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Moral dilemma

(131 Posts)
DaisyL Tue 09-Oct-18 10:58:24

I would really appreciate some thoughts on my problem. My husband died nearly three years ago and I have tow adult step children. My step-daughter is an alcoholic with two children. She was living in France but her brother brought her back to England because she was not with the children's father and they were in a house that had no heat, no water and no electricity and she had no money. After a while when she got back here he put her into a cottage that actually belongs to him, but it is my responsibility for my lifetime (I get the rent but have to maintain it). My stepdaughter has now had the children taken away from her (court ordered) and they are with a foster family. This is an interim order, but as she has made no efforts to stop drinking it is likely to be permanent. The children's uncle doesn't want to know and I am too old to have full care of them, but I do stay in touch. At 5.00 am this morning the stepdaughter was arrested for screaming and shouting and disturbing the whole village. Now everyone is getting at me - this is not by any means the first time this has happened, it seems to be a weekly occurrence. My problem is that I have been very reluctant to evict her as I don't think I could sleep at night if she was on a park bench somewhere but on the other hand the other people in the village are entitled to some peace and quiet. So sorry for this long message - I have tried to precis it!

gmelon Tue 09-Oct-18 11:10:52

My heart goes out to you, a very difficult situation. There will be lots if good advice from experienced gransnetters.

ninathenana Tue 09-Oct-18 11:30:20

Oh dear, I didn't want to read and run but have no advice, just sympathy flowers

FlexibleFriend Tue 09-Oct-18 11:46:18

Do you speak to her at all? I think you and her brother need to talk to her when she's sober and tell her straight to sort out help for her drinking or she will be evicted. He installed her in the cottage but he can't then abandon responsibility to you. She needs help and an incentive to stop drinking and clearly needs a nudge in that direction.

travelsafar Tue 09-Oct-18 11:51:02

When she is sober would you be able to get her to see her GP and go with her if necessary for some support if she will allow. If that is not possible due to the chaotic life of an alcoholic, maybe speak to your own GP about how it is affecting you and he/she may be able to point you in the right directio to get appropriate help.There are many support groups for this type of problem but it is knowing where to turn especially when you are clearly upset and stressed about the whole situation.

Apricity Tue 09-Oct-18 12:41:25

What an awful situation to be in - for everyone. As her brother brought her and her children back to the UK and, it would appear, is a supportive brother is it possible to work with him to approach the problem? Presumably he is well aware of the maintenance and community responsibilities you have regarding the cottage? Can you work with him and local alcohol support services to devise a plan of treatment and support for his sister? If you work together and it fails, as it may well do, you will both know you have given it the best you know how and nobody can do more than that. Alcoholism is a terrible disease and sometimes there are no answers and no solutions. Tragically, sometimes you have to let people go before they drag everyone else down with them.

Luckygirl Tue 09-Oct-18 12:53:50

Might be worth looking at this:

What a very difficult situation for you to have to deal with. I presume your fellow villagers know that she has problems with alcogol and that you do not have a magic wand.

mcem Tue 09-Oct-18 13:14:45

A word with your solicitor perhaps? You need to know whether it's you or the brother who has decision-making powers in this situation. Then seek out relevant help as suggested but don' t be beaten down.

sodapop Tue 09-Oct-18 14:09:32

I agree with mcem check out the legal situation regarding the cottage. It seems the brother assumed some responsibility by bringing his sister back to the UK, he should continue to play a part in her welfare concerns. The only person who can help an alcoholic is themselves, you have done what you can Daisy now time for tough love.

