Family Matters
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How to help? I feel like I've done all I can do...

maybebaby2009maybebaby2009 member
Seventh Anniversary 10 Comments
edited August 2013 in Family Matters

My heart is going out to my sister -  She's going through a rough divorce.  I'm trying to be there as much as I can, but she lives in another state as me, and calls whenever she needs someone to talk to.  She recently went to rehab for alcoholism, and I thought she had things under control.  Yet, for the most part she's been calling me under the influence.  I know right away when she's drunk.  Her speech is slurred, she becomes this very bitter person, and she keeps repeating the same thing over and over.  What makes things worse is that I know my 7 year old niece sees this.  I'm trying to be there and talk to her as much as I can, and emphasize how much she needs to be there for her daughter.  But she just keeps telling me that the pain is too much, and she can't handle it.  Just recently, she left a voicemail saying that her soon to be ex has just introduced their daughter to the person he is dating.  That's another long story - he had an emotional affair with this woman for almost 2 years (I'm sure he's lying that there was nothing physical).  I don't even know how to console her, as I know she's beyond consolation.  Any suggestions on how else I can help?  It's been 7 months now, since he told her that he wants a divorce.  I really want her to move on, and be stronger than this.

Re: How to help? I feel like I've done all I can do...

  • I am so sorry you are going through this and I really feel for your sister and niece. It sounds like she needs some councilling to realize her worth. Is there anyone near her who can help to make sure she gets the help she needs? When I helped a family member who was going through an awful divorce (this sounds silly, but it really helped) I got her a notebook to write down what she needed to do step by step. It sounds like councilling needs to be on her top priority. Remind her she can lose her child if her issues get out of control again. Again, I am so sorry :(
  • What you need to do:

    Cut all ties with your sister.

    Cut your sister off for good until she can prove she is clean and sober.--- and has been for a good long while --- with the help of AA, an AA sponsor and/or a drug and alcohol counselor.

    Where is your niece? Who is she staying with?

    This is most important. If she is in full custody of her mother and her mother is still under the influence and a drunk when she comes out of that facility --- and AA will still consider her an active alcoholic if she is --- your niece needs to be taken out of that home she is in with her mother.

    And her father sounds like the last person she should be with, btw.

    You need to exhibit toughlove and stop enabling your sister.

    "Sis, I love you but not the fact you are a drunk and you are ruining your life and your daughter's. Therefore, I will not be in contact with you until you can prove to me you've cleaned up your act and you've got an AA counselor or a drug and alcohol counselor helping you stay sober. Do not call me or contact me until you can prove you are sober."

    Tell her that exactly and then end contact with her.

    You can contact your niece through her father.
  • PS:

    AlAnon for you, STAT. They will teach you how to love an alcoholic. Good luck.
    Disneygeek77
  • My sister does not have full custody, she spends time with her father 2-3 days at a time (his work requires him to travel - flight attendant). 

    I think my niece will be staying with her grandmother for the time being (lives in the same state).

    Thank you for your advice. 

     

  • My sister does not have full custody, she spends time with her father 2-3 days at a time (his work requires him to travel - flight attendant). 

    I think my niece will be staying with her grandmother for the time being (lives in the same state).

    Thank you for your advice. 

     

    Her grandmother will need legal OK to be her guardian conservator in the meanwhile --- this is important --- safeguard the situation.

    The grandmother will also get some type of financial reimbursement for the caretaking of the kiddo --- an attorney can take care of this.

    It is possible that the child may be with the grandmother for a good chunk of time.  I myself would suggest it until the mother is clean and sober for a good while --- it may also be that the rehab effort may fail and she might be out drinking as usual the second she steps outside the premises.
  • Thank you again. 

  • This is a touch and go time for somebody just out of rehab.

    If your sis has admitted "hey, I've got a problem with alcohol and I need to get help because the situation is unbearable" that's a battle won -- she has to admit that she's got a problem and she needs to get help or rehab won't mean a thing. It will be useless and you'll see her back to her old tricks once that rehab door shuts behind her.

    An alcoholic has to admit that there is a problem. Otherwise no amount of rehab will help.

    This is why I am saying the kiddo might be with your mother for a very long time.  There's no way that child should be back with her mother until her mother cleans up her act and she is clean for a good long while.
    Sillygirl45maybebaby2009
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