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I think my alcoholic DB is drinking again.(21 Posts)
One of my DB's used to be an alcoholic. It was awful, back in the days when he was drinking loads he would fall in the street, phone ambulances and claim he'd been beaten up, he fought with my parents, during one fight I saw him lunge at my mother with a knife, at one new years party he almost fell over, pissed onto a sleeping baby in a buggy.
He stopped quite a few years ago after the doctor told him he would die if he kept drinking. It has affected his brain in some way and he is now very childlike, so always seems quite harmless, if a little irritating.
DS and my nieces/nephews love him.
However, a little over 12 months ago (I think), he was drinking again. He sought help from the GP and we thought he was back on track.
However, I recently became friends on facebook with someone I went to school with and he now works with my brother. His cover pic is a picture of them all on a works do back in August and my brother is there, drink in hand.
I had a bit of a panic and ended up looking at the other pics (I know I shouldn't have) and he has a drink in his hand in all of them.
I sent him a text and asked him about these pics and he said he "was holding his mates drink for him". I dont believe this, he just looks pissed and if he is holding his mates drink he mustve been holding it all night as he has a drink in every picture he is in, whether in the picture or the background.
I have been worried sick about this all night, I barely