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#1 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 02:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Took dd to sports practice last night and another mom had dropped off her kids and then gone out for dinner.  Came back 2/3 way through, drunk.  I didn't say anything and let her drive her girls home.  I'm not sure who noticed besides me but it was obvious to me and one other mom I was chatting with.

 

We've been becoming sort of friends with them and had gotten a weird vibe about her, and that was (unfortunately) my guess (drinking to excess too often).  I think she usually doesn't have the kids with her when she does that, but I don't think it's the first time she's driven home in that state either. 

 

I thought about saying something to her quietly and telling her I'd take her girls home, or calling her husband (we both live about an hour from practice, so he couldn't have gotten there before it was over, by the way, and they lock the doors when we leave--so I couldn't have called him and just let him deal with it, without getting involved with the mom, making her wait for him, and everyone noticing- and I would hate to get her girls either too embarrassed to come back or the family not welcome back (and yes, obviously, I'd more hate for them die on the way home--please don't flame me).  But I decided to say nothing.  She did hang around for about an hour at practice before driving home so that may have helped her sober up a little. 

 

As soon as I got home (before actually), I was second-guessing my choice to do nothing about the situation (except deciding my dd won't be going to their house again or riding with them to practice again, but her kids are welcome at my house--which sucks for the girls). 

 

And we have another practice tomorrow.  I have a hunch either the girls won't be there or the dad will bring them (or they'll call me and ask if I can take them--which I have done before but can't do tomorrow, I don't have enough seats in the car. 

 

WWYD?  Is there some other way to have handled it that I missed thinking about?  If it happens again, I want to have a plan in my head.  I've gone back and forth thinking maybe I should call the husband tomorrow and talk to him about it for the future, ask what he would like me to do--I hate to embarrass him like that, but again, I'm sure he would agree that the girls' safety is more important. 

 

I'm 99% certain (sure unless he worked late yesterday and was asleep when they got home) that they got into it about it when they got home, so I would think he'd be wanting to know if anyone at practice noticed, etc.--but not sure how to just call up and say, "Hey, your wife was wasted last night and I don't think hardly anyone noticed but they might have...and by the way, if it happens again, should I just take your kids from her or what?"

 

There's also an eatery place right by practice--it just occurred to me, maybe I should have firmly invited her to coffee there and told her on the walk over that I was taking her kids with me.  That way it could have been handled out of sight/earshot of the coaches/moms/kids unless she chose to take it back there and make a scene.  That might be my future plan--but I'm open to ideas!

 

Thanks in advance for advise/insight :)

 

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#2 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 07:51 AM
 
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I never handle these situations gracefully, so I have no advice on how/whether to approach the husband, although I'd want someone to call me ASAP if they saw DH drunk when he was someplace to pick up my kids.

 

I do think that inviting her and the kids for dinner/snack/coffee/treats whatever afterwards would have been a great idea, and that's one time where I think using the kids for peer pressure is a good idea. If you couldn't talk to her beforehand, I see no problem with gathering up all the kids and then saying, "Hey, we should all go out for ice cream/dinner!" So the kids can all beg their mom and hope she agrees. Then you can ask her if she thinks she's okay to drive, that you didn't think she seemed okay to be driving when she arrived and that maybe it would be best if you drove her kids home and you could help her get her car back in the morning. Then at least if she refuses the ride/offer to drive, you have eaten up another hour and hopefully gotten some food into her so she's sober enough to drive home safely.

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#3 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 08:04 AM
 
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People don't take kindly to being told they have a problem.  Since drinking and driving with or without your kids is like playing russian roullette I would call the police in the parking lot, give them her license plate and tell them she is driving with her kids in car.  There really is no other way.  I'm not kidding.  I've dealt with people like this before.  She doesn't think it's an issue obviously but being pulled over might actually make her act like an adult.  You may be thinking it's kind of harsh to do it, but you won't feel good either if she wrecks and kills herself, her kids or some other family.  Also she won't have to know you called.

 

Don't cater to her by taking her out to have coffee or keeping her around until you think she's sober enough.  You never know how drunk someone really is.  

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#4 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

People don't take kindly to being told they have a problem.  Since drinking and driving with or without your kids is like playing russian roullette I would call the police in the parking lot, give them her license plate and tell them she is driving with her kids in car.  There really is no other way.  I'm not kidding.  I've dealt with people like this before.  She doesn't think it's an issue obviously but being pulled over might actually make her act like an adult.  You may be thinking it's kind of harsh to do it, but you won't feel good either if she wrecks and kills herself, her kids or some other family.  Also she won't have to know you called.

