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How Can I Sit Back And Watch Him Kill Himself

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My family has lost 4 very dear members of our family in the last 1 1/2 years. First My Aunt in March 08, then my Granny May 08 and then my Mom Aug 08 and finally my Favorite amazing Uncle Dec 09 (unexpectedly) . We also have basically suffered the loss of family as we know it as my Father has just fallen apart and has made this a very difficult situation for all of us.

But the hardest part is watching my older brother who has been an alcoholic for most of his adult life, say that "Hey, they are in a better place and I am not sad" They lived a good life...blah blah blah, but since my Moms passing, he has basically crawled inside the bottle and set up camp there. He tells us hes not drinking but lets just say, we know better. I am soooo afraid he is killing himself, he keeps saying he can get sober on his own and doesnt need help. AA is for idiots, he knows all the answers and its a waste of his time. He shows up to AA meetings on ocassion but usually drunk and thinks that its ok as long as he goes once in a while.

He thinks he is the "Patriarch" of the family now but my father wanted me as POA because he is afraid my brother will die before him and if he doesn't, he wont be sober or capable of handling things. In the 3 years of my Moms stroke and downhill spiral, my brother who lives 30 minutes tops with traffic, never showed up to just spend time with her or my Dad. He would come if we had a "Family" get together and we were all there, but never once went down and just sat with Mom. I spent 3-4 nights a week going over and feeding her and giving her foot rubs and forehead rubs (she LOVED those), but he never once did.

I am angry because I took care of my Dad and my Mom for those 3 years, now that my dad is falling apart and very hard to be around, its his responsiblity and he thinks calling him 2 nights a week, that is enough.

Anyway, I am rambling, but I am scared of of my gord that I am going to lose him and my Dad within the year and I just don't know how I can deal with that. I already feel I have no foundation or anything to look forward to as my female support is gone and guys just dont get it, especially when they are drunk. My Dad drinks a lot also, although not near like my brother. I am in constant fear of another phone call and I live in anxiety state.

I know he has to help himself, but he is hurting all of us and just says, thats stupid.

thanks for listening, theres nobody else, my friends have lifes of their own and just want me to be my old self, won't really let me talk about my sadness and fears and not to mention I no longer really have a family foundation.

any advise would be great.

Kathy :unsure:

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Kathy I would strongly urge you to seek help in the rooms of Al-Anon.

Here is their website:


Find a meeting near you or I think they even have online ones now. But I think it would help you tremendously.

You cannot do anything about your Dad's or your Brother's drinking. BUT you can still have your own peace of mind. So try to get to Al-Anon and I am sure they will be able to help you weather this difficult time.

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My stepfather was an airline pilot and a great guy, except when he'd binge-out on alcohol. The problem persisted for years, off and on. He was finally caught intoxicated once on the job. He had to go through an alcoholic rehab treatment facility to retain his job. That got him sober for months. Then there'd be an occasional relapse every year or two; not on the job, but at home, where he'd occasionally drink himself into a stupor. My mother finally got fed up and told him directly that she'd divorce him if he continued. He actually stopped the deleterious drinking then more or less permanently. He'd have an evening beer with some regularity, but he never plunged into a bottle again that I ever knew about. I don't know if this story helps you at all, but it shows that alcoholism can be conquered, and it shows the power my Mom had in changing this man's life.

I hope you or someone close to your brother can reach him. Probably he'd have to be sober for a while for any real change to start working within. You can always have hope, and look for ways to help him, despite the anger you feel. I myself have a very hard time getting past anger to do the right things.


Ron B.

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Beautiful Mistakes:

I know far too well how difficult this is for you and those that love your brother. I, too, would encourage Al-Anon. In some ways, your brother sounds so much like my beautiful husband, who did died due to his system simply shutting down, a combination of alcoholism and hemochromatosis (causes a buildup of iron in organs, including the liver). He picked up an infection that his body couldn't fight. I had just had an intervention for him and he was in treatment (3.5 weeks previous). I, almost daily, feel the guilt of getting him there, as perhaps being around more people brought on the infection. But without treatment, the drinking would have continued, and I am quite sure he would have died. He, as well, rejected the idea of AA, or help of any kind. And I didn't push earlier, as I thought he would just get angry. But thinking back on it, I can now think of a multitude of things I could have done to encourage him to seek help. I will never know, for sure. What I have learned, is that alcoholism causes the alcoholic a great deal of pain and shame, that they cannot handle it on there own. It is something I had not considered, as my husband was such an intelligent and strong willed person - this is something I find so heartbreaking, as I feel I didn't come through for him emotionally.