DaisyL Tue 09-Oct-18 14:28:24

She goes to AA three times a week and then buys a bottle of vodka on the way home. She has many agencies involved and I have spoken to here countless time about the consequences of not sorting herself out. Her brother has now washed his hands of her. Like most alcoholics she lies about everything. The children's social worker and I are in constant touch and she tells us both completely different stories. We have all talked to her until we are blue in the face. The police say that it is a mental health problem and social services say it is an alcohol problem - the ambulance now refused to come out to her and the police are very reluctant. I have spoken to a solicitor - there is not problem getting her out of the cottage my dilemma is what happens to her then - I would not be able to live with myself if she were to be mugged or murdered while sleeping rough,

M0nica Tue 09-Oct-18 15:23:59

What an awful situation.

I know you say that you do not want to evict her, but one of the problems with alcoholics, or any other addict, is those around them 'enabling' them to continue their habit because they make life easier for them to continue in it and protect them from the consequences of their actions. Parents who provide an adult child with free board and lodging, put up with the child raiding their wallets and selling their belongings because they cannot bear to think what will happen to them if they tell them to get out are making it possible for that adult to continue to drink, or take drugs, without consequences for themselves.

You are in a similar situation. Your step-daughter is an adult and independent, she has been prepared to see her children taken into care rather than seek help for her alcoholism. Behaviour most people find almost incomprehensible, as their children come before everything.

You must now be cruel to be kind, and if her behaviour is causing problems you must tell her to get out of your cottage. You should let all the agencies she is involved with know what you are going to do and when it will happen, they and you can provide her with the names and addresses of all the hostels and services she can access to help her. After that it is her choice as to whether she accepts and tries to benefit from the all the help she has been offered. She is an adult and if she chooses to refuse all help. She must face the risks that come from those choices. If anything untoward happens that is not your fault is the result of the choices she has made

It could be that if you and her brother had not been enabling her to avoid the consequences of her drinking, she might have already reached the point where she takes responsibility for her life and tries to change it.

A ddicts thrive because those close to them think like you.

I am sorry if the above sounds brutal, it isn't meant to b, but if you speak to anyone in services set up to help people like your step-daughter, they will tell you, that family and friends enabling addicts to continue in their problem is the biggest obstacle to their recovery.

DaisyL Tue 09-Oct-18 15:31:14

I completely understand what you are saying but all the agencies involved with her seem to think that it would be a step too far to evict her - although I think they might be beginning to change their minds. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that you are completely right and I have no other choice but to evict her. She has managed to find a fellow alcoholic who she refers to as her 'boyfriend' but I fear he is only hanging around because she keeps telling him that she is about to sell the house in France. I have no idea whether this is true or not - when she first put it on the market she was asking 750,000 Euros for it - she now tells me that she thinks she is going to get 100,000 Euros - still quite a lot of vodka. I appreciate you advice - as you say quite brutal but I think I have been allowing my husband's memory to cloud my judgement. Also until receently she was saying that she was going to stop drinking in order to get the children back and therefore they had to have somewhere to come back to live, but I think that this is now extremely unlikely.

M0nica Tue 09-Oct-18 15:44:26

Agencies will not want you to evict her, because you keeping a roof over her head is one less problem for them to deal with.

I write, never having to have had to deal with a problem like this. If I did I am sure I would be as conflicted as you are.

Stansgran Tue 09-Oct-18 18:22:42

Would it be possible for you and stepson to collude in selling the cottage in order to finance a stay in rehab? If it's possible would you be able to write a letter saying what you have had to do and why and lodge it with a solicitor so the children may know in later life that you were not doing this lightly? Tough love is often the truest love.

Anniebach Tue 09-Oct-18 19:19:30

Love is love, the time may come when it is accepted that no one chooses to be alcoholic just as no one chooses mental illness

BlueBelle Tue 09-Oct-18 20:07:46

Oh my goodness what a difficult time fir you I really do feel for you

If I can just say the mental health team cannot help while she is drinking it’s just not possible (not them being difficult) but someone drinking so heavily can be masking all sorts of problems that they c ant verbalise, be totally unable to think straight and address the reason behind her drinking, and won’t be able to be started on medication until she is free of the alcohol

Melanieeastanglia Tue 09-Oct-18 20:22:13

I don't really know but think you could do worse than follow Stansgran's advice.

