This isn't about a teen but thought you all might have wise words

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Mattsmom277, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Hi all. This has nothing to do with a teen but I know the wisdom that lives on this board and this forum seemed a likely place to ask for some wise words.

    I've posted in watercooler in the past about my sister in law (S/O's sister) and her addiction to pills. Specifically oxycontin and percocets (Oxy's are her choice, percs are her backup if all else fails ... or her oxy "chasers").

    A quick recap: She's been hardcore using these for over 2 years that we know of. I believe more than 3 but who knows. She did thousands of dollars damage to her car at the beginning of the summer, while using a rental when car was being repaired, she did a runner when she damaged the rental crashing into a car in a parking lot. 2-3 days after having her car back from the garage, she rolled it and it was a complete write off. She is in her early 40's, married for 20+ years, 2 kids (18 year old refusing to live with her any longer, out of control 14 year old difficult child). She has spent well over $100K on pills in the past couple/few years. Her marriage is in tatters, her husband we have no clue how he is still in this. Her daughter lives in town here where I am. sister in law and her husband and youngest son moved many hours drive away during the summer.

    She has caused untold anguish in the family, obviously you are all no strangers to that. She used S/O and I for years. As the only family local for years, she was here all of the time. We heard all the stories. We had all the begging for cash for food for kids, for turning power back on when it was cut off, for having heat turned on when it was cut off. We had her show up here so strung out she could not hold her head up (yet she drove here) and could not form sentences. She even attempted to buy drugs from the creep neighbor behind me who brutally attacked and beat my S/O. She came here TWICE to try to "detox herself" because she didn't want to do it in front of HER kids. But she felt it okay to do it in front of us and MY kids. I had to tell her no, can't do this. She left here and of course, bought drugs. She has stolen from us, from other family. When my S/O's step father passed this fall, she was caught by my S/O breaking into my mother in law's safe and stealing from the step dads things he'd left for mother in law in event of his passing first. She was caught stealing hundreds of dollars the day after he died, from her mother. She then went to a dying uncle to ask for pills and knocked on doors asking seniors in her mothers buildings for drugs, claiming her back was out and she needed something to be able to stick around and support my mother in law in her time of need. Does it get any more crass?

    S/O and i have not spoken to her since she moved out of town this summer. We both flat out refuse. I refused to even allow her in the house when she arrived with her husband and kids the day she was leaving town with the moving truck and showed here to say "goodbye". S/O did go outside to say goodbye to his brother in law and kids, but told his sister that he had nothing more to say to her pretty much.

    Anyhow, things got worse in the new town. Took about 2 days for her to track down druggies to buy from. Her husband is on course for work out of town often and her eldest moved out right away and came back to my town. Her youngest hides the truth from his father to keep peace but now the truth is out that she has been using hard core. She substitutes her oxy use with methadone she buys on the street when her husband is around, to not appear high to him or actively using, but to avoid withdrawls.

    We have learned that she did go to rehab. She got absolutely violent and psychotic, lost reality, and her husband drove her straight to ER. This was some months back, probably around Sept. She spent 3 days in hospital claiming sleep deprivation was the cause (OMG! And her husband dropped her and told them nothing, just ignored her until she turned up as released from hospital). He made it mandatory she attend detox and then rehab. She last 3 weeks combined. I guess she did a medical detox then moved into rehab. It was a one year in patient program. She signed herself out on the 20th day. She is actively using again and has gone through over $10K in just about the past 3 weeks.

    My mother in law called and told us these updates. Until now S/O tries to not discuss his sister with his mother. It's too difficult and we are in no position to do anything anyhow. Well mother in law brought us up to date and said sister in law told her she knows she needs to go to long term rehab but feels she will fail. So mother in law calls US and asks ME (She skipped asking my S/O) to call my sister in law. Tells me that she feels since I'm always able to bolster her daughters self confidence, a call showing our support and encouragement about rehab might give the push she thinks daughter in law needs.

