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Old 07-08-2008, 09:14 PM   #21
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I'm with most of the posters regarding what *you* can do - in your home, you have a right to not expose your children to potentially dangerous situations - whether through influence or neglect. As for your peace of mind, meeting in a neutral place in which you can exit quicky if you are uncomfortable is good advice - that's how I handle it. It allows me to have a semblance of a relationship and yet protect myself from getting hurt. You cannot change that person, they have to want to change themselves. That is the hardest thing to come to grips with at times. Once you do, your possible actions become easier. The same goes for your father - if he doesn't want to broach the subject, then that is his business. He's the one that has to manage his relationship with his daughter. Unless you all can be firm in an intervention as Martha said, tying yourself in knots over his behavior is going to hurt you more than him.

Just my soapbox worth :-)
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:26 PM   #22
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Had a ex- BIL who decided that crack cocaine, gambling, hookers and monthly trips to Vegas were more important than his succesful family business, wife, and 4 kids. He ended up divorced, broke, unemployed, drunk, addicted, estranged from his kids, and married to a similarly addicted violent, psycho stripper. Went from 600K/year salary to selling cars at a gypsy car lot next door to the strip joint where he met the new missus...lost his house(s), share of the family business, his family, his health, retirement funds, and almost every physical asset he had ever accumulated, ie boats, cars, property, etc. Has been jailed a half-dozen times for DWI & domestic violence.

Unfortunately, these situations seldom turn out well... except for my sister who had the strength to dump his sorry ass, move away, start a new life, and end up marrying a great guy who adores her and her kids.

Until they hit rock bottom, and friends/relatives quit enabling their behavior, nothing will change. In the case of my BIL, he still doesn't really grasp what his bad choices have cost him. He's not there yet.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:36 PM   #23
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To the OP. My heart goes out to you. I know what you are talking about because I live this also. In my case it is a brother. His addiction started in his teens and he is now pushing fifty. That is a long time to live with this situation. You got a lot of good advice here. For what it is worth my experience has been as follows.

The number one thing is to take care of your life, your SO, your kids. Your Dad and Sister are adults and they are responsible for their own life and will not really want to be told how to live anymore than you would.

Second. Addiction is an illness. One with obnoxious behaviors that are part of the package. Just as you would limit your exposure to and protect yourself from a person who has an infectious disease for your own and your family's health and well being, you have to do the same with the addicted person. Do not feel that in the interest of family relations, social graces and the like that you have to be polite and keep your opinions to yourself. Control where, when and what circumstances you meet. If it has to be you going to them, meeting in public places and not their coming to you so be it. Set limits as to what behaviors you will tolerate and stick to those limits. If they do anything that make you uncomfortable leave. Don't let your Dad or Sister guilt you into doing something that hurts you or your kids. (and believe me they will try)

Third. Educate your self on addiction and co-dependency. Narc anon is a good place to start and the net has loads of information. You will learn that the addicted person has developed strategies for surviving their addiction and some of the situations it puts them that you cannot even begin to understand. They will also say or do just about anything to support and maintain said addiction. That includes telling you what ever you want to hear if it means getting what they want or need.


Fourth. While it may feel like the right thing to do to attempt an intervention in the hope of some how changing the situation. They do not always work. Every one has to be on the same page and willing to go the distance. Know that it is not your responsibility to save and salvage your Sister or Dad. Do not spend a lot of your energy trying to make that happen. It seldom works. When the addicted person or the co-dependent gets sick and tired of their situation they will make the change and they will do it in their own time. Sometimes this never happens and you have to accept that.

I have been living and surviving this for a long time. It is an on going situation and it changes over time. The hardest thing to deal with is the co-dependent parent, your parent's, actions to protect the addicted sibling. It will not get any better as your parent ages and becomes more dependent on others for their care. That is the situation intact siblings and I are facing. We support each other and do the best we can and as much for our parents, now in their seventies, will allow.
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Old 07-09-2008, 01:02 AM   #24
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Wow. So many thoughtful posts. Thank you all. I have to say that I'm surprised that so many of you have had family members with problems that are similar to my sister's. I guess these troubled relatives aren't mentioned in friendly conversation.

Sue J, I'm very sorry to hear about your brother. I really hope my sister doesn't meet a similar fate.

On the flip side of the coin, Life_Is_Good and tomintuscon, thanks for sharing your stories of recovery. Nice to know that there's hope (however small) for her.

I had an epiphany reading Cattusbabe's post. It was your use of the word co-dependent. It's funny how sometimes when we're too close to something, or too emotionally involved that we miss the obvious, but that's clearly what's going on here. My Dad and sister have a co-dependent relationship. Her getting clean and independent would threaten the structure of that relationship. That explains Dad's reluctance to discuss her problems.

We have some experience with co-dependence on DW's side of the family (similar situation with an adult child living off an aging parent, minus the drugs). I had no problem recognizing the co-dependence in that situation, because it wasn't "my" family.

I'll definitely take all of your collective advice regarding setting limits, and picking neutral locations for family get-togethers. Obviously, if her behavior does anything to affect my kids, all bets are off and I'll sever contact with her completely.

For now, I'm not going to push the issue of DS's addiction with my Dad. I may broach the subject with her privately, to see if she's open to the idea of getting clean, but I agree with those of you who said that she has to want it herself. I'll tread lightly.


