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Can someone recommend a recent book about alcoholic parents, adult children of such families, etc.? I'm more interested in family patterns, the underlying psychology, etc., as opposed to AA/Al-Anon handbooks.
Hi all -- I'm looking to legally change the custody agreement that I have with my ex-husband. After several years of sobriety he has begun abusing alcohol again and I would like to speak with a lawyer who has experience in this type of situation, specifically in changing from joint to sole custody. Other people who have been through similar situations have told me about mandated supervised visits and periodic drug and alcohol testing, but I really don't know anything about the various types of provisions I could put in place to keep my children safe while they are with their father. Also don't really know if this is a no-brainer, as my friends seem to think, or if it is likely to be a very difficult change to make. Any recommendations for lawyers familiar with this type of situation would be greatly appreciated! anon
What often makes sense to the layperson as a parent, is not necessarily what happens in court, so be wary when friends say your case is a ''no-brainer.'' Each case is different and the outcome is often influenced by the nature and style of attorney representation, who the judge is, the behavior and actions of the other parent, and ultimately the specific facts in the case.
Changing custody is frequent in family law cases, so most family law attorneys are familiar with this process. I always recommend people shop around for an attorney who fits their needs in terms of goals, style of representation, and budget. These cases can take a long time and it it important to work with someone you like and feel comfortabnle with. A.
My husband and I have been together 16 years. We have an 8 year old child. He has had a terrible drinking problem for over 20 years - really terrible. I once believed I could 'cure' him, but 16 years later I know I can't. Though he is a dear soul, his drinking problem is serious and dangerous, and is not a good situation to raise our child in. I need to get myself and our child out of this situation. However, I have no idea how. He makes 3x my salary, pays for our home, car, expenses, and her school. We have credit card debt, which 95% of my paycheck goes towards. He will not leave our home, which we do own. He really has nowhere to go. No extended family, no close friends. We are his life. His drinking problem continues largely because of our codependent situation. He supports us financially (until his employer also gets fed up), and we provide him love and a safe place to land. I don't want anything bad to happen to him, but because his alcoholism is the absolute worst, I feel it is irresponsible to raise my child in this situation. I think I need help, and I have no idea how to handle this. I come from modest means - my parents rent a tiny house, my friends can not support a rent-free roomie. What are my choices? Can anybody tell me what a person in my situation should do? Stuck in a Bad Situation
Four years ago I married someone I thought was a dream - affectionate, athletic, smart, fun, successful, and wanted children. In a year and a half of dating, I barely saw him drink. To my shock, on the honeymoon, he had about a dozen drinks a night. And he's had four to eight drinks a night since. Now we have a child together, and the drinking is the source of constant tension and fighting between us. It has impacted me in every way - I'm not attracted to him sexually, I sleep horribly as he wakes me up when he comes to bed late and drunk, I don't have a life outside of my daughter since I feel like I'm solely responsible for her care in the evenings and middle of the night since he's drinking. We've had many, many confrontations about it. At one point, I banned drinking in the house, and he hid his alcohol in the closets and basement and drank after he thought I was asleep. He says I exaggerate how much he drinks and shouldn't care if he has an ''occasional'' late night out. He says his drinking has no impact on our daughter because she's asleep. He says that he makes plenty of money for me to hire a sitter and go out and do whatever I want at night if he's out. (Since I don't know when he's going to be out, I can't plan for sitters). I've taken him to five marriage counselors - all disastrous. One was a ''specialist'' in getting men in denial of drinking to acknowledge the problem. A thousand dollars later, he said my husband is a cement wall and there's nothing he can do for him. I can't or won't leave my husband. To me, that looks like living in an apartment taking care of my daughter by myself 7 days a week (or far worse, losing partial custody and worrying about her in his care). It would be worse for her since now she gets daily interaction with her dad during the day, but I make sure she's okay all night. It would mean going back to work to get health insurance and leaving her in daycare and then after school care five days a week. I would lose the thing I value most in life - being able to stay at home to raise my child. He does a large portion of his drinking at home at night so most of his friends do not know there is a problem. Please share advice and experience. Out of answers
It is a 12-step program that helps families deal with those affected by alcoholism. It has helped me find serenity among the complete chaos that the disease of alcoholism brings. When things got really bad, we did separate. And yes, I had to go back to work f/t, put the kids in daycare and try to do what I thought was best for my kids. All along I went to my meetings and got support. My husband was doing better, realizing the loss of his family was huge and worked hard at getting us back. We slowly started to reconnect and I became pregnant with twins! What a mess-not only wasn't I sure if this was the relationship I wanted, now we have 2 more kids to add to the mix. I leaned heavily on my faith and my program and accepted my husband back into the house and gave birth to our amazing twins. Over the past year my husband has continued to use, be unavailable at critical times, but being strong in Alanon has helped me keep the focus on me, and to take care of myself and my kids first.
