Ask Amy: Foster kids are not safe with alcoholic mom

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • March 24, 2014 - 2:22 PM

Dear Amy: I am a 29-year-old guy in an impossible situation. My mother, who is a career drinker, turns into the spawn of Satan when drinking. She lives with her husband (not my father), who is a controlling, miserable, arrogant, racist person.

She has foster children. Sometimes he threatens to kick her out and sometimes he does. Luckily, most of the time when this happens, she can stay at a friend’s place, but then she goes back to him.

My problem is that when he does kick her out for real she only has one place to go — my place. The last time she lived with me she got me evicted.

I never drink. For the sake of the kids and my love for her I will let her stay with me.

My mom is an angel and a good caregiver to the kids. But as soon as the alcohol starts to flow, all of that disappears. What should I do?

Amy says: Any terrible, irresponsible and criminally negligent parent can claim, “I’m a really great parent when I’m not being abusive, terrifying and neglectful.”

“She is a good caregiver”? Not true. She is choosing to foster children in a household with a partner who is controlling, miserable and also unstable. That alone should give you a clue that she should not have responsibility for children. Ever.

The kids are in grave danger, physically and emotionally. Call child protective services or the police. Being arrested could be the only thing that forces her toward sobriety.

Do not let your mother stay with you unless she has had successful addiction treatment. This safe harbor delays her confronting the horrible disease she has.

I hope you are brave enough to call a halt to this madness. You also need support and lots of TLC. You will find this through Al-Anon meetings (check, but a professional counselor with experience in working with families of alcoholics in crisis would be best for you.

Looking for proof

Dear Amy: I have been in a relationship with this guy for three years, and I am always debating if he is lying to me. He cheated on me with his “ex” three times and I still keep taking him back.

When we are together we are the best of friends. Recently he has been saying that he wants to marry me and is building a house for us, but I have never seen anything in the ways of building plans, carpet samples or even paint chips.

I always ask him to prove things to me. I tell him he has tarnished my trust in him and if he would just prove something to me we can move on. Much to my dismay he has not proved a thing to me. What do you think I should do?

Amy says: You asked this guy to prove something to you, and he has. He has proved that he is a consistent liar and a cheat. What more proof do you require? At some point, a person’s unwillingness to believe a clear and obvious proof starts making that person look pretty foolish. You’ve passed that point. It’s time for you to move on, and let the (paint) chips fall where they may.

‘Liking’ Toastmasters

Dear Amy: This is regarding the letter from the woman who complained that her “beautiful, professional daughter” who, when speaking, “uses the word ‘like’ about every fifth word.”

Toastmasters International is a renowned, worldwide organization that trains people to become good public speakers.

During a novice speaker’s first speech, a fellow Toastmaster counts the number of “ums” and “you knows” uttered. The speaker is almost always shocked to hear how many times they’ve said those nonsensical words.

Amy says: I have been called on my use of “you know.” And now I know.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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