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Post Info TOPIC: How do I support my alcoholic brother?


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Date:
How do I support my alcoholic brother?


 

Hi all,

 

My brother (in his 40's) recently talked to me about being an alcoholic, and how he's even been to an AA meeting a couple times.  This was in the context of how terrible his life is right now.  He's been drinking all his money, and his current workplace is having trouble staying in business, so he's not being paid very often.

 

He lives far away (I'm in New Zealand, he's in Maryland), and I'm unsure how to help him.  I'd like to suggest he keep attending AA meetings regularly, but he often does not take advice from me well at all, and I'm afraid it'd be more of a barrier to him going than help.  I'd like to help him out monetarily, but I helped him out a lot financially when we were living together a long time ago, and it mostly ended up with him drinking it away -- I did not feel like / do not feel like financial help will actually help him.

 

He says he is super depressed, and I'm very worried, but not really sure what I can say that will be helpful at all -- I think he's hoping I'll offer money, but I don't feel like that's a good idea (although financially speaking, I could, and he knows this).  I'd be happy to do that if I thought it would help at all, but I did that a lot in the past, and we both agreed later on (when he was in a reasonably good place), that it wasn't good for our relationship, and shouldn't happen again.

 

Any advice / thoughts would be appreciated.



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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 3578
Date:

We all would love to help our loved ones make progress against their addiction.  I'm afraid the short answer is that the only way to do it is to get out of the way - as the saying is, "Let go and let God."  As you've noted, our urging often makes them rebel and go in the opposite direction.  And the truth is that if other people could affect the rate of recovery, there'd be no alcoholics left in the world. 

Al-Anon has the Three C's about alcoholism: You didn't Cause it, you can't Cure it, you can't Control it.  The one way we can maybe make things a little worse is to do what's called "enabling," which is doing for them the things they could do for themselves.  So for instance, if an A (Alcoholic) spends all his money buying beer, and then can't pay his rent, we might feel tempted to contribute some money to help keep him from being evicted.  Especially if he's declared he wants to go into recovery.  But the thing is that being under threat of being evicted is a consequence of his drinking.  He needs to experience that consequence and have those feelings - fear, guilt, remorse, etc. - at their fullest to have a hope of staying on the straight and narrow.  If we soften the consequences, the addiction says to itself, "Aha!  I can drink like crazy and not have to pay the rent and nothing bad actually happens!"  That is a dangerous thought pattern.

Addiction is tough and many people simply do not recover, sadly.  To give him the best chance of making it, I'm afraid the best thing is to stand back.  Of course it is nerve-wracking wondering how they are and whether they'll make it.  To handle that, and to stay the course in our own healthy emotional thinking, we work on our own recovery with Al-Anon.  Alcoholism sucks everyone around it into the chaos, so Al-Anon gives us the tools to see straight and not get sucked in.  If you can find a meeting (try six as they're all different), get the literature, visit these boards, and work on your own tools, that will be the best way to help him and also support yourself.  I hope you'll keep coming back.  Hugs.



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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 9042
Date:

Welcome to MIP concernedbrother - glad you found us and so glad that you shared. It is super tough watching one we love battle alcoholism - almost more than one can take. Truly, I have never found any words that helped one get to a point where recovery sounded like the best plan. They had to hit their own bottom - some are higher than others. Alcoholism is a disease, and it's cunning, powerful, progressive and can be deadly. It's said that alcoholics end up in one of 4 places - recovery, jail, institution or 6 feet under.

Al-Anon is for family and friends affected by the disease in another. It's helpful to have a support group that truly understands and has similar/same experiences. We come together and work on our own recovery, and share experience, strength and hope. I did learn in Al-Anon to not enable and to set boundaries. An example for me - like you, I watched money I provided used differently than discussed so stopped giving money. However, I would feed mine or help financially with treatment. So - there are no real hard and fast 'rules' per se - we each have to do what makes sense for our situation/self.

I do suggest you find and attend an Al-Anon meeting to see if it is of help to you. I come from a long line of alcoholics and it's very common in my family. I married an alcoholic and have 2 sons, both of whom are addicts/alcoholics. Al-anon saved my sanity and of my direct family, 2 of 3 are sober right now. That could change tonight or tomorrow, but I am grateful for what is and always remain hopeful.

Please keep coming back - there is hope and help in recovery!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 961
Date:

Welcome concernedbrother-I'm married to an alcoholic and can understand your fear and concern. I doubt you could be helpful even if you lived next door, because living with my spouse, I could not force her to change her ways. I found good coping tools, support, and understanding, through Alanon meetings , having a sponsor, and this board. Only folks involved with this disease truly understand your situation . As said above, I hope you will get involved in Alanon for your own well-being. Lyne

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Lyne



Newbie

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Posts: 3
Date:

Thanks for all the feedback, I suspected there probably wasn't a lot that I could do, but avoiding enabling him is something I can do.

