PDA

View Full Version : Opinions, please!



_Erin_
08-01-2011, 10:28 AM
Something took place this weekend that shocked me, and I just want everyone's opinions on what I should do, if anything.

Those of you that post regularly probably already know my background story, but I'm going to briefly give the lowdown. I'm 30, a child of an alcoholic. My mom started drinking 20 years ago when my dad died, developed several health problems (diabetes, congestive heart failure, 2 amputated toes and quadruple bypass heart surgery) and continued to drink until her death this past January. Since then, my siblings (24, 35 and 39) picked up the family habit. I went to Al-Anon for a couple years (about 3-4 years ago) because I had a major problem with what I was witnessing with Mom. When my siblings continued to get drunk on a frequent basis a few weeks after Mom's passing, I told them I had a problem with it, voiced my concern, and then backed off. It was my experience with Mom that after that initial confrontation, it really does no good to continue "harping on the subject," as Mom would say.

I, myself, do drink on occasion, but am aware of the family history and not naive enough to believe I could never become addicted. At the time of Mom's death, I was also breastfeeding, so I do admit that I don't know that I wouldn't have done the same thing to cope, had I felt I had that option. (My daughter saves my life in so many ways!)

Ok, so on to my issue...

This weekend, my fiance (John) threw a surprise birthday party for me. Regardless of what I'm about to post, I had a blast and really appreciate all the hard work he put into planning this thing!

My younger brother (24) and his fiancee showed up at around 3. He said he'd been cleaning his garage all day, and he was plastered. She was pissed. (She's not a drinker.)

My older brother (35) didn't show up at all. It didn't really surprise me, though, he's a workaholic and staying pretty steady on the path to being a full-blown alcoholic. (Honestly, I don't think he's had a single night without a drink since Mom died. Lots of guilt feelings going on there.)

My older sister (39) took me out for lunch AND came for the party. I really enjoyed her company and appreciated that she came to hang out - until I saw her give my 6-year-old nephew (her youngest) a shot of Captain Morgan!!! I was in shock. I've never known my sister to do that kind of thing.

What gets me about the whole thing is that I seem to be the only one of us that realizes the correlation between how Mom spent the last 20 years of her life and the road they're going down now. KNOWING that Mom greatly contributed to her own death with drinking, wouldn't you want to especially shield your children from that?? I know I'll be shielding my daughter, and at the very least, not dispensing it to her as a very young child!!!

Anyway, John made a comment that "knowing what went down, we are as much to blame as she is," and it stuck with me. My question is, what would you do? I don't feel 100% OK with letting it go. If it had been anyone else, I would have contemplated calling CPS on her. I always saw my sister as someone who would do anything to protect her children (she has 4). My nephew is a touch autistic and a brilliant little boy, and I feel like she did this to put herself in the spotlight at the party.

I love my brothers and sister, and would do anything for them, but it is becoming more and more evident every day to me that we are all traveling very different roads now. I'm starting to want to distance myself from them. Before this, I wouldn't have thought twice letting my sister watch my daughter. Now, there is no way in hell I'd trust her!

Should I confront her? How should I do it? Any and all input is sooo appreciated!

T is back
08-01-2011, 01:39 PM
Something took place this weekend that shocked me, and I just want everyone's opinions on what I should do, if anything.

Those of you that post regularly probably already know my background story, but I'm going to briefly give the lowdown. I'm 30, a child of an alcoholic. My mom started drinking 20 years ago when my dad died, developed several health problems (diabetes, congestive heart failure, 2 amputated toes and quadruple bypass heart surgery) and continued to drink until her death this past January. Since then, my siblings (24, 35 and 39) picked up the family habit. I went to Al-Anon for a couple years (about 3-4 years ago) because I had a major problem with what I was witnessing with Mom. When my siblings continued to get drunk on a frequent basis a few weeks after Mom's passing, I told them I had a problem with it, voiced my concern, and then backed off. It was my experience with Mom that after that initial confrontation, it really does no good to continue "harping on the subject," as Mom would say.

I, myself, do drink on occasion, but am aware of the family history and not naive enough to believe I could never become addicted. At the time of Mom's death, I was also breastfeeding, so I do admit that I don't know that I wouldn't have done the same thing to cope, had I felt I had that option. (My daughter saves my life in so many ways!)

Ok, so on to my issue...

This weekend, my fiance (John) threw a surprise birthday party for me. Regardless of what I'm about to post, I had a blast and really appreciate all the hard work he put into planning this thing!

My younger brother (24) and his fiancee showed up at around 3. He said he'd been cleaning his garage all day, and he was plastered. She was pissed. (She's not a drinker.)

My older brother (35) didn't show up at all. It didn't really surprise me, though, he's a workaholic and staying pretty steady on the path to being a full-blown alcoholic. (Honestly, I don't think he's had a single night without a drink since Mom died. Lots of guilt feelings going on there.)

My older sister (39) took me out for lunch AND came for the party. I really enjoyed her company and appreciated that she came to hang out - until I saw her give my 6-year-old nephew (her youngest) a shot of Captain Morgan!!! I was in shock. I've never known my sister to do that kind of thing.

