To have given a family member cash...

(16 Posts)
ChewinTheFat Wed 13-Feb-13 15:52:21

Knowing full well they are going to buy alcohol with it?

Close family member has an alcohol addiction, he doesn't work and benefits were stopped 3 weeks ago after a medical decided he was fit to work. His last payment was for £120 which he used for electric/food and most likely alcohol.

He came to visit me yesterday saying he doesn't have a penny until tomorrow and could I lend him £20 and I did. Now my sister has given me grief because she just seen him pissed as a fart walking down the street.

When I gave him the money I half knew he'd buy drink and some food and probably a fiver or so in the meterin but I was torn.

Now WIBU to give him the money? My sister said I could have bought the shopping and topped up his metre but I just don't know. It's so hard. Having no money is bloody miserable and he needed electric. I've just had surgery so can't get out even if I had bought his shopping for him.

If he has an alcohol addiction, rather than problem drinking, it can be dangerous to stop cold turkey. It can actually be fatal. He needs medical treatment, does he have any support? I see where your DS is coming from but YANBU.

ChewinTheFat Wed 13-Feb-13 16:12:43

No support at all. He had a community nurse from the MH team who he met with once a week for six weeks after a recent suicide attempt but that was it. He has made numerous suicide attempts in the past and this seems to be procedure. I've spoken to his doctor and the nurse for some help or to see if they can point me in right direction to get help but I've ran out of options. There doesn't seem to be anyone who can help.

mothermaid Wed 13-Feb-13 16:26:12

This is a tough one! I've volunteered with people who used to have alcohol problems and one of them said the best thing his family did for him was NOT buy food or electricity as it meant he'd just spend what he'd normally had for that on more drink (when he had money). It was only when he got really ill from withdrawal because he was broke that he finally got the help he needed. But I can't imagine not helping someone esp family....

Are there any alcohol services in your area? Free alcohol counselling? He has to want things to change, though.

Some addicts would agree with your DSis and say that you are taking away his 'rock bottom'. However, if he is attempting suicide, he has seen his rock bottom. Has he ever tried AA?

BTW Al-Anon works for some family members. Google them, there might be a group in your area.

ChewinTheFat Wed 13-Feb-13 16:58:06

I totally agree about the rock bottom thing, he has been there so many times then can not touch a drink for weeks after release from hospital. He has been an alcoholic for about 20 years and I have lost count of how many times he's taken an overdose. I obviously don't know what he tells the nurse but each time he attempts suicide I pick him up from the hospital and a doctor says he's fit to go after a physiologist has spoken to him, then he's referred to MH team and receives 6 weeks of counselling them it begins again.

I've googled alcohol services in the area and all it takes me to are the MH team he has seen umpteen times.

yaimee Wed 13-Feb-13 17:16:54

No yanbu, but if you're worried about his drinking you could discuss this with him or suggest docs or other suitable services next time you see him if you feel comfortable doing this.
I think of he has an addiction he would have found a way to get something to drink, and if he hadn't he would have had awful dts in a house with no food or leccy which would have been horrible for him and served no purpose in the long term, as he needs proved support and rehabilitation to come off drink.
If the idea of him spending money you give him on drink makes you uncomfortable than you could maybe go to th shops with him next time and buy him food and leccy instead.
Make sure you keep offering him emotional as well as practical support. Hope things improve soon!

You don't have a Drug and Alcohol Team? DAAT? Or is that the MH services he has been in contact with? Going to Al Anon may give you ideas about other services in your area. Sorry this is happening.

ChewinTheFat Wed 13-Feb-13 17:22:54

I've had so many conversations with him through the years. He can be fine but something will happen and he needs a drink to cope. He can't deal with anything without alcohol, he's been through so much. I really do try and be there for him as much as possible but I work FT and have 3 children, I do feel I've been neglecting him lately. The thought of him sitting in a cold house with no food wasn't an option. Just wish I could wave a wand.

Also now that he has been deemed fit to work I think his money worries are going to get worse. If he isn't proving he is looking for work it effect his JSA.

HollyBerryBush Wed 13-Feb-13 17:24:22

I'd rather give him cash than have him steal it.

Addiction can make thieves of the nicest people to feed their addiction.

there is nothing you an do or say to stop his addiction. He knows its controlling his life but he has to want to stop and seek the appropriate help.

I do feel for you

ChewinTheFat Wed 13-Feb-13 17:24:46

Thanks MrsTP. I will look into the DAAT. It'd a small village I'm in with not many services.

ChewinTheFat Wed 13-Feb-13 17:27:51

hollyberrybush he has said in the past he has thought of shoplifting. I'd rather give him the cash than him resort to that, although for all I know he has already. I know he hates asking me for money, he only does when he is really desperate sad

Remember the rock bottom though. Don't let him emotionally blackmail you. It's a rough situation. I know interventions are a bit American, but you could get the family together and see if a united front could help. You need some services or rehab to be a carrot for that stick though.

aldiwhore Wed 13-Feb-13 22:16:39

Once I can understand. If it becomes regular you're doing him no favours whichever way you look at it.

I'm not actually sure what you can do. Feed him, give him a place to stay? I don't know. I would have done the same.

The reason there are so many fall outs between family members when one had an addiction (or has simply hit self destruct) is because everyone has a different view of the best thing, from tough love to keeping things as normal as possible. You need real help and advice, I doubt you'll find any more than you're getting through your GP.

There surely must be a forum or society/charity online that you can access for help (my FIL has Alzheimer's, the Alzheimer's society has been wonderful... different situation, family just as lost).

That £20 will not be the £20 that kills him, nor will it be the £20 that saves him... you cannot 'enable' someone who's already doing what they're doing, they'll do it anyway. I think you can help him with research, and give him your time, if you can. Ultimately he'll have to help himself, but you can help him find him a path.

Please don't kick yourself. Blaming others never helped anyone, but I understand your sister's viewpoint. I've been you and your sister over the years regarding my brother.

aldiwhore Wed 13-Feb-13 22:19:38

My brother lives in a small village, a long way away from me... I'd give him money to get to the nearest help, but he'd buy booze with it. I'd buy his shopping, he'd swap it for beer. He does a lot of fishing, even if he has no money, he'll sell the fish he catches (and annoyingly he's bloody successful).

I agree with Mrs Terry Pratchett regarding a UNITED FRONT. You have to, as a family, find the family stance you can all live with.

ChewinTheFat Wed 13-Feb-13 23:05:49

Thank you for all advice. We've fallen out many times in the past because of my total frustration which I know isn't a help at all but sometimes I think why should I help when he doesn't want to help himself. The phone calls in the middle of the night from hospital and having to get my children up to go and pick him up etc. it goes much deeper but probably a whole other thread. I love him to bits but 20 years later and no one has got anywhere with regard to actual positive treatment.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now