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The 90-year-old in question is my MIL's live-in boyfriend. They live independently in a home they jointly own, about five hours away from my husband and myself.

Three months ago, MIL informed me that her boyfriend starts drinking in the morning and continues throughout the day. She says he does this because "he's old, all his friends are dead, and he's lost the will to live." I think he does it because he's an alcoholic, but whatever.

MIL also said that she frequently sleeps on the floor next to him because he falls out of bed and can't get up. When that happens, she brings him a bottle to pee in because he can't make it to the bathroom. Charming, right? On one occasion when the EMTs were called, she said they told her he fell because he was drunk. After that, she no longer called an ambulance when he fell, because boyfriend was "embarrassed" by being labeled a drunk.

Another time, she told my husband that she and the boyfriend got into an argument in the liquor aisle at the grocery store because he wanted to buy a large bottle of booze, while she wanted him to have a smaller one, in order to try and control his drinking.

I don't have much contact with the boyfriend, as he isn't very sociable and tends to stay in his study when my husband and I are visiting MIL, but the one time that he went out to dinner with us, about fifteen years ago, he fell off of his chair. MIL said he had an inner ear problem, but I strongly suspect he was drunk.

One of his daughters, who lives about five minutes from them, took away his truck last summer because she didn't think he should drive. However, he continued to drive one of my MILs cars. (MIL is wealthy, the boyfriend is not. She pays him $1,000 a month to live with her. Draw your own conclusions.)

When I found out he was driving MIL's car, I was alarmed because he's very frail, can barely walk five feet unassisted, is almost deaf, and from what MIL said, he's drunk pretty much 24/7. In short, I don't think he should be endangering himself and others by being behind the wheel of a car.

I talked it over with my husband, and he agreed that the DOT should be contacted with an eye to reviewing whether his license should be revoked. I did so anonymously, with the understanding that if the boyfriend wanted to pursue it, he could find out who reported him. Well, he did. And now he's freaking out, as is the daughter who took his truck away. She insists that my reporting her father as a "falling-down drunk" has shamed their family. She took her father to a new doctor, who apparently says he should be allowed to drive. She also told my husband that steps are being taken to control her father's drinking.

The cherry on top of this messy, unappetizing hot fudge sundae is that now my MIL has completely reversed what she told me just three months ago, about how her boyfriend is drunk all the time, and now she insists that he used to drink, but he hasn't had a drop in fifteen years. I swear, I feel like I'm living in Bizarro World whenever I'm around her. She says he's sometimes "not compos mentis," but he should be allowed to drive because he loves to drive and he's never had an accident that was his fault.

So now the boyfriend's daughter is furious with me. Her father is furious with me, and my MIL refuses to acknowledge what she herself said about his drinking being a serious problem. I just can't anymore with these people.

So, what to do now? I did my best, and if he kills himself or somebody else when he's driving drunk it's out of my hands, but I just feel so frustrated with these people. Should I just walk away and let whatever happens happen, or should I at least try and find out if he has car insurance, so my MIL won't get sued if he runs into somebody when he's driving one of her cars?

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Sodone, it isn't a lot of help, but the outcome so far is that three people you don't much like/don't have much to do with are angry with you for doing what you thought was for the best. Well, as outcomes go, it could be a lot worse.

His continuing to drive MIL's car… you've reported what you can… they're five hours away from you… I like the insurance idea but I'm not sure how far you'd get… No. Forget it. As they say in UK soap operas "leave it, luv, 'e's not worf it!"

Um. The only other thing is: my mother used to get snooty about my dad 'falling down drunk.' Actually he was having TIAs but the single pint of beer was all the excuse she needed to ignore it, until he had his fatal heart attack. The boyfriend still isn't your problem, though. Hugs.
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Good luck. I doubt this is the end of the story. He will drive and women can't stop him. I have been around too many old drunks. It just seems like they keep on perking along, and live a long life.

You have a right to be concerned. I just hope that your MIL doesn't marry him.
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Glad it worked out in the long run, even if a tree was hurt in the process, but better a tree than a person.

I'm sure the hospital will easily determine that he's an alcoholic if it does blood work.

Hopefully she'll make him pay for the damage to the tree, as I doubt her insurance company will.

Have a nice celebration tonight.
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That's SUCH good news! Glad that it was solved without any major injuries!
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Addendum: My better half just texted that his mom called him about her boyfriend driving one of her cars into a tree on their property this morning. The tree fell over on the guest house that they rent out to a guy who does work for them, damaging the roof. No one was hurt, but boyfriend was "groggy" and was taken to the hospital, where he's being kept for evaluation. MIL says his driving days are done, because he can't be allowed to drive when he's "groggy." She pays the bills, so her word is law. Problem solved. My sweetie and I are going out to dinner later to celebrate.
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Thanks, Eyerishlass. You're right. Most people here are kind and helpful. Some aren't, but that's their problem. If insulting strangers on the internet makes them feel better about themselves, then all I can do is shake my head and feel sorry for them.
My life is great. I have a terrific husband, a rewarding career, a beautiful home, and my MIL lives five hours away. Winning! Dogs gonna bark. Haters gonna hate.
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You're dealing with an enabling family; MIL and daughter refuse to acknowledge the truth. It sounds like this man has been drinking for years, and his daughter will defend him if "push comes to shove."

