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Alcoholic brother. How can I help him(8 Posts)
Thankyou lovely people in advance for reading, this might be long and rambly!
My younger brother is in his early thirties, and I would say for at least the last ten years has had a problem with drink. I am also fairly convinced he is depressed. He has had awful eczema since his childhood, and had terrible skin as a teenager, and I think the combination has just destroyed his self esteem, but he doesn't look after himself, go the GP about it, or talk about it. Me and him are so close but even though we have spoken about his drinking (about 5 years ago) he's never spoken to me about his skin condition, even though we are incredibly close and open about a lot of things.
His drinking has caused endless problems over the years, and these are just the ones I know about. A drink driving conviction, lost jobs, no money to his name. Failed relationships too. He's with someone now but not particularly happy with her for various reasons, and I think he's biding his time until he can afford to rent somewhere on his own. He did stop for about 6months during his last long term relationship at her insistence and with some support, but when they split he started again. When jobs or girlfriends have gone wrong in the past he's ended up back at our mums, which has been a source of tension amongst all of us as there has been times when he has drank nearly everything in her booze cupboard (which she rarely touches, but she had some fairly valuable whiskeys and sentimental bottles, plus sloe gin/blackberry whiskey she had been making) she hasn't spoken to him about this, but has told me. Partly we all blame ourselves for not having the courage to raise things like this with him, which would be horrible but might force the issue into the open.
I'm increasingly worried about his physical health and his emotional well-being. He looks terrible, I've seen him with the shakes in the mornings, and I know he's not taking care of himself. I'm posting this now as we saw him at the weekend (he lives about 80miles from me at the moment so we only see him rarely although we speak most weeks) and he turned up absolutely rat arsed and barely coherent.
I don't know how to help him. I know he needs to help himself first and foremost and it needs to come from him, I just want him to
see some value in himself again. I love him so much, he's so, so funny, and intelligent, and is an incredible writer. My kids adore their uncle and love spending time with him. When I have had shit times he's always been there to listen and to help as much as he could. I'm scared he will drink himself to death or will end up in such a low place that he will end things. Any advice any of you brave people can give me would be so welcome.
I'm so sorry to read this, OP. You cannot tame this beast although you can provide the scaffolding for him to drag himself up by.
Signpost him.to AA, GP etc. Tell him you'll always love him. That is literally all you can do.
Really sorry for you but you can not help him.
It might help you to get intouch with Al-anon, you don't have to go to a meeting to begin with you can just give them a ring and talk to someone.
For your brother you can give him this link.
Again he could ring the number instead of just walking straight into a meeting.
But don't hold your breath he'll do anything.
The 3 Cs:
You didn’t cause it
You can’t control it
You cannot cure it.
Please go to Al Anon op, you will find help and support for yourself there.
Thankyou lovely people. I will look at al anon this evening and try to construct an email or letter to him urging him to consider getting some help.
In case it helps, I actually dont know anyone with a substance abuse issue who doesn't have a co-occurring mental health condition. And usually the condition predates the addiction.
Me: sober (ish) but major depressive disorder. I'm good now on a shit-load of drugs...
Friends × 4 : functioning alcoholics also with MDD.
Friend x 2: bipolar, one also with adult ADHD, both with substance abuse issues. It's very obvious to me with one of them, but he is undiagnosed and chooses evangelical religion rather than actual help. I actually want to lamp him
I dont know what I'm trying to say here except that you are probably right that he is depressed. Skin conditions can destroy adolescents. I will ship mine off for roaccutane/ steroids/ anything if it happens to them.
Thankyou shoes. I hope you're having happy and peaceful days at the moment. I agree, in my experience addictions of any kind go hand in hand with mental health problems, self medicating against the pain and emptiness I think, or an attempt to distract from it. I think I'm going to write to him, as frankly and honestly as I can, and try not to sound like a bossy big sister. I don't judge him, I've been medicated for depression for years and I know how hideous it is. Sending love to you for your battles too
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