    Call me harsh, heartless (I feel I'm not, not heartless at least) but I feel in her desperate state of life crumbling, she'd crawl to rehab if she wanted it badly enough. She knows her husband would take her immediately. I can't see a call making a difference. If it would, perhaps it wouldn't be so instantly rejected in my mind. Yet at the same time, perhaps I'd still reject it. This woman sure is in a rough spot and needs help. And support is a huge need for people to get and stay sober. I get that.

    I also get that S/O were the ones on the recieving end of her **** for those years until she left town. She stole from us, she acted awful towards us. Heck she had someone she drugs with message me online to say I should kill myself and do the world a favor by ridding the planet of myself. I know its drugs talking, she and I were friends. In fact I met my S/O via her. However we've been used, robbed, manipulated, lied to, horribly spoken to, and she's caused so much turmoil here that when S/O and I decided to cut her out, she clearly knew we would NOT speak to her again unless she was a minimum of one year clean AND came to us with a honest apology and clarity in her thinking about why we cut contact in the first place. Accountability I call it.

    So .... all that said, to ask ... would you call her? I did tell mother in law all of this, that I can't see her caring anyhow what I could have to say. I mean she clearly can't stand S/O and I because we call her to carpet. mother in law said "She needs that, it helps her when she's on the brink of getting help. So here's her number, read it back to me please" and proceeded to give me a number we didn't have for sister in law's new residence, because we dont' want it!

    Well she's since asked twice if we have called yet. Nope. S/O said mom, I don't want to call nor does Melissa. It will do no good for sister and will cause us more frustration and anger. She needs to do it on her own. (He's a smart s/o let me say!).

    She called again yesterday while we were gone with my sister to the movies. Left a message about the desperate emotional state of my sister in law and how she is hoping we'll call sister in law when we get her message and to please call her (mother in law) back after the call to tell her if we felt we got through to daughter in law or not.

    Well obviously we didn't call. Are we just being angry and stubborn? Are we being insensitive? I mean, it feels right for us but in the end if we believed it could help sister in law we'd want that. We also don't want to place ourselves in a position to end up sucked into sister in law's web of garbage again. We haven't missed it.

    Any input would be fantastic. And if I need a reality check feel free to give it to me. We do really want honest opinions, not just confirmation we are right if we are not.
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Why is it your "job" to call her?

    If her husband made it mandatory, he sure didn't stick to it. In fact, he sort of backed down when she signed herself out, didn't he?

    There's a time to help, and a time for self-preservation. Tell mother in law (if she asks again) - I'm sorry, but she has hurt this part of the family so badly that we want nothing to do with her.

    You're right, in my opinion. Yes, sister in law needs help. A lot of help. But - follow your mommy gut - it's obviously saying NO.

    Hugs, hon...
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Who knows a call might help or it might not.... but I agree listen to your gut. I doubt your phone call would be what would make her go to rehab.... she has to get to the point where SHE really wants it and is willing to do what it takes to get it. She is not a young woman anymore she is an adult (even if she doesn't act like one). Your mother in law is desperate to save her daughter and so is grasping at straws trying to do that. The problem is she can't save her. I would suggest you continue to listen to your gut and say no but I would suggest that your mother in law go to Alanon, especially if she can find a meeting for parents. There she will find people who truly understand her pain, worry and wish to save her daughter.... and support to let go and find pleasure in her own life. No one can save your sister in law except her self.... I do recommend the whole family go to Alanon. My husband and I just started going and have found it really really helpful.
  4. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I know many loyal members of alanon and I do wish my mother in law would go. She is nearing 70 though and has just lost her husband. She is also very set in her ways the odds of getting her to attend are beyond slim, closer to none. As for S/O and I, we've discussed it before. We just dont' have an interest. I know if it was our kids, or perhaps if sister in law still lived here and was in our daily lives, we'd likely be attending at least somewhat regularly. I mean, look at this board for example. Proof that support from others with similar experiences can be so absolutely beneficial. We just feel we are in a good place mentally regarding sister in law. We've made a choice we are okay with in having discontinued contact. We refuse to enable nor listen to the drama or excuses or be used. We did hang in there as long as was possible for our own emotional health, in attempts to be there for her and support her. It simply became unhealthy for us (and for her!) and we are okay with our choice. We are grateful it is rare mother in law brings her up to us. I believe I will ask S/O to call his mom tonight and let her know that while we know she loves with a mothers heart, and that while we love sister in law, we made our choice with good reasons and with peace about it. And that we will be standing our ground. I will ask him to mention to her that perhaps we are not the ones she may be wise turning to for a ear to listen etc because we simply remain in the "She has to help herself" camp. And we opted out of her drama and sickness, so we don't really want to hear about it third party although we will continue to hope the best for sister in law and that she gets much needed help. I will ask him to mention alanon to her as a source of support and a place she CAN speak of sister in law's current issues since he and I really don't want to hear about it at all but do recognize as a mother she should have someone to speak with. I doubt she'll bite. Perhaps I can ask him to mention the option of a personal counsellor to help her gain perspective and a outlet for all she is taking on emotionally by emeshing herself emotionally in a addicts twisted reality.

