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Old 10-25-2015, 07:07 AM
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Back again ...

Hi people,

Well, it's been a long while since I posted, but, well, we were just getting on with things. Brief recap - my stepdaughter lives with me and her dad, mum is alcoholic, SD left when she was 12, been with us 4 years. Her mum went into rehab November 2013 for 6 weeks. Prior to that, SD hadn't had much contact. SD's mum left rehab in January 2014 and contact remained sporadic. SD had been really struggling with her mother's addiction and had, for her own sanity, cut herself off from her mother.

Jump ahead to August this year. SD was out and about in another town (we live 20 miles from her mother), and she saw her mother. Very very bravely, she decided to approach her. This was the first time she had seen her in 2.5 years, so it was incredibly brave of her to make that move. They chatted for a while, then her mum told her she'd bought a new iPhone for SD's half sibling, showed her a carrier bag full of stuff for him, and she told SD she would send her 50 in the mail. That was that, SD came home, told us what had happened and we were, genuinely, pleased and proud that she'd made the move herself. She said her mum looked okay, and she (SD) was hopeful that her mother had managed to remain sober. Later that evening, SD's mum sent her a text and said how nice it was to have seen SD, said again that she would send 50 and said she would keep up communications. She also told SD that she had "married" (not in the legal sense, but a hippy ceremony at Stonehenge on Summer Solstice) a guy, and named him. SD was a bit shocked, and annoyed that her mother hadn't told her this before, but seemed okay about it. My husband said "that name rings a bell (the name of SD's mum's "husband"), and then he realised - it was her heroin dealer way back when she was a heroin addict!!! He then did a bit of digging, and found out that this man was himself alcoholic and also dealt drugs. Nice. It then made sense why SD's mum seemed to have money, for the iPhone and to say to SD that she would send her some cash. She is on state benefits (she's never worked), so we did wonder where all this money had come from. A couple of weeks passed, and nothing arrived in the post - not that we expected it to of course. There was no communication from SD's mum, and still nothing after 4 weeks. Then, out of the blue, SD got a text from her mum asking if they could meet somewhere because she wanted to take her shopping. SD agreed, and they set a date. A couple of days before that date, SD decided to text her mum to confirm the time etc., and heard nothing back. The evening before she tried to call her mum, several times, and text, but there was no response. On the day itself, both my husband and I were at work, but had told her that if she didn't hear from her mum then she should just stay home and not travel to the town where they were meeting. I received a call at around 11am, from a very distraught SD saying her mother had text her to cancel as she'd "hurt" her ankle. She'd asked SD if they could meet the following day instead, which of course made the "hurt" ankle excuse pretty poor if it was suddenly going to be better the following day. So, we knew she was lying. Our advice to a very very upset 16 year old was not to give her another chance, but she decided that she wanted to. They arranged to meet the following week, and this time mum turned up. The first thing they did was go for a coffee, and whilst sitting drinking coffee, SD noticed her mum was shaking, a lot. She questioned her about it, and her mum said it was because she was nervous. SD said "I'm nervous too, but I'm not shaking. Are you still drinking?" Her mother replied that yes, she still had a drink "now and again", but it was just occasional and nothing to worry about. Now, SD was not stupid enough to believe that, but decided, after her mother showed her her bank account with almost 2k in it, to allow her mother to spend some money on her. That may sound a little wrong, but considering over the 4 years SD has lived with us we've not received a penny from this woman, we thought, when we were told, that that was fair enough.

SD arrived home after spending the afternoon with her mother. She didn't mention to begin with that her mother had admitted to drinking again. She showed us all the stuff her mother had bought her, totalling 70 (really? 2k in the bank? I was NOT impressed!), and then she completely broke down and told us her mum was still drinking. I have never ever seen her in such a state, and in that following week she had 4 more major breakdowns. She had been out of counselling for 9 months prior to that, and was doing well, really well. She had been confident, happy and was getting on with her life. Then, one afternoon with her mother and it was all undone. She is now back under the doctor and counsellor, and made the decision not to contact her mother again.

However, SD did not tell her mother she was upset about her drinking, and was struggling with it, so her mother did text her a couple of times but SD didn't respond. Then she got a text from her mother having a go at her for ignoring her texts!!!!! SD was raging, I was absolutely fuming and my husband wanted to go over and knock her lights out! I told SD I wanted to give her mother a piece of my mind, so she said "go for it". I did, and I told her some home truths. I told her SD was destroyed following her (unsurprising) revelation that she's still drinking, and asked her to leave SD alone and give her some peace. SD had told us that she's happiest when she's not thinking about her mum, so I told her mum this and said "if you love her you'll leave her alone and let her get on with her life". I didn't hear anything from her, and that was weeks ago now.

Poor SD, this is all so hard for her, and she really is better off without her mother in her life. She was kind of clinging on to the "drinking now and again", possibly for her own sanity, until she received a call from her half-brother yesterday (he's 11) saying that he'd found a bottle of Jack Daniels in their mother's bag.

There isn't much more to say really, except that if she's drinking spirits then it's worse than we thought. Prior to rehab she had been told her liver is so damaged that if she continues to drink she will die. I suspect that may happen now - but, if it does, then it will all be over
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:19 AM
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I am so sorry for the pain this addict has caused to her children. You are there for the SD and give her a safe home.She is blessed to have that. (I feel sorry for her step brother) Not sure if you could recommend alateen for her. This is kids that are dealing with an addict in their lives. This might be helpful for her to understand her alcoholic parent. I am sure someone on this forum can recommend a book or something to help her.

