Help with alcoholic stepdaughter

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 31
6224 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

My heart goes out to you and to your family. I have an aunt who is an addict- primarily using drugs but also alcohol at times as well. Her parents enabled her for years while she put the family through so much turmoil. She stole and sold her mother’s jewelry, including wedding rings, and any money she could find in their house, got pregnant while using and left her parents with a child to raise just as they were entering retirement. I was a kid during a lot of what was going on so I wasn’t privy to many of the conversations but I overheard a lot. I just wanted to say that there finally came a point where they kicked her out. They realized that they couldn’t help her until she started getting help on her own. They wouldn’t allow her to be in the house without supervision (meaning only during family gatherings and only in the communal spaces) and pretty much everyone stopped giving her things that made it easier for her to access drugs. She still managed to get them, though.

She is still an addict. She gets clean for periods of time and then something happens and she’s back in her spiral. Sometimes she comes around for family gatherings, but only if someone is willing/able to go get her, most of the time we do not see her and it’s not like she lives that far away.

Your Fiance definitely needs therapy- that’s clear. But if he won’t attend, you will still greatly benefit yourself, him and the family that the two of you have together by attending. I would imagine his other children are really angry about the fact that their sister is fucking up royally (even though alcoholism is an illness and addiction is often rooted in other pain, but still- she’s fucking up) and getting her life funded by her father. It looks like your Fiance is rewarding her for her terrible life choices.

I hope that you will find a way to continue having family gatherings. All of you are going through something really challenging. And it may take deciding not to include this other daughter for a while but one person’s illness is impacting all of you In some ways, this person’s illness ties all of you together and it would be a great tragedy if the family imploded and permanently lost connection as a result because it can be hard to get that back. If my family had stayed apart from each other waiting for my aunt to get her shit together, we’d still be disconnected. It sounds like you’re able to have a somewhat clear view of what’s taking place in this situation and that means that you can provide a sense of guidance and support when and where you are willing to do so.

I wish you all luck. I know other people who have had to cut someone out of their lives because the toxic toll became too much and I was always pretty disconnected from the magnitude of their decision. Now that I’m a mother, I cannot imagine that it would be a choice I’d make easily if my son were heading down a similar path.

Post # 32
2604 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club

anonaanonabee :  His behaviours are enabling her. If he says he will financially support her as long as she attends X amount of AA meetings per month, he should stand his ground. If she does not attend the meeting or abide by any other stipulation, action needs to be taken. Otherwise, continuing to do his side while she doesn’t hold up her end of the bargain is enabling.

Post # 33
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

sweetpea730 :  But her Fiance is continuing to throw money at the problem, allowing her to just keep spiralling further into addiction.  She’s an adult, and can’t be FORCED to go to rehab, but she shouldn’t be enabled by being supported financially.

I hardly think the comparision to cancer is fair.  Someone who supports a cancer patient, financially or otherwise, is not enabling them.  People don’t give themselves cancer.  And you can’t stop having cancer just because you choose to.

Post # 34
3092 posts
Sugar bee

MrsSapphire :  I agree…EVEN if she has to end up on the street. Sorry, but I would not financially support someone who is taking my money to buy alcohol. Financial support would be contingent upon following certain steps. You dont do it – you dont get it. She had a blood alcohol lever FOUR times the legal limit. When does it end? When she KILLS someone else? When she dies? (God forbid). Then again, I am colder than most. And it’s absolutely your business OP because that is your husband and what affects him affects you.  Also, if he is supporting her financially, it affects you as well.

But nothing will change unless he puts his foot down. So yes, I would follow the other suggestions of not engaging AT ALL (whether it be in conversations or physically) because he only sees it his way right now.

Post # 36
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

fredthebasil :  Again, the comparison was ONLY to make the point that she does have an illness, not to say that having cancer or being an alcoholic are the same thing. If you read my post, I said that any financial support should be contingent upon receiving inpatient rehab. 

Post # 37
4823 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

anonaanonabee :  You write :”the strong, principled man I knew has vanished. I think he knows deep down that he’s not helping her but just doesn’t want to deal with it. And I don’t like what that says about him. “

And there you have it.  There has to be a united front, attendance by all three of you at Al-Anon meetings, he needs to take steps towards her recovery, not continue steps alongside her addiction.   

Wishing you strength as you deal with this difficult issue.  

Post # 39
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

anonaanonabee :  As tough as it is, and as long as it’s taken me to really learn this, you CANNOT change someone else.  You can control what YOU do.  Period.  

You can’t control what your Fiance does, and he can’t control what his daughter does.  The way I see it, either he can choose to control his OWN actions and save your relationship, or you can choose to leave.

Post # 41
8425 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

anonaanonabee :  

I have a friend in exactly your position – the full extent of the daughter problem only became evident once they were  married and it was touch and go at one point whether  her father was actually going to  allow/invite her to live with them…(god knows what that  would have meant  in  terms of the two or three  children  she had given birth to along  the way , all living with their various paternal grandparents more or less.)

My friend’s husband in parental desperation , pretty much  said if she did not ‘accept’ his daughter , he feared the marriage would be over  and after due consideration my friend agreed. Her  acceptance would take the form of non-interference  with whatever he did re the daughter plus complete  and total radio silence on the subject –  no helping with the many  rescues and bailouts, no driving her anywhere , nothing . And, of course, that the daughter would  NOT come to live with them.

It worked  actually , eventually the father did come  to see that he was not helping  , in fact enabling and making things worse . But I think  he only came to that realisation when he was getting no support and no  reinforcement and no engagement on  the subject  . And that every month that went  by he was risking  his marriage.


Post # 42
10849 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

anonaanonabee :  

Your Fi is shortening his daughter’s life.

If she’s blowing FOUR times the legal limit, she is severely addicted.  She can’t just quit drinking.  That would be dangerous and has to be medically managed.  She probably is never actually sober at this point.

This kind of drinking has already damaged her brain and liver.  How much, you won’t know until it’s far too late.  The liver has some capacity to heal, if she stops drinking.

Late stage alcoholics generally eat very poorly, further damaging their bodies.

People die of alcoholism every day.  There is not one thing your Fi can say to her that is going to matter.  She’s too far gone.

Her *only* chance is in patient treatment.  She can be safely detoxed there.  There are no options left.  Your Fi has got to put her in a treatment facility.  There is no *asking* her. 

Honestly, I am so livid at your Fi, I’m a little shaky.

Post # 45
2430 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

If you can support yourself financially without him, leave him. He and his alcoholic daughter aren’t worth the trouble they are causing you. 

Your husband isn’t helping his daughter, he is helping her stay a drunk. Stop arguing, start packing. See a lawyer about financial matters. Dump this twit and his drunk.

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors