Long rant of frustration and desparation

Old 12-17-2012, 10:58 PM
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Long rant of frustration and desparation

Hello All.

This is awkward, so I'll just jump it. I've got to rant, hopefully to someone who will understand WHY I am so angry, WHY I have no sympathy and WHY I feel so utterly helpless.

My little brother (7 years younger and age 32 now) has had a problem with drinking and drug use sine he was in middle school. It wasnt for lack of trying on my mother's part, she begged and pleaded, and tried everything she could to help him, but well, here we are.

He got his first possession charge 10 years ago and his first DUI shortly after. No jail time, lost his licence for a year, cleaned up and did great during his probation. He was abusive (mentally) to his first live-in girl friend and she took their little girl and left when the child was 5 years old.

Then he moved in another girl, and started with cocaine. Not every day, just a "social" user, but managed to quite (I am fairly certain) after a few months of using.

He got this other girl pregnant, they had a little boy 3 1/2 years ago. When the child was 4 months old, brother got another DUI, no jail time, licence revoked, but he was quickly given restricted driving privileges. Then since he was on probation again, he needed to "clean his act up" and kicked the babies mother out of the house (she was also a drug user).

I took the child in at 6 months, because brother lost his job and was about to lose his house. Brother cleaned up again, got off probation, got his liscence back and when my nephew was a year old, he moved back in with his father.

Brother needed money, so he rented out my nephew's room, making my nephew sleep in the couch. Brother had women coming it, a different one each day and by the time the child was 2, brother got another (his third) DUI and had to serve 30 days jailtime. He was working at this point, so he got to do his time on weekends, and during those weekends, the child stayed with me. On the last weekend, brother lost his job, and was again in danger of losing his house, so nephew moved back in with me. This was a year ago.

Brother has been working hard at tricking everyone into thinking he is cleaned up again. He bought a scooter so he could go to work, he started going to Church, he's been a model citizen anytime someone is looking. He even quit smoking (oddly enough, he often smells like smoke though).

Then my mother calls me at 3 am crying hysterically saying my brother had been in an accident and was being airlifted to the state medical hospital. He'd hit a deer, been thrown from his scooter and suffered eight broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a broken leg. He spent 3 days in ICU.

He was drunk when he hit that deer. He's been charged with his FOURTH DUI, a probation violation and we also found out that this "scooter" was higher powered than he was allowed, so he's been charged with operating a vehicle on a revoked licence. During his hospital stay, he told us he would NOT go to jail, he would run, he would kill himself, he would do whatever it took to not go to jail.

He stripped down naked in the bed, using only the sheet to cover the most private areas, and ended up being asked to leave the hospital because of inappropriate behavior (he had his new girlfriend IN the bed with him and they were drinking).

His probation officer declared him a liability to the jail because of his broken ribs and leg, and because of his suicidal status. Brother has told me that he is not suicidal, that he only said that because he knew they wouldnt arrest him.

He has alienated my mother, gotten very ugly with her because she refused to make a house payment for him (he is again at risk of losing his house). I still have his son living with me, but have NEVER recieved any type of support at all. The mother of this child is homeless, living under a bridge and prostituting herself for drug money....one of her "Johns" is my brother.

Right now, brother's plan is to delay this sentencing for as long as possible, and has been told it would take as long as a year for it to even start because of the back lag in the state lab where his blood work is. THEN, they can continue it for a year. His lawyer has pretty much guaranteed that he will serve a 1 year sentence, with a possibility of a two year sentence.

Brother says he will "pick up his kid" once this is over.....in 4-5 years! That would put nephew at 8-9 years old and having lived with me for 6 and a half years. It's cruel to even consider doing that to this child.

As for right now, brother is still drinking, but tells me not to worry because "it's on the down low". He has not accepted any responsibility for his actions, saying this all happened because of a stupid deer. He has asked me to lie for him in court and got angry when I refused, calling me horrible names and threatening to just "give his son to the foster system" if I didnt comply.

He's put our family thru hell. He's torturing his children. and my mother.....I cant even begin on how badly my mother is hurting right now.

