My Daughter-in-Law Called Telling Me My (step) Son Has a Drinking Problem and Needs Help
My daughter-in-law called begging that I keep her confidence and not tell anyone yet, including my wife, about his increasing use of alcohol. She revealed that he has been hiding vodka in different bottles for several years. She feels trapped because she has covered for him for so long.
She has been covering for him so their kids wouldn't know but during a confrontation between them which the kids (18 and 16) overheard and came into the room saying they had found vodka bottles hidden in the house. (of course they knew!). Both my wife and I had parents who were alcoholics. She does not want me to tell my wife (his mother) yet. She couldn't tell me what she was waiting for.
He has gotten physical with her, pulling her down the stairs by her hair, frightening her so much she called one of his two older sisters. My (step) daughter came to their house and told him never to touch his wife like that again. These are people in their 40's. My wife and I are 67 and 61 respectively.
I urged her to talk to a counselor but she said she never would because somehow word gets out and his reputation would be ruined. Please! Told her her and the kids safety was more important than antibes rep.
She said he gets so mean when sneak drinking and she won't say anything that night but the next day she will talk to him and he is SO sorry. My question--what can I do? I need to tell my wife--she won't be surprised because my d-in-law called us to come pick him up when he passed out at a restaurant several years ago. We have had no clue that he had done anything since that Incident.
I am more than willing to confront him even though I know he will deny, deny, deny. Finally, she told me he has increasingly seemed to vent his 'drink' anger toward the kids. I want to help them stay safe. Thank you for your help.
As long as your step son's alcoholism is kept secret and his unacceptable behavior covered up, he will remain sick and continue to destroy himself and his family. So all your daughter-in-law is doing is enabling his behavior because he isn't being held accountable for his actions.
Abuse is under no circumstances ever acceptable, and until your step-son starts having to experience the consequences of his drinking and out-of-control behavior, he never learns and so there is no motivation for him to want to quit.
If there is any form of abuse and intimidation the police should be called immediately. That forces him to start being accountable for his choices and realising that as long as he continues to make poor choices, there will be undesirable consequences. Forget his reputation - the well-being of his children are at stake more than anything.
So I think you need to have a real talk with your daughter-in-law and make it clear to her that as long as she refuses to take a stand against his alcoholism ... all she does is keep him sick longer. And not only is that damaging to him and her, the damage (even if only psychological) being done to the kids is the real worry.
It sounds like she's genuinely frightened to speak out against his behavior - so you don't necessarily want to jump the gun and confront him because that may put her and the kids at risk. So I think you as a family need to have a serious talk and put together a plan to ensure her and the kids' safety are ensured, before confronting him about his alcoholism.
She really should put down an ultimatum and tell him, 'get help and turn your life around' - or the marriage is over. So you as a family need to rally around her and offer her the support and courage she needs to take action. But she is really the one that needs to initiate things. A family intervention
can be a powerful way to address an alcoholic, because the power of the group can help the alcoholic realise that they need to change.
Your daughter-in-law though is the main person that needs to realise as long as she isn't prepared to speak out and hold your step-son accountable, nothing will ever change. Alcoholism thrives in secrecy. It needs to be brought to light and consequences created if anything is ever going to change.
Best of Luck
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