“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Apr 26, 2014
DEAR AMY: Our daughter, who lives with us with her two beautiful children (ages 6 and 2), is struggling with how to deal with her common-law husband.

For years, "Jimmy" has been an alcoholic. They are now separated due to his excessive drinking. He has moved out, been arrested twice in three weeks for DUI, attacked medical personnel in the detox center and was dragged away from our home by police for attempting to assault me and take away his kids while in a drunken stupor. He also attempted suicide twice.

Lately he has been living with the last two friends he hasn't completely alienated. But one friend kicked him out and the other had to call the cops on him.

Now, whenever he calls, he tells our daughter that his drinking is all her fault. He calls her horrible names and basically blames her for all his failings.

Our daughter had been extremely supportive of him, but it's over now. She is filing for full custody of the kids, but it breaks our hearts when our granddaughter wants to see daddy and we have to make excuses to her.

We are all trying to figure out why a man would throw everything he has away just so he can stay drunk all the time, then blame everyone else for his problems. We know he's addicted to alcohol, but during the few times he's sober you would think he would see how he has sc----d up everything in his life.

Besides going to Al-Anon meetings, do you have any suggestions?-- Baffled in Denver

DEAR BAFFLED: If your daughter's partner is at this dangerous level of his addiction, I believe that your family will need professional support, in addition to Al-Anon.

You should detach from the concept that this man is making rational choices. He is beyond choices at this point, and your focus should not be on blaming him but in staying safe. You don't have to lie to your granddaughter. You can tell her that her daddy has alcoholism and that you all hope he can get better. She should be encouraged to write to him and may be able to see him in a professionally supervised setting if he is sober (the court can help to set this up).

Your daughter needs professional support and coaching to minimize contact. Therapy with an addiction specialist will help her and your granddaughter learn how to cope with the fallout of this terrible addiction.

DEAR AMY: My friend "Camille" has four children. Three of the kids are highly accomplished, and one, "George," has severe disabilities. Camille has good support from her family who share in George's care, but there are times when she will break down in tears from the stress of caring for him. I like to ask how the kids are doing, and I think she enjoys talking about them. But I only ask about the three kids who are doing well because I'm not sure if asking about George will cause her more anguish.

She loves him very much, and I know he has some hobbies that she can talk about, but I don't know if it's one of those days when she feels overwhelmed and would rather not talk about him. But I'm concerned that by not asking about George, I appear to think he is somehow lesser than the other children. What's the best approach?-- Concerned Friend

DEAR CONCERNED: The best approach is to ask about all of the children. If you feel it is continuously awkward, simply ask her, "Camille, is it OK for me to ask about George? If you'd rather not discuss him, I completely understand, but I want you to know I care about all of you."

DEAR AMY: Responding to "Cindy's" question to you, verbal wedding invitations with verbal replies are not set in stone. Cindy should go to the wedding of her close friend of 28 years.

If this were a family member, family trumps friend and close friend trumps casual acquaintance. You blew it.-- Sharon

DEAR SHARON: I agree that until there is more than a verbal invite, these RSVPs are not binding, as I told "Cindy."

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Apr 26, 2014
Colorado allows Common Law Marriage. I pulled this from their State Attorney General web site. Learn something everyday.

Common-Law Marriage

A common-law marriage in Colorado is valid for all purposes, the same as a ceremonial marriage. Only death or divorce can terminate it. The common-law elements of a valid marriage are that the couples (1) are free to contract a valid ceremonial marriage, i.e., they are not already married to someone else; (2) hold themselves out as husband and wife; (3) consent to the marriage; (4) live together; and (5) have the reputation in the community as being married. The single most important element under the common law was the mutual consent of a couple presently to be husband and wife. All the rest were considered evidence of this consent or exchange of promises. No time requirement exists other than the time necessary to establish these circumstances. When proof of common law marriage is required, such as by an insurance company, a signed affidavit can be presented. For a sample affidavit, click here.

