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I Want To Stop Enabling My Alcoholics.

by Kathy

I have just found your site. I have a daughter and a son who are alcoholics. My husband and I have made our fair share of mistakes in dealing with both of our kids. We are now at our wits end in knowing how to work with all of this.

Our son is in the hospital for detox and he has an involvement with AA and has a sponsor. He lives with us at the time and in the past we made the huge mistake of enabling him. This is our plan. To continue living here, he must attend AA meetings, we will no longer supply any money for alcohol, (which helped in his decision to stop drinking). He also will need to find a job asap as all monies from us are stopping.

Our daughter (divorced) has her own home and she has a young child. Our enablement here has been helping her with bills, necessities for her and her daughter. I also have been living with her for a year ("I need help with my Eating disorder"). I am now the one who takes care of her(when she is drunk) and my granddaughter fulltime.

I have made appointments with therapists, doctors and alcohol recovery services. She will keep some of them if she is sober, but her episodes are occurring more frequently now. I help her get sober and then she goes out and buys alcohol and then we start the drama all over again.

She is verbally abusive, manipulative, she will lie to get beer from me, she uses guilt trips on me, she uses her daughter to get what she wants. My plan is to tell her that I will help her get better, but I am done with the alcoholism. I need to protect her daughter.

I am at my wits end and do not know if I am making the right decision. I think I am. My son cannot help with her as he is fighting his own battle. My husband is busy working 2 jobs to keep the family financially stable. And, as for me, I am tired, getting depressed, you know the effects of all of this. I need someone who knows what they are doing to tell me I am on the right path. Answer

You are on the right path Kathy, but you have to start making time for yourself too, so that you don't also become a victim of your children's alcoholism. The fact that you are feeling depressed and stressed is your body's way of telling you that you need to take some time out.

Things with your son look to be on the right track and what you've done in terms of making sure you no longer enable him sound spot on. It seems though that you're not quite there with your daughter yet ...

I think its time you draw a line in the sand with her and tell her that unless she takes turning her life around more seriously - you're going to put in an application to take over full custody of her daughter because she's in no state to be a fit mother.

You can't continue being at her beck and call while she essentially does what she wants. You need to get back home to your husband, taking your granddaughter with you if need be, and focus on your own well-being again.

Your daughter will continue to manipulate you as long as you let her. Only you can stop that. Because as long as you are there to look after her - what motivation does she really have to get sober and healthy again?

She could probably do with a spell in rehab where they can treat her for her alcoholism and eating disorder. At least then she'll have all the tools she needs to stay healthy and whether she wants to use them becomes totally her responsibility.

You can't continue being her keeper. If she wants to get well, it's up to her to make it happen. Hopefully the thought of losing her daughter will get her started on that path, but until she takes responsibility for her life and the choices she makes, she isn't going to change. So all you can do is try and facilitate getting her on the right path, and then trust that somehow everything will work out for the best.

And through all of this make sure you find the time to centre yourself and reconnect with the things that matter and are important to you - because unless you do all that negativity will make you miserable. You deserve better. Good Luck!

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