 

Don't cater to her by taking her out to have coffee or keeping her around until you think she's sober enough.  You never know how drunk someone really is.  


As a person who has dealt with alcohol abuse, I think Imakcerka's advice is the best option.  In my experience, people with potential substance abuse problems are rarely open to advice/concern from family and friends.  I think it is true that it takes a reality check event (cops getting involved; etc.) to bring a person to a conclusion that they have a problem.  A so-called "bottoming out."  The bottom may be a traffic ticket/DUI for one person or the gutter for another.  Doesn't matter what the individual bottom is, it just has to occur in some respect for most people struggling with these issues.  Talking to someone as a friend/concerned person may just drive that person to hide it more.  I know from personal experience.
 

 


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#5 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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How do you know she was drunk? Some people change their personalities greatly after socializing and having one drink. I know people who can have one drink, two cigarettes, and hang out with their adult friends for an hour and they are relaxed, happy, and chatty all of the sudden- and they smell like alcohol because they just had a drink with dinner. I'm one of these people, and its really more the fact that I was able to go out and participate in an adult world that changes my attitude and personality than the one drink I had. I dont condone driving children anywhere right after one drink, but I have been known to have a drink and then wait around an hour or so and drive my kid home. What exactly was it about her behavior that let you know she was drunk?

If she was certifiably drunk, I would have said something for sure. Next time it happens, I would say something and if she disregarded what I said and drove anyway, I would call the police and have her pulled over. She has no business driving children around while over the legal limit.

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#6 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 02:07 PM
 
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Was she obviously drunk? Slurring her words, stumbling? Or, did you smell alcohol, but, otherwise she seemed fine?
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#7 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 08:01 PM
 
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Growing up, our then-single mother always drove drunk with us in the car. We were terrified, not only too terrified to call for help but also terrified to disobey either of our parents by speaking up. For my whole childhood I never knew whether my mom would show up drunk or sober. Holidays, visiting friends, visiting relatives, eating dinner at a restaurant.....it was a nightmare. "Fun" events filled me with dread.

 

I always wondered why no adult ever helped or intervened. It's a lonely, scary feeling. If she really does have a drinking problem, those kids need to know that somebody is going to help them.

 

That being said, I know that a direct confrontation won't work. I remember once, finally daring to dance around mentioning to my mother that she was drunk or something and she got so mad she flipped the coffee table over. People like that are irrational. I like the idea of calling the police. That's their job and it's something that will scare the mother and also begin to lay down a paper trail if one is needed down the line.

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#8 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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If she was obviously impaired, I agree with calling the cops. You might just check her license plate number the next time you walk by her car and store it someplace handy in case this situation comes up again. I'm hoping that she sobered up within the hour that she was there, but depending on how drunk she was, she might not have. Unfortunately, the cops can only intervene once she's behind the wheel and driving.

 

I feel pretty strongly about this issue since I lost 4 relatives in a horrific car crash that was caused by a drunk driver. I do not hesitate to call. If you call, she's pulled over and she's not drunk, OK. If you don't call and she has an accident, how would you feel then?

 

 

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#9 of 21 Old 12-22-2011, 09:49 PM
 
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I'm also wondering how you knew for sure she was drunk. Also, it's hard to know (assuming she had been drinking) if she was sober an hour later after she headed home with the kids. While I think it's better to be safe than sorry, I do think you need to be certain before you accuse her. Maybe talk to the DH or another friend of her's? I'm terrible about confrontation, so I'm not sure what I would do. Probably call the police if I honestly thought she were putting lives in danger.

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#10 of 21 Old 12-27-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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My rule about drinking and driving: if I'm worried enough about somebody to consider calling a third party for help, then I'm worried enough for that third party to be the cops. 

 

I have never actually called the cops on anybody, though. I have had a few chats the next day, curtailed a few social relationships, etc. Basically, I flee headlong from chronic drunks. 

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#11 of 21 Old 12-29-2011, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

My rule about drinking and driving: if I'm worried enough about somebody to consider calling a third party for help, then I'm worried enough for that third party to be the cops. 

 

I have never actually called the cops on anybody, though. I have had a few chats the next day, curtailed a few social relationships, etc. Basically, I flee headlong from chronic drunks. 



This^

 

 

OP, so long as your evidence is like, DEAD-on (slurring, stumbling, REALLY signs that she was drunk - not just that she smelled like booze and was chatty) I have to agree with calling the cops. One of my step parents was a very bad drunk and pretty much ruined me on alcoholics for the rest of my life, I just have no tolerance. I can't stand to be around people with drinking problems and kids. (I know it's a legit sickness, I know...but I've been harmed enough by my personal experience with a drunk parent that I just don't care, I simply can't stand it).

