I FLIPPED OUT!

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    Jun 13, 2011 3:45 PM GMT
    Saturday, after dealing with sister for 24 hours I realized that I had reached my limit for tolerating her behavior. She arrived at 10am Friday, with her granddaughter in tow, to utilize my driveway to sell her things that were in storage here in San Jose. Drinking commenced at 3pm. I had dinner plans with old friends who are moving to Indiana in a week. Heather was invited but decided to go out to dinner with Elise (our brother’s ex). By the time Elise arrived for dinner Heather was lightly drunk. After dinner she drove back to my house drunk with Elise. Her granddaughter was in the van. Drinking with Elise continued into the night back here at my house. When I woke up all the alcohol in the house had been consumed. After waking a drunken/hung-over Heather for her yard sale she started biting with her acid tongue. I was already on edge. Then the “Heather being Heather” stuff during the yard sale took its toll. At that point I was so annoyed I left the yard sale for a few hours.

    When I came back at noon Heather was drinking again. I lost it. For years I have thought if I just helped her things would get better. It dawned on me very clearly Saturday that I am not helping her, but enabling her. Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing for someone things that they could, and should be doing themselves. With that new bit of insight I told her with LOUD yelling I can no longer enable her. Once again I told her that she is an alcoholic and needs to get help. She is so wrapped up in soothing herself with alcohol that she does not understand how much air she sucks out of the room.

    It was the right thing to say but at the same time it breaks my heart – her reaction was one of denial – her last comment to me was a text that said, “Fuck you and don’t ever call me again and stop taking advantage of the family.” The irony is, isn’t this what she does? She takes advantage of those around her and we ALL continue to enable her. Simply, enabling creates an atmosphere in which Heather can comfortably continue her unacceptable behavior and I no longer want to be this enabling person or support this.

    My new feeling is that as long as Heather has her enabling devices in place, it is easy for her to continue to deny she has a problem -- since most of her problems are being "solved" by those around her – me included. In my heart I now believe that if she is forced to face the consequences of her own actions, will it finally begin to sink in how deep her problem has become.

    Here is the clincher. March 4 of this past year her daughter died. She was at my house to sell her daughters things. I get it that her daughter has died – this is HORRIBLE and she needs all the love and support to get through that. However there has to be a distinction between Heather’s grief and her alcoholism. I can no long contribute to her alcoholism to soothe her grief. Friday night when I sat on the floor in my house, being the only one sober, I took a hard look at the drunken festivities going on around me and the conversation. I realized that those around me continue to enable Heather because they love the affable, clever and witty alcoholic.

    I love Heather – there is very little I wouldn’t do for her and in my heart know that I have been an exceptional brother. She is my sister. However, it is very clear that she wishes to continue drinking, and doesn't see it as a problem if you ask her about it. When it all boils down, I really can't change her. All I can do is change how I react to the situation. She is an alcoholic in denial and is angry with me for bringing it up. Right now she resents me and if I am right she will turn this around and make it my fault. I can no longer enable her to continue on the path she has chosen. My hope is that my actions will shake her up to make some positive and responsible choices for herself and the granddaughter she expects to raise.
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    Jun 13, 2011 4:03 PM GMT

    BRAVO!! You have done the right thing for BOTH of you. In any situation like the one you have with your sister...there are two people involved, not just her.
    Your description of how you have enabled her is right on target!! And it appears at least one of you is on the road to recovery.
    I have been sober for just over 21 years and before I finally hit bottom I had plenty of people who enabled me. No family member, as they were 1,000 miles away when I was at my worst. Had I been closer, it probably wouldn't have made much difference anyway.
    Hitting bottom is something that ONLY the drinker can do...and recognize.
    All of the hinting, interventions and name calling won't do a thing until the person ADMITS to having the problem. The ONE exception I would make would be an intervention. When a group of people...preferably family and very close friends..all get together and confront the drinker, it seems to get to the core of the soul and at least allows them to take a closer look at themselves.
    My best wishes for your sister to see the damage she has done not only to herself, but to those who lover her, as well.
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    Jun 13, 2011 4:03 PM GMT
    First off *hugs*

    You did what you had to do , and in my opinion it was the most logical thing.
    It is heart breaking to see your own sister come to this but if she won't listen to family or anyone with the same thoughts as you, she will crash and burn.

