When our society thinks of addiction, our assumption is that life is about to turn around for the person who decides to quit using.
We hope withdrawal will be easy, and the possibility of dying will essentially be taken off the table.
And we would certainly like to think that recovering would also lead to repaired relationships with friends and family. But sometimes that isn't the case.
For one married couple who was addicted to drugs and alcohol for years, they made the decision to quit using when their oldest child was eight years old.
Tragically, withdrawing proved to be too much for the wife and mother, and she passed away after having a seizure in their home.
The father and husband, Reddit user, "tooerehsl," shared the unfortunate story of how his in-laws have blamed him for the death of their daughter in the "Am I the A$hole?" subReddit, and the steps he had to take for his children's well-being.
The Reddit user started off by sharing what led up to this point.
"My wife Lucy passed away a year ago."
"We were both addicts and used all kinds of drugs but mostly alcohol."
"A year ago we both quit cold turkey everything we were on. Our children were 8 and 5 when this happened. One boy and one girl."
"I guess it was too much for Lucy because when she quit the alcohol she had a seizure and hit her head and died. I wasn't home when this happened."
He then went out to explain his current working conditions to try to make ends meet.
"Since then I've been working double shifts to take care of my two kids. My sister has been helping with the babysitting while I'm at work."
"My in-laws, specifically her parents, have always blamed me for her addictions. They have said that she was a "good girl" before she met me and that she was going places."
"Personally, I think they were in denial about her addictions and who she was. I think they are just looking for someone to blame."
It appears this arrangement works most of the time.
That is until he has to rely on his in-laws when his sister isn't available.
"Recently, I stopped off my kids at my in-laws place as my sister couldn't babysit and I needed to go to work."
"When I picked them up, my son mentioned that 'Grammy and Gramps said that it's your fault mom died.' I was obviously taken aback by this and said that wasn't true and that mom was sick and that it was nobody's fault."
Receiving such news from your child must be devastating.
This dad obviously needed to have a conversation with his in-laws.
"When I got home I told the kids to go do their homework and I called my in-laws and laid into them about what they told my kids."
"They said it was the truth and the kids deserved to know. I told them that it wasn't theirs to tell and that they wouldn't be allowed to see their grandkids for the foreseeable future. They tried to argue but I hung up on them."
"I don't think they had any right to tell my kids that. My kids are super upset now thinking that I'm responsible and have been asking why they can't call their grandparents as I've forbidden it."
He then reached out to the subReddit with his story, asking if he was being a jerk for removing his children from his in-laws' lives for what they had done.
Though most of the comments were positive and supportive, in the father's favor, the results were still somewhat mixed.
Some recognized the complications of living with an addict, as well as the grief the in-laws must still be dealing with and believed separating the children from their grandparents was, at best, a complicated decision.
"Man, I really hate calling grieving parents assholes, but [Not The A$hole] (NTA). Your in-laws need to keep their opinions to themselves."
"I feel so bad for your kids though." - nyorifamiliarspirit
"Some advice, you can explain to your kids why your in laws think you caused your wife and their mother's death. Like you can say 'grandpa and grandma think it was my fault mom died because they are still angry and sad about her death and want to blame someone for it' and if you want to give further context you can explain in simplistic that both you and your wife did very unhealthy things in the past but stopped a year ago, but stopping the unhealthy things was too new for her body and that why she passed away" - Sonju34
"Sorry for your loss- NTA. Sounds like your great parent and have got your priorities straight. All the best to you & your children. Good luck & stay strong." - 20MLSE20
"It's really sad if they opt to lose their grandchildren and you as well, but you made the right call, and the best you can do is KEEP CLEAN and in communication with them. Hopefully they come around." - MatlockHolmes
"NTA. I almost was willing to give this a [No A$holes Here] (NAH) because grief is a real nightmare and I could see them misplacing their anger and sadness since the loss is relatively fresh."
"However, there is NO excuse whatsoever for them telling your young children that it's your fault their mom died. That is monstrous. Whatever they think of you, even if they think you're truly at fault, it is so inappropriate beyond words to put that idea into a child's head."
"Protect your children. Please get a therapist for all of you to deal with the loss, how your and your wife's addictions have affected them, and this new trauma. Best of luck to you and your kids." - Jimmyjrdanceparty
The consensus on Reddit is certainly that the grandparents were out of line making such a claim to children.
However, for the children's sake to preserve the family they have left—and for everyone's grieving process—hopefully the father will at least stay in touch with his in-laws during this time.
Maybe amends can be made in the future, probably after a few deep and heartfelt conversations.