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Not serious about recovery and setting boundaries

Old 07-02-2011, 10:41 AM
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Not serious about recovery and setting boundaries

Hello,

Need Advice...

I have been reading so much on this site about setting boundaries, detaching, enabling, dealing with consequences of actions, etc. It's a lot to take in.

I posted earlier about my sister who is in a sober house right now. This weekend my parents and my nieces (2 yr and 4 yr old daughters of alcoholic sister in sober house) are coming over my house to watch the 4th of July fireworks. I invited my other sister who has not talked to my sister since she has been in the sober house. My mom has this grand idea of bringing my alcoholic sister over to watch the fireworks with us but doesn't want to get my other sister upset.

Last night, my sister came over and we saw that my alcoholic sister had recently posted on her facebook(have no idea how b/c she is on some restrictions at the sober house so I didn't think she had access to this or her phone) some disturbing messages to a guy she started seeing in day therapy who is a heroin addict. This guy was the one she was with when she had her last episode of getting drunk and landed her back in treatment. He took her car and her phone (which she finally got back with the help of my mother) as well as $400 dollars out of her bank account. He called my mother and said we were all disrespectful and that we are all crazy. He also flipped out on the Sober House mother and is not allowed to have any contact or my sister gets in some trouble whatever that means. My sister told my mother she wanted nothing to do with him. Well come to find out, she messaged him on face book saying she was getting her phone turned back on and that she misses him and can't wait to see him and that she is giving him her car that is in her husbands name. I think this is clearly a sign that she is not serious is her recovery. I know she has to own this herself and I cannot force her to be serious but what are the consequences?

I also had to bring her daughter to her dentist appointment that my mother set up. I picked up my sister at the sober house so she could be with her daughter. My mother asked her to get her daughters previous dental records sent over to the new dentist for 3 days. The morning of the appointment, my mother called her to make sure she did this and my sister hung up on her because she clearly didn't take care of her responsibilities. I didn't know any of this until after the appointment. So taking time out of my day, on top of the time and money I spent, was a complete waste. They couldnt do anything for my niece bc they needed those records. I'm sorry but this is really poor on my sisters part. I don't want my niece to suffer and its a matter of her health. Why should she get to go to these appointments that my mother sets up if she can't hold up her end? Can my sister even be expected to do these things for her daughters right now? If not, what should her involvement be?

With all that being said, I don't want her at my house. Is that wrong? I don't think she deserves to be around the family and see the fireworks. I want my other sister to be there and not worry about dealing with her. How can I create boundaries for myself and coexist with my parents, sisters, and nieces? I feel like I have to choose one over the other. I would gladly welcome my sister into my house if she was serious in her recovery but I am beginning to think this is all a big joke to her. She gets to get up whenever she wants, goes to sleep whenever she wants, and doesn't have to take care of her kids. She went to the beach last week with her sober house roommates, goes out for ice cream, goes to sober dances etc. while we are all living our life making sure her girls are safe on top of going to work and maintaining relationships with our own families. What a nice life she has.

Wherever my alcoholic sister decides she wants to be on the 4th of July is probably where my mom, dad, and nieces will end up. We all want to be with the girls. If I detach from my sister, it will complicate my relationship with my mother bc I don't think she will understand and think I am punishing my sister for her disease. Her whole life revolves around her. Every time we talk its all about my alcoholic sister. It makes it even more difficult because of her young daughters that we are all trying to be there for and who clearly want to see their mom. It doesn't seem fair. Sorry for the self pity. I am getting annoyed and feel like everyone is living their life around her. I'm back to being angry and my skin is crawling. We are all tired.

Any thought would be much appreciated. Maybe I am being to hard on her.

BTW What is the policy on names here? It's getting confusing identifying who I am talking about. I have 3 sisters....

Thank you!
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:36 AM
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Maybe you could just make up names for your sisters. I wouldn't use their real names.

It is your home. You invite whom you wish. You can't control what your mom and the others do. If they choose to go be with your alcoholic sister, that is their business.

So far as the girls go, it's good of you to help where you can but again, unless their mom's parental rights have been terminated, she has the final say in what they do. You might want to keep a journal of ways in which she has failed her parental responsibilities in case it ever becomes necessary to get child protective services involved.

Yes, it is a three-ring circus you have going on there right now. Do your best to take care of your own responsibilities and let others handle their own decisions.

Have you been able to make it to Al-Anon yet?
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:02 PM
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Hi Lexie,

Thank you. We are going to our first meeting this Sunday night. It can't come soon enough. I'm going to enjoy the 4th regardless who is over and work on distancing myself from the chaos. I'm anticipating my moms reaction to this because she has told me she feels that I am the only one "being there" for my sister and not judging her like my other 2. When in fact, I think they have had it right this whole time. Thanks again for your input! You have a way of really getting to the point!
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:20 PM
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How can I create boundaries for myself and coexist with my parents, sisters, and nieces?
You can't please everyone all the time.