I've contacted DSS, I've contacted a custody lawyer, and there is NO HELP that I can find for this little boy. He deserves a stable home with sober parents. He is happy here and content, a MUCH different child than he was when he first came to live with us this time.

I just cannot find the light at the end of the tunnel here. It just seems hopeless. I am worried that my brother is going to kill himself, or even worse, someone else with his next DUI. I am worried that he is going to have one of his own kids in the car on his next DUI.....and legally I HAVE to let him have his son when he asks for him (which is not often, but it still scares me).

Right now, my brother is about to lose his house, yet he has SIX people that he has allowed to move in with him. ALL of them, each and every one of them, drives a scooter and is on probation for a DUI. And they all like to party. The back porch is one huge pile of beer cans.

Then today, my brother informs me that he has bought a "nice used van", because the cops dont pull over vans and it "hauls a crap load of beer" and leaves room for a mattress in the back.

I am angry. I am tired. I am heart broken. I am absolutely terrified for my brother and for this little boy who is calling me "mama" now. And the only end that I can see to this is ugly and deadly.

I feel so helpless sitting here watching my brother kill himself, waiting for him to kill someone else.

I love my brother, but sometimes I wish he would just go away. And so, I feel guilty about feeling that way.

If you've read this far, you have my appreciation and admiration. I'm at another awkward point, so I'll just stop whining. Thanks for listening.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:20 AM
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Welcome Redtailgal,

I am so sorry for what has brought you to the website but you will find support here and never feel like you are whining. We are here to listen and share all you want or need.

Bless you for being there for this poor child and I would talk to more than one attorney as most states are a lot more proactive in protecting children from parents that are neglectful or have substance abuse issues when families can offer stability.

It seems there is plenty of evidence that could be presented to give you temporary full custody. Has he given you authority for his school, medical etc?

You are not helpless ... there is your HP and he is all powerful... however you are powerless over your brother's drinking. He doesn't appear to be interested in anything other than his own selfish lifestyle and learning how to let go of that outcome will help you and his mother.

Have you considered alanon for your mother and yourself? It was a lifesaver for me and my own crazy life with the A's I have loved... including a brother.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:38 AM
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Can you go TOTALLY non contact with your brother?

Perhaps, first tell him that you are not contacting him again and are going no contact.

He will rant and rave about MY son and how he will get a lawyer and yada yada yada. However, as an addict you need to pay attention to what he does, not what he says. Has he ever done what he has said he is going to do? What makes you think he will start now?

Get your evidence and all your ducks in a row. Your first priority is to look after your nephew who calls you Mama.

You and your Mom need to stop worrying about your brother losing his house. Your brother doesn't seem to care if he loses his house - he is too busy being "Mr Party All The Time" why should you care so much?
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:39 AM
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Hi Redtailgal, reading your post was heart-breaking but left me with huge respect for you. I agree that your nephew is the important person in this story because he is the one you can help. Is it really true that there is nothing you can do to legally to make your guardianship nephew legal and permanent? His father will have multiple DUIs, be homeless and has provided an unsuitable home in the past. His threat to put his son into the foster system is further proof that he is an unfit parent.
Please gather every bit of evidence you can, including diarising all incidents, so you will have ammunition if he tries to take the child from you in the future. However I agree with Lulu; his concern will be with his addiction, and his threats will be empty. This won't stop you and your nephew being held to ransom by every threat from him in the future though, so gaining permanent guardianship over N, seems to be the ideal outcome.
Best wishes for the struggle ahead; you sound like an amazing woman. Your nephew is very lucky to have you around.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:57 AM
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As hard as it has been and continues to be, you've come through when you could to for the ones who could not do for themselves.

I hope you understand how admirable you are for doing that not once but so many times. It's even more to your credit that you are looking to the future without false blinders, knowing it may contain more of the same and you are still willing to continue playing a part.

You have my greatest respect.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:10 AM
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This is a shame.

