I think it's very very kind to take the kids as much as you do. AA can be helpful, it can be a crutch, an escape, an addiction, or a social circle that can be very unhealthy in many ways. I find it very sad that your step daughter cannot go a day without wanting a drink though it has been years and she has children and a family that should be a healthy distraction. I'm probably not very popular with my opinion but I've been there done that and got the t-shirt more than once and know that the only way you quit anything is just to quit, and if you aren't constantly picking at that wound, you will rewire your brain to not think of reaching for a drink as a solution to every problem. For some people, AA is a constant reminder that they have a problem, and some really feel like they need to belong, and this is a place where they can belong and not get into trouble, though I've met some groups that used to stop at the bar afterward. It sounds like she's leaning a lot on you, and AA in perhaps a not so healthy way. Unless you're really involved in the organization, after years many people can forego daily meetings, usually because they are busy with their families. At some point you need to shed the addiction mindset and realize that you can't put your life and kids on hold forever and quite frankly, get over some of it. Addicts who are incarcerated do this all the time. I think she may need some counselling to supplement the AA by someone who can help her to overcome her addiction to AA. Looking at my kids and wanting to be there for them is enough to keep me where I need to be and most other successful quitters usually find the same things to be true. As for bringing the kids when they are sick, she is very focused on herself and her problems first, before her kids and you, and this is the mindset AA encourages because in the beginning this is what you need, but I really question this in the long run. After years, you should be able to achieve a balance and have cut yourself off from temptation and have some fortitude and consideration for others. The AA mindset can be a very selfish, self-absorbed mindset, but the idea is that once you learn how to quit and to keep yourself out of bad situations, you can become a more giving and considerate person. I know you are probably not in the position to suggest counselling, but maybe you could plant a seed somehow. And I wouldn't feel at all guilty about refusing to take them if they arrive with a cold or sick, or even if you just plain don't feel well. It might make her realize that yes, she is an addict, but she also is a mother with responsibilities and she needs to stop feeling sorry for herself and take care of her family. Boy I know I sound cold, but I've seen AA work only in people who really want to be better and once they stop, the enjoy the benefits of not being an addict, like spending time with their family and doing things they couldn't do because of their illness. If the kids are there or have been there, you may want to get some lysol and soak down the pillows and sofa and chairs and all, wash everything, and see about getting an air purifier. Maybe,. if they are sick, you can put their toys and stuff in a bedroom with a tv and make it safe so that they are just in one room of the house. And as a nurse, your stepdaughter should know that colds are generally contagious for two weeks after the symptoms have left the child. I also question her choice of job with her very active addiction--addiction does go into remission in many people--and being around drugs, its like being a bartender and going to AA. Not a good combination. Well, I really feel for you as I'm sick now with a cold my family brought home, just unavoidable, and I wish you strength not to get sick and I hope your stepdaughter comes to her senses soon or gets some help to move her on to the next stage and get her addiction into remission. It should be well into remission by now and she should be able to attend fewer AA meetings. Also, you might suggest she get involved in some of the online AA meetings. With a webcam, from your home, you can chat live during them and she might find that less of a toll on her family. AA does need an overhaul in their methodology, which is crisis based. There is little help for moving on to a more moderate less time consuming focus on addiction, which is necessary for you to get better in the long haul. Take care and I feel for you and you are an angel for helping her with the kids. Don't be afraid to take a week off or something. Eventually she has to stand on her own two feet. And if she drinks, that's her fault, not yours, after all, after years of AA she should be past this point if it is really working and she really wants to quit.
--Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less in human beings of whom they know nothing.--Voltaire (1694-1778)
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