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It's a Family Disease, It's a Family Disease, It's a Family Disease

Old 07-29-2011, 10:21 AM
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It's a Family Disease, It's a Family Disease, It's a Family Disease

An update since I haven't been around in awhile:

I'm 9+ months pregnant and the baby should arrive any day. My husband is working on 5 months of active, continuous sobriety and our relationship has been really awesome. We're both growing by leaps and bounds. He's still unemployed, but is looking at learning a new trade since his old alcohol-related trade is no longer an option. All in all, things are looking up.
***

BUT! We got a phone call this morning. His sister was in a car accident last night at 3am after blowing a stop sign. She had been drinking.

Last fall, when my husband's problems were at the forefront, she also declared herself an alcoholic, declared her boyfriend an alcoholic, and then monopolized her parents' attention with her and her boyfriend's "recovery". Shortly after, she and the boyfriend broke up, and she continued on her merry way like none of her revelations had ever happened.

She's 28, still in school, and works more or less full time. She depends on the parents to maintain her lifestyle. And while they aren't happy with it, they just will not say no. In the last year, she has had her hand out for money for rent, car payments, insurance, and tuition, and has spent her paycheck and school loans on vacations, clothes, makeup, booze, TWO apartments, and a little dog. (She's like Paris Hilton, but less glamorous. If that's possible.)

As my husband has been progressing through recovery, he has wised up to a lot of the codependent behavior between his parents and his sister -- and for the first time has realized how the family's codependent systems fed the cycle of addiction for three generations. He's extremely disappointed in his sister for obvious reasons, and in his parents for being unable to set and maintain boundaries.

I'm irritated because his sister always finds a way to monopolize the family's attention and resources. The worst for me was when I was struggling to figure out how to address my husband's alcoholism and she decided to make it all about her boyfriend, and now with the impending (anyday!) birth of their first grandchild, she's making it all about adopting a chihuahua she can't afford and getting DUIs. In her dad's truck! Because she was drinking and driving while moving between (I'm not kidding) apartment #2 and #3!

I admit it, I'm resentful.

Seeing the in-laws struggle with the word "no".

I feel bad for my in-laws -- especially since my FIL wants to retire, but is afraid he can't until she gets her **** together -- but this is ultimately their choice to continue this relationship boundary-free.

And I'm disappointed in my SIL, especially since she started making positive steps last year towards independence and sobriety.

So I'm going to remind myself that this is a family disease, and I'm going to mind my side of the street, and try not to butt in unless my opinion is solicited. Anyway, this has been a source of reflection, seeing how addicts use and abuse the people that love them, and how codependents struggle even when they know what to do.

I thank the stars that this time I'm mostly on the outside looking in.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:42 AM
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Alcoholism can be a family disease. I'm a recovering drunk.....my dad is still a drunk...his dad was a drunk...and so on.

I'm the first in my blood line to break the cycle....your right it's different to be the one looking in.

Congrats on the baby! and your husband's sobriety.8

I wish you and yours happiness and many more 24 hours of sobriety.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:47 AM
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Thanks! We're crazy-excited.

I'm not going to kid anyone and say things are fantastic and easy (they aren't), but we're happy, healthy, and sober. Progress is happening.

And maybe the real take-away in watching all this happen is a) how happy I am that this isn't a part of my immediate life anymore, and b) how grateful I am to have the clarity to see what's really at work in this dynamic. It makes me want to keep working on myself and it makes me grateful that my husband finally turned the corner and got real about himself and his mental health.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:49 AM
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Do you know if it's a boy or a girl yet?

Take good care of yourself you have a wonderful gift coming to you.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:51 AM
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Baby girl! And it's the first grandbaby on RAH's side and the first baby girl in 17 years on my side. I have a feeling she's going to be very spoiled.
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
Thanks! We're crazy-excited.

I'm not going to kid anyone and say things are fantastic and easy (they aren't), but we're happy, healthy, and sober. Progress is happening.

And maybe the real take-away in watching all this happen is a) how happy I am that this isn't a part of my immediate life anymore, and b) how grateful I am to have the clarity to see what's really at work in this dynamic. It makes me want to keep working on myself and it makes me grateful that my husband finally turned the corner and got real about himself and his mental health.

Awesome
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:12 AM
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I am so excited for you.