What gets me about the whole thing is that I seem to be the only one of us that realizes the correlation between how Mom spent the last 20 years of her life and the road they're going down now. KNOWING that Mom greatly contributed to her own death with drinking, wouldn't you want to especially shield your children from that?? I know I'll be shielding my daughter, and at the very least, not dispensing it to her as a very young child!!!

Anyway, John made a comment that "knowing what went down, we are as much to blame as she is," and it stuck with me. My question is, what would you do? I don't feel 100% OK with letting it go. If it had been anyone else, I would have contemplated calling CPS on her. I always saw my sister as someone who would do anything to protect her children (she has 4). My nephew is a touch autistic and a brilliant little boy, and I feel like she did this to put herself in the spotlight at the party.

I love my brothers and sister, and would do anything for them, but it is becoming more and more evident every day to me that we are all traveling very different roads now. I'm starting to want to distance myself from them. Before this, I wouldn't have thought twice letting my sister watch my daughter. Now, there is no way in hell I'd trust her!

Should I confront her? How should I do it? Any and all input is sooo appreciated!

Hi Erin,

I read your post and was hoping someone would post a comment to it. Alchohol is not my drug of choice and I've never had a problem with it, not that I don't have an addictive nature because I definately do but have never enjoyed drinking alchohol. I don't feel qualified to answer any of your questions but wanted to let you know I am here and I definately feel for you. My first instinct is to turn her in but that is coming from a person who has had chance after chance after chance so not sure if that is the correct advice. The reason that is my first instinct is I want to protect the child, I don't know alot about alchohol but I do know it is very dangerous for a child. I don't know what would happen if you try talking to her, past experience tells me talking doesn't really do much for the situation, it has to hurt a little before someone is willing to get help. One thing I know for sure is I would never let her watch my children, if she is going to do that to her own child who knows how irresponsible she would be with yours. I would definately keep an eye on her and possibly take her children once in awhile to see if they confide in you. If they need help they may very well look to you as a safe person to confide in to help them! I know it is easy to say go to her and talk to her but in reality that may just be tipping her off to be more careful around you. Hard call I know. I wish I could be more help but I will be here if you need to talk. Maybe you could go to a AA meeting and talk with them, they have the experience with this sort of thing. Also, I don't know if you attend a church or whatever but that is a great resource also. Definately keep your family away from those situations, they are your number one priority. I will keep you in my prayers, just know we do care here :)

carol
08-01-2011, 04:11 PM
Erin,

I've been thinking about the situation. You have good instincts and judgement, so I think you can trust yourself whatever you decide to do. Here's my two cents, since you asked for opinions.

I tend to be nonconfrontational to a fault, so keep that in mind. I don't think I would call CPS based on one incident, because unless the child is truly endangered I fear the outcome of getting them involved would be worse. I do think it is worth talking to your sister about it, although that would be super hard for me to actually do. You already know you can't change people but I don't think you can let it go unnoticed. I might approach it from you're trying to avoid walking in your mom's footsteps so maybe your sister won't feel threatened. If she feels threatened she won't listen. She may not listen anyway but at least you'll know you tried.

I think your instincts that you're going to have to distance yourself somewhat from your family are right, unfortunately, or at least you need to set some strong boundaries. And they won't understand 'cause that's the way us drinkers are. Sigh.

I don't understand the comment about your being to blame. I don't think you are to blame for anything!

Good luck!

_Erin_
08-02-2011, 05:29 AM
Thanks to you both for your opinions! I greatly appreciate it as I try to sort this out and figure out what to do. I mulled it over last night and was thinking of mentioning, one, that she did it in public (not public, but my back yard with several of my friends around) and that people made comments. Two, has she looked into the problems that strong of alcohol could cause in a child so little? His dad drinks hard liquor, so they almost glamorize it with their kids and I think that's why she egged him on to drink it.

T - I really appreciate you replying, even though you don't feel comfortable giving advice about alcohol. I think you're right that calling her out on it will probably cause bad feelings and push her farther away. I definitely will keep an eye on the situation and my little girl won't be going over there without Mommy!

Carol - I, too, am pretty non-confrontational. Looking back on it, I agree that calling CPS might have been an idea that was a little over the top. I didn't mean that I actually would, but that it would make me think about it if it had been anyone but my own sister. I would feel awful if her kids got taken from her, due to my doing, because for the most part, otherwise she's a great mom. The comment about being to blame was meant in this context: "If we witnessed it and do nothing about it (whether it's talking to her or something more drastic), how would we be able to live with ourselves should something happen down the road?" John was very concerned that giving him alcohol this early will only build a tolerance later in life, and he'll be doing the same as Grandma did. I didn't feel he pointed ME out, but more anyone who witnessed it. He is far more confrontational than I am, and has no problem speaking his mind to anyone. He's on the same page with me, though, about giving ourselves some breathing room from my siblings for a while. I think it's necessary right now.

Thank you both sooo much for your insight and support!! It definitely helped, even just to know someone else out there would have had a problem seeing this happen, too.

