Enabling an Alcoholic

by Anonymous

I moved in with my boy friend six months ago. He has an alcoholic daughter (age 26) and at the time, he never mentioned that she might have to live with us. She has now been court ordered to enter a rehabilitation program and live with 'him' upon release.

She has four kids. The oldest (age 8) lives with my boyfriend's EX, and they share her on weekends. (I wasn’t informed about this either). The other children are taken care of by other family members.

I drink socially and occasionally have one or two wine coolers in the fridge, which sit there for weeks at a time. I enjoy playing cards, entertaining and having company -- who may or may not have a drink. But recently my boyfriend commented, "we shouldn't have any alcohol when she comes home".

I told him that I was married to an alcoholic for 30 years and I never want to live with another one. However, since this is his child and she has no place to go, it's OK – but, I will not alter my lifestyle.

For eight years the family has bailed her out, spent money, raised her kids, paid attorneys etc. She lived with us for a short time and brought five strange men into the home and slept with them. Her oldest daughter was also there.

She borrowed money from me and promised to repay it, but never worked again and drank all the time. One night she brought home a guy without my knowledge. I was in lingerie, ready for bed and I went to the kitchen to get ice for my tea. The guy whistled at me and I was mortified. I ran to my room shaking, but my boyfriend did nothing and said nothing.

I rented
an apartment and left the day he went to bring her back here. I feel that by not standing up to her, he’s not only enabling her, but he’s disrespecting me. He has told me that she lives in the house too, and never said a word to her. Instead, he told me that I should hide my liquor. I rarely drink and I refuse to hide anything from anyone.

He cries and says I’m being unreasonable because he has no choice. That’s not true. If he set ground rules for her, we could all live together.

I am so angry, I can't think straight. I want to know, if I was right not to change my lifestyle and get out. I thank God that I’m out of there, but I’m also angry at him for creating this monster, that has upset my otherwise happy life.

From your perspective, am I correct in my way of thinking or am I way off base?


Both your boyfriend and his family have been enabling his daughter and it doesn’t seem that it will get better. In fact, enabling will only make the problem worse.

You have lived with an alcoholic for thirty years and there’s no reason why you should have to continue to live with dysfunction. You are entitled to live a happy life and your home should be a safe, comfortable place.

There are no boundaries in this house, so his daughter rules. Don’t waste your energy by being angry with him. Perhaps Al-Anon can help him to stand up to his daughter, but this may never happen.

You have put up with more than enough disrespect and no one should live in such a stressful environment. The only way to find peace was to move out.

Good luck!!


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