I'm so sad for your SIL and your IL's. I hope they find a way to recovery.
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
Baby girl! And it's the first grandbaby on RAH's side and the first baby girl in 17 years on my side. I have a feeling she's going to be very spoiled.
That is so neat! Wishing you a safe and easy delivery!
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:20 PM
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Congratulations on your soon to be here baby girl. I can tell you baby girls are wonderful (I have three).
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:54 PM
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Congrats on the baby! My baby girl will be eight months in two days -- enjoy every moment with your baby and husband . It sounds like a messed-up situation in the extended family, which is too bad for the people who still haven't figured out how they're enabling some very destructive behavior, but -- YOU HAVE A BABY COMING!!!!

Sober husband, new baby -- sounds like a good time to forget the rest of the world and just revel in this moment. Do you really want to look back and see only what disappointed or irritated you at the time your daughter was born? Just my take on it .

It's definitely a family disease. I decided LONG ago that it's a lot easier to mention the people in my family who are NOT alcoholics. My sister...a cousin or two...my aunt...stepson (and obviously my bio-kids)...and mom, other sister, and one cousin are RAs. Other than that, pick a relation and they're all alcoholics, most for 20+ years.
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:11 AM
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Congrats on your baby girl, they are really something special.

Maybe your in-laws help their daughter more as they see her as more needy than your husband. You and your husband seem to be doing good without their help.

As a mom of an AD, it has taken us 9 long years to learn to say no. It is very tough to say no.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:03 AM
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Thanks for this post.

I am really struggling right now with many of my relationships.

Because they are mean people...No!

Because I feel alone in my family and circle of friends sometimes as the one to break the cycle. I have many A in my circle and many co-dependents, we all do are thing very well.

I am starting to come out of it and feel good about that, what is hard though is remembering that my change can be stressful for others and their response to it can reflect that.

Congrats on your family situation and thanks for the reminder that it is a family illness.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by LifeRecovery View Post
Because I feel alone in my family and circle of friends sometimes as the one to break the cycle. I have many A in my circle and many co-dependents, we all do are thing very well.
I feel the same way in being the one to break the cycle.

My 23-year-old stopped by yesterday to drop off my dog clippers, and I told her I was sad that she was a different person on the weekends. Her ABF is always camped out at her place on the weekends, and she virtually stops communicating with me because she's so enmeshed with him.

I hope some day she can learn to be true to self, and be consistent in her relationship with me.

Till then I still love her dearly, and just have to let go and let God.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:42 AM
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The husband and I were talking about this last night, and he has a vastly more healthy approach to this than I do. He says that since it doesn't really affect him, it's not his business and won't make it so. Let go and let God (so to speak, we really need an atheist version of this saying).

I admitted it's a real source of resentment for me. I think it's partly because I always felt like I got the short end of the stick in my own family and I'm really protective of myself and my needs when I feel like it's happening again. So I'm trying to slough it off and not get emotionally invested in the drama. I'm a grown-*** woman with my own family and responsibilities -- why should I caught up in this?

It's just so hard when the parents rearrange everything to make sure SIL is involved/comfortable/happy and SIL is consistently late/selfish/making excuses for crappy decisions. Just last night, we celebrated my husband's birthday with a dinner out. She bragged about how drunken and rowdy her weekend was -- directly after the drunk driving accident, remember -- after arriving 45 minutes late, and left early after the free meal was over. Her recent behavior just reads on the alcoholic spectrum for me so clearly, but the rest of the family thinks she's "just" a binge drinker and doesn't have a "real" problem like my husband did (a slow burning addict), and it makes me crazy to sit there with my mouth closed during family functions. She called herself an alcoholic last year, but went back to drinking when she realized she's actually have to make life changes to deal with it. The rest of the family is pretending all that never happened or is chalking it up to her immaturity. We're not at the point yet to cut off all family ties, but I feel like it's irresponsible to pretend like this isn't the elephant in the room.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:44 AM
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I'm not saying there needs to be an intervention -- or does there? -- but that it feels gross to pretend like everything is okay when it so clearly isn't.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
I admitted it's a real source of resentment for me. I think it's partly because I always felt like I got the short end of the stick in my own family and I'm really protective of myself and my needs when I feel like it's happening again.
I have essentially had to learn how to parent myself because many of my needs weren't met when I was growing up.

I can see where the current situation would trigger those feelings in you again.

There is a little girl inside of me who is scared, lonely, and feels "less than". I work hard to love that little girl and take good care of her.

Be gentle with yourself!
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