Over the past several months he has again done better by not using and is trying be more present in our lives. I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop tho. I just live my life for the kids and me and for their best interest and safety first. I can't control him, only myself. I can choose to leave but I have 4 kids with this man and he will will always be in our lives. He is kind and loving and a great dad when he's not using. So my net is, if you are choosing to stay with him get the help YOU need to be sane and happy. Get involved with others that have been there and can support you. Make a life for your daughter and you - Check out www.alanon.org to find meetings in your area. Good luck. Mom who's been there and still is
Maybe no one has told you this yet, but actually, you CAN leave your husband. By law, he is obliged to support your daughter, and I would think she will still be covered by his health plan. So you will not be destitute.
Yes, you will become financially poorer, yes, your daughter will probably have to spend some time in daycare, but worse things can happen, like growing up in an alcoholic-enabling family.
After four therapists, you know that this situation is not going to change. Your husband is not going to change. That means that all change is in your hands.
You must first know for sure that you want change. I can't think of any reason that you would want to stay in this situation, and I also can't think of any way you can change it short of getting out, at least temporarily. (Maybe he will ''hit bottom'' if you go and will stop drinking -- but don't hold your breath for that one.)
If you really think that none of his friends or family know that he drinks (and he seems to be very good at hiding it), you probably should start documenting it. Take note every night (or the next morning) of how much he drank, if you can, and KEEP YOUR NOTES IN A SAFE AND HIDDEN PLACE. This important documentation will help you keep your daughter safe from his alcoholism if you split up.
Take it one step at a time. Decide that your daughter is worth protecting. Take steps necessary to get out.
Good luck -- One of Thousands of BPN Friends
But I knew that I still had power over how the rest of mine and my child's life could be so...ultimatum...one more relapse and we're gone; simple as that. This meant he had to continue seeing a therapist weekly and began a 12 step program, whether he thought he had a problem or not; it was not up for negotiation. I am so proud to say that he's been sober for almost three years. Today our marriage is strong.
I think you are boxing yourself in here. You do have options. If you left your husband because of the drinking you could get supervised visitation, so you wouldn't have to worry about your daughter. Also, you'd get alamony which would help with you still staying home with your daughter. Do you have relatives you could live with so that you could stay home with her during the day and maybe work in the evenings? Even if your daughter was in childcare a few days a week...this is all FAR better than her growing up in an alcoholic home...I beg you..don't do that to her. She's already got the addict gene, she doesn't need to learn the behavior of either the alcoholic or the alcoholic's partner as well.
You need to be strong and firm about this. I know it's scary, but that is temporary. You have to think about the long term best interest of your daughter and it's not living with an alcoholic father.
I suggest you or he moves out and he goes into rehab. Once he's been sober for AT LEAST 6months, then you guys can start dating again and see how it goes from there. If he is willing to give up his family for drinking, let him. But don't make your daughter live with the consequences of both your bad choice to stay and his bad choice to drink; it's just not right and fair to her anon
I think that you perhaps need to be more open with your dislike of alcohol than labelling you husband an alcoholic--I am not saying that you need to accept it, but just ask him why he wasn't more open about it while you were dating.
My husband drinks 4 to six drinks (beers or glasses of wine) on most nights, but I don't consider him an alcoholic. But this is partly because I've always had drinkers in my family and am fine with it... he isn't making himself sick everynight or reckless. If you have totally different views about something, though, it is bound to cause tension. If you cannot stand this but enjoy all the material benefits he provides (like a nice house, being a SAHM) it sounds like you are perhaps being a bit unfair to him--like you want to change him without looking at yourself drinkers are just folks, too
Like you, financial considerations also play a role. I do work part-time, but both my husband and I would suffer, terribly, in the event of a divorce and that would not be good for the children.
