Help with alcoholic stepdaughter

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 17
Member
97 posts
Worker bee

Hello Bee, I feel for you. I have a similar situation with my stepson, and felt very frustrated about what I saw as my husband’s enabling behavior. Where I live in San Diego there is a great program called Smart Recovery, kind of a more cognitive therapy based program (vs spiritual like AA and Al-Anon). This program has family member suppport groups as well as groups for the drug/alcohol addicted person. It–and some individual family therapy– has helped me and my husband communicate a lot better about this. As everyone has said, only the person with the problem can change their choices, and they often won’t until they experience the natural consequences of those choices. The scary thing, of course, is that they may permanently hurt themselves (or someone else) before they decide to change. Our journey is ongoing, but this has saved our marriage. Wishing you peace and sending hugs.

Post # 18
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I’m sorry you’re going through this. Truly. 

 

Really though, while he needs to find his daughter some help, and help for himself at that, addiction is an illness. I know it is a little less socially palatable than say, cancer, as most think people bring it on themselves, but c’mon. She’s his daughter, she’s sick. While it may be a mental illness, and he may not be handling the situation properly, if OP’s H had an adult kid with cancer, no one would advocate for him cutting her loose. Wth.

Post # 19
Member
10845 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Horseradish :  

This 1000%.

I would only add–OP, I suggest some counseling for yourself, even if your Fi won’t participate.  Why won’t he?  You could probably use the extra support right now.  And Al anon should definitely be part of your life.

Post # 20
Member
1225 posts
Bumble bee

sweetpea730 :  Except the difference here is that OP’s Fiance is actually enabling his daughter by providing the financial resources to keep drinking and not encouraging her to seek or maintain treatment.  Your cancer analogy doesn’t work – its not like a cancer patient can actually DO anything about their illness . OP’s stepdaughter clearly can take steps to address her illness, but as long as she has not been given any incentive to followthrough, I don’t see how or why she would.

And I say this as someone who watched a relative die from alcoholism after a 2 decade battle.  He went from being a successful accountant to unemployed and living with his sister, got divorced, lost his home, lost custody of and contact with his only child, lost all his friends and any sort of independence.  His life (and death) was a textbook cautionary tale of how addiction is an illness, but the thing that stood out was that nobody treated this as serious until it was too late to do anything for him, by which time it was also too late for him to do something for himself. OP’s FI’s refusal to treat this like the code red issue it is could end up being the worst thing he’s doing to/for his daughter.

Post # 21
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

livster :   Yeah, go let her sleep under a bridge. Seriously? I said he wasn’t handling it correctly. 

Post # 22
Member
6272 posts
Bee Keeper

As others have said al-anon is the way for him and for you. 

Youll understand that telling her she must go to a certain number of AA meetings or dragging her there won’t work. 

If she never goes to AA you guys can go to al-anon. It will help you understand her disease and your roles in it.

i speak as someone who has experience with an alcoholic family member. 

Post # 23
Member
6272 posts
Bee Keeper

sweetpea730 :  yes – if it means her sleeping under a bridge for her to hit rock bottom then so be it. In AA it’s explained that you’re only going one way and that’s down and ultimately death. The good news however is you can chose to get out on any floor you like and help is there for you to start living the 12 step programs one step and one day at a time.  For some people that’s just seeing their kids upset with their actions. For others it’s losing everything including their lives (and a thousand things in between).  

In al-anon friends and family learn that enabling and protecting addicts from the consequences of their disease is actually not helpful. It’s likely to prevent or delay them from taking step one, which is acknowledging that their life has become unmanageable. 

Post # 24
Member
7810 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

My Brother-In-Law is an alcoholic. My husband and I were actually discussing it with our family therapist tonight. He has attacked his wife, lost his marriage, has a restraining order against him, supervised visitation with his kids, got a DUI- fun stuff. He and my husband are estranged except for the abusive texts Brother-In-Law sends randomly. But some other family members have a hard time cutting him off, and it causes tension in our family. For example, we said we would not attend Christmas if he came (due to his vulgar threatening texts), and the dad still invited him- so we did not attend. Now for Easter, the sister understands and invited us and not the Brother-In-Law. I think it’s very hard to put up boundaries, but it’s important and you are not helping her if you don’t. Sometimes the loving thing to do is not “help”, because she has to choose to save herself- no one else can do it. 

And I disagree with a PP who compared it to cancer. Cancer doesn’t cause you to strangle your wife in front of your kids. Cancer doesn’t put everyone’s life at risk when you get behind the wheel. I’ve had multiple relatives with cancer and none of them ever threatened me or my family because of their disease. Not comparable at all.

Post # 26
Member
43 posts
Newbee

I’m sorry, Bee. What you said about being a team and providing a united front really hit home for me, as that’s also really important for me. I love my SO more than anything, but if he were to bury his head in the sand about something as important as this, I’d have to seriously take a look at how he reacts to difficult situations in general. It’s about more than finances or ruined family relationships. It’s about knowing the reality and following through on decisions.

Granted, it’s much harder to judge someone for wanting to “help” their own children through tough times, especially since it’s so ingrained in us that parents must provide the best possible start in life for their kids.

Post # 28
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

anonaanonabee :  My analogy wasn’t to say it’s the same, but to make the point that it IS an illness. While all things are not equal, and for the record, I don’t think his financial support is helping her, I also don’t think tossing her in the street is ok. 

Frankly, any further support should be contingent on her going to inpatient rehab. 

Leave a comment


Find Amazing Vendors