I don't think that there's anything else you can do, except to ensure that you and/or your husband don't hold any joint assets with your MIL.

If BF does have car insurance (which I doubt), it won't preclude a lawsuit if he has a injury causing accident with MIL's car. If the car is registered in her name and she allows him to use it, she's still responsible. And her insurance agent will likely take a stern position about allowing an alcoholic to drive and cancel her insurance (assuming he's drunk when/if an accident occurs).

There are still a lot of ambulance chasing attorneys who would be willing to file a suit for someone who might be injured, and if you and/or your husband hold assets jointly with MIL, you might be in danger of losing those assets if a judgment were entered and either MIL or BF couldn't (or wouldn't) satisfy the judgment.

Ambulance chasing isn't as productive as it used to be because of tort reform, but there are still firms that thrive on this.

I don't know what else you can do other than make another referral, but it seems as though BF was able to find a doctor to help him stay on the road, so any further referral(s) would probably produce the same effect.

I'm wondering if the MADD organization might have any suggestions?

But do take comfort in that you've tried to resolve the situation but have been blockaded by MIL, BF and the daughter.

It's unfortunate that that side of the family has turned against you, but you did the right thing. You're looking at the broader picture; they're covering up.
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It sounds like you have all of the information and that you have tried to keep this man off the roads. Even his own daughter agreed at some point that he should be off the roads.

Most 90 year old people shouldn't drive. They're reflexes are slow and their sight and/or hearing may be compromised. But throw in alcohol and that person should absolutely not be driving.

By contacting the DOT you did the right thing. You're trying to prevent an accident that may not only kill someone but will also affect your MIL's insurance since he is now driving her car. But a Dr. signed off on his driving and that's all he and MIL need to keep doing what they're doing. I suppose you can pursue it but if he has a license and a Dr. says he can drive I'm not confident that you'll get very far.

This all sounds very, very stressful. I'm sure you and your husband feel as if you're at the end of your rope with these two but unless someone steps in and physically takes away the keys and the car Boyfriend is going to keep going.

Our elderly loved ones can really stir the pot can't they? Try to let go of the situation. Do what you can but then let it go. He's 90. He can't keep going on forever and from what you wrote it sounds like he's got a great enabler in your MIL. Eventually something's going to happen that will put a stop to all of this and you can only hope that no one is hurt in the process.

P.S. This is truly a lovely and supportive website. It saved my life. Most everyone here is kind and considerate and helpful and giving but every once in a while several come along who are not as kind and helpful. They're the exception, not the rule. Please don't judge us based on a few rude remarks others made toward you. I'm sorry that happened to you. It's not the norm.
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Wow.

Your husband is an attorney and he doesn't know that the DMV pays little (if any) attention to a phone call or letter from a family member saying, "You ought to revoke his license?" Surprising.

It's unfortunate that you took my reply as snarky. My advice stands. You have no authority to do anything else. And didn't even have the authority to do what you DID re the DMV. You have no first-hand knowledge of his driving drunk. "My MIL told me...." isn't going to go very far.

You said it: "I did my best."
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Sodone, as I'm sure your attorney husband has advised you, document all your efforts. And don't be snarky. Ignore advice that isn't helpful...we're not mind readers.
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Sodonewithsal, You wrote for advise and you get defensive and not very nice when you get it.
The DMV isn't your answer. If he doesn't have a license, he could still drive. He doesn't care if he himself is drunk, so he probably doesn't care if he has a license. Same with insurance. Contact the police or sheriff's office and explain the situation to an officer. Leave it in their hands. If it continues, you did what your could. Too bad if his daughter is mad with you. If he kills an innocent family with the car, that would be the real "shame."
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Maggie, I don't know how you got the impression that my husband doesn't care, or why your response was so snarky. Are you having bad day, dear? Has your medication not kicked in yet?

My husband cares very much about this horrible situation, He's an attorney and he knows how much trouble a person can get into driving drunk. The decision for me to be the one to file the report with the DOT was a mutual one. I chose to take the fallout and I accept it. What I had hoped for was some insight into what (if anything) to do next.

My husband can't insist on his mother doing anything. She refuses to acknowledge that her boyfriend is a drunk, and she'd never allow a breathalyzer ignition interlock system to be installed in any of her cars because it would hurt his feelings.

But thanks for playing, Maggie. You'll receive a home version of our game and a month's supply of Superior Twit, the snack food for idiots,
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Butt out.

This is your husband's problem. You feel as though you have all of the responsibility. You have NONE of the authority. A horrible and hopeless position to be in.

IF YOUR HUSBAND WANTS TO, I have suggestion. HE could insist that your mom have a breathalyzer ignition interlock system put on her car. If one fails the initial test, one can't retest for 15 minutes, and the car won't start.

If your husband doesn't care that his mom's passive acceptance of her boyfriend's drunk driving may kill someone(s) or that her assets are vulnerable to a civil suit for wrongful death(s), what can you do? You can't fix stupid.

Go to the sink and wash your hands. As hard as that is, you have absolutely no power in this situation. To pretend that you do is to bang your little head against a brick wall.
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the only thing that occurs to me is to call your MIL's insurance company. They sure OUGHT to be interested.
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