This may not be the decision I keep to next week, or next month, or next year, or five years from now, but for now, yes, I do stay.
I strongly urge you, however, to find an Al-Anon group to go to. It is the only thing that has kept me sane over the last three years. It has taught me to find serenity despite my circumstances, to focus on myself and my children and not my husband, and to take care of myself (financially, emotionally, spiritually), so that I don't get totally sucked into the family disease of alcoholism. It has also taught me a tremendous amount about the disease of alcoholism, which is crucial is you're going to live with an alcoholic. I have grown so much through this program and, most days, actually feel comfortable, even happy, with my life and my decisions.
I wish you strength, peace, and hope--believe me, many of us have walked in your shoes Grateful Member of Al-Anon
Your husband is doing what one would expect of someone who drinks that much -- denying, minimizing, justifying, lashing out defensively. That doesn't mean that you are doing anything wrong. Please, get some support for yourself so you can survive this. The limits you set are reasonable but you're in a situation that many would find untenable. Are there any support systems outside the marriage you can access? Friends or family? People who would not say ''I told you so'' or ''leave him now!''? He may need to reach his own bottom by losing his job or his friends, and when he does I hope he finds treatment. If you reach the place where you deliver ultimata, make sure you are prepared to back it up. Otherwise, you may wind up feeling worse about him, yourself, and the whole situation. Try to set a good example for your daughter -- think about what you would want for her if she were in this situation herself. I think that in time, with enough support, you can find the strength to do what's right for yourself and your family. But please don't try to do it alone. It's like trying to plug up a dam with your thumb -- there's just too much pressure for one person to do it all alone. Lisa
I know that you said you do not want to leave your husband, but I thought I would share my perspective, which is that of a grown child of an alcoholic father. Like you, my mother never imagined that her husband would become an alcoholic, yet he did, and he was not willing/able to get better. When I was three, she told him to leave; she said she felt he would either destroy himself with his drinking, or destroy all of us.
For a while both before and after the split, my dad was able to keep drinking and hold a job-but eventually that became untenable, as it often does for addicts.
When I was six, my father died from an alcohol-related accident.
I am nothing but grateful to my mother for making the decision she did. It did mean being raised by a single mom, being in day care while my mom worked, being a "latchkey kid." But I consider that a far better fate than being raised in a house with an alcoholic (especially one not getting treatment or not willing to admit to his addiction).
My mom has always said that leaving my father was the hardest decision she ever made. It was not at all part of her plans or her dream for us. I have told her how thankful I am to her for being that strong. I know it was the right choice for us.
I don't know what the right choice is for you. But I do think that as you hold on to your ideals/plans of being an at-home mom in an intact family, you should also consider what that might cost you and your child.
I strongly recommend that you attend Al-Anon meetings. They are for the loved ones of alcoholics. Sad but also grateful
I love my Dad, but the rage and unhappiness and lack of joy that led him to be an alcoholic worked their way into my life and destroyed much of my self-esteem, ability to function well in my own relationships, etc. Believe me, there are worse things for a kid than spending a lot of time in daycare and worse things for a mom than taking a financial hit. Having a mom and dad who did not especially show love and affection for one another was not particularly helpful. Just recently my sister and I had a long heart-to-heart with my mom, and when she said that she stayed for us, we were devastated. Give divorce another thought or two, I would say. still struggling with co-dependency
I really want/need to find a therapist/counselor who specializes
in alcoholics and the ones who love them. I checked out all the
recommendations and was unable to find one this specific. I
know there are other women out there who are experiencing the
life that I'm living. Married 2 kids and one functioning but bad
alcoholic. Our communication is shot, our sex life is zilch,
our time together is awful... But I love him and want to make
it work for us, and the kids. I am reaching out for help, in
part looking for other women to come forward so I don't feel so
alone, and also just for a name of a therapist who understands
alcoholism. A man or a woman who will talk with both of us and
help us help each other. I'm getting numb to his insanity and i
need honest and experienced suggestions...
ready for change!
