July 2012 Weddings

Future Step Mother in Law Vent

Lately I have been vocal to my FI and his immediate family that I hope that his step mother does not attend out wedding.

She is an alcoholic. She has been to rehab multiple times and has been hospitalized (when they can't afford rehab) a lot too, and yet she can't stay sober.  She was hospitalized earlier this month and I figured she wouldn't come to my shower this coming weekend. Well she got out of the hospital, rsvp'd to my shower, and later hit a parked car while driving because she took too much medication (prescribed for her disease). Then I find out she's back in the hospital because she overdosed on medication so I don't expect her at my shower, which is fine.

My main concern is that FI's dad lets her come with him to family events even when she is drunk. I've seen her stumble and fall, choke on her own throw up (although she tried to hide it), and slur her words to the point where she doesn't make sense.  The day FI and I got engaged, we were at a family event, and she was drunk. She said she was so happy for us and cried drunk tears, and then completely forgot that she saw us that day. I'm super worried that FI's dad won't make her stay at home for our wedding if he can't keep her home for other important family events.

I have to say that I've never seen her take a drink of alcohol. She shows up already drunk every time. So telling the bar staff not to serve her won't work.  She is a decent person when she's sober and she's sober for a good portion of the year. But I'm really afraid of her humiliating me in front of my relatives, who are conservative and don't drink at all. This kind of behavior would horrify them and it would embarrass me.

Obviously I can't tell FI's dad to keep her at home if she's been drinking. FI has been silent about the issue so far and I don't want to go behind his back and talk to his dad alone.  I guess I should just wait until the wedding is closer to see what condition she's in and then talk to FI. But it changes all the time. 

Re: Future Step Mother in Law Vent

  • Do not go behind FI back.  I understand that you may be embarrassed by this women but at the end of the day she is only embarrassing herself and I know you do not want her to be at your wedding drunk, but if she is your FI step mother then I dont think you can exactly ask her to stay home.  I would just express your concerns to FI and then leave it for him to deal with.  If he is not comfortable asking his dad to leave his wife at home then you should not be asking him that either.
  • Ok I'm going to give you my 100% honest opinion, but let me preface it by saying that I do not have any close family members who have alcoholism or addiction issues, so I want to acknowledge that my opinion is not based on personal experience. I understand that the dynamics in families living with addictions are very complicated, and that until you live it you don't really "get it". I just want to make that clear so you or anyone else who may have similar experiences don't feel that I am judging you, because I really do empathize with you and can see that it's a very difficult and emotional situation.

    I think you should stay out of this. Realize that her bad behaviour will NOT reflect poorly on you - it will reflect poorly on her alone, and maybe (unfortunately) her husband. Under no circumstances do I think it's appropriate for you to ask FI's dad to leave his wife at home. And please don't ask your FI to get involved in asking her to stay away - you really don't want to cause a major family rift right before your wedding, do you?

    Remember that alcoholism is a disease. Her relapses are part of that disease. Her husband may be in denial or may not be prepared to face the reality of the situation, which is very common for loved ones of individuals living with alcoholism. You may want to consider suggesting Al-Anon to him, it is a support group for individuals who have a loved one who lives with alcoholism. If your FI is close with his step mom, or if he just wants to support his dad, maybe he could go with him. It might also help bring more awareness and understanding, and may also help your FFIL to stop enabling her.

    Hope it works out and that your future step mom is able to get the help that she needs. Sorry that you are dealing with this.
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  • What Rebis said.  All of it.

    And at the risk of sounding like a b*tch, your OP makes you sound like a brat.  From someone who HAS dealt with a family member dealing with addiction, it's so much more serious and complicated than you have made it out to be. 

    I'm really sorry that you and FI have to deal with it.  I'm really sorry your FSMIL has had so many relapses and continues to struggle.  Alcohol addiction is not something someone can easily recover from overnight.  It takes years, and a lot of time, an entire lifetime to overcome.  It's unrelentingly frustrating and often tears families apart.

    I'm sure your family will not judge you if she happens to show up to your wedding under the influence.  Just please try to have some patience... she's not showing up at your wedding wasted with the specific purpose of embarassing you.