I denied to myself that he needed treatment for a long time, as he actually quit for an entire year - knowing Scott, I truly believed he could do it on his own - that he was that one person in a million. However, again, I did not understand the extent of the mental trauma alcoholism causes its victims (and those around them). Another piece of wisdom I have been given - "No one but another alcoholic truly understands what is going on the mind of an alcoholic." And this is a disease that your brother will always have to live with and combat every single day.

I researched different treatment facilities. In Canada, there are public facilities and some far more expensive facilities. If treatment is something you and your concerned family/friends might consider, I would encourage discussing this option with them, and perhaps talking to treatment counsellors from different facilities, or maybe alumni and family members of such facilities. I was (and still am) blessed to have the support and friendship of the wonderful wife of 5 year sober alcoholic, and her husband. Al-Anon may provide you with such contacts. And I personally believe that the longer treatment options are better (2 months minimum). But then there are others who can quit by attending AA meetings, or some other means. I guess alcoholism is something like grief; we all go through similar feelings and stages, but our journeys are our own. There are common methods of dealing with alcoholism and grief, but each journey is unique.

You may be surprised by your brother's friends. I know I was. I had kept worries to myself for such a long time, but when I finally started discussing them with his friends, the reaction was basically that they were very worried about him, but didn't want to interfere, or step over that line. Give it a try with some select friends - you might be surprised. (And if they are not helpful, at least you gave it a shot.)

I hope I haven't gone on too long or preached at all. It is somewhat theraputic to blast all these thoughts out on paper for me. I hope you can take some nuggets from what I and others have written.

My prayers are with you and your brother - I truly hope for all of you, that your brother can kick its butt. It is a very tough thing to do, and as much as I feel like I missed doing something or saying something in our situation, I still do know that this is a journey that your brother must do for himself and ultimately choose to do for himself. His friends and family can support him, and 'nudge' him, as appropriate (appropriate is the hardest thing to define, I think), but it is still he who must make the ultimate decision.


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Thank you so much fo taking the time to tell me your story. It always helps to hear that somebody else has been there, done that. I am just soooooo tired and feel so drained that there is a lot of guilt that I dont have the energy to keep going through this. I am still grieving so much with the losses of the past year and half and I am angry at him for creating the situation that makes me feel like I have to fix it. Thats what we Women did in our famiy. Now there is only myself and really, my other brother and my dad, just are not about to try anything, its too hard. Well, they think this is hard, how hard will it be when we have to put him next to my Mom and Little brother. I guess i truly need to let go and let this be his journey and if his journey is down a road I dont like, its not my choice. He is just the greatest, kindest heart brother but his coping skills have always been pretend its o.k. He was only 14 when my little brother died and I truly believe that is when this pattern started and has never been dealt with. We did not deal with his death because it was too hard on my dad......so we just didnt talk about it and we didnt get to express our loss and saddness so therefore, he turned to drinking and has never stopped. There is so much damage done from when he died that unfortuately, created life long issues all because my Father was so selfish, his grief was all that mattered. He even told a counselor that I had to see like 15 years after because of the saddness, that he would not talk about it, even if it helped me because it was his grief and nobody elses business. Not even when we directly asked for help, he wasnt willing to do it for us, it has always been about him. He never cared how deeply we were hurting, just like now with my Mom and Granny and Uncle. Nobodys grief could compare to his, so again, we dont talk about it. So, my brother crawls into the bottle.

Anyway, it means the world to me that somebody took time to care that I am hurting so much and remind me that I can not fix it, it is not mine to fix.

I am so sorry for your loss of your husband at such a young age. I can't wait to hear Gods explanation for why we had to suffer through this.



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I am waiting for that explanation, too! :closedeyes: In the meantime, I am also seeing a grief counselor (when I can afford it) - and I chose someone who had experience with addiction. Something like that may be theraputic, as it sounds like you have an awful lot on your plate. Of course, you always have us.


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  • 1 month later...

No one can force another to give up a drug. One can lay out options and consequences...but the decision has to be the addict's own.

My husband smoked two packs a day for 38 years, and drank heavily most of that time, too. I encouraged him to get help for both. He refused. He was diagnosed with lung cancer Feb 4th.

I wonder now, if he was so unhappy, that he just didn't care if he lived any longer. I feel guilty for some of that, but...in the end, I couldn't *make* him be happy. And it wasn't my responsibility to create a fulfilling life for him: Nor he for me. Just before he was diagnosed, I was feeling bitter that I had very little social life, and blaming him. He didn't want to do anything but stay home and drink. He never begrudged me any activity, though. The decision to go home and scowl at him for being drunk was mine. The decision to do nothing about his general unhappiness that prompted the drinking, smoking, was his.

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