sometimes denying that someone has a problem is easier than admitting it, because once you've admitted it to yourself you have to decide whether or not you want to intervene. When it's a child and a parent, that represents a power shift which can be difficult to imagine.
Green-Moo makes a good point. When you bring it up, there's no going back. Mickie, maybe your husband doesn't want to have that responsibility and I don't blame him. It's a very stressful thing to cope with. What if he decided he needed to take care of them and wanted to move them in with you or something like that? Once you intervene, even with the best of intentions, you need to be prepared to accept the consequences of that. It's not as simple as saying "you have a problem" then stepping back to let them deal with it. Once that particular can of worms is open, you're in amongst it from there onwards.
I was married to an alcoholic and for over a decade I hid his problem from my family and his and our friends, telling myself I could live with it because he was never violent. Why...I don't know, I guess I was ashamed that my life wasn't perfect. Many times he promised me he'd stop, make a token effort to humor me more than anything and not. I made myself very sick with the strain of it all, having to put on a happy face for the world.
My ex refused to really acknowledge he did have a problem with alcohol right up until I left him after eighteen years together. So even if he or you both plucked up the courage to broach the subject with your husband's parents, it may well get thrown back in your face.The hardest part is not you turning the spotlight on it, even though you're taking the very real risk that they would rather cut you out of their life than admit it was true. It's getting them to actually face they have a problem. I wouldn't fault anyone for choosing not to confront someone.
Years ago, Gloria Steinam said something to the affect that a codependant or enabler is just a well socialized woman.
I think the concept of codependency is truly a disservice to those who are coping the only way they know how.
It is, SageMother, I agree. We all just do what we can to get through and unless someone's been in the situation, I feel it's hard for them to appreciate the complexities of it.