To my way of thinking, let him lose his house.Don't allow him to live with you. He will continue to drink, in 5 or 6 years, he will most likely be in prison. The chances of him coming back for his son are slim at best, as is priorty is booze and women, in that order.

If he pesters or abuses you too much, get a restraining order against him, that is step one to build your case.

Your nephew is fortunate to have you, your support. Personally, I would look for another attorney, he has 3 DUI's that alone is grounds to lose his son. The US Department of Children Services considers a child living in a home where addiction is present to be child abuse, and, CPS can come in and remove the child from the home. I do not know if you live in the US or not, but most countries have child endangerment laws.

He knows your soft spot and as an addict he will attack that area over and over again to get what they want, limiting your time with him and setting your bounderies will help you deal with him.
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Old 12-18-2012, 06:22 AM
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You have every right to be MAD !!! You need to somehow just focus on your nephew and LOVE YOUR BROTHER FROM AFAR !!! You can't change someone who doesn't want to change. You have to in some way gain temp full custody.. Maybe say you need him to give you temp custody for now because you have to get a medical card for him or you want this done in case he goes to jail and there is no taking this child out of the house where he is comfortable. I feel for you I pray it all comes together for you. xoxo
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:57 PM
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Thanks for all the kind words.

I've tried to get him to sign over at least a guardianship to me, but he refuses. I asked him about it today and was told we *might* discuss it again after tax season (he wants that tax deduction). He'll find another excuse then.

I've contacted a lawyer, but NC is a tough state to win non parental custody in. She felt we had a chance, but not a great one, if we went to court. She was concerned (and rightly so) that if we went to court, brother would remove the child from my house, thus causing him some pretty rough trauma. I've contacted DSS and they will not intervene because the child is well cared for since he is living with me, to get their support I would have to place him back into his father's home and allow time for the situation to have an effect on the child. DSS told me that even then they are not likely to remove a child from biological parents unless the child has been "damaged" (their words, not mine)

Right now, I have NO legalities toward this child. I can take him to the Pediatrician, but only because this pediatrician knows me very well (he took out my appendix 30 years ago, lol). Other than that, NOTHING....hence I cant claim him on my taxes, I have nothing "legal" to prove to the IRS that he lives here.

I have spent thousands on this child, but have never given my brother a dime. I look forward to the day he loses his house (how awful it is to be in a situation to say that about my own brother).

Oh, how I wish I could go no contact with my brother. However, per my instructions from the custody lawyer, I am remaining on brother's "good side". I take the child to him ONLY when brother calls and asks to see him (which is blissfully not to often). I am making sure that all contact revolves around the care for this child, and that my brother initiates the contact.

My mother is strictly no contact at this point as is the rest of my family.

But, I feel that by making nice with my brother, I am letting brother feel that I am on his "side". I think he would have a better chance of recovery if I were to walk away, but by doing so I put this little boy at risk of being THERE.

Brother does have a court date tomorrow, hopefully he will be arrested for his probation violation (again, having to say that about my own brother).

I'm so frustrated with law enforcement......they keep slapping him on the wrist. I'm so frustrated with the child protective services here...they tend to be a child rescue organization rather than a protective service.

I've had a couple people here suggest an Al Anon session........I'll be looking for those in my area. Thank you all for listening and for understanding. Strange as it sounds, it's nice to be understood by someone, finally.