You will find that you are not alone, everyone is there because their lives have been affected by someone else's drinking. I hope you will try it - it takes a while, you may feel really emotional at first but eventually you WILL SEE that we are there for each other. anon
My husband has a drinking problem. He doesn't drink at all during the day, and often not even during dinner, but after the kids are asleep he starts drinking beer and then doesn't stop until he falls asleep (often sitting at his computer, sometimes in front of the tv, sometimes spilling a beer on the couch/bed). He's an insomniac, and even when he's exhausted will spend hours tossing and turning unable to sleep, and that's his excuse for staying up late and drinking. I'm not really sure of the amounts because he hides some of the bottles, but he drinks at least a six pack every night. He's been this way (better and worse) since I met him ten years ago. In the past I've found him sleeping standing up in the corner of the room, stumbling drunk. Before we had kids he used to stay up late drinking and working, and come to bed around 3 in the morning. Now I sleep upstairs with the kids, and he rarely manages to come up to bed. In addition to being woken up by kids several times per night, I often get up to check on him and ask him to come to bed. The other night I found him asleep at his computer and told him to come up to bed. I went back upstairs and listened for him; next thing I hear is a beer being opened downstairs. He is simply unable to stop! I angrily went back down, emptied his beer down the sink and ordered him up to bed. By 5:30 in morning he couldn't sleep any more and had to get up, rather than lay awake in bed. I don't doubt his problems with sleep, but I'm tired of not getting enough sleep myself. I am the only parent ''on duty'' at night, and in the morning he's usually cranky when the kids wake him up. Also, he stinks from alcohol, and I'm embarrassed by his lack of control. Thankfully, he's not abusive when he's drunk, and he's not into harder drugs, but I think he's unwilling to recognize that he has a problem because it's ''just beer''. In the past year he's started smoking pot again, and I think he also smokes that every night. He's developed a hacking cough at night that I think is caused by smoking. When I was given a prescription for codein after oral surgery recently, he finished off the bottle. Strangely, he has a prescription for sleeping pills but doesn't take them because he doesn't want to mix them with alcohol.
Two incidents recently were particularly embarrassing. First we visited my sister, and he went out to the bar with her boyfriend. They came home, already pretty drunk, and her boyfriend went to bed while my husband stayed up drinking in the bathroom. I guess he tried to stumble to bed at 4 in the morning and crashed into some furniture, waking everyone up.
The second is the other night (he claims he wasn't drunk, but I have my doubts) he was walking back to the house from a studio that we are building and tripped over a garden tool left near the door. He fell and smashed his face on the blade of a garden hoe, cutting his cheek and causing his face to swell up like a chipmunk. He seemed okay, but suggested I take him to the emergency room the next day. The doctor knew he had been drunk, even though he denied it again. When she asked if he passed out from the fall, he said ''he wasn't sure''. I felt like all the nurses were smirking at us, and then he asked if she could give him ''something for the pain'' (which she didn't give). I feel like he's out of control.
I've tried to talk to him, asking him to come up to bed earlier. I've phrased it in the context of concern for his health, wanting him to sleep with the rest of the family, being angry with him, being disgusted by the smell of liquor etc., and that he has a drinking/ drug problem. He cuts these conversations short, and says he'll try, but he doesn't change. I've calculated that we spend $400-500 per month on beer/wine, and I don't even know how much he spends on pot. I'm at a loss as to how to help him, or how to get him to stop/ change this behavior. If anyone has any suggestions or insights I'd really appreciate it. feel like I've put up with it for too long
Finally, last year, my sister and I decided to have an intervention. Many people had been suggesting it for years but we had never done it because it seemed like my dad just wasn't the kind of guy who would respond to an intervention. Anyway, things were spiraling down fast, so we tried it. It was the most frightening thing I have ever done..finally confronting my dad about his drinking. And amazingly, it worked. He agreed that day to go to a month long rehab. We drove him there. And he has been sober ever since. Its like a new life for my dad and mom. The only sad thing is that they are both in their late 60s. I just wish we had done it sooner.
We hired a professional ''interventionist'' who helped us prepare. He was great. His name is Bryan Bowen. He lives in Petaluma but travels all over the country doing interventions. He explains the whole process, meets with the whole family beforehand to get you prepared and provides mediation and support. And he's a really cool guy, down to earth and trustworthy, definitly not a weirdo. He also arranges the rehab bed, etc. His services cost about $2000, but it was the best money we ever spent. His number is 707 778-1543 and his email is bryan[at]1ststepinterventions.com It really helps to have a professional help you thru this.