    I know my mother in law sees sister in law's addictions realistically. I know mother in law dreads the call she has overdosed or killed herself which I too consider very real and even high possibilities. All the more reason in my opinion for my sister in law to get some support. I do know its not from us, we can't offer what she wants, which is an ear after she is in the thick of things with sister in law.

    ALl in all, its just sad sad sad sad sad.

    Thank you both for your input!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I doubt very much that a call from you would have any impact on her, especially because you don;t have any contact with her anymore. And I understand completely about you being in a good place right now regarding her and all the emotional chaos she has caused so I sympathize with you not wanting to open up any communication. The way I see it, if you can make the call without jeopardizing your own emotional well being, then do it. No one knows what makes a person finally decide to go into rehab. Many times it is being forced by someone else, not their own free will. While a person is in the midst of their addiction they usually don't want help, the only thing that's important is where their next fix is coming from.

    Your sister in law's husband is probably the best person to force her into rehab and if he can't then a call from you is not going to, but think about what it will do for your mother in law. If you don't make the call she will always wonder if that would have been the call that helped. It will give her peace of mind.

    I can tell you that we are right now in the middle of feeling completely abandoned by my family with difficult child's addiction. Over the years I have tried to shelter my family (dad and sister and her family)from much of her behavior but they have witnessed a lot of what she has put us through. When she went into rehab they never called once to see how it was going. When she got out and went to outpatient they never asked about her. When she relapsed they never called, never asked if there was anything they could do. When I asked them not to drink at Christmas Eve they got upset and drank anyway, sneaking in the kitchen to do it. When difficult child left home and was on the street between Christmas and New Year they never once called. The triggers for an addict are very strong and even hearing the can of a beer or pop open can cause them to relapse. The relationship between my sister and I is nonexistant right now. I will always feel that she did not support us when we needed it most. We were always very clsoe and it hurts me that it has come to this. I'm telling you this so that it doesn;t happen to you. Addiction is a disease of the entire family. It affects all of us in so many ways as you have described. Your sister in law has a huge battle in front of her. Perhaps the only way she wiull get help is if her family draws the line in the sand and tells her they will all leave if she doesn't get help. Has her husband considered an intervention?

  6. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    We have discussed interventions within the family. Ultimately her husband has to facilitate it actually happening and while we thought he was prepared this past spring, it never came to be. It is quite a shame it didn't if you ask me.
    My S/O and I and their other brother and his S/O did our own mini intervention and we have all stuck by having to sever ties with her until she gets help. She knows why. She doesn't hide the impact her choices have on her own life or the lives of those around her. She listened to us, she even understood. Then she kept on going with her drugs. Their one remaining sibling is a sister who lives on the west coast. She had actually booked 4 months off work, had 24 hours until her flight here. She'd arranged a inpatient treatment program for my sister in law. She was going to fly here, drive sister in law to this rehab, then care for her kids while she got treatment. The day before this one sisters flight, my sister in law backed out. This sister also drew her line in the sand and they have had no contact since either.
    At this stage, sister in law has her husband and one of her children, along with her mother. Everyone else including friends (other than druggie friends) have had to tell her they are bowing out of her life until she gets some help.