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Old 12-19-2012, 01:51 AM
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I'm so sorry to read this mess & so thankful this child has you to parent him.
I'm in Australia & don't have a clue about custody laws where you live, but I would encourage you to document everything, every last little thing you can that may be relevant. It's not acting against your brother, it's acting for your nephew & his wellbeing.
I would guess that like most addicts, the natural consequences of your brothers actions will, over time place the child firmly in your custody. However as you have also observed, your brother is still cunning enough to want to use the child for his own gain on some occassions. Document, document, document. The story will write itself. As the child becomes more or less your own child he will be less & less willing to visit your brother, & having an unhappy & unsetteld child on their hands is not what most addicts call fun. Hopefully he'll loose interest in the child before too much longer.
There was a time when I wouldn't have written this, when I would have thought rather differently, & I would never have expressed these sentiments publiclly. I think differently now. I have seen this too many times - on here & in real life. I saw my ex husband neglect, abandon, damage & enddanger his little children from previous relationships. He drove drunk with them in the vehicle many times (before he was with me) & continues to be a truly dead beat dad in every way right up to this day. Kids deserve better than this. We only have one life & to be jammed right up against the 8 ball by some looser before you even get started is tragic. I know. I came from an alcoholic/co-dependent family myself & am still struggling, at 49, to untangle the mess. I have passed on this mess to my own children, & it is agony beyond belief to watch them trying to deal with their inheritance. Don't feel bad for wanting to give this little bloke a shot at life. Good for you I reckon. Dad is an adult & is free to choose his own actions & experience the consequences of what ever he chooses. Your nephew at this age has no choice but to accept whatever hand is dealt to him. It's very fortunate he has you & that you care. Best of luck with it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:12 AM
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You rock.

What about biding your time and not pushing for custody until he gets sentenced and locked up and THEN going for custody? Right now he can take mamas little guy but he sure as hell can't take him to prison.

If he is in jail and egg donor is homeless you become what is known as expedient - your move for custody then would be powerful because it solves the states problem.

This sucks but it is so awesome that your little man has you. It might not mean much coming from a stranger but I am really proud of you!

Another thing - get a cheap digital recorder and record brother. Document everything and keep a journal - build the case. No sympathy or mercy for brother - little man and you are the priorities

You have no idea how awesome you are, that little guy is lucky.

Here's hoping your brother gets another DUI with drugs i. His pocket and a sentence that keeps him away longer. Courts don't like to bust up a solid situation and if he goes away for several years they can give you custody or he becomes the states problem.

Hang around, you are among friends
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:48 AM
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Have you considered going to his mother for custody? Sounds like she and your brother were never married. In NC as in many states sole custody goes to the mother until the child is legitimized by the father by either marrying the mother or filing for legitimization through the courts.

Something is not sounding right here to me. 4 DUI's and you are having problems trying to get custody? I think I would look into another lawyer they are not all created equally. Perhaps if he goes to jail today you might go the route of his mother.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:31 AM
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But, I feel that by making nice with my brother, I am letting brother feel that I am on his "side". I think he would have a better chance of recovery if I were to walk away, but by doing so I put this little boy at risk of being THERE.
You can't affect how your brother feels about you and what you're doing for your nephew. I hope you are able to talk to a couple more lawyers about your prospects before you resign yourself to play-acting with your brother for the next dozen years. You don't actually have to *be* on his side, but if he feels that way, well, hey, think strategically.

This is where Al-Anon or a great therapist will come in handy. This is where you can learn how to interact with him when you have to without feeling anxious and emotionally entangled. In my experience, this is one of the best things I did for myself for when I have to be with my alcoholic husband. It keeps me sane, where before my blood would have been boiling and I would have listened to and argued with every harebrained threat and argument he threw at me.

I think you're doing very well despite the circumstances. Not many people have the cojones to do what you're doing without any kudos or financial support, and those that do, in my mind anyway, have a direct phone line to god.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:34 AM
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When I was a child in an alcoholic home I wanted someone to rescue us. No one ever came for me but what you are doing for that child is incredible. If only we could rescue them all somehow.

I just checked and NC is a one person state and you can legally record conversations with your brother without his knowledge and consent. A trip to an electronics store will give a lot of great devices for this purpose that are inexpensive. Start documenting and archiving every jot and tittle.

Do visit as many attorneys as you can... they usually will give you a free consult visit. Lawyers are not created equal and with the opinions and advice you get from them you can get a solid plan for the future.

Alanon will be a lifesaver for you... it was for me. A support network that understands the devastation of loving someone who is destroying themself and even turns into a monster you don't know is psychologically damaging. How can it not be?

Lastly, kids of untreated alcoholics can benefit from a counselor who understands addiction and specializes in kids. I know my kids did when I divorced their addict father and they are pretty normal, happy non codie non alcoholic/addict successful adults.