My parents have not liked some of the boundaries I set, and that's their problem, not mine.

I am not responsible for how others interpret a boundary and their feelings associated with it.

My 33-year-old AD is not allowed in my house, period, end of story.

You have every right to put your foot down and not allow your addict sister there.

People can get glad in the same pants they got mad in, or wear several pairs before they get over it.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:27 PM
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Good, it sounds like you are on the right track.

It's perfecly OK, as I said, to feel compassion for the alcoholic, but when the health and well-being of yourself and others is at stake, it's OK to put your/their interests first.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:47 PM
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Welcome, sorry for all the toxicity.

You set your bounderies for you, to protect yourself. If your mother gets upset for your bounderies, so be it.

You are an adult, an equal to your mother. She has and continues to live her own life as she pleases, on her own terms. If she wants to make your sister her priorty, that is her choice. Her obsession with your sister is not unusal codependent behavior, plus some parents just play favorites.

I would do what is best for you and your family, let the chips fall where they may.

Enjoy your 4th!
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Old 07-02-2011, 04:28 PM
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Ditto: you must put yourself and your family first. These are your priorities. It's your life,not your mother's, so set boundaries that work for you.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:14 PM
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You've decided to get off the merry go round. You're mother might have a problem with it, because she's still on it, and it's getting harder for her to be the only one pushing it in circles. She's still in denial about her daughter's illness, when others have seen it for what it is.

Sacrificing your sanity for the sake of another's addiction is a tough road to go down. I don't recommend it.
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Old 07-03-2011, 05:38 AM
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Hi Chloe ((((hugs))))

I'm so sorry you are going through this but it is very similar to things all of us have or are going trough.

A little help with terminology. Use AS for the alcoholic sister.

One of the big things here to keep in mind is the 3 c's.

You didn't cause it
You can't control it
You can't cure it.

Take that to heart. It really helps keep things in perspective. As others have said boundaries are to protect you. So use them to keep yourself as free as possible from the madness that is going in with your AS.

It is also ok for you to set up boundaries with your mother as well. She will stop with the codie behavior when she is ready.

I have no experience to offer with your nieces. Where is their father in all this?

Come back often, we are here to help.

Your friend,
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:19 AM
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M1k3-Their father is in the military. He is stationed in Seattle right now where my AS has gone back in forth between my parents and him the last 4 years. He enlisted about 2 weeks after my AS had her first daughter. They got married shortly after. He is coming back mid July. No idea what his plans are.

Dollydo-You hit the nail right on the head. My mother has a sick obsession with my AS sister and since I have been the "non judgemental" one lately, she has brought me in full force on this merry go round with her since no one else is willing to do it. She thinks my other sisters are being selfish and that we all need to be nice to my AS and put her feelings before our own. My mom fears that AS will take her kids out of my parents home and she will never see them again if she upsets my AS.

Freedom1990-I pray someday that my mother will become strong enough like you. All 4 of us are adopted and I think she blames her self for that and enables more because she took us on in her life and needs to fix everybody and their situations. She has been an enabler her entire life. Not just with AS but with raising all of us.

NYCdoglvr and kittykitty-Your exactly right about my life vs my mothers. After I told her yesterday that I didn't think my AS was taking being in the sober house seriously by reaching out to her addict friend, she questioned me, not sure if she believed me and I haven't heard from her since yesterday. We usually talk multiple times a day because of AS and I am seeing now how this has been toxic. It's probably better off I didn't hear from her.



Would anyone give some examples of setting boundaries for my AS and my mother?

What is the difference between recovering alcoholic and alcoholic? and are they treated differently as far as boundaries go?

Thank you to all! Can't wait for the first al-anon meeting tonight.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:13 AM
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I'll start with a value of mine, the biggest value I hold. It helps me define boundaries. I have envisioned this as a flow chart - pyramid style, flowing from the top down. WIsh I could draw a diagram... ; )

Treat me with respect and you will receive the same in return. Disrespect is not tolerated.

Now that said, I've had to define what respect means to me. It means autonomy (I am in charge of my choices in my life, not anyone else), the right to privacy (hands off my stuff, folks. If I want to share, I will share. That goes for property, money, personal items, thoughts, opinions, etc.), the right to peace and serenity (even if it means going no contact with someone upsetting my need for peace and serenity). There's more here....just not finished with that first cup of coffee yet.

Now underneath those would be further defined behaviors I won't tolerate. Such as anger and blamestroming, not taking personal responsibility, abuse of any kind, being under the influence, etc...