    I never want her husband to feel unsupported, nor my sister in law. Or my mother in law for that matter. My sister in law just seems so far from any type of bottom or consequence that is too big for her to face. I do think if her husband followed through and made her leave, as well as cutting off all finances, she would very quickly hit bottom. She relies on all of that money at her fingertips to fund her addiction. Yes I'm sure she would steal and many manner of things to get drugs in absence of the family money. I just don't see it lasting long. I don't think I can see her husband doing it. At one point I thought he was ready. He just has shown no follow through on his end with consequences. I mean, why does she have the bank cards? The credit cards? Cheques? Access to his money at all?
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Then you have done all you can. One last thought, what about telling mother in law you will participate in an intervention that her husband arranges but that's it. Most drug treatment programs will help facilitate interventions.

    I didn't mean to suggest you were not supportive. I think you have gone above and beyond. Addicts are VERY resistant.

  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Sometimes it does feel a bit unsupportive though, Know what I mean?? S/O and I don't even much like or want calls about her, updates and such. I mean, we're burnt out on it all I suppose. He is struggling through the final semester of a 3 year condensed degree in avionics right now. I've got my hands full with a difficult child bro who is nearing a breaking point mental health wise I believe. My MS. difficult child's readying to graduate but anxiety through the roof and really needing step by step guidance and major emotional support and tons of one on one to build his confidence that he can succeed after high school. Then we get the odd call that threatens to suck us into the world that is his sisters addiction and i admit he and I both shut down. We dont' feel we have much to offer and as much as we love her, and understand the nature of addiction, we have no reserves leftover after coping in our own lives. If that makes sense? Sometimes both he and I feel we've turned a bit cold about the whole thing. S/O didn't go to his friends funeral this morning (he was murdered new years eve) because he can't do another funeral (his aunt and step dad passed in 2010). And he fears attending his sisters funeral. We're surprised her few close calls weren't it for her to be honest.

    We would definitely participate in a proper intervention if it was arranged and attended by her husband. mother in law wanted to have her and S/O and I arrange one ages back. I saw no point when her husband wasn't going to participate. In the end, so long as he is unable to stand firm with consequences she won't like, it seems unlikely to mean much to her. We've all openly spoke of the pain her addiction brings us with her. We've also openly discussed her addiction. She often says she is not one of those addicts who grows to hate the drug but unable to quit. She admits she loves the high and it is worth it for her as long as she enjoys it. Heart breaking :(
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you call and speak to her you are showing her you did not mean it when you said you want no contact until she has completed rehab and is ready to make sincere amends. Do NOT NOT NOT call her. It will NOT make ANY difference except to show her she can still try to manipulate you. Stay strong and stay away from her. You do NOT do yourself, your kids or anyone else any favors by begging this woman to get clean and deal with her addictions. She knows what to do. She chooses not to and it is NOT because of ANYTHING you do or don't do. It has NOTHING to do with you.

    Your mother in law is grasping at anything to use to keep from dealing with reality. I know she loves her daughter, but reality is that you cannot help and neither can she EXCEPT by cutting off the drug abusing person.

    They don't call it Tough Love because it is fun or easy, Know what I mean??
  10. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Tell mother in law to call an interventionist that it is not your job to intervene. You both set the rules you are sticking to them. 1 year of sobriety and an apology and accountability to the actions that have been committed to. Then play pass the bean dip with mother in law and change the subject or tell her that you are sorry that she can't respect your decision to detach and remain neutral but the conversation will end if she keeps bringing it up.
  11. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you go to A&E's website ( the Intervention website has info about finding and choosing an interventionist including a clip or two about why to find a certified interventionist rather than having any old therapist or priest or friend do it. It is very helpful.
  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Thanks all!!!!