I didn't know about alateen but it can also be helpful.

Having an alcoholic parent that is emotionally unavailable is scarring. Again, thank you for your sacrifice of your time, money and your life to this poor child who has a lot of road ahead of them with that man for a father.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:19 AM
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He received his 3rd DUI on a scooter?! Instead of focusing on sobriety & the serious legal case, he goes & buys a van because it can "haul a lot of beer." Is it possible that he has serious brain damage or mental illness due to all the alcohol/drugs consumed? For some, treatment centers and meetings are just not effective enough for people. They need to be in prison and sit down for quite a while.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:37 AM
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Wow, sounds like my family

So very sorry you are going through this. I would suggest that you go online to your county's circuit court and see if they have forms to file for emergency custody. If so, get ALL paperwork showing you have been nephew's primary care taker since practically his birth, this would include doctor visits, school registration, (who is listed as his guardian and his address at school?), talk to the school's social worker, even pictures you have of him over all the years in YOUR home. Get copies from the court of your brothers criminal history, from all counties, anything and everything you can think of, even if it seems minute. If you file for emergency custody, make sure you show proof that brother may be jailed for xx amount of time, and that nephew needs someone with legal rights to be able to care for him. DO NOT tell the court that you know where the mother is, just say you heard that she is prostituting. If possible, see if you can find any criminal records for her and bring those with also. Don't forget to bring up his suicidal threats, and provide documentation if possible.
Now, for the house thing-contact your local code inspector and tell him of the living conditions and sleeping arrangements in the home. Call the police and tell them of the drug activity. If you know the neighbors, and they are not druggies, ask them to call the police every time they see unusual activity, or public drunkenness, (I am sure they would be happy to see him out of the neighborhood), call the probation department and tell them of the probationers living there (I believe it is a violation to have multiple offenders residing in the same home). Contact your local hospital's social worker, they often have valuable information/help, go to this site to see if any of the agencies seem like they could help you North Carolina Child Advocates | Action for Children, and don't forget to contact your local state representative, they may be able to intervene.
Also, is there a custody order in place giving brother or child's mother custody? If not, provide proof of that also. Provide a detailed list of when brother has visited/had son live with him.
All these things will help you. If you file, the judge may grant you an Ex Parte hearing, which means you get to talk to him in private, without your brother present. You have more ammo than you realize, and an addict is not going to want to take away booze/drug money/drinking time in order to hire an attorney and go to court. If he does not have sufficient income, he will not be able to afford a lawyer. This is not a criminal case, therefore he is not entitled to a public defender for this case. The attorney you have does not sound like she is very experience, do your homework and shop around, get referrals, go to family court and see what attorneys are there and talk to them after they leave the court room. This is a daunting dilemma and you will need to do a lot of work yourself, and educate yourself extensively, but it will be worth it.
Your brother dangles his son over your head like a prize, a hostage. He knows how to get to you and your family. I can almost guarantee you that it is purely financial reasons that he wants custody of his son. Call the local public aid office and see if he is getting food stamps and aid for his son; if he is, have them file charges against him for fraud. Pull the rug out from under this piece of doo doo-your nephew needs you and your family, and your brother gave up his humanity a long time ago. His addiction is way beyond anything you or anyone else can help him with, and I doubt that even hitting bottom will change him. Good luck, prayers for you and your family, and don't give up. Your brother is counting on you to give in so stand firm.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:43 AM
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forgot to mention

I forgot to mention that you might want to contact a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) and see what they suggest. They are attorneys assigned to a child by the court, and their job is to make suggestions to the court of what and who is considered to be in the best interest of the child. They will go to each person's home, interview the child and assess the situation, then make their recommendations. Hugs to you, hang in there, you are all this little boy has.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:36 AM
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Damn... Fedup has spent as much or more time dealing with the family law industry as I have!

Great info - good of you to take the time.

Document, document, document.