All you can do is be the best step mom you can be. She is blessed to have you in her life to love and care for her. Hugs my friend, she will be ok with her "parents" support and guidance.
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Old 10-25-2015, 01:09 PM
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I'm very sorry for the pain your family is experiencing. Children of alcoholics usually are deeply traumatized and that trauma can be buried for a while and then be re-experienced when the alcoholic parent again abandons the child in some way.

It is very good your stepdaughter has returned to counseling, for this wound runs very deep and will affect her for a long time. The wound can create guilt and shame, unwarranted but felt nonetheless by the child, and without counseling, the child might feel guilt about "abandoning" her alcoholic parent when the child sets necessary boundaries. And if the alcoholic dies, without the guidance of a counselor, the child could carry that unwarranted guilt and shame all her life.

You provide her with a stable home and you validate her pain and sorrow and that helps her tremendously, I'm sure. One thing you cannot change, though, is who her mother is and the painful road your stepdaughter will have to be on a while until she finds some peace. That is part of her life. Her mother will always be part of her life, whether they are in contact or not. With help, your stepdaughter can find happiness "whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not" (to quote Al-Anon). And the same goes for you and your spouse. Best wishes to you all in your recovery.
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Old 10-25-2015, 03:01 PM
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Thank you both. It's certainly a journey we all would rather NOT be on, but I guess that can't be helped. SD knows she's better off with us, and is always praising us for being, well, for being normal. Children of normal parents must take that for granted, I know my kids did (she has two step-brothers aged 22 and 26), and so it's just awful to grow up thinking it's normal to drink beer for breakfast, to have no money because what money there is (benefits don't pay much in this country) is spent on alcohol, to have headlice all the time, to be late to school every day or not go at all, to have awful, ill-fitting clothes that are dirty and smelly. God knows when SD was with her mum we tried so so hard to get her away (legally), but for some unknown reason the agencies that are meant to protect children didn't deem her plight serious enough. Until she was 11 or so, she did feel very protective of her mum, and although she would tell us she wanted to live with us, she didn't think her mum would survive on her own. She was, in fact, her mother's carer, and she also looked after her brother who is 5 years younger than she is. But, one day she saw the light, and realised she couldn't continue. We had been providing a safe, normal environment for her on a fortnightly basis for 8 years, and she decided she wanted that permanently and left. From that day on her mother barely bothered with her, so we all learned very quickly that she was entirely selfish and not to expect anything. We did attend Al-Anon a couple of times, but it wasn't for us, and there isn't an Al-Ateen anywhere locally. But SD joined a few online forums and has had the counselling. As she's got older she has rebelled, but only in subtle (ish) ways - she's got ear stretchers, a couple of piercings and she's dyed her hair green recently, but that is just her I think anyway. She did get very very drunk last year, on vodka, with her friends in the local park. One of them had the sense to call us and ask us to go and get her, which we did, and she was in a terrible state. I sat with her, holding her hair whilst she puked for a couple of hours and then we put her to bed. She hasn't done it since, and it's entirely normal for teens to experiment with alcohol, but there's always that niggle at the back of our minds - will she be an addict herself? She knows we think that, and reassures us all the time that she would never become her mother. She's more like her dad to be honest, but the worry is still there.

In some ways I resent her mother because she had the easy part of SD's life - a fully compliant, non complaining child who doted on her and took care of her every need. We got a messed up pre-teen who has real issues, who has self harmed (thankfully stopped now), has had proper meltdowns (again, normal for teens) and we have, of course, had the stroppiness that goes with teenage girls (I swear boys are MUCH easier!), so it's been tough. But, we are strong, and we love each other, and I look upon her as my daughter. Her mother, in my opinion, does not have the right to that title - she does not deserve it.

Onwards and upwards - still a rocky road ahead I fear .....
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Old 10-25-2015, 04:27 PM
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She definitely is blessed to have you both. I have 2 daughters and my biggest blessing is (so far) they are not addicts, DD21 & DD23. They have their fathers DNA and I informed them when they were old enough to understand that they were predisposed. They younger they start experimenting the harder it is to pull them away. Keep your fingers crossed and pray, that's all you can do.

Hugs to you, she has a fighting chance in this world!!!
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Old 10-25-2015, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by maia1234 View Post
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She definitely is blessed to have you both. I have 2 daughters and my biggest blessing is (so far) they are not addicts, DD21 & DD23. They have their fathers DNA and I informed them when they were old enough to understand that they were predisposed. They younger they start experimenting the harder it is to pull them away. Keep your fingers crossed and pray, that's all you can do.

Hugs to you, she has a fighting chance in this world!!!
Thank you, hugs to you too 😀. She knows she's predisposed to addiction and understands its nature, but you kind of have to let them find their own way don't you. She's a teenager, and needs to be allowed to be one, and hopefully she's learned a valuable lesson in drinking after the vodka incident! We're pretty clued up, and would know if she was having more than just the occasional can of cider with her friends. She's very studious too and takes learning seriously, thank god! Her half brother on the other hand probably won't be so fortunate because his father is also alcoholic, albeit more able to function. SD's maternal grandfather & great grandfather were also alcoholic, along with several other more distant relations on her mothers side, so the gene is most definitely there. Her half brother is 11 now and is already showing signs of being very disruptive. He lives two days a week with his dad, two days a week with mum and three days a week with his paternal grandmother, so the poor kid is pretty much in chaos. SD's meeting him this week & is taking him to the cinema, which will be nice for them. It's all so sad, and kids shouldn't have to suffer 😕
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