    However do not (at least I don't think you will) will destroy any contact with her. It may take months or even years but she will one day open communication up with you.

    You are loving brother and she probably does know this, but her emotions are right plugged in with booze.

    She should be directed to the nearest AA (perhaps group intervention might help)

    I wish you the best mate
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    Jun 13, 2011 4:17 PM GMT
    theantijock saidExcellent. You kicked her while she was down, grieving the death of her child. Well played.


    Did you read this??
    "However there has to be a distinction between Heather’s grief and her alcoholism. I can no long contribute to her alcoholism to soothe her grief. Friday night when I sat on the floor in my house, being the only one sober, I took a hard look at the drunken festivities going on around me and the conversation. I realized that those around me continue to enable Heather because they love the affable, clever and witty alcoholic. "

    Does this sound like grieving to you...... icon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jun 13, 2011 4:33 PM GMT
    *hugs*
    Been through similar situations...not easy. I hope she realizes soon that you are right, and thanks you for helping her.
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    Jun 13, 2011 4:42 PM GMT
    Alcoholics are self-serving, egotistical people. Besides being one myself, I know many.

    Sounds rough.
    All you can do is embrace her when she's ready. Perhaps the biggest grieving she may go through will be the loss of her alcohol not a child. For that she may need some supporticon_smile.gif
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    Jun 13, 2011 4:50 PM GMT
    Congrats, I know how hard it can be, especially when you love your family. But it was probably for the best.
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    Jun 13, 2011 6:32 PM GMT
    I suspect this was ongoing long before the loss of her daughter. Sometimes the hardest thing to do to show your love is to 'that's it'. I've been there, not nearly as bad as this, but know how tough it is to turn away the one you love. I truly hope that she recognized the problem, gets the help she needs and then realizes that there's lots of love from the ones that do love her for the other difficult issues she's facing in her life.

    I can't imagine what you've dealt with but can only imagine that to get to this point, it was a lot and it was tough on you also. Hang in there. I'm glad you shared your story, I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers!
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    Jun 13, 2011 6:38 PM GMT
    You did the right thing kudos
  • HndsmKansan

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    Jun 13, 2011 6:53 PM GMT
    Clearly a challenging period for you and your family. She clearly needs to be in counseling. Offer to go with her and participate if possible. "We can go to counseling", could be the line suggested.

    I can absolutely appreciate the issues you are confronting. Do it calmly, try not to revert to yelling and have other family support. If she comes to understand whats up, the rest may be easier.. it sounds like the real problem is getting her to accept what's really up with her.

    Best wishes, hang in there!
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    Jun 13, 2011 7:16 PM GMT
    icon_sad.gif I am sorry bud. That is a hard situation to deal with. If you feel you've done everything you can then it's best to distance yourself from it for a while and find some peace.
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    Jun 13, 2011 7:36 PM GMT
    theantijock saidExcellent. You kicked her while she was down, grieving the death of her child. Well played.


    You stupid cunt. Did you read the OP?
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    Jun 13, 2011 7:51 PM GMT
    I find it foolish to point out the death of the daughter as kicking the sister when she was down considering that if that were really the whole reasoning behind the drinking, then why was she driving drunk with her grandchild? Maybe she needs two deaths to deal with before she wakes up.
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    Jun 13, 2011 8:05 PM GMT
    I have to disagree with what you did OP.
    You had all this anger built up. You poured everything inside of you and then just exploded.
    Every person comes to this world with a glass in their hands. And in that glass we put all our hopes, dreams and emotions. There are people who will want the content of your glass. Wether you give it to them is up to you.
    The loss of her daughter has spilled the content of your sister's glass and she tries to fill it with alcohol and the love of her social circle e.g. you and the others around her. Her loved ones.