Ok, so we define our boundaries...then what do we do? Standing firm doesn't mean forcing them down someone else's throat. That's the tricky part for me. Standing firm on my boundaries without coming across as aggressive and mean myself. What I've learned in Al-Anon is to stand firm with love and compassion and empathy for the other person I am struggling with. I can protect my boundaries while also seeing where the other person is coming from. Just yesterday, my RAH called me in the morning to see if I wanted to go for a hike. I did, but it was raining so I told him maybe we should wait...maybe tomorrow...well he got angry and abruptly hung up on me. I didn't call him back. I didn't get mad in return. I just thought "wow he's grumpy this morning. What a butthead" and went on with my day. He called an hour later to apologize, took personal responsibility for his emotions and behavior, we went for a hike and had a nice time. Now, if he had called back to berate me for causing his bad mood, I would have hung up and gone on with my day. Because that's a boundary - I am not responsible for your feelings. You are. Own them. Or leave me alone.

You are heading in the right direction by understanding where your Mom is at right now. Mother's guilt can be a powerful thing. She sounds just as addicted to your sister as your sister is addicted to her substances. That addiction really clouds rational thought!

The last thing I will say about boundaries is that you have to stand strong...some people don't like boundaries and won't respect them, especially if they don't even know what boundaries are to begin with. Be prepared for flack. This is where I remind myself "what other people think of me is none of my business".

Addiction creates chaos for the entire family. I am sorry you are having to go through this...you are not alone...and it is not easy.

~T
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:48 AM
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Freedom1990-I pray someday that my mother will become strong enough like you. All 4 of us are adopted and I think she blames her self for that and enables more because she took us on in her life and needs to fix everybody and their situations. She has been an enabler her entire life. Not just with AS but with raising all of us.
May I recommend praying for your mother? I sure do pray for mine. My mother is an untreated codependent, and it's sad to say she will most likely go to her grave never finding any recovery for herself.

Despite her protests and saying she's done, she still enables my 33-year-old to an extent.

I no longer beat my head on the wall over that because it is what it is, and if she starts in on the phone complaining about my AD and what she did for her, I end the conversation.

The discomfort for me of setting boundaries with my parents did not kill me. They have their little fits, try to step over the boundaries, but I hold firm.

Your mother continues to do what is familiar to her because change is uncomfortable and difficult.

Lead by example. They may not like it but by golly, your recovery is showing!
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:07 AM
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My heart is racing right now!

I just got off the phone with my mother. I called her to meet me at my house for our first meeting tonight. Which she seemed excited about.

I followed by telling her that I have been doing a lot of thinking and I am not ready to see my AS again for the fireworks tomorrow at my house. That's when the conversation really started turning foul. My mother said,"Well, AS didn't do anything to you, why can't she be there." "That's really not fair". "Your not helping her by turning your back on her along with your other sisters, and you don't even know if her facebook messages were old posts" (clearly was manipulated by my sister yesterday when I expressed my concern to her about getting in touch with her addict friend) I know what I saw and she is not going to undermine me or make me second guesss myself! "I think your making a real big mistake here".

I took some deep breaths and said,"I'm sorry but I am really not ready to see AS. And if you have to change your plans and not come over I understand but I cannot have her here right now".

She replied,"ok thats fine whatever" and hung up.

I have put up with listening to my mother and staying on her side and enough is enough. The first time I try to say I am uncomfortable with something she blows up! I can see this is going to start getting ugly real fast with her.

Can I go to this meeting by myself? I don't want to be around my mother right now. I know I can't stop her from going. Maybe she won't want to at this point.

so frustrated!!!!
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:11 AM
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I feel like I am losing my sister and my mother.....it's really hard.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:12 AM
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Oh how well I know the attempted guilt-tripping by a mother. Good for you for standing your ground! I know that is difficult and uncomfortable the first few times.

Of course you can go to the meeting by yourself.

Deep breaths and give yourself a hug for doing great!
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:42 PM
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When I first started working on "boundaries," the worst part for me was how, with just few words, my AW could make me feel like crap. My guts would get twisted into a ball, I'd just shut down. It was a horrible feeling.
But eventually, and with help, I learned something that is just completely fundamental for me now: Other people can't make me feel bad. How I feel, how I react is in my control. I've learned to not react. I've learned that when I do react, I can take a deep breath and let the bad feelings go. I've learned that I can enforce my boundaries and even if the other person gets upset...the world does not come end.
It took some work, I had to take chances, I had to be willing to share my feelings when I really didn't feel comfortable. It helped that my AW was in recovery and we were able to both use our new found tools to communicate in new and better ways. And every so often, my feelings still get away from me and I still feel like crap. But it's progress, and I feel so much better than I did during the dark years.
So take a chance, go to the meeting with or without your mother. It's a process, and it takes time and commitment, but I believe that in time, you'll feel better.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:45 PM
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Thanks Freedom1990,