Sally
08-07-2011, 08:52 PM
Erin - my two cents. When you witnessed this - that was the time to say something about it. Unfortunately we have all gone thru situations where we didn't react the way we know we should have - and then we beat ourselves up about it later. This I think is what your husband was saying. You have to let this one go - and chalk it up as a "missed opportunity". I would definitely try to interact with her kids and keep an eye on them though. How sad for them. Good luck, distance yourself from the adults, but keep the little ones in mind - they need us the most when they have to live with idiots like that.

...again
07-02-2012, 01:47 AM
Hello! I am new here. I have posted on the drug addiction thread. I read this and my heart went out to you Erin. I see the dates on these posts, as they are from last year. I am curious as to what has happened since this incident.
I as well have a step-daughter with Ashburgers (low form of Autism.)

Ken1
07-02-2012, 09:28 AM
Erin, I think that if you had confronted her when it happened, the whole thing could have spun out of control. You need to talk to her when she has not been drinking and if you had done so at the party, she would have been humiliated and it may have caused other unintended consequences. I know that you are non-confrontational, so if you approach this from a position of love and support, it has a better chance of taking root with your sister and having the impact you desire. You know form Al-anon that calling her out in public or just telling her she's a bad person doesn't work, it just gives her another excuse to drink. If it were my sister, I would take her out to lunch and bring it up and tell her exactly what you wrote in your opening post; you are concerned that she is following the same path as your parents and that you love her enough to ask her to consider getting some help. You are 100% not to blame, I mean how in the world did you enable any of that behavior (hint, you didn't). You are not in denial, you are looking for the best approach to confront her. You will get it right, I know you will!

gold71
02-19-2013, 08:24 PM
As you get older you will come to realize that your siblings are on different life paths and all you can do is let them know that you are concerned for their health and well being. Anything more than that will seem as if your are on a moral high horse trying to talk down to them, this will be very detrimental to your relationships with them. I have an addictive personality and had problems with alcohol and tobacco and the occasional recreational drug, since deciding to stay away from any form of drugs, I have never felt so alive and aware of my surroundings as I do now. I don't have children of my own yet but would love to have the oppertunity to teach them from the beginning about living a healthy lifestyle.
The MOST important thing in life is your health, it can't be braught or sold, if you are fit and healthy you are always on the right path. Things will go your way because you are an example to other people and people will gravitate towards you.

Ted Marlett
02-21-2013, 08:54 AM
Hi Erin,

I agree with the boundaries suggestion. I read your story and think that you did probably grow up with some loose boundaries and learned how to cope with them. One thing is to develop your own boundaries and then the boundaries (rules) for your home. Many people have had to be free of their families for a period of time to get themselves in the spot they want to be. Sounds like you are thinking the same.

I would have waited a while and then confronted the sibling and discussed the issue. Setting the discussion boundaries first and making sure there was no anger or outbursts present each can say what has to be said.

I have had to not have contact with my own family for years until I, and they, understood that certain behaviors were not acceptable. You may also want to contact a therapist schooled in these type of behaviors rather than going for it without any kind of idea of what to do. Many will consult with you for little or no cost.

_Erin_
02-21-2013, 12:58 PM
Hello! It's been a year and a half since this incident occurred, and since I opened the can of worms and this thread seems to be getting some comments lately, figured I'd chime in. lol I appreciate all of the comments, by the way!!

I never did say anything about it. Upon reading some of the comments here, and just basically getting out of the "heat of the moment," I felt like although to me it IS a big deal to be giving a child alcohol, maybe I was reacting a little over the top because it had just happened. Plus, it was pretty soon after my mom had passed away, having a new little one in the home, etc., so there were some fresh and raw emotions running around in there. I have done a lot of growing, growing up, and learning in this past two years.

Looking back on it, I am glad I didn't say anything at the party, because I agree that could have been anything up to, and including, disastrous. My sister and I have always been somewhat close, up until that moment I had looked at her much like she could do no wrong... so if nothing else, it taught me that she is human. It made me realize that I'm not a child anymore, following the lead of the adults in my life. It made me think about what I would/will do when my little girl is that age. And the answer to that is, she won't be around it for me to have to make that decision. Yes, we did grow up in an environment where adults drank freely (at BBQ's, parties, etc. - my mom never drank openly) and children were scattered around in the mix. To each his own, but to me it just seems to be sending the wrong message.

My sister calmed down on the drinking a few months after I posted this. My brothers, mainly the older one, still drink to excess. (My younger one really only seems to drink when he's around my older one. He's married now, and I think his wife has been a big influence on him.) My sister has watched my daughter for me on occasion, and my daughter adores her. So I feel like I kind of jumped the gun on making a statement like "no way in hell will I ever trust her." While I still think she made a majorly bad judgment call, her judgment is almost always good (especially sober). I'm glad I kept to myself, especially until the emotions subsided, because I could have potentially robbed my daughter of a great relationship with her, while I don't have a lot of family left to share her with. However, if I ever witnessed it happening again, you'd better believe I would have something to say about it... but I would still choose not to front her off in public.