It sounds to me like you husband needs AA (and possibly NA). Here's a basic AA test.
Can he, on his own, stop drinking completely for a week? Stop the pot at the same time.
Can he, once he's had a beer or two, stop drinking without drinking enough to get very drunk or passing out?
If the answer to either or both is no, he should strongly consider a program. 12 step programs are really great, IMO. They've substantially changed my life for the better. anon
There are many, many people who have found relief in this program, whether or not the alcoholic stops drinking. If you're interested, you could attend a few different meetings to see if any feel right for you. You can go just to listen, or you could share at the meeting, or talk to people after the meeting. In Al-Anon we share our ''experience, strength and hope,'' but we do not give advice. I have been in Al-Anon for more than a decade and I can honestly say that it has totally transformed my life and attitude. Some meetings have childcare, but not all. Check the website for Northern California: http://www.ncwsa.org or call a local district: West Contra Costa, Berkeley, Albany: (510) 528-4379 Oakland, Hayward, Freemont: (510) 276-2270 San Francisco: (415) 626-5633 Marin: (415) 455-4723
You can also ask for a member to send you some pamphlets about Al-Anon. And don't worry: the return address will not say Al-Anon. We are very careful about protecting members' and potential members' anonymity.
Taking the step to go to the first meeting can be challenging, I know, but if you're like me, you will feel incredible comfort in being with others who have had experiences similar to yours. Best wishes to you! A Grateful Al-Anon Member
You know that the bottom line is your husband is the only one who can start the process of healing. He has to be the one who wants to change. Of course you don't have to sit there and deal with it - you can leave too and thats ok.
Would he go to counseling? My husband went to one session with Leo Kidd (Kidd Leo F MFCC, 510) 525-8903, 1035 San Pablo Ave Albany, CA 94706) who specializes in alcohol/drug problems and that started him on the road to recovery. My husband is the type who needs a third party (someone besides me) to tell him how it is. It was like a bucket of cold water on him to hear someone totally objective confirm what I'd been telling him - he had a problem with alcohol that was not normal and he needed to deal with it. We definitely had bumps in the road after that meeting, but we were on the road to recovery.
Good Luck. Again, I'm sorry you're going through this. It really sucks. Been there done that
My heart goes out to you because alcoholism is a family problem. Alcoholism is an illness that requires lifelong management, like any chronic illness. The good news is that you are not alone.
There is help for you and I strongly recommend Al-Anon, which is a support group for families of alcoholics. I don't know how old your children are, but there are support groups for children, too. I can't emphasize enough how important it is that YOU take care of yourself, learn as much as you can about alcoholism and learn what you can do to help your children.
There are many Al-Anon meetings in the Bay Area and there is even an online chat for families of alcoholics at stepchat.com where you can talk about how you are doing and find out more about what it's like to go to meetings.
You are not alone. If you need to talk please feel free to write. gmc
Perhaps the sleeping problems also stem from whatever it is that is causing him to drink/ get high. It sounds like he's got to get to the root of the problem and he'll never do it while using. Good luck and please know that you are not the only person suffering from watching a loved one with addictions. You are not alone. Your husband is not alone in this battle; you are also suffering! Consider seeking counsel through a therapist/psychologist or even through AL-ANON. Their only requirement is that you have a friend or loved one with a drinking problem! And it's free! You'll find you're not alone and you'll get first hand advice and professional advice on how to live with the pain! www.alanon.org.za anon
Consider a women's meeting. Consider a ''beginners,'' ''speaker,'' or ''speaker/discussion'' meeting.
Good luck! JM
You can get more information about addiction and how other people deal with similar situations by going to the meetings.
The BPN archives has a listing for these groups: http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/groups/aa.html Been on both sides
You don’t say how old your kids are, but believe me, they are aware of the tension, stress, anger and anguish in the household, however well you are able to hold things together. It’s a terribly difficult situation, and I think the hard news is that there is nothing you can do to “help him” or “get him to change.” AA is a great resource, as is counseling, but he has to want to do it.
