Post # 1
Regular bee going anon. Long.
My future stepdaughter is an alcoholic. Her issues go back a decade or so but her parents never sought help for her when she was a minor. She went away to college and seemed to do well for a couple of years before things really began to go downhill. She has been to rehab a couple of times with very short-lived success and hasn’t kept up with meetings or therapy. She dropped out of college last year and has quit or been fired from more jobs than I can count. After driving drunk on numerous occasions, she no longer has a car. She’s a mean drunk and has alienated numerous family members. She no longer speaks to her mother and her sister will have nothing to do with her. Her brother tolerates her some of the time and avoids her the rest. She has accused her father and me and others of terrible things that don’t even make sense and doesn’t remember what she’s said or done in the morning. Getting everyone together to celebrate a holiday as a family isn’t possible these days.
Fiance and I have had to collect her from the police/hospital with a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit—enough to kill her. The hospital wouldn’t admit her and she’s legally an adult so nobody can force her to do anything. But—FI supports her financially. He has told her she must attend a certain number of AA meetings per week, she doesn’t and there are no consequences. We (I) have found her two outpatient rehab programs—she’ll agree, even complete all the paperwork and then not follow through. She won’t agree to an inpatient program. She is unemployed and not in school, has no car, I don’t know what she does with her days. Fiance continues to pay her bills and give her money, much to the chagrin of her brother and sister. When I argue that he’s enabling her and that she needs real help he gets angry with me.
I am more than willing to do whatever I can or need to do to support her in getting her life back on track and I’m struggling terribly with FI’s approach. I know I have limited input when it comes to my fiancé’s adult children. I’ve backed off. I’ve stopped asking what is going on and have been skipping events with his side of the family because there is only so long I can bite my tongue. My children don’t spend time with his children anymore, his children don’t even spend time together anymore. I am sad and frustrated, I don’t feel we are a functioning as a team any longer and I am at a loss for what to do.
TL/DR: I feel as if Fiance is enabling his alcoholic daughter and it’s impacting our entire family.
Post # 2
I’m sorry bee, what a crappy situation. Personally, I would pack my bags and make him choose. Either something changes NOW or I’m leaving. That something needs to be slowly cutting her off, and him seeking counselling to deal with this.
Post # 3
You aren’t going to win the argument that you know better how to take care of her daughter. But you could approach it from a standpoint of “these are our finances now and I’m part of your family- I think this is a poor use of our energy and her behavior is taking a toll on our relationship”. Ultimately it’s none of your business except for when it affects the two of you.
Post # 4
12_Elle : He knows the money isn’t the issue for me–I’m concerned that she is harming herself and has put herself in dangerous situations and I don’t want to attend her funeral. It’s also taking a toll on all of the other children, his and mine, as well as on our relationship. It feels like my business when we used to celebrate holidays together as a family and now we don’t.
Post # 5
You and your fi need to go to Al-Anon or a similar support system for families of alcoholics. He is 100% enabling her, and it will absolutely impact his relationship with you. You and he both need to learn how to cope with having an addict in your life before you can adequately define boundaries with her.
Post # 6
It is your business, because it’s effecting the two of you financially. If it were simply a behavior problem, then I agree–you wouldn’t have any say. But since she’s 100% dependent on the two of you to survive period, then you guys need to come to some sort of agreement. I don’t see the relationship working if you both can’t get on the same page.
He needs an intervention just as much as his daughter since he’s the enabler. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. He has to recognize what he’s doing before he will want to get help.
I know how hard it is to stand by and watch someone ruin their life. I also know how hard it is to stand by and watch the enabler make the entire situation worse. Can you take him to a family support group? I would reach out to a rehab center close by. They should have groups available. Maybe if he starts to recognize his behavior he will be more willing to change and take a stand.
Sorry bee :o/
Post # 7
Your husband should attend Al-Anon family group, and should seek counseling with a therapist who has experience working with clients and families dealing with addiction. Your busband obviously cares for his daughter but is enabling her and at this point “tough love” needs to perhaps be given. A therapist can discuss this with your husband from a non-biased and professionally experienced point of view.
At the very least, the therapy will help your husband, you and the rest of the family. Something has to change in the family dynamics, in what your husband does/does not do, in order to prevent the same repeated lack of follow through with your stepdaughter. I can understand if your husband might feel guilty or blame himself if he removes financial supports, and even the fear that more harm will come to her if he changes how he is with her.
