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Addiction to Alcohol/Baby On The Way And An Alcoholic MIL


QUESTION: 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: Thank you for the details. Sorry I am late in this reply.
What I have picked up on is your boyfriends issue with telling you and his mom one thing and then no followthrough. That is troubling. You are not being irrational and merely showing maturity. If your boyfriend drinks and since he was exposed to alcoholism all his formative years then he has a lack of maturity. This can be changed if he will commit to getting help from alanon. Alanon is for anyone affected by the disease, and it allows us to mature.
I wish you the best but don't allow this to continue. It sounds as if something must change.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: He does not have a problem with drinking but he has a sex addiction that he is seeing counseling for. I have been going to Alanon meetings for a while now to help me deal with his addiction. The meetings have helped me more than I could ever explain.

I have tried many times to get him to go to alanon or AA regarding his mother but he believes that I am blowing things out of proportion.

I know that I need to set limits and stick to them but the house belongs to him so legally I have no say and he does what he thinks is right for his mother. I feel like my only option is to leave him but I still hold out hope that things can change.

   Sorry I am so long in answering your followup.  I love the fact that you are finding AA and Alanon so benefical.  Keep up the interest in these and my guess is that good things will happen as he sees the effects.  Only in this way, can you really sort out how you feel about all this and make some good solid decisions for you and your baby.
  You'll be in my prayers.
Stay in touch,

Addiction to Alcohol

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I can answer questions on the recovery from alcohol addiction as I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of sobriety. I can also address the spiritual aspects of the 12-Step program as I have a Master of Divinity degree; serve as a pastor in the Quaker church; and, serve as a hospice chaplain. I have also served as a prison chaplain for one year and currently volunteer as a mentor once a week, working with two inmates one-on-one as they work towards reentry into society as free persons.


I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of continuous sobriety.

Master of Divinity awarded in 2000 from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

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