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Alcoholism Advice needed urgently

(28 Posts)
PrivatelyPeaceful Sun 27-Jan-13 20:58:13

My DB is an alcoholic. If he doesn't get some help soon then he is not only going to self destruct, but also lose access to his children. Yet he is in denial that alcohol is a real problem for him, on the basis that he can go weeks/ months without a drink.

He is very high functioning, with a good job and a new relationship. Over the past 5 years there have been 3 major incidents involving alcohol where the consequences have been serious. most of the time though he drinks on and off and 'gets away with it' (ie no serious repercussions).

He drinks very heavily in social situations and will down a bottle of wine in a flash. he holds a huge amount of drink well, but then seems suddenly totally out of it.

Please can someone help give me some links/ info about different types of alcoholism that will help persuade my db that he has a problem.

there is always a residual worry with him that he could drink on any given day, and not be able to stop and do something really irresponsible eg decide to smoke indoors and set fire to the place.

not a good feeling, to know that a family member has that potential.

please help. something happened this week which should've been a wake up call for him, but he is still denying there is a problem.

any advice? sad

NanTheWiser Sun 27-Jan-13 22:26:00

Belgian, I'm sorry you are going through this, (and anyone else affected by an alcoholic partner). My experience was over 30 years ago, I had a 4 yo daughter at the time. In some ways I was fortunate that he left me (disappeared one weekend, not for the first time, but I vowed it would be the last), and I was determined he would never return. Like you, I found hoards of empties after he'd gone, and his family thought I was the most hard-hearted person alive, but you learn "tough love".
He became a vagrant, living rough for some time, in trouble with police etc. and also spent time living with his mother - she finally saw the light when he trashed her house. Occasionally he would turn up at my door dishevelled and filthy, so I would let him in and wash his clothes before turning him out again. That was hard, I can tell you.
Eventually he ended up in some sort of sheltered accommodation, and managed to live some sort of life, although he still drank. My daughter was put in touch with him when she was 16, but found him hard going. Then he became ill, and finally died of throat cancer 15 years ago, at 55.
I wish you the very best of luck for the future - you will be so much better off without him. For me, it was as if a huge black cloud had lifted when he went, and I found strength to bring my daughter up alone, and get on with my life.

Snorbs Sun 27-Jan-13 22:32:31

There is no clear and universally agreed definition of "alcoholic" versus "alcohol dependent" versus "alcohol abuse". And, frankly, it's not that important a distinction from your point of view.

If you want to address this issue with him then do. Wait until he's sober and not just after some booze-fuelled drama. Keep it short but to the point. He will likely deny, or obfuscate ("Sorry I'm not perfect!"), or attempt to divert attention away from his behaviour on to yours ("You can talk, you do x/y/z!") or other people's ("I wouldn't drink if I wasn't so stressed out by x/y/z!"). Tell him you'll discuss those issues another time but, for now, you want to talk to him about his drinking. In particular stress the results of his drinking.

The thing that it is difficult to come to grips with is that he's an adult. He's living the life he wishes to lead. You may feel that his life would be better if he made different choices, but that depends on what ones personal opinion is of "better". You think his life would be better if he didn't drink (or, at least, didn't drink to excess). He is probably thinking his life would be better if bad things didn't happen when he has been drinking or if he didn't lose control of how much he drinks.

In essence, you think he'd be better if he didn't drink. He wants to get better at drinking. That's a big gulf to cross.

The tragedy of it is that many people with alcohol problems only start to address them after bad things have already happened. While they can still convince themselves that there's been no really bad consequences or even if there have, that they've just had a bit of bad luck, they'll likely carry on as they are.

Wanttohelpbrother Mon 28-Jan-13 07:50:37

Privatelypeaceful - I don't have much advice other than to say that I am in a very similar position to you. My DB has had alcohol issues for several years. From time to time I get calls from his wife or his DMiL to say he has been on another bender or has disappeared. It s heartbreaking. Last weekend I got a call to say he had been arrested, as he had smashed the tv and was abusive to his DW. He was cautioned and is back home now. They don't have DCs like your DB, but his DW is at the end of her tether. Like your DB he is in denial, as he can go weeks or months without a drink. When not rinking he is absolutely lovely. He has just been promoted at work, so can function ok there. My DS ( he's a Dr) has found a centre locally where DB can be assessed and a treatment plan devised. It is run by an alcohol specialist nurse - there may be one near your DB? They run a clinic every week. Spoke to DB last night to check what they had advised and he said it would be 'difficult' for him to get there as it is one morning a week and he needs to be at work then.
I know all the advice is that they need to hit rock bottom before they will (maybe) want to help themselves, but it is so very very hard to sit back and do nothing.

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