we may not agree with their choices, deep down, we still love them all.

Nothing will change the situation at this stage. However, I would urge your wife to do what she feels is right, and what she can live with after he passes.

Losing a father is hard enough...losing him to active alcoholism while being enabled by other family members makes it even harder.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:49 AM
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evenkeel, thanks for posting! You are RIGHT about having your concerns about your FIL's drinking. What you have described about your MIL and SIL enabling your FIL to drink under his condition could be considered elder abuse. I am pretty sure his doctors and the hospice nurses don't know what is going on in your FIL's house. They would NEVER approve of it!

I can NOT recommend enough to check out the following link and GET HELP!
Iowa Department of Human Services

Protective Service Units are available in all DHS Iowa County offices. You can call your local DHS office to make a referral or use the toll-free, hot line number, which is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-362-2178

Contact your uncle if you feel you need additional support!

This is the MOST important thing you can do RIGHT now!

originally from Storm Lake, IA

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