    It seems that you have given too much of your glass to her. Suddenly you realized your glass is emptying and you tried to take everything back from her. Do not fill your glass with hate and resentment, because it will consume you and leave you empty.
    You don't know what's going on with her. Enabling her isn't helping her. Helping is asking how she is, how she really is. You can see through the true Heather hiding behind her drunk witty self. You know her. Help her and not the drunk Heather. From what I read, she is hiding her pain with alcohol, that is if she truly loved her daughter.
    You showed her a mirror and she, instead of looking at her reflection, decided to break the mirror showing her her destructive self. She will come around if you let her.

    I believe family is like a tree and branches represent her members. Sometimes the wind blows hard and shakes the tree in it's roots, it's core. The wind blows so hard, it drifts the branches apart. Yet when the wind becomes still, the branches gather and seek each other out again. You are bound by blood. It may be clotting now, but it will dissolve.

    Remember this. Love and time heals our deepest wounds.
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    Jun 13, 2011 9:10 PM GMT
    PE_Teacher saidher last comment to me was a text that said, “Fuck you and don’t ever call me again and stop taking advantage of the family.” The irony is, isn’t this what she does? She takes advantage of those around her


    This is a common form of denial, instead of seeing what we are doing, we accuse someone else of doing it...

    YOu did the right thing to stop enabling... Ive enabled several people over the course of my life, find its best to have them learn their own lessons at some point
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    Jun 13, 2011 9:12 PM GMT
    theantijock said
    Lostboy said
    theantijock saidExcellent. You kicked her while she was down, grieving the death of her child. Well played.


    You stupid cunt. Did you read the OP?


    Years ago, when I was on this site before, I used to think you a fairly decent guy and then I left, not because of you, but because others were being such shits and I saw no reason to have that in my life. Now back and I don't know for how long, I have lost some respect for you since you have let yourself succumb to the worst of this site and not just because of what you just said to me, as I've read you treat others equally terribly.

    Regardless, because I think you still have some good qualities, I will take the time to answer your very rude remark.

    Did I, who you called a stupid cunt, read the OP? Yes. I read that the OP loves his family. I read that the OP is also grieving for his niece (condolence to you on that, OP) and I read that the OP, unable to think properly, in his grief and in his exasperation "flipped out" and acted in way harmful to the family life he loves.

    I read the real threat of his sister, that he could lose her to the rest of his life if he does not take action quickly to resolve this. She has lost trust in him and it will not be easy for him to earn that back.

    Fortunately for all parties concerned, all is not lost. But what do I know. I'm just a stupid cunt.


    Ehm, I disagree, it is up to HER to gain HIS trust back... she is the alcoholic in denial, not him....

    As far as the grief is concerned... at this point more than a year has passed, she is no longer "down, grieving the death of her child"... he has enabled her using that as an excuse, and its time to move on for her mate

    Tough love, but thats the truth
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    Jun 13, 2011 9:13 PM GMT
    Bowie saidI find it foolish to point out the death of the daughter as kicking the sister when she was down considering that if that were really the whole reasoning behind the drinking, then why was she driving drunk with her grandchild? Maybe she needs two deaths to deal with before she wakes up.


    APPLAUSE!
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    Jun 13, 2011 9:33 PM GMT
    Shame on those who don't believe that she needed a wake up call.
    Drinking and driving is INCREDIBLY dangerous. Alcoholism is an addiction. It needs to be treated.
    If I had a family member dealing with alcoholism I would do everything possible to get them to face up to it because I love them and I want them to feel happy and healthy. I'm sure that people facing a challenge like that know deep down, somewhere that they are not really as happy as they should be.
    I would say continue to remind her that you are her brother who loves her very much and that you would like to take her to get some help (therapy/AA or something) in whichever form she finds most suitable.
    It will take her some time, and it will be difficult but this is what is necessary if she is to get better.
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    Jun 13, 2011 10:20 PM GMT

    To: theantjock:

    Please, if you can, enlighten those of us who must be ignorant about alcoholism and, in particular, Heather's history of drinking alcoholically!!
    Please tell us what YOUR experience in dealing with alcoholism is... You, a family member, your therapist??
    Please...apparently we need your advice on this subject. BUT before you reply, please read MY post under the OP's where I state that I have been sober for 21+ years!
    So, go ahead.... tell us how YOU got so smart!!!! ..icon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jun 13, 2011 10:52 PM GMT
    Never doubt the fact that you did the right thing. Alcoholism is a disease which can only be conqured once the alcoholic admits to it. Continuing to enable a practicing alcoholic with the hope that she will stop drinking, is like trying to save a sinking ship. Every alcoholic has to hit his/her own bottom before they will be ready to admit defeat of the bottle. As difficult and heart wrenching as this may be for you, it is nevertheless the only way you can truly help her come to the realization of her addiction.