With that in mind, you will have to make decisions based on what is best for you and what you feel is best for your kids and your family as a whole. Al-Anon and counseling (for you and your kids) can be extremely helpful in sorting these questions out. It sounds boring and cliche but your husband won’t stop his behavior unless he wants to — and given the level of drinking you describe, he’ll probably need professional help to do so. If you leave or take other decisive action he may be jolted into confronting his demons. But the bottom line is, however much you love him, you can only make things better or different for yourself, and then wait and see what he will do.
A book that might help you — not related to drinking, but really helpful in dealing with anger and making changes in relationships — is Harriet Lerner’s The Dance of Anger. She’s very good at taking apart “overfunctioning” (sounds like you, taking care of kids, on night duty, etc) and “underfunctioning” (sounds like hubby, checked out on beer) dynamics and helping you let go of patterns that don’t work anymore.
By the way, after lots of therapy I have come to have a reasonably good relationship with my father, despite the drinking -- he is also intelligent, funny and a very loving grandfather. But when I was 10 years old I used to lie in bed at night and wish that he were dead. It would be great if you could spare your kids that feeling. I wish you all the strength and courage to do so. anon
Take pictures of him while he's drinking. Then take pictures of him after he's passed out. Make a week long or longer project of it so, you have enough photos. Then show them to him in chronological order.
YOU NEED TO LET HIM UNDERSTAND THAT IT CAN''T GO ON LIKE THIS.
That it's tearing you apart and you fear it will tear apart the family. That it's emarrassing, hurtful and you've become lonely in your desperation to cope and just accept it. You shouldn't have to accept it. He NEEDS to change. And there are plenty of outreach programs than can assist you.
Now, the reason I know that this works is that my best friend of 10 years and I shared and apartment. He meant everything to me! We partied a lot and drank a lot... like early-20-somethings do. But, quite a few times it got really out of hand. He'd pass out in the front doorway with the door still open--- meaning he made it home but, not all the way in. He passed out with his face in the water of the toilet bowl... really sad. So, I started taking Polaroids and I made an album and dated every picture. I did this for a month. I had about 20 pictures!! From ONE month! That means that he drank himself into a stuper 2/3 of the month! Anyway, it helped a lot because my approach was out of concern and love. And those pictures were not funny...at all. Hope this helps.
I have been having a hard time lately. I cannot say why it has happened, but I have found myself DRINKING. Sometimes I just drink more than I like in a public way, and end up grouchy or argumentative with my (very forgiving) husband. But other times I have drank by myself during the day, been TOO drunk, and kept it a secret from everyone. I really beat myself up about how anyone could be a good mother who allows herself to drink during the day, too much or in secrecy. I have been speaking to a psychiatrist about it and also trying to do all I can to stay busy and active during the days, knowing that too much loneliness and lack of structure can be hard on my mood. I imagine that the adjustment to not working any more is part of it (although I WANT to be at home, I just need to figure out a lifestyle that is good for my mental health). Plus, I am still recuperating from a serious illness, postpartum, that leaves me unable to drive, which limits me to walking and adds to my sense of isolation. I feel desperate for support, advice, company - if anyone has any of these to offer, it would be so appreciated. Thanks... Desperate for support and advice
I read an article back then which said that when women talk to other women, oxytocin is released in their brain (the same feel-good hormone that's released when you breastfeed) and makes us feel better. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was desperately craving people I could talk to, and unfortunately I was rather isolated and didn't have anybody except for my husband who worked all day. If you can't find anybody around you, there are websites with message boards and chat rooms; it might not be face to face contact, but it's better than nothing. I found myself a wonderful therapist (Alisa Genovese, 286-7599) who specializes in PPD and who helped me immensely. I had joined a mother's group, but the other women there seemed to be adjusting so well, it actually made things worse for me.
Now my son is three and I'm expecting #2. You CAN get through this! You CAN! YOU CAN!! If you want somebody to talk to, please email me and I'll give you my phone number. Remember, talking about it is the best thing you can do for yourself right now. Jill
Beating yourself up, or even looking just for lifestyle solutions, is not going to solve it. You are doing the best you can at the moment in trying to keep busy and in looking for structure, and you deserve much credit for that. You also deserve credit for asking for help. Now, ask for medical help!