This is impacting your family and marriage. You both should be in counseling around this as well.
Good luck to you and your step daughter. Addiction and co-dependency is very painful and complicated to address and process.
Post # 8
Horseradish : I’ve sent him articles, I’ve tried to get him to go to Al-Anon when he’s dragged her to an AA meeting and no luck. She acknowledges she’s an alcoholic but he really doesn’t think he’s an enabler. For the most part I think he just doesn’t want to think about it at all, it’s easier for him to believe somehow magically everything will resolve itself on its own.
Post # 9
Oh, I feel for you, OP. 🙁 The problem here is that your Fiance doesn’t want to accept that his daughter cannot be saved. That’s his issue to work through, but you can’t make him see this. He’ll have to come to that conclusion on his own.
Let me share my own story with you. My older sister is a drug addict. For years and years, my parents were blind to this fact. Even after they started learning about her problems, they enabled her to keep carrying on as she pleased. They forced her to go to rehab, forced her into therapy, had her commited, but nothing could make her want to change. Because of their determination to save her, she was put in a position where she could easily abuse me. She did all kinds of horrible things to me, much of which I’ve only just started to work through. I was too afraid to tell my parents, though, since my sister threatened to kill me if I did. I believed that she could and would. After all, my parents tolerated her stealing from them and even physically fighting with them. Why wouldn’t they tolerate her beating me and all the other things she did?
When it all came out years later, after I grew up, it was too late to go back. I did learn that my parents would have cut her off then and there if they knew, but their leniency towards her made me think that they wouldn’t. It took something like that for them to realize that she could not be saved, and that their enabling behavior only allowed her to hurt me. Only then did they kick her out of the house and stop supporting her financially.
When someone is bent on self-destruction, there is nothing to do but let them destroy themselves. You can’t force someone to want to change, and enabling such behavior only drags everyone else down with them. Your Fiance needs to come to terms with this. He needs to go to therapy, but you also need to realize when the ship is sinking. If this is putting a big enough drain on your relationship, it may be time to cut and run. I know it seems like you’re abandoning your Fiance and his problems, but sometimes you just have to cut toxic people out of your life – and that includes those who enable toxic people.
Post # 10
I’m so sorry you’re in this situation; addiction is a hard battle to fight for everyone involved. Alcoholism is an ugly disease and it affects so many others besides the abuser. Unfortunately people truly don’t change unless they want to, and many times it takes them really hitting rock bottom to get that wake up call. She is an adult; your Fiance shouldn’t have to financially support an adult. While it may be heatbreaking/scary for either of you to imagine what could happen to her if you cut her off, that may be the only way she realizes she truly needs to seek help. I think counseling or AlAon would be very helpful for your Fiance.
Post # 11
Just be there to support him when he realizes his attempts to care for her have actually been harmful and otherwise refuse to engage with him on the topic.
Post # 12
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
He is absolutely enabling her 100% but you can’t make him realize that. I would suggest refusing to discuss her; if he brings up the subject – ‘daughter has just done xxx’ don’t engage; ‘sorry to hear that. Lasagne for dinner?’ and don’t engage on the subject. If she winds up in hospital again, don’t get involved. Don’t take any of that burden off his shoulders – he needs to feel the full weight if he is going to change.
Post # 13
thunderbuns : I am so sorry you had to experience this.
I know neither of us can “fix” her–she has to do that for herself. I used to believe that Fiance and I were on the same page, had each other’s backs and could get through anything together. I didn’t see him as someone who would put his head in the sand to avoid dealing with something that is impacting the whole family.
Post # 14
tinneranne2 : KiwiDerbyBride : I’ve been good about not asking lately. He brought it up tonight and I wish I’d changed the subject more quickly. Damn. I thought marrying a man who had adult children would be easier–no custody issues to deal with, etc. I was wrong.
Post # 15
If he won’t go to al-anon then you should go on your own. When you marry someone who has an addict in their life, you will also have an addict in your life, and even if he refuses to get the tools to cope with addiction, you will still need them. You also need to ask yourself seriously if this is something you want to deal with for the rest of your life. Addiction is very hard on relationships, and addicts don’t just magically get better; it takes a lot of work to recover. If she isn’t willing to put in the work and he isn’t willing to stop enabling her, then you will have to accept that things right now are as good as they will ever be. Meaning, it’s all downhill from here.
can you live the rest of your life under these circumstances?