    Good luck and I hope things work out for the best.
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  • edited April 2012
    You kind of just have to hope/pray that it goes ok, I don't think you should interfere. And like pps said, her showing up drunk and acting like an asshole makes her and her husband look bad, it doesn't reflect poorly on you at all. 
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  • Thanks ladies. Your opinions are very helpful. I will step back and let things happen without interfering.  FI's step mom does go to Al-Anon meetings all the time. I know it's a disease that's very difficult to understand. I guess my frustration is more with FI's dad for enabling her all the time. But he is suffering too and I need to support both of them, regardless of my worries.

    k8888 - I was asking for suggestions about how to handle the situation and simply to vent. I don't need to be called names. That's rude.
  • I said your post makes you SOUND like a brat... I never said you WERE a brat.

    This is a public message board so you are more than free to vent all you like... and I am more than free to post my opinion.   I'm sorry it wasn't what you wanted to hear.

    I mean it when I say I hope it works out.  I've been in your shoes.
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  • My dad's side of the family has a lot of addiction issues, so I have dealt with family members like this. I have an aunt who sounds a lot like your FI's stepmom, been in and out of rehab, even been in jail, and is still drinking. She shows up at family events already drunk and even hides it in her purse. I hate to put it this way, but I don't really think there's anything you can do as far as your wedding is concerned. I think beyond expressing your concerns to your FI, you should really stay out of it. Your FFIL has to deal with this issue on a daily basis. I'm sure he is already dreading having to deal with this at the wedding.
  • In Response to Re:Future Step Mother in Law Vent:
    My dad's side of the family has a lot of addiction issues, so I have dealt with family members like this. I have an aunt who sounds a lot like your FI's stepmom, been in and out of rehab, even been in jail, and is still drinking. She shows up at family events already drunk and even hides it in her purse. I hate to put it this way, but I don't really think there's anything you can do as far as your wedding is concerned. I think beyond expressing your concerns to your FI, you should really stay out of it. Your FFIL has to deal with this issue on a daily basis. I'm sure he is already dreading having to deal with this at the wedding.
    Posted by molly&dale
    Thanks Molly for your input. I will let him handle it and leave it alone myself.
  • I think you do need to say something! you didnt sound like a brat either! I think you have a very serious issue on hand. Ive seen the same thing from one of my aunts. Just a complete embarressment. She finally realized the issue when we confronted her. and if step mom has an issue maybe she will back out of coming all together.. Problem solved! 
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  • BmoreBride311BmoreBride311
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    edited May 2012
    I completely feel your pain. We have someone attending who has substance issues (I don't want to name them here, but it's a very close family member). When this person is sober, they are wonderful and everyone loves being around him/her, but more and more lately they are not sober. I agree that there isn't much you can do about it, unfortunately.

    Rebis is right that it will make your FSMIL look bad, not you, so just try not to worry about it. Hopefully she will be on her best behavior knowing that it's a special day for you and her step-son.

    While I don't think you can not invite her, I do think you can ask her to leave is she does start to get disruptive. This is my plan for the person I'm worried about. My mom and BMs know about the potential issue and are prepared to speak to our event coordinators about calling him/her a taxi if it appears to be needed, and a chaperone has been chosen to go with him/her. Hopefully that won't be needed, but in my case, I think things are bad enough that it's worth having a plan in place. GL!!
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  • We have a lot of alcohol issues in my family and the best you can do is have someone ready to take her home as soon as she starts to get to obviously embarassing (taking out whole tables of glassware etc-yes that is a true example). Basically just have a plan in place, this part might be the best aspect to discuss with your fiance/father in law ahead of time. Make sure there is a car/taxi/shuttle so that you don't have to exclude her and can get her out of the way once it starts getting bad.

  • Also if anyone like your boss etc will be there who you would be horrified if she interacted with maybe take that into account in the seating chart.
  • I'm so sorry you're dealing with that. I've never had any personal experience with anyone close to me having similar issues, so I can't really relate. I do understand your frustrations/worries, though! I would honestly be in a panic over it! Part of it is because no, I don't totally understand the disease. But at the same time, I have heard horror stories too-my cousin's now husband's step grandmother showed up at his brother's wedding drunk...and kept drinking. She threw up allll over their venue. I can't stand puke anyway, and with the stress of the day, I think it would send me over the edge.

    I REALLY hope everything works out for you guys *hugs*
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  • Thanks Ladies! All great advice. I will have a backup plan in case she needs to be taken home. I will also designate someone to watch out for her, other than her husband since he can't always be by her side.  I know she wouldn't deliberately try to embarrass me, but her judgement is obviously compromised when she is drinking.

    I feel a lot better now knowing that I have options for how to deal with the potential situation. Thanks :)
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