    S/O was kind but firm and told my mother in law that we simply aren't going to engage contact with sister in law until our terms for a healthy relationship can be met (A year sobriety, apology and accountability). He made it clear that we both love sister in law but we both believe firmly that she requires professional help at this point by experts in addiction and we are in no position to assist her in her addiction. S/O told her that if she felt it would be helpful (We doubt it will mean anything but may make mother in law feel better and at least let it go in terms of asking us to contact sister in law) she is free to let sister in law and brother in law know that we love her and wish her well and are here for her if and when she gets her life together and takes the above mentioned steps.

    Deep down we know mother in law does understand why we are forcing ourselves to stand firm. I think part of her is grasping for permission to do the same herself. I can say I'm proud of mother in law for what I consider more than baby steps toward the strength to do what it takes to be firm herself. It's not easy for her, more so because of the personality of care giver she has always been. With the death of her husband this fall, she is also very vulnerable and frightened of losing her daughter. Yet she is getting stronger re: sister in law in some ways. She has a ways to go. But progress is good.

    Before Christmas, sister in law admitted her current relapse (I don't believe she stayed clean beyond the short rehab stint though) to my mother in law. She told mother in law she would have to tell her husband when he got back from work out of town that she had spent 10's of thousands, not been home for a week for their son (OMG!) etc. She begged mother in law to come stay. Said she would go cold turkey at home IF my mother in law would go there and stay. Can you say manipulative? She told mother in law that she could "For sure do it" if mother in law went there. Now we all know mother in law would NOT drive the 7 hours drive to go to the town sister in law is now living in. mother in law is not comfortable long distance driving. We are 1 1/2 hours away and she only drives to us with her sister with her and only during daylight and never in winter. So this would translate to mother in law taking 3 seperate buses with layovers that translate to a 14 hour trip each way. Then mother in law would have to watch sister in law supposedly go cold turkey, go through those awful opiate withdrawls, over Christmas, when mother in law is struggling so much this year without her own husband.

    mother in law never waivered and stood her ground and made it clear to sister in law she would NOT be doing this and never was going to do it as she knows sister in law needs medical help for detox and then long term rehab. mother in law then told sister in law she was unrealistic to expect others to pat her on the head and wipe her brow and baby her through "withdrawls". She also told sister in law she didnt' believe for a second she was serious anyhow but felt it was an attempt to have her present as a buffer with my brother in law over the holidays and to manipulate him and others to believing she is getting sober again with zero intent to do so. She even asked sister in law to go get tested for methadone and prove she is going cold turkey! Wow. (sister in law buys methadone on the street to avoid withdrawl when attempting to show her husband and kids etc that she is supposedly clean)

    mother in law has a ways to go as I said, but progress is good. I am going to pass along some info from the links provided here (thank you!!!!).
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good for mother in law on many levels, especially understanding that she need medical detox. mother in law is doing the right thing. I wish her husband would get on board and tell her that she either commits herself to long term rehab or he is gone.

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    mother in law has sure made more than baby steps. in my opinion you are right that she was more looking to see if it was ok to stand firm than to push you into anything. When you stand firm it shows her that she can too and that is awesome for all of you. i am sorry sister in law is so sick.
  16. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Just a little update. We haven't had any "new" news re: sister in law. We did start wondering what was up that we've been unable to get hold of mother in law and have not heard from her. Now she isn't a mother who smothers her children and calls obsessively or anything so there wasn't any big shock to not hearing from her. We did start to wonder what was up when she didn't return 2 messages from S/O. My S/O's brother called with an update on some medical tests he was undergoing and we learned mother in law has travelled to sister in law's house. That explains not hearing from her or getting a return call.

    I feel so sad that mother in law is roped into this again, even though yes I do understand she could have absolutely stuck to her guns and not gone down there at this time. Who knows what is going on really. We worry to a degree of course but we really haven't spoken to each other about it except after hearing mother in law had gone there. Basically the conversation was we wished mother in law could stick firm for her own sake, then we let it go.

    I'm sorry she's so sick too.