If treated properly, this will likely be a temporary condition for you. However, if you continue to self-medicate with alcohol, you are likely to develop true alcoholism, and believe me, you don't need that on top of dealing with a new baby and your recuperation- in fact, you don't need it at all!
When you are feeling better, you will have the ability to deal with the other important issues such as your isolation. When someone is seriously depressed, they just don't have the wherewithall to deal with everyday problems.
If your health insurance does not offer you sufficient resources, a good resource for excellent, sliding scale psychiatric help is the Mood Disorders Clinic at Langley Porter Institute in SF (part of UCSF). You can get there by public transportation. Stress to them that you are in crisis and need to be seen ASAP.
Take care of yourself, and seek the help that you really need. anon
2) AA is really, really good. Consistent attendance to groups for years is the best ''treatment'' known for alcoholism. Have your paychiatrist read Valiant's studies out of Boston...long range studies with over 30 year follow-up. It also helps with the loneliness. To start, just call the East Bay AA number in the phone book and listen to the recording of the meetings. You could also ask them to send you a flyer of meetings. Odds are that there's at least one meeting a week walking distance from your home. The best meetings are ''beginner meetings'', ''speaker meetings'' or ''speaker discussion meetings'' for someone starting. Just go! Take the baby with you! You don't need to talk, just sit and listen. If the baby cries, just step outside 'til he/she stops. A meeting for all women would be nice.
3) Keep it up with your psychiatrist.
4) Keep trying to help your life change. This'll mean new friends, new supports, new daily schedule, learning to balance what the baby needs vs when your needs must prevail etc. It's a slow process. As the baby gets older, the park will be a great way to meet other parents.
5) You might want to try to find a new mom's group thru this network or a local storefront like Waddle and Swaddle, Alta Bates Hosp etc. These are an investment in the future. I wish I'd done one. Good luck, JM
Additionally, I would like to mention that on my website I list Postpartum Community Resources. I do my best to keep them up to date so that a fairly comprehensive listing is available in one place. It is so hard to search for resources while caring for an infant.
There is a section specifically for Postpartum Stress http://www.supportgroupformothers.com/communityresources4.htm
The people listed here are reliable professionals who have worked with new parents for years. It sounds as if your postpartum has been even more challenging with illness which makes it even more stressful than the usual.
If you would like to talk further, call me. Sherry Reinhardt Support Groups For Mothers 510-524-0821
I am looking for a book that I can pass on to a family member of mine. She is in her early 40's with a history of drug/alcohal abuse, in addition to a stint in prison. I believe that her self esteem is very low despite her verbal statements of wanting to find a career and have a ''normal'' life. The problem is that she is drinking again, though not on drugs, and often reverts to her old ways of showing brash and inappropriate behavior for someone who wants to change their life.
Are there any books that I could possibly get for her that might offer her tips or information to help raise her self esteem and let her know that it's never to late to start over. I think that she often sabotages any help that she gets because internally she doesn't think it is possible for her. She has received a lot of help from family but it seems like she can't take a step for herself, as if she keeps needing help. And then when help isn't offered she feels sorry for herself. She is a good person and I would like to provide any assistant that I can but am not sure where to start. Thanks for any recommendations.
The Big Book speaks directly to the alcoholic. It is written by alcoholics who have found a better way to live their lives, and tells their stories-both from where they have come, and how they have arrived at their present state of recovery. It seems to me it would be the exact thing you are looking for. You can purchase it at an AA meeting, and probably most 12 step meetings. Good luck. Your friend is lucky to have you-- jm
The website is at http://al-anon.org/newcomer.html and their site tells it better than I ever could. There are also online groups you can visit beforehand:
Alcoholism is a family disease. The disease affects all those who have a relationship with a problem drinker. Those of us closest to the alcoholic suffer the most, and those who care the most can easily get caught up in the behavior of another person. We react to the alcoholic's behavior. We focus on them, what they do, where they are, how much they drink. We try to control their drinking for them. We take on the blame, guilt, and shame that really belong to the drinker. We can become as addicted to the alcoholic, as the alcoholic is to alcohol. We, too, can become ill.It is estimated that each alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people... alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone elseC-s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship. anon
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