    This practice of tough love does not mean that you cannot tell your sister how special she is to you, and how much you love her. Always let her know that your door and heart will be open to her once she seeks help and begins to live a life of sobriety, one day at a time.

    You are one very special brother. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
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    Jun 13, 2011 11:07 PM GMT
    PE_Teacher said – her last comment to me was a text that said, “Fuck you and don’t ever call me again and stop taking advantage of the family.” The irony is, isn’t this what she does? She takes advantage of those around her and we ALL continue to enable her.

    People in denial will often try to project their own failings onto others, as if it removes those things from themselves, or seem less serious than they are. This is a little different from simply changing the subject, in that these people are transferring their own shortcomings to others around them, and specifically the very things that they don't want to admit are present in themselves.

    This "projection" behavior is very common among alcoholics in denial. Sometimes they'll try to make the other person out to be the alcoholic, or accuse them of other of their own bad habits which are related to the drinking problem.

    Like in this case, your sister taking advantage of the rest of the family. But she accuses YOU of doing that, it's not HER. And she'll tell others that, too, because it's most effective if she can get others to agree that the internal family problem is with you alone. Then she herself is exonerated from the charge, and can continue her drinking without guilt.

    BTW, I was curious how old she is, given your own age. And how old that would make her granddaughter. If she's now a key caregiver to a young child, as an alcoholic she may well be unfit. Both in terms of the girl's physical safety and well being (I especially think about drunk driving), but also the kind of unhealthy home atmosphere into which she's being brought.
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    Jun 14, 2011 12:48 AM GMT
    theantijock saidExcellent. You kicked her while she was down, grieving the death of her child. Well played.

    sticker_dont_be_dick.gif

    Really? There were 10,000 better ways to express the basic sentiment "I disagree with how you handled it, and here's why."
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    Jun 14, 2011 1:05 AM GMT
    I have been reading the post – thanks for the support. In my gut I know I have done the right thing. Regardless it does not make my decision easy to digest.

    For clarification I felt it wise to tell more about my sister. Heather is 15 years older than me. She was a functional alcoholic. I can not say she is anymore because I don’t think she is functioning to any further extent. She was an alcoholic long before her daughter died and as far back as I can remember. She is beautiful, dynamic, witty, personable and exceptionally fun to be around. From these characteristics she was tolerable as a drunk and we, my family and I, have enabled her to be this way. However, she has gotten worst due to the death of her daughter. I get the connection. Regardless an alcoholic is an alcoholic. There is no justifiable reason to allow it to continue at this accelerated rate. If she continues this way she will die, either from alcohol poisoning OR drunk driving – she might even kill her Granddaughter in the process. This past weekend she alone consumed four bottles of wine and twelve bottles of beer in a period of 30 hours. My taking a stand has caused a ripple effect in my family and there has been fallout. Siblings are talking about it – lots of words have evolved – people are communicating – sides are being taken. Nonetheless I am standing my ground and letting my sister know that I love her, but she needs to get help. I don’t want her to die.
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    Jun 14, 2011 1:22 AM GMT
    You've done the right thing.
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    Jun 14, 2011 1:44 AM GMT
    OP, my heart goes out to you, and along with the others, I feel you did what you must to save your sister... if she can be saved. Some alcoholics can hit bottom and still not get help. I hope and pray for your sake, and the sake of her granddaughter that she will get help.

    If there is fallout in your family, sides taken, it may be enough for her to begin to realize she may have a problem, especially if she ever realizes that her actions are splitting her family and causing a lot of dissension.

    For your, sake, I'm glad to see that you finally realized you are an enabler. Most of us in similar situations are enablers to a point.

    Good luck, and know that you would have a lot of hugs from here if possible.

    Paul