 

I can't stand the cops, hate calling them, seeing them, etc....I really don't take calling the cops lightly....but in this scenario, I'd say that is JUST what they are there for. I agree that being the kid of an alcoholic can be very lonely, I was totally aware of the lameness of my drunk parent. It was embarrassing as hell.

 

People who drive around drunk are playing Russian roulette, not just with their lives....but the lives of everyone on the road. It gets me pretty steamed up to know that my family, my kids...all the things that are most precious to me in the world, could be ripped from me in an instant because of some pathetic person getting behind the wheel drunk. It's senseless and horrible and if you can stop it, you should.

 

Don't hesitate. Call the cops if it happens again. Don't even say anything to her....what, like it didn't occur to her not to drive drunk and if you say something it will dawn on her? No, she'll just smarten up about letting on that's she's been drinking and start avoiding you like the plague. Don't say a single word. Call 911.


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#12 of 21 Old 12-29-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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I grew up with an alcoholic parent who drove me around. My advice is to call the police. You don't have the resources to help her, and anything short of calling the police is enabling her addiction. Call the police and let them deal with it. It often takes something like that to force change.

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#13 of 21 Old 01-13-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I hadn't gotten back on to post, kids been sick, Xmas.  We missed a couple practices, etc.
The only other mom that I know was aware of the problem also and I have talked about it a fair amount, and it hadn't happened since that one time. 
Until last night.  This time I'd say it was more a buzz--like I was annoyed more so than fearing for her kids' lives.  And I dont think the cops would have done anything.
I've already decided if she comes back drunk again, she's not taking those kids home.
Still not sure how to handle it, I'm thinking I may talk to her husband before next week, that might be an approach. 
I hate this! (that I'm put in this position)

But appreciate y'all's advice and support :)

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Well, I hadn't gotten back on to post, kids been sick, Xmas.  We missed a couple practices, etc.
The only other mom that I know was aware of the problem also and I have talked about it a fair amount, and it hadn't happened since that one time. 
Until last night.  This time I'd say it was more a buzz--like I was annoyed more so than fearing for her kids' lives.  And I dont think the cops would have done anything.
I've already decided if she comes back drunk again, she's not taking those kids home.
Still not sure how to handle it, I'm thinking I may talk to her husband before next week, that might be an approach. 
I hate this! (that I'm put in this position)

But appreciate y'all's advice and support :)


 

This is obviously MY opinion, based on my own life experience and nothing else....but if she is THAT bad an alcoholic, don't be surprised if you come to realize that her husband also as a problem with drinking and gets very defensive about the issue. I've known of a lot of alcoholics who "drink in pairs" if you know what I mean.

I still think that you should skip the talking to her or her husband thing...only because I think that alerting them to your being "hip" might push the behavior underground, which means you have no way of knowing if it stops or whatever and you don't have the opportunity again to do something about it to help these kids. The next time you see this, you need to straight up call the cops...and again, that's coming from someone who generally detests police intervention and does NOT take calling the cops on people lightly.


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#15 of 21 Old 01-13-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, there's actually more background there.  Her husband is a former alcoholic, sober a decade or more.  He and my dh used to party together in their "misspent youth."  When we recently met them, they each were surprised after like 15 years, to find the other alive and sober.  And I believe they're having marital problems, and I'm sure her drinking is playing a factor.  He's a nice guy. 

 

So I think it's more of a 'I don't want to embarrass your kids or let them be in danger; do you have thoughts on what you want me to do next time." thing, talking to him, if that makes sense.  Don't know if he'll be receptive or it'll be one more nail in their marriage coffin lid but...?  I just think confronting her isn't going to do much good or get me anywhere, but that may be what I need to do, meet with her sober, I don't know. 

 

I would like to take a preemptive measure before I have to do something public, KWIM?  I figure if it's happened once to the point that in retrospect I should have not let her take the kids home, and in under a month it's happened to a lesser extent again, it will happen to the extreme again sooner or later, unfortunately.  In retrospect also I think she's come in buzzed before--there were times I kind of said "hmm" but until she was really drunk that one night I didn't want to jump to the wrong conclusions.  Now, I'm watching for it :(

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#16 of 21 Old 01-13-2012, 12:08 PM
 
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Sorry, there's actually more background there.  Her husband is a former alcoholic, sober a decade or more.  He and my dh used to party together in their "misspent youth."  When we recently met them, they each were surprised after like 15 years, to find the other alive and sober.  And I believe they're having marital problems, and I'm sure her drinking is playing a factor.  He's a nice guy. 

