"They have to hit rock bottom and ask for help." by Madison Schwartz

Recorded November 9, 2022 Archived November 9, 2022 14:13 minutes
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Id: APP3628871


Hello my name is Madison Schwartz and today I’m here with my mother Shelly Schwartz in this
interview we are going to be covering my mother’s experiences and how she handled being in relation
to an alcoholic before we get started with the interview I’d just like to clarify to anyone who is unaware
as to what an alcoholic is source from Mayo Clinic online alcoholism is the inability to control drinking
due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol alcoholism is usually self diagnosable and
some of the symptoms include a strong need or urge to use alcohol those with alcohol use disorder may
have problems controlling their drinking continue to use alcohol even when it causes problems or have
withdrawal symptoms when they rapidly decrease or stop drinking now that I have clarified what
someone who suffers from alcoholism is I’d like to start off the interview can you first start off by telling
us what your relation is to the person in which is suffering from alcoholism I have several people in my
life who suffer from alcoholism but the most important one who has caused the most problems in our
family has been my sister-in-law and would you But I know that sometimes financially it’s a burden and
health insurance only covers so much and without some type of follow up recovery program it makes it
that much easier for them to slip back into their old ways of drinking and did you ever feel a personal
responsibility to get her help because we didn’t have any kind of relationship I did not feel a personal
responsibility I wish we had had a better relationship so that maybe I could have helped her but she
doesn’t think that she has a problem she is basically a functional alcoholic she gets up in the morning
she goes to work she comes home from work she drinks she gets drunk and then she passes out doing
things that she doesn’t even remember doing and do you think help could have potentially solved the
problem if she wanted to get help I think it could have but she also married an alcoholic which didn’t
help either one of their situations and they drank together and fed off of each other and how do you
think it has affected her personal relationship with her late husband um well I think before he got sick
from his lung cancer they were headed towards divorce when he got sick she did stay with him and see
him through his treatments until he died and so now regarding closer to home in your personal family
has this abuse problem ever made you apprehensive to bring your children around this woman
absolutely when my kids were younger she would make false promises of coming to see them or buying
them extravagant birthday gifts or Christmas presents and she always fell through um I didn’t want her
around them because I didn’t want them to see her drinking as much as she did when we would go out
to dinner for a family event she would order dinner but then have it packaged up to take home and sit
and drink three or four or five drinks at dinner in front of my children and I didn’t like that so my
husband and I made the conscious decision to limit their contact with her and her drinking as much as
possible and how do you think this has affected the overall families relationship with this woman it’s
definitely put a strain on all the relationships were very small family and the only people who were left
are me my husband and our children their grandmother and their aunt on his side of the family and the
relationship is very strained between my husband his mother and his sister because he does not feel
that her drinking is acceptable and he does not want the kids exposed to her or her ways is there
anything in your past that you could change to have maybe helped or also changed anything in your
relationship with her or in terms of maybe pushing a little harder for help that you would you have done
anything differently in your past I don’t think so I tried to engage her in a relationship I tried to include
her in family events and she would not show Once her her dad passed away I think the drinking got even
worse and she withdrew into herself but she’s never said that she has a problem nor has she ever asked
for help I don’t know how I would have been able to help her in any way she unfortunately comes from
a family of Alcoholics her grandfather was an alcoholic and I don’t know much about him other than he
used to be a functional alcoholic just like she is currently so do you think it’s too late to try and save the
relationship between the two of you or would you even consider trying to mend what was broken or I

mean from what you were just saying do you think it’s just past that and there’s nothing you could do to
mend what’s already been broken there will never be a relationship between the two of us other than
the fact she’s the aunt to my children the sister to my husband or the daughter to my mother-in-law
when we are together on the rare occasion I am cordial and I’m polite because that’s how I was raised to
be but as far as ever having a relationship where we hang out or go places or travel together that’ll
never happen there’s too much in the past that’s happened that’s hurt my family and my family my
children my husband or my priority alright well thank you for your time today appreciate hearing what
your perspective as an outsider to this substance abuse issue is is there anything else you’d like to say to
anyone who’s listening listening who might know someone who is also struggling from alcoholism my
sister-in-law is not the only alcoholic that I’ve had to deal with on a very close and personal level my
uncle was a closet alcoholic and he exhibited the same behaviors he would tell my grandparents that he
was coming for a special occasion and then not show up because he was home drunk he made the same
false promises to me and my sister so knowing that those behaviors and knowing the red flags it does
help to be able to understand a little bit more that like I said the only person who can help them is
themselves they have to hit rock bottom and ask for help and unfortunately my uncle did not get that
far he hit rock bottom but then he passed away at a very young age of 51 and he basically drank himself
to death he never let on that he was drinking as much as he was and it makes it very difficult 2 help
somebody when you don’t realize what’s going on I was a lot younger at the time and now I see the
signs the same signs that I see in him or the same signs I saw in him I see in my sister-in-law I can only
hope that she gets help or asks for help because I definitely would help and I recommend anybody
who’s in the same situation to try and reach out but you also have to remember that you can’t push
somebody into rehab whether it’s drugs alcohol or whatever type of help they need you have to
remember that they have to want to get help for the recovery process to be successful and what do you
think some of those red flags are that an outsider can look for when not trying to push someone to get
help but in realizing that they are suffering from an abuse issue well definitely the red flags I now see
that were in my uncle and I’m seeing in my sister-in-law are the false promises made to family members
about coming out to dinner or showing up at a party visiting family and that was one of the biggest red
flags the excuses that came along with it all I’m tired I can’t I don’t feel good I have a headache or
whatever the plethora of excuses were um definitely the reclusive behavior where they lack a lot of
friends or they partner with somebody with the same dependency issues that they have like I said her
husband was also an alcoholic my uncle would find a girlfriend and then after a few months it would it
would break off and he always gave some excuse and it was always her fault so I mean that was
definitely another red flag um the lack of money that they have always trying to borrow money from
someone my uncle was famous for borrowing money from his parents who were my grandparents my
sister-in-law used to always go to my father-in-law for help when she couldn’t afford something he
would help her pay your mortgage payment or pay a car payment so just her using all her money for
alcohol and unfortunately cigarettes too those are both of her vices so that was another red flag that
there she was working in a job where she was making a significant salary but never had any money
alright well thank you for that and thank you for all listening I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day and
I hope there might be one thing you can that can be taken away from this interview that might help you
or someone you know help is always available so never be afraid to reach out to those who can .


  • Shelly Schwartz
  • Madison Schwartz

Interview By