(Closed) Marrying into an Alcoholic Family

posted 8 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
941 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Though I can’t relate to your specific situation, I do know the challenges that come from being connected with a loved one who has a substance abuse problem.  It can be extremely stressful and challenging.  

If you haven’t already, I’d suggest checking out Al-Anon.  It’s a 12 step program for individuals with loved ones who are alcoholics.  I got support from Nar-Anon (same idea, but for people with drug addicted loved ones), and it was really helpful.  I’m not a particularly religious person, so I was initially unsure about the whole “hire power” idea.  Though I found myself getting a lot of support, and really changing for the positive.

There are likely at least some Al-Anon meetings in your area–but if you don’t feel comfortable with the in-person meetings, there are also message boards that are helpful.  That’s the route I took, and it was great.

Whatever you choose to do, I highly suggest getting SOME sort of support for yourself.  Addiction is extremely challenging, and not something you should have to deal with or take on by yourself.  

Post # 4
7431 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

My Mother-In-Law is an alcoholic, and we don’t speak to her anymore cuz she can’t stop drinking. Its really sad, but in our case, it was necessary. You can’t help anyone who doesn’t want to help themselves

Post # 5
384 posts
Helper bee

My ex’s Mother-In-Law was and still is an alcholic.  It caused major issues in our marriage…not the reason for the break up though.  It can be a real challenge but if you and your guy are on the same page about boundaries….that will certainly help.   Don’t be a part of the alcoholic’s drama.  Refuse to participate in it.

Post # 6
4755 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

You can’t make them stop drinking but you and your Fiance should honestly consider those alanon groups (support for those who deal with the alcoholics). Least you can learn about what you can’t and can’t do and how to deal with all the anger and feelings you might have.

I can assure you though it *has* and will continue to impact you and your marriage even if you think it won’t.

Post # 7
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

boundaries! so, so, so important.

i would STRONGLY encourage your fi and his mom to attend al-anon. it’s a fantastic support system. the in-person meetings are important…they can be a little intimidating, but they say you should go to at least 5 different meetings before you decide it’s not for you. they provide so much support and understanding from others who are dealing with the same issues.

eta: as for the “higher power” part of al-anon, you’ll find TONS of people who don’t believe in god there, if that’s your concern about going. a higher power can be whatever you want.

Post # 8
3041 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

People from families with alcohol abuse need to be extra careful about drinking. It seems that if the parents abuse alcohol, the kids will kinda see it as ok. They’ll be used to it & won’t see as much wrong with it as others would. The kids have a stronger chance of abusing alcohol (like your FBIL)

OR they won’t like drinking much & will be very careful around it. They will see how horrible it is & what it does to people. I hate alcohol, I’ll maybe have just a very tiny amount once every few months but other than that, I don’t drink. I hate alcohol because of what it did to family/friends. I’m not saying that since your Fiance has an alcoholic family that he’s going to automatically be into alcohol… just that he may wanna be careful about drinking, as a precaution.


Post # 9
648 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

My Future Father-In-Law died from complications of drinking too much. They tried everything to help him stop, but he couldn’t. My Future Mother-In-Law went on a binge after he died, but thanks to the  new man in her life she’s toned it down (but she still gets bad at parties and such).

 My Fiance had trouble for a while too and every now and then he will drink, but he’s able to do what they can’t and that is he can say no. He doesn’t want to be like them, he doesn’t want to die when he’s 45, he wants to see our daughter grow up, and I’m damn proud of how far he has come. (Sorry, but it’s true)

Groups and boundaries are good. I really just liked having someone (my sister) to talkt/vent to about it when I felt overwhelmed. Just one more thing that helped me get through it, that even though Future Father-In-Law was usually drunk and hard to get along with/close too he was and is still missed a lot because in his rare and few sober moments he was pretty great and had an amazing sense of humor. Good luck to you and your Fiance.

Post # 10
32 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

My husband’s father and step father were both alcoholics (his father died before we met).  Shortly after we got married my husband started seeing a therapist about some things he wasn’t happy with in his life and learned about adult children of alcoholics syndrome (ACoA).  We had never heard of this before, but found that he could identify about 10 of the 13 common ACOA characteristics in himself.  You can see the list of the characteristics at http://www.drjan.com/13char.html

If any of the characteristics ring true for your Fiance, then he can at least isolate what is happening and build a plan with a therapist to work through the issues.  We’ve never attended an Al-Anon meeting, but from what I’ve read Al-Anon’s focus is to support people actively living with alcoholics.  ACOA works to address the after effects of growing up in a household with an alcoholic.

I wish you, your Fiance, and his family the best.  Sometimes life is just so dang hard.

Post # 11
3254 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I don’t have any advice for you, but I’m in a similar situation. My Future Mother-In-Law is an alcoholic, but refuses to admit it. His family is one that likes to shove anything uncomfortable under the rug and pretend it’s not there rather than talk about it. It’s at the point right now where we have very limited contact with her because of this fact. It’s been so hard for him, but if she isn’t willing to admit there’s a problem, we don’t want our kids growing up around that. I can’t even count the number of times she’s gotten drunk at important events and embarrassed my fiance. It’s just wrong. 🙁

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