Whew. Thanks again everyone.
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Old 07-09-2008, 01:06 AM   #25
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As a person in recovery.....you sister needs to "bottom out" in order to seek help on her own. An intervention might help....it will at least let her know that others around her are aware of her doings.
Your father is enabling your sister and he is doing more harm than good. Definitely look for the CODA meetings and attend them with your father. He needs to stop paying her way.....that might scare your sister a bit....but it takes a lot to scare addicts and alcoholics. Your sister might have to end up on the street to realize that she may have a problem.
I am sorry that you are going through this....but there is hope and a lot of help for the families. You need to work on keeping your family and kids safe and if that requires you to not allow your sister over your house....then so be it.
I know that in the midst of my addiction, I would do anything to get money for alcohol and drugs.....did a lot of stealing, lying, and manipulating. It is how I had learned to survive. It is a disease and it requires a set program of recovery....but one has to be willing to get help.
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Old 07-09-2008, 03:59 AM   #26
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wow is right. you got some really touching stories and good advice here. also you honed in on a point that struck my attention during reading the posts, that of codependency, which strikes me somewhat more accurate than enabling. but i wonder if there isn't something else.

though i'm not schooled in such concepts, i wonder if there isn't some machinery at work of which enabling and codependency are perhaps cogs or even just throw-offs.

an enabler facilitates destructive behavior where as codependency involves being "manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (webster)".

just because your father enjoys the company of his daughter does not mean that he is facilitating her destructive behavior because as a low-functioning addict, she would likely be just as self-destructive without him. so he is not the cause of that.

and that your father enjoys the company of his daughter indicates in itself neither a psychological condition (outside of love) nor manipulation (though of course i do not know the specifics there).

perhaps just being nearer to you will help fullfill your father's desire to have his children in his life. and that alone might loosen the strings between him and your sister.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:46 AM   #27
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My two cents:

1. One of the main things you can do for druggies is to make them aware of the consequences of their actions. It doesn't necessarily have to take the form of a big intervention; it can just be "I'm afraid to have you around my kids" and other such observations, repeatedly over a long period of time.

2. Same with your father... making him aware of how his enabling is hurting you may help him to see the light.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:58 PM   #28
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Sorry to hear about your family issues. Sadly, your family is probably more normal than you might expect.

1. Protect your kids at all cost. I would certainly not allow anybody with a substance abuse problem near my kids in my absence. That is your primary responsibility as a parent. Even if your relationship with your parents or siblings suffers you must protect your children.

2. It is none of your business what your parents do with their money. They are adults and deserve to be respected by you. If they ask (they won't) then you still need to tread lightly when you respond.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:15 AM   #29
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So many, many sad stories. If I were the OP I would wonder if one of the reasons dad was moving closer was so that the support for the sister would continue after his death. My alcoholic brother mooched off my widowed mother for decades until the money (what little she had) was gone. When she could no longer give him money for various reasons, he left and she hasn't heard from him for 6 years. While I say good riddance, she is heartbroken. I get upset just thinking about it.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:38 AM   #30
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2. It is none of your business what your parents do with their money. They are adults and deserve to be respected by you. If they ask (they won't) then you still need to tread lightly when you respond.
I think most adults have a very real concern that their parents are going to fritter their money away (or be defrauded of it) just before those parents need long-term care or financial support from the "responsible" offspring.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:36 AM   #31
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I think most adults have a very real concern that their parents are going to fritter their money away (or be defrauded of it) just before those parents need long-term care or financial support from the "responsible" offspring.
That is a very valid point. The druggie sister won't be the one picking up that tab. If the "responsible" siblings are disinherited by default they will, in essence be paying twice. From the number of common-thread stories in this posting, it sounds like there is a lot of this going on, unfortunately.
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:33 PM   #32
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Sadly, in addition to the financial tab, the "responsible" sibling gets the emotional tab as well.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:37 PM   #33
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....
I have been living and surviving this for a long time. It is an on going situation and it changes over time. The hardest thing to deal with is the co-dependent parent, your parent's, actions to protect the addicted sibling. It will not get any better as your parent ages and becomes more dependent on others for their care. That is the situation intact siblings and I are facing. We support each other and do the best we can and as much for our parents, now in their seventies, will allow.
Your entire post is beautiful, Cattusbabe, and this paragraph really hits home. I cut myself off from a sibling and over decades watched both parents deeply hurt by the situation. When the sibling died I thanked him for respecting my wishes to stay out of my life.

Several miss-guided relatives tried to repair our relationship; I'm grateful they failed to get us back together. "All relationships end"!
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:24 PM   #34
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I appreciate all the feedback, folks, thanks very much. Lots to mull over.

Anybody have any personal experience with an intervention?

Anybody seen somebody as non-functional as I've described DS who turned their life around?

I have a similar situation with my brother, who lives with my 85 yr old dad. Apparently, my brother is having health problems likely related to his lifetime alcoholism. He hasn't worked in over a year. I tried to talk with him, get him to go to the doctor, AA, etc. Nothing. Brought it up with my dad who said he is glad to have brother living there to take care of things he would have to pay for otherwise.

Neither of them will deal realistically with the coming possibility of my dad being incapacitated and going into assisted living. Luckily my dad can afford to have my brother as a live in caretaker-bum. Luckily they live in another state. Unfortunately, in my family, denial is the strategy until it fails. Then there's an emergency and other family members have to fix everything.

It's a really sad, frustrating situation. Going to Alanon has helped me to disengage. You have my sympathies.
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