 

So I think it's more of a 'I don't want to embarrass your kids or let them be in danger; do you have thoughts on what you want me to do next time." thing, talking to him, if that makes sense.  Don't know if he'll be receptive or it'll be one more nail in their marriage coffin lid but...?  I just think confronting her isn't going to do much good or get me anywhere, but that may be what I need to do, meet with her sober, I don't know. 

 

I would like to take a preemptive measure before I have to do something public, KWIM?  I figure if it's happened once to the point that in retrospect I should have not let her take the kids home, and in under a month it's happened to a lesser extent again, it will happen to the extreme again sooner or later, unfortunately.  In retrospect also I think she's come in buzzed before--there were times I kind of said "hmm" but until she was really drunk that one night I didn't want to jump to the wrong conclusions.  Now, I'm watching for it :(




Well with THAT piece of information, re: the husbands background, I change my advice. I'd be talking to him about this the VERY next time I saw him. I'd be like "dude, she has been here buzzed several times and recently was straight up drunk...didn't know what to do, don't want to call the police and turn your life upside down...but I'm worried" - he is going to GET IT totally and I betcha he will stop it without their family having to go through the cost and trouble and embarrassment of the cops getting involved.

 

Being a recovering alcoholic for that long, he is in a unique position to understand how powerless she is right now and not back down or accept excuses and lies and "let it go away"....that's great news. Yeah, this just made it ten times easier for you....talk to the husband. Make sure you mention "I felt like I should call the police, but I didn't want to do that to your family". ABSOLUTELY talk to him!


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#17 of 21 Old 01-13-2012, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks :)

That's actually the conversation I just had with my husband since my last post, been letting him think about if he wants to do that or me (talk to her dh). 
He's going to call him tonight or tomorrow and see where that goes.  Hopefully he'll do that, just start bringing the girls himself.

Will post back results...

 

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#18 of 21 Old 01-13-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lava View Post

Thanks :)

That's actually the conversation I just had with my husband since my last post, been letting him think about if he wants to do that or me (talk to her dh). 
He's going to call him tonight or tomorrow and see where that goes.  Hopefully he'll do that, just start bringing the girls himself.

Will post back results...

 


Good luck.

 

It's never fun to poke your head into someone elses life...and I know that with some people I have a reputation for being "too hands off in red-flag situations" - but when it comes to something like this, I'm NOT hands off. This is a danger not only to these kids, but all the rest of the families driving around on the roads. She needs help. I can't imagine how strong a hold this disease would have to have on a mother, to make her drive her babies around drunk like that.

 


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#19 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 02:18 PM
 
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I think you are doing the right thing.  Screw social ettiquette when kids' lives are at risk.  I'm so glad your spouses' have a connection.  

 

In my life, if a friend has had too much, we'll drive her home.  At a situation like this with someone who is part of community but not a friend per se, I'd probably ask another mom to join me to go speak directly to her at the time.  It wouldn't have occurred to me to call the cops-- but that is a good idea to.   I think though I'd be inclined, unless she just seems totally the unreceptive, angry type, to speak directly to her at the time.

 

GL.  Keep us posted how it all works out.  I am filing it away for future reference if ever I find myself in that terrible scenario.


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#20 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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I think you are doing the right thing.  Screw social ettiquette when kids' lives are at risk.

I would have insisted on driving her kids home myself or I would have called the cops. Your alcohol intake becomes everyone's business when you endanger your children!
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#21 of 21 Old 02-03-2012, 11:50 AM
 
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I would have insisted on driving her kids home myself or I would have called the cops. Your alcohol intake becomes everyone's business when you endanger your children!


It's not just her own children she's endangering, she's endangering every other person in her path whether it be other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists etc. Driving while buzzed is still driving while impaired. I am married to a (sober for the past 18mos) alcoholic who thankfully in all his years of driving "buzzed" and drunk, never harmed himself or anyone else. The DUII he got 18mos ago was the best thing that ever happened to him and to our family. Given the husband's background with alcoholism, talking to him is a good start but if you ever have good reason to suspect that she's driving drunk again, with or without her children, you need to call the police. There is simply no graceful way to deal with something like this. I'm sure that in the long run you would rather she and her family suffer some embarrassment than that she and her family suffer the consequences of her harming herself, her children, or some other innocent person who has the misfortune to be in her path.


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