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Addiction to Alcohol/Baby On The Way - Alcoholic MIL

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My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 3 years. I am 6 months pregnant with a son who will be a first child for both of us.

His mother is an alcoholic and takes medication for severe depression and mood disorders. She only drinks heavily on occasion, but makes terrible choices when she does. Including; having her RN license revoked for stealing patient meds, stealing prescriptions from family, a suicide attempt, driving drunk (once resulting in her arrest for a hit and run), threatening to kill herself, threatening to kill her ex-husband, and behaving aggressively toward myself and others. Usually she drinks mouthwash in order to mask the smell of the alcohol. This, combined with her regular mood swings, make it difficult to tell when she's been drinking. These incidents only tend to happen once every few months but it is impossible to predict when & where.

She has been seeing a therapist but there doesn't seem to be much change. She refuses to be self-sufficient and instead relies on family to provide a place for her to live.

Last year we agreed to let her stay with us for a few days (which turned in to a few weeks). My boyfriend agreed that if she was caught drinking he would escort her to a nearby hotel. A few weeks into her stay she got very drunk. She became very angry and said some hateful and nasty things to me. My boyfriend refused to do anything so I packed my things and left. His mother left the next day to live with her daughter.

About 6 months later his mother needed a place to stay again. At first I refused. My boyfriend stated that after the last incidence he would no longer allow her to act out in our home and if she drank again, he would escort her out immediately. I agreed. One night, several weeks into her stay (just days before she was supposed to leave) his mother drank again, got very angry, slapped my boyfriend, and threatened to kill me. Again, I reminded my boyfriend of our agreement and again he refused, stating “I am not going to kick her out, it doesn’t matter because she will be leaving soon anyway”. My boyfriend left that night and when he returned the following evening she was still drunk and angry. At this point he finally asked her to leave and she did.

After she threatened me (and I’m sure she didn’t mean it) I told her personally that she wouldn’t be welcomed back into our home until she was able to commit to staying sober. My boyfriend and I came to the conclusion that we would no longer allow her to stay overnight in our home and instead would have her over for short visits (dinner, movie, etc.).

Since then (about 4 months ago) she has been living with her daughter in Europe but will be returning in a couple of weeks. My boyfriend is pushing me to let her stay with us for “a few days” so that she can find a place of her own. He says that if she isn't out in 2 to 3 days then he will make her leave. I think he is afraid that if he upsets her she could take drastic action and possibly hurt herself.

Should I allow her to stay with us temporarily? Am I being unreasonable?

I am also worried for my baby. I do not think she should be left alone with him unsupervised. Am I being irrational? I don't want to isolate her from our lives and I want our son to have a relationship with his grandmother but I don't want to take the risk of him being hurt due to her negligence.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I am sorry it is so lengthy. I truly appreciate any advice you can offer.

Answer
Hi, Tanya, and I hope this might help a bit.

You have written:

>> After she threatened me (and I’m sure she didn’t mean it)...
>> I [still] do not think she should be left alone with [my baby] unsupervised.

Agreed.

>> I told her personally that she wouldn’t be welcomed back into our home until she was able to commit to staying sober.

If she is alcoholic, there is no sobriety commitment she can make that she will be able to keep.  While still in our natural states, we alcoholics drink for the effect of the alcohol we cannot live without.  Moderate or "social" drinkers can typically drink safely (with full control) where we cannot, and moderate drinkers can also *always* decide whether or not to even drink at all...but for the remainder of us, we have no say in either matter.

>> Should I allow her to stay with us temporarily? Am I being unreasonable...irrational?
>> I don't want to isolate her from our lives and I want our son to have a relationship with his grandmother but I don't want to take the risk of him being hurt due to her negligence.

The negligence there would actually be yours, not hers, and I think you are being wise.  Just please do not expect her to do something she cannot do.  Rather, maybe learn more about alcoholism and what you might actually be able to do to prepare for the day when she might find herself looking for understanding and help.

>> Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I am sorry it is so lengthy. I truly appreciate any advice you can offer.

You are most welcome, and please know you can write again at any time, if you wish.

Addiction to Alcohol

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Joseph Lee O.

Expertise

Greetings to you! I have experienced “Alcoholics Anonymous”, the book, and that is what I share with others. I understand the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the real alcoholic's plight, and here is what can be done to overcome chronic alcoholism: "If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking - 'What do I have to do?' It is the purpose of this book ('Alcoholics Anonymous') to answer such questions specifically. We shall tell you what we have done." (page 20)

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I took my first drink of alcohol at age 24...and within minutes I had become obsessed with its seemingly-magical effect. That glass of wine had just done something *for* me, and I was amazed. Just seven years later, I wanted to never again touch another drop of alcohol -- I had a desire to stop drinking forever -- but I just could *not* leave the stuff alone. I knew what alcohol was doing *to* me, but I still needed something done *for* me. The effect of the Twelve Steps is now my “sufficient substitute” ("A.A.", page 151) for the effect of alcohol, and I do not have to puke anything back up in the morning!

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http://e-aa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9572

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30-year student of “Alcoholics Anonymous”, the book

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