...and frankly I love the idea of letting the cops know he is driving a multi-ton unguided missile (van). Honestly I think I would try to find out where he is on Friday night and driving drunk then call the police anonymously. That might bother your conscience but it isn't just best for you and little guy, it is being responsible by keeping him safe and protecting those on or near the road.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:29 PM
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oh goodness. I'll try to answer everything, please forgive me if I skip something.

Helenlee: Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. The things people do to their children makes me want to forget my lady-like tendencies

Redatlanta: My brother has legal primary custody and the "mother" has legal secondary custody with no enforced visitation. They were never married, but brother was placed on the birth certificate. I would talk to the mother, but at this point brother would find out about it and wig out on me. I wouldnt see this child for a long time.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:53 PM
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redtail, you are right as far as the court system slapping him on the wrist. Sadly, I use to have a friend that managed to get 7 dui's and over 10 driving while suspended. The 7th dui the judge said he was forced to impose a strict sentence. He got 3yrs, however, with good time & early release did only a year. Hes on the road still driving.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:54 PM
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oh goodness. I'll try to answer everything, please forgive me if I skip something.

Helenlee: Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. The things people do to their children makes me want to forget my lady-like tendencies

Redatlanta: My brother has legal primary custody and the "mother" has legal secondary custody with no enforced visitation. They were never married, but brother was placed on the birth certificate. I would talk to the mother, but at this point brother would find out about it and wig out on me. I wouldnt see this child for a long time.

I have spoken with a couple other lawyers, but right now all three are telling me pretty much the same thing. It's very difficult for a non parent to step in and force custody away from BOTH parents.

Florence: Thank you.

Hopeworks: You had me bawling by your third sentence.

Justfor1: No, he got his FOURTH DUI on that scooter. He's been in forced AA meetings for several years, and had to take the state "alcoholic class" several times. He cleans up and does real good until he is off probation (with the exception of this last time).

Fedup and Pohsfriend: Right now, that's all I can do is wait for him to goto jail and then try to force custody.

Nephew is only 3 1/2 years old, so there are no school records. There is actually very little paper trail at all.

I did go for an exparte at Thanksgiving. However, brother still has his lawyer retained from when he got primary custody from the mother. I will not be able to get an ex parte order without having brothers lawyer involved, and was told that it could be pretty risky (by my lawyer). ALthough we've been told we have a decent chance, both hubby and I are afraid of losing........losing would put nephew in a hell hole and there he would stay until DSS decided to help (and they have failed miserably at helping so far). The last time I spoke with DSS, I was told that in NC a parent had a constitutional right to raise their child and that it could not be interfered with unless the child had some sort of physical or mental damage, and that in most instances alcoholism was not damaging to the child (!!!!!). I was also told that the parents would be given the chance to go to parenting classes, as well as forced AA meetings (been there done that) to help them learn to raise their child properly, if needed.

sigh. I know it sounds like I am a coward making excuses, but the thought of this child having to go back makes me want to vomit.

As for my brothers court date today, nothing happened. It was continued. That's it. No arrest, nothing.

I have been speaking with the probation officer weekly since the wreck happened. Brother has apparently paid off the rest of his fines, and done the rest of his community service and "classes" in the hopes of getting off probation early, so that he wont still be on probation when he goes to court. He feels this will help his case. I told all this to the probation officer, and she was adamant that she would not allow him off probation until this most recent charge was taken care of. I also told her of the drug use, and about the van.

She had me called the prosecutors office. I called them last week, and spoke with an assistant. This person told me that she felt the actual prosecutor should speak with me as I was willing to testify against my brother, but they never called back. I tried to call them again yesterday and again this morning, but was not able to reach anyone.

The whole system is a joke, really. There is another man living in my town that has EIGHT DUI's, and is able to drive himself back and forth to work. EIGHT DUI's.

I did find an Al Anon meeting in a neighboring town that I will probably try to visit, providing I can get the meeting times and childcare worked out. I am not comfortable leaving nephew with anyone other than my hubby right now, so we have to be a little strategic at times.

Thanks for the info Fedup, I'll start taping phone calls (been keeping a journal already), and will definately look into GAL.

It's so nice to be understood for a change. Thanks folks.
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