I can understand how my mother feels like I am turning against her by stepping away from AS. But that doesn't give her the right to guilt me for it right? I wouldn't even of recognized that she was trying to make me feel guilty unless you mentioned it. When your so used to someone's behavior you don't pick up on those things.
I talked to my other S who is going to the meeting tonight with us. My mom called her right after she got off the phone with me saying how she is going to have to make up an excuse to my AS why she and the rest of the fam aren't coming over to protect AS feelings. An excuse other than the reality of I am not comfortable around her. What about everyone else's feelings???!!! maybe my nieces and my father want to come over anyways.

My mom is still planning on going to the meeting. I think she thinks the meeting will turn me and S back on my mom's side, since I guess we are choosing sides at this point. Hopefully she is in for a wake up call. I'm preparing myself for her to walk out of this saying it isn't for her although I am praying that she chooses recovery.

Tuffgirl: Thanks for helping me with creating boundaries. I think this is going to be real important not only with my AS my especially my mother. The example you gave about you RAH really put things in perspective. I liked how you were able to roll it off and continue with your day. You are able to not get mad, forgive, and accept the apology and still enjoy your time together. That's pretty incredible! I'm really beginning to see how involved the boundaries can get and it's going to be hard not trying to force it on my mother and trying to find some balance. She is an addict herself in her relationship with my AS. Any ideas? Is there a way to not enable an enabler if that makes any sense?

I really really really appreciate everyone's support. I had no idea how it was going to be when I first posted here but I know I have come to the right place. I'm starting to feel a little guilty though about it all being ME ME ME. Did you feel like that at first???
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:50 PM
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I no longer accept the guilt my mother tries to throw at me, and actually she does it much less often because it gets her nowhere!

Just keep taking care of self. You may be the only example of true recovery that your family sees, and who knows? Some of them may actually get into recovery too!

You're doing fantastic!

:ghug3
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:36 PM
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My mother used to lay on the guilt, she finally gave up, when she realized that tactic was no longer working.

Someone once said to me..."Guilt is directly related to being a people pleaser." Don't know if that is true, but, I for one was a people pleaser.

Your mom is going to pull out every trick in her bag to get you to do what she wants. She is not considering you or anyone elses feelings, it is all about your alcoholic sister, is this unfair? Yes, is there anything you can do about it? No.

To me, when a member of a family crawls into the bottle, and, becomes an alcoholic, it becomes impossible for the family to sustain itself in a healthy way. I have learned that I can only save myself, and, must do what I need to do to enforce my bounderies.

It is not a matter of choosing sides, it is a matter of protecting yourself, a matter of not being drawn into your sisters toxic behavior and your mothers enabling. If they choose to interact that way, that is up to them, it does not mean that you have to contribute to their madness.

I understand that this is not easy, but, your bounderies will keep you healthy, and believe it or not your stress level will start to reduce.

I agree with Freedom, you are setting a wonderful example for others in your family.

Have a great 4th, a day that is all about individual freedom, how appropiate!
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:11 PM
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Thanks,

We went to our first Al-Anon meeting last night. They say try 6 meetings until you find the one that fits. The meeting was geared to adult children of A and the focus on the steps. The step we walked into was step 9 about making amends. I was open minded and I thought it was going well until right at break my S said she had to leave cause she was uncomfortable and my mother used the excuse that she had to be home for her granddaughter and didn't realize it was going to be an hour and a half. We only had a half hour left. They were my ride so I had to leave too. But, I decided I am looking elsewhere for another meeting and going by myself. I couldn't stand the glares from my mother when we started reading about making amends. She is interpreting it much differently than I did. I think it would have been better for S if they started with step 1 but it's her choice if she wants to give up on the meetings.

My AS found out that I didn't want her here at the house today. She posted on facebook that none of her sisters are talking to her so f*** them. At first I was sad, then I was thanking god that he was giving me what I needed to justify in my head letting go of her. I am getting to the point where I don't need to be checking up on her because I already know what I will find. She has already proven enough that she isn't serious and she can own that and the consequences herself.

My parents and my nieces came over this morning, my 4 yr old niece stated, "mommy is sick. Why didn't you invite her to come over for the fireworks?". I couldn't answer her poor little thing. My mother didn't speak one word of AS so it made the day a lot nicer. They had to leave early and arn't coming back for the fireworks but it was a very nice day and I was able to not think so much about AS.

Thanks again for everyones support and hope your all enjoying your 4th!
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