 

I'm curious what you all think about an in-house rehab.  It seems like a decent length of time spent clean might help him.  I do wonder though if in-house rehabs really help long-term though, since it seems like getting clean when the temptation is there is going to be a more durable way to do it.  (e.g., I finally quit smoking 10 yrs ago or so by carrying around a pack of smokes with me all the time, rather than getting it away from me -- that way I was constantly having to say no, rather than just when I was offered a smoke).

 

 



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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 9042
Date:

My experience was positive but I also had a 'nudge from the judge' to get/stay sober. My boys have been in 5-6 rehabs. each and both ended up sober when they were ready, declining another visit to rehab. One did start his recent experience in jail but used the first night out then committed to recovery. If one is ready and willing, I think they're good. If one is not ready I don't think it will help.....just my 2 cents - certainly take what you like and leave the rest.

Keep coming back!!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 3578
Date:

Some things work for some people, other things work for other people.  I think stepping back and letting him find what works for him is probably the best move for both of you.  The Al-Anon saying is "He's going to do what he's going to do - what are you going to do?"  That is, not what are you going to do about him - what are you going to do to be in your own life.  I also remember the saying I first heard from Jerry F: "Serenity is when your body and your mind are in the same place at the same time."  When we're worried about other people, our minds are elsewhere.  It's a struggle getting our minds back, but it helps both us and them.  Hang in there.



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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 13719
Date:

 

 

It was a major miracle for me to hear my own mouth saying to my alcoholic/addict wife, "I don't know how to fix this or what will work" and then remember sharing that others in AA and NA and Al-Anon did.  I shared there were miracles and none of them were mine and that she could go listen to others tell her how it worked for them. Of course that was an honest manipulation the foundation of which came from the step ESH, "I can't, God can, I'll let God".  So I was helping myself while also helping her.  The truth was then and still is now...I am no one else's Higher Power and can only hope at times to be one of the very many tools that HP can and will use from inside of the fellowship is she was willing on her own volition to attend.

The magic was that She did get miraculously clean and sober beyond my wildest imagination and became the living metaphor for humility in my own recovery.  I cannot ever forget the miracle which included her and then me which included her understanding, "If I do not allow myself to be led blindly thru recovery....I will not make it" that said while she sat in her first for real AA recovery group with a bag over her head.   Thank you God for your wisdom and imagination.

Suggestion....Turn your brother over to the God of your understanding and get out of the way while saying to God, "If there is anything here you see that I can do, please tell me now, or I am leaving."  If your HP sees a need for you...you can bet you'll know.

There is a tool in our recovery that is for us only that works awesomely and it is called a sponsor.  Just get back to the meetings, sit down, listen and learn and then duplicate that one day after the next.    Keep coming back here also because this is a part of the MIRACLE IN PROGRESS.  (((((aww)))))



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Newbie

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Posts: 3
Date:

Iamhere wrote:

My experience was positive but I also had a 'nudge from the judge' to get/stay sober. My boys have been in 5-6 rehabs. each and both ended up sober when they were ready, declining another visit to rehab. One did start his recent experience in jail but used the first night out then committed to recovery. If one is ready and willing, I think they're good. If one is not ready I don't think it will help.....just my 2 cents - certainly take what you like and leave the rest.

Keep coming back!!


 

 

Thanks again -- I had a feeling that it probably wouldn't be all that helpful, your experience is helpful to me.

 



-- Edited by concernedbrother on Monday 12th of February 2018 08:06:33 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Posts: 1349
Date:

 Hi CB,

           Live in NZ, brother in Texas. He got caught drunk in charge a few years ago... his park manager got him a lawyer- and he got off on a technicality... he is an illegal alien and would have bin deported otherwise. People find excuses to drink, and many other people give them excuses too! It like shovelling away a heap of sliding gravel!

I think just seeking answers is a great start- getting to think more about the situation.

Have a sil in Florida who still drinks, but also goes to meetings... I spend time with here when we are over there... it is an illness- and in the end, it is their decision. blankstare...

DavidG.



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One day at a time.



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 322
Date:

Some rehabs do help  Generally having support helps  Some people suggest 90 meetings in 90 days 

The good thing about rehab is they take them out of whatever situation the A is in.  They tend to get in sticky places 

I think you are very supportive by listening 

Al.anon can be immensely helpful to you in setting boundaries   Money is a constant for alcoholics and addicts. Addiction is expensive . 

I threw plenty of money in that pot  I always believed I was helping then escape the worst  They went on to have several #bottoms# without me   So much for needing me 

 

The crux of get to g better us being ready. For me personally I knew about Al anon fojr decades   I really did not want to embrace it  I wanted it MY way. My way went nowhere I cane a long way on the al anon way  

 

 



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