She'd be out of the cottage and not causing trouble for you in the village but you wouldn't have turfed her out into the streets because she'd be in rehab.

I suppose the trouble would start when she left rehab. Would they help her find somewhere to live? I don't know.

I wish you well.

grannyactivist Tue 09-Oct-18 21:01:52

I'm so sorry that you have this dilemma as there is no easy answer and whatever happens is going to cause you pain. flowers

People who are dually diagnosed with a mental illness and alcoholism (and/or substance use) are a particularly vulnerable group with complex service needs. Sadly there are few resources or models of good practice for these people. Some mental health teams do now work with people who have a dual diagnosis, but the reality is that they are so few and far between that BlueBelle is correct in saying that most people are effectively excluded from receiving mental health treatment if they are still drinking.

Before you take any action may I suggest that you contact AlAnon, the support group for families of people who are alcoholics? Having an opportunity to talk through your situation with people who have a first-hand understanding of what you're dealing with may be helpful.

annep Tue 09-Oct-18 22:10:13

I have one brother who is alcoholic and managed to give it up many years ago. My other brother died aged 52. He didnt manage. He was the loveliest person you could ever meet and we did all we could to get him to stop. We did get angry sometimes but only because we cared. The truth is ^ an alcoholic has to want to stop^. ! But the addiction is so strong that not everyone can. You can offer help, leave brochures and information and then just hope and pray if you believe. I do feel so sorry for you. And I would not advise on whether to evict her or not. That is your decision and you must look after your own health and wellbeing first and foremost. I do know there is unfortunately and sadly not enough help understanding or sympathy for alcoholism which is a terrible illness. Believe me your daughter would never choose to be like this. All I can add is, if you can manage, please don't abandon her completely. I hope she seeks help soon. It must be heartbreaking for you.

Coconut Wed 10-Oct-18 10:21:24

I also recommend tough love and you have to accept that there is absolutely nothing that you can do, only she can alter her life. You can talk till you are blue in the face, you will be told what she thinks you want to hear, and off she will go again. MOnica is right, the agencies want her in your property so she is not their issue to re house. My elder brother was an alcoholic and my Mum said she was watching him spiral down a helter skelter, knowing at the bottom he will be dead, and he was. A dear friend went thro exactly the same with her son and drugs. It hurts like hell, it’s soul destroying watching someone you love and care for destroy their lives, but if they can’t change, even for their own little children, you are powerless. Addiction is a mental illness and so many families have their lives blighted by this, it’s heart breaking.

GabriellaG Wed 10-Oct-18 10:52:41

You choose to have 'just one more drink' just as you choose to drink and drive or take drugs.
Mental health is not in the same category.

Sheilasue Wed 10-Oct-18 11:00:16

You need some help try the Samaritans they are very good at helping.

CarlyD7 Wed 10-Oct-18 11:11:04

What an awful situation. Lots of good advice here already. One thing that does occur to me - if she carries on living in the cottage, eventually, the children could be returned to her, as she has maintained a place to live and goes to AA meetings (she could persuade someone that she is changing?) Is that really in their best interests? probably not. However, if she's living in a hostel, that won't happen. But you need her brother's help and support - he set this situation up in the first place.

mokryna Wed 10-Oct-18 11:15:19

If she was married to a Frenchman and they are his children only half the money is hers, she cannot disinherit his bloodline. The law in France is completely different to that in England.

Barmeyoldbat Wed 10-Oct-18 11:39:21

I would do the tough love bit which I did with a lodger/friend who had a drink problem. Gave him a months notice when he made no effort to find somewhere else or leave I packed his stuff, put it outside and had the locks changed while he was out. He slept rough for 2 nights and then found somewhere. You cannot change a persons drink habits if they don't want to and you have yourself to look after. So I am afraid you will just have to bite the bullet and give her her marching orders. Then hopefully the agencies will step in and maybe help.