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Hi, I don't know if this is a totally inappropriate topic because I see nobody else posting about others in this forum. But I used to be an alcoholic, and I need to vent and I can't think of anywhere else to do it.


So yeah, I used to be an alcoholic, drank pretty heavily every night for about 15 years due to severe depression and anxiety. I had damn good reason to drink, but I just stopped cold four years ago.  The only reason I stopped was because I was briefly living with my mother and sister and my mother would have been very angry and judgemental if I did. That's all. And that's the same reason I'm still sober today, that and I'm so poor I absolutely can't afford to drink.  I can barely afford to eat, so I would be broke in days. Needless to say my life hasn't improved at all since I quit.


Anyway, my sister has a 7 year old boy that I like to think I'm close to.  She broke up with her ex about two years ago.  He has MS and a drinking problem.  He's been living about a 10 hour drive away somewhat isolated in the mountains. My nephew sees him in the summer.  He is (or was) capable of being sober for long periods of time, but for the last two years he's relapsed while caring alone for my nephew. Horribly. Last year he drank and abused my nephew, putting a large round mark on his back. I really don't know exactly what happened, and I'm not sure if my sister bothered to find out, but the friends he was staying with kicked him out, the police were called, and my sister had to go pick him up. I thought he should have very limited contact with my nephew after that, but this summer they saw each other again for about two months. This time my sister randomly called and my nephew said his dad might be dead.  He was completely unconscious, drunk. My sister had to contact the neighbors, strangers, to take care of him while she rushed out to pick him up again. Dad went to the hospital, the cops were called again. We probably still don't know exactly what happened because the ex doesn't talk to my sister, the hospital can't talk to her, and my sister is not that open with me. Maybe MS was involved somehow. 

It makes me sick. I love my nephew and want him to stay innocent and loving as long as possible, but with the trauma I think it's already too late. He seems to be OK, maybe more behaviour problems than usual. My sister doesn't seem to think it's that big a deal, and she's a "child psychologist" (seriously, she has a masters!). I HOPE that it's just that she doesn't want to talk about it. I don't get it- I was an alcoholic, and I was perfectly capable of being sober when I went to visit family.  I wasn't going to abuse anyone, I just didn't want to piss anyone off, that's all. I never binge drank, so it's a different story. But I've been self-destructive when drunk, Im more less suicidal most of the time, and I would never do like anything like this. And the ex is capable of being sober for much longer periods of time than I was back then. Why can't he just drink 10 months out of the year and lay off his kid so the kid isn't scarred for life?

Supposedly, this is "typical" alcoholic behavior. I guess I was atypical in that I "just" drank to cover my depression. And I could drink A LOT, but I don't think I ever drank to true unconsciousness-that takes a lot.  Maybe I wanted to, but I had no one to take of me.  He doesn't either, because a CHILD is not supposed to take care of you.

Sorry for the long rant, sorry I made it so much about me. Of course I'm angry and I'm even angrier because even though I've been in pure hell and drunk as fuck, I would NEVER do anything to hurt a child. This is supposed to be "acceptable" alcoholic behavior?  It's not acceptable under any excuse if you ask me.  What should my sister do? Should we try to talk to my nephew? Is it too late for him already?

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I don't know what to say because I have never been an alcoholic.  I have had to take care of my dad and mom who wouldj binge drink and that sucked.  I agree that a child shouldn't be required to take care of an adult but I donn't think it will scar them forever if they do.

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I don't think it is "too late" for your nephew.   I can understand your anger; I'm close to two young nephews and I'd be angrier than hell if anyone treated them like this.   If he is primarily with your sister, and if she provides a stable and loving environment, that will go a long way toward helping him get through this experience.


If your sister will not intervene to make sure her ex does not have visitation/physical custody while he is drunk (perhaps supervised visitation?)  are you comfortable making a report to child & protective services (CPS) where the ex lives?  I would be very close to doing that if I were in your shoes, but only you can decide if that is the right thing to do.   


A possible concern is if they feel your sister wasn't taking proper care of him (by allowing him to be with his father knowing he would likely be drinking.)   Sometimes, CPS goes too far and sometimes they don't go far enough.    Is there anyone your sister is close to that she would listen to?  Maybe several family members together, expression concern and love for her son would help.


I'm just throwing out ideas.   It sounds like a difficult situation but the main thing is to not let the father have unsupervised time with your nephew.  A police report will help with the documentation.


Good luck! 

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Well, there are already police reports for the two incidents.  My sister and her ex were never married, so there's no official agreement about visitation. I thought she should have set it up last year so that the ex can only see him if he comes here and possibly is supervised, but she never did.  I'm sure my mother talked about it with her. She let him see him again this summer and the ex did it again, only this time it was extremely neglectful and traumatic instead of abusive.  There was no drinking, no abuse in our family so I can't believe she's STARTING the cycle here.  My nephew already has some behavior problems, nothing huge, but he can be disrespectful to me, who he treats as a playmate. 

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