I need some encouragement

  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Nov 30, 2011 5:39 PM GMT
    Here's the deal in a nutshell. Mom passed last year, I have my father to take care of after a mentally (but not physically) debilitating stroke and now I have my younger brother who "doesn't have a drinking problem".

    Has anyone successfully helped a family member see that they do in fact have a drinking problem? Family dynamics seem to work very differently to friendships and now I'm not just the older brother but kinda the family caregiver, too - both mom and dad, I guess. I've had to deal with my own internalized denial (and looking the other way) and I've certainly tried having heart-to-hearts with him when I see him (which is very rarely, since I'm overseas).

    My brother is very good at saying all the things (he thinks) you want to hear, but the actions are pretty loud, if you know what I mean. I've sent him packing on the assumption that he won't wake up and seek help until things get bad enough, but he's a sweettalker and always manages to find someone else to be his net until it gets unbearable for that person, too.

    Aah, now I fear I'm rambling. Some things are just to close to the heart to be coherent. icon_confused.gif
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    Nov 30, 2011 9:18 PM GMT
    This is every family, ever, at some point. Every family I know has gone through a low-point like this. Stay determined, give yourself a break from time-to-time to stay centered mentally and know that there's a path to more easily manage everything. It'll just take some time, nothing happens quickly even in our fast-paced world, and this isn't the first or last time this story will repeat itself in a different family somewhere.

    Stay centered mentally though, that's critical. Sounds like you have a lot on your shoulders.
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    Nov 30, 2011 9:23 PM GMT
    When do you take care of yourself?
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    Nov 30, 2011 11:47 PM GMT

    Wow. Sorry to hear that you have to deal with so much right now.

    Two pieces of advice:

    1) Look after yourself. Keep an eye on your diet, sleep, take some time for yourself. You can't help anyone else if you're not in good shape yourself (mentally and physically).

    2) To figure out out how you might be able to help your brother and to help look after yourself, consider contacting Al-Anon, a support group that works with the families of alcoholics.

    Hang in there.

  • wellwell

    Posts: 2266

    Dec 01, 2011 12:00 AM GMT
    Dr. Wayne Dire said something like this:

    " One's friends' constitute God's greatest apology for one's Family."

    From past experience, I've concluded that alcoholics are equal to Tweekers; the difference being, Alcohol is more-or-less legal.
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Dec 01, 2011 1:08 AM GMT
    Thanks guys,
    I certainly know that my story is not alone, but it's surprising how relieving it can be to just share one's story.

    This past year has been about keeping my own head above water financially after my industry (financial translations) was crushed by the crises, Haaretz, but things are looking up and in January I'm looking forward to a change in job status finally giving me time to get back to running and the gym. I just tell myself there's a time and place for everything and sometimes it isn't "right now". Maybe that's a bit like your message, hyperionx.
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Dec 01, 2011 1:09 AM GMT
    Love the quote, wellwell! icon_smile.gif
  • Puppy80

    Posts: 451

    Dec 03, 2011 11:58 AM GMT
    Hey Drypin,

    I'm sorry to hear about your father. It's great that your there to take care of him.

    As for your brother, I can relate a little with what was going on with my sister. A couple years ago my Sister was heading down a path that was going to lead to self-destruction. She was heavily drinking, and doing some drugs. This was the result of having been in a marriage with a physically and emotionally abusive husband. It lead to her getting two DUI's because she was in denial about being drunk (even failing the breathalyzer and blood tests that showed high levels). This led her to losing her car and eventually her job by showing up smelling of alcohol and drinking on the job. I thought she had hit rock bottom when she was placed in jail for a few days and it would help her wake up, but it didn't.

    The best, yet hardest thing to do in my situation was to not get pulled into the mess. I found it best to just stay on the outside. Be there if I had to, but not involved in her daily drama.

    It's a sad thing to say, but only they can make the change, and if they don't see they have to...no amount of talking or pleading will change that.

    It's really good to have friends you can talk to. Like flieslikeabeagle said, check into local al-anon groups that might have groups for family members.

    I hope things get better for you.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 03, 2011 1:30 PM GMT
    How wonderful that you are taking care of you Dad and kudos to you. It's what we do for others that count.

    As far as your brother is concerned, I think it's better to just love him and be his friend. I think there is very little you can do when a person is in denial of his addiction.
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Dec 03, 2011 4:51 PM GMT
    Puppy, I now definitely know I'm not alone in this. I think it's awesome that you've been able to "stay on the outside" as you've said.

    And Vincent, thank you for your words of encouragement.

    I'm currently asking myself if what I'm going through isn't grief, a kind of mourning the brother I remember before the illness. If so, I'm hopeful that it will pass like mourning any loss.
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    Dec 04, 2011 12:35 AM GMT
    I would echo the comments about not being able to fix your brother's challenges. One of the hard things in life is figuring out how to balance doing right by others, without taking ownership of things that are beyond our control. At the end of the day, all you can do is to be encouraging, be supportive, and be a friend, but you can't make your brother get help.

    Most important thing in all of this is taking care of yourself. That is the one thing you can control, and it's a good investment. I'd encourage you to see a professional counselor or trusted clergy and get the support you deserve--alcoholism inevitably has more victims than just the drinker, and you want to make sure you don't suffer because of your brother's choices. This is probably particularly important for you, since you obviously are an astute observer of human behavior and appropriately sensitive to the suffering of others.

    Good luck, and let me know if I can help.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Dec 04, 2011 12:42 AM GMT
    I don't have any advice for you. I just wanted to say that I think you're very brave and responsible.
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    Dec 04, 2011 12:49 AM GMT
    an old Pennsylvania Dutch powow remedy says to slip some cayenne pepper and goldenseal root powder into the alcoholic's food...supposed to make them puke if they drink alcohol...sort of like ANABUSE...supposed to over time create an aversion to alcohol....but this overly drastic,perhaps...
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Dec 07, 2011 12:54 PM GMT
    First of all, a late thank you to those last few posters. I was happy to read your words and that brings me to this post.

    I just wanted to assure people that the encouragement worked. I was having a low week there dealing with all that stuff but I'm getting my mojo back and working on keeping the necessary emotional distance from my brother's issues.

    I'm still looking forward to the holidays and I wish everyone who wrote all the best this season!