Common-law marriage is a term used to describe a marriage that has not complied with the statutory requirements most states have enacted as necessary for a ceremonial marriage. The name came from the fact that these marriages were recognized as valid under the common law of England. In 1877, the United States Supreme Court stated, in an action that questioned the validity of a nonceremonial marriage, that marriages that were valid under common law were still valid unless the state passed a statute specifically forbidding them. Meisher v. Moore, 96 U.S. 76 (1877). Since the Colorado legislature has never enacted such a statute, Colorado is part of the minority of states that recognize the validity of common-law marriages.

If you desire a legal opinion relating to a specific situation, you should consult your own attorney.

Back to Amy: LW and her daughter may have been extremely supportive but more likley they were/are enabling Jimmy. to continue drinking. Keep in mind that it is the MIL not the wife who us writing

Jimmy's behavior goes beyond alcoholism

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#3 Apr 26, 2014
1- A two and a six yr old won't understand alcoholism, Amy, you dolt. Keep him away, fight for full custody, do what you need to protect yourselves and the children

2- "So, how are the kids?" Idiots

3- Forest green
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#4 Apr 26, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
1- A two and a six yr old won't understand alcoholism, Amy, you dolt. Keep him away, fight for full custody, do what you need to protect yourselves and the children
2- "So, how are the kids?" Idiots
1: I agree they may not understand but I suspect they do hear the word considering their situation. They probably don't really understand what cancer or Parkinson's disease or a host of other illnesses are either but they may very well be things that close relatives suffer from. So I don't see why they shouldn't hear the word alcoholism in regard to their father. They will understand that his problems that they do see are related to this problem called alcoholism. They may as well hear the word used now and be told it's what their dad has and why he behaves as he does. As they grow up, they'll learn more about it and make up their own minds whether it's something he can't help or whether his own choices brought it on.

2: I agree; this lw doesn't have a lot of sense. Being the parent of 4 children one of whom has some severe disabilities and three of whom had top grades in school and college, I can put myself in the place of the friend this lw is referring to. I say, ask how all the children are not just the 3 "normal" kids. Parents love all their kids even those who have problems. By leaving that one kid out, you are in effect singling him out saying that one doesn't count. With each and every kid, there are good days and bad days. It's just that the frustration level a parent experiences sometimes is about 10 or more times greater with a kid with disabilities. They are often made to feel ashamed, that it's their fault, that they have a kid with disabilities. So why would you want to make your friend feel worse and that one of her kids is not worth knowing or even asking about?
boundary painter

San Antonio, TX

#5 Apr 26, 2014
Recently, a coworker wrote about a "friend" who sounded very similar to LW1's daughter. A parallel glance into the future for LW1 is:

LW1 went to Al-Anon and:
(a) realized that while she could not help Jimmy, she could tutor the grand children and help them with their homework and good extra curricular activities.
(b) got together some funds to help her daughter return to school in the
evenings to get a better paying job while she and their grandfather let
the kids stay with them after school.
(c) asked the daughter to go to see a counselor with her
or
(d) other

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#6 Apr 26, 2014
LW1- the LW says "other than Al-Anon" - why? Have they all tried Al-Anon and decided that they didn't like the message? Do they fancy themselves special people who require something other than what works for most everyone else (the fact that the daughter and what's his name have a common law marriage instead of just going to the courthouse makes me ask this)?

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#7 Apr 26, 2014
LW2- you are an a$$. Your friend's three neurotypical children are easy to talk about, but her special needs child probably has a special place in her heart. Not ignoring him or singling him out would be more appreciated than asking if it is okay to talk about him.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#8 Apr 26, 2014
LW1: What edog and Amy said with a side of what the heck was LW's daughter thinking to have 2 children with a man who has been an alcoholic "for years"??? Sorry to be so judgmental, but please, please, please choose good fathers for your children, people. Do the world a favor.

LW2: I don't know how old George is but Camille should consider transitioning "George" to a good group home when he becomes an adult. This will give Camille some stress relief and help George become a functional adult, or as functional as he is able to be. There's an organization called Hope in my area which provides all types of services to people with developmental disabilities. They train people and find them employment. They do great work.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#9 Apr 26, 2014
ScarletandOlive wrote:
LW1- the LW says "other than Al-Anon" - why?
I suspected it's because "Just go to Al-Anon" is always Amy's go to answer. Personally, I am not one who feels Al-anon is the most effective way of dealing with someone else's drinking problem.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#10 Apr 26, 2014
1: Going with Kuuipo's route...know what's awesome? NOT living with and procreating with an alcoholic.
Also might step on toes here, but a grown man "attempting" suicide twice? Please. A bullet in the head would be successful. He's a serious underachiever or like a child in need of attention.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#11 Apr 26, 2014
2: Why do people use the word "friend" when they so obviously mean "acquaintance?"
Seriously--can you not ask the simple questions you posed to this "friend?" GAH

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#12 Apr 26, 2014
cheluzal wrote:
Also might step on toes here, but a grown man "attempting" suicide twice? Please. A bullet in the head would be successful. He's a serious underachiever or like a child in need of attention.
Know what's hilarious about people "attempting" suicide? Assuming they want to kill themselves because they're a "failure" in life, then "fail" at attempting to kill themselves. What a double-whammy! But I agree, people who "attempt" suicide want nothing but attention. Some will say it's a cry for help. Know what's a more effective cry for help? Crying "help."

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#13 Apr 26, 2014
L2. Those people want a diversion from the drudgery of raising a kid with problems.
I was talking with my friend again today. She has two boys and two girls, but one of the boys is having a lot of problems. He's a junior and he's going to prom tonight with his girlfriend, who is a senior.
I don't ask her any questions about him and instead let her volunteer information if she wishes. I find out more that way than by asking
So when she told me today that the prom is tonight, I asked her where it was and she snapped right back at me that she really mad at him and didn't want to talk about him.

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#14 Apr 26, 2014
He was diagnosed with mental illness a few years ago and has been on a regimen of different medications the doctors are always changing. She told me last year that he was suicidal and he got kicked out of school and now has tutors who come to their house. But he does take some classes at the high school. Like I said, I don't really ask any questions.
I didn't even know he had a girlfriend until today.
She's mad too because the older boy who is a senior and does real well in school but is very shy is not going to prom and she feels he is the one who should be going.

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#15 Apr 26, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>I suspected it's because "Just go to Al-Anon" is always Amy's go to answer. Personally, I am not one who feels Al-anon is the most effective way of dealing with someone else's drinking problem.
Have you ever gone?

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#16 Apr 26, 2014
ScarletandOlive wrote:
Have you ever gone?
Obviously. How else would I have this opinion? Was also forced into Al-Ateen. Gained nothing

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#17 Apr 27, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>Obviously. How else would I have this opinion? Was also forced into Al-Ateen. Gained nothing
Lol! You have plenty of opinions on things of which you have no experience, so that was a legitimate question.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to either sobriety or coping with a loved one's alcoholism. AA and its associated programs work for many people, but not everyone. It sounded like the LW wanted a simple answer, though, and there is none other than you can't make someone else want to get sober.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#18 Apr 27, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
Know what's hilarious about people "attempting" suicide? Assuming they want to kill themselves because they're a "failure" in life, then "fail" at attempting to kill themselves. What a double-whammy! But I agree, people who "attempt" suicide want nothing but attention. Some will say it's a cry for help. Know what's a more effective cry for help? Crying "help."
Agreed.
They seem to bring failure on them.
If I wanted to kill myself, I would succeed. There are some tried and tested ways of doing it. Kids are figuring it out.
I won't deny depression--gosh no--but I think a lack of coping skills plus the desired drama of attention is making people more prone to things. Depression is an incendiary emotional word though and too easily thrown around, IMO.
Julie

Chicago, IL

#19 Apr 27, 2014
LW1: "Our daughter had been extremely supportive of him, but it's over now."

Sure it is <facepalm>. And *why* has your idiot daughter continued--for years--to be supportive of this sick, dangerous loser, let alone continuing to breed with him? Self-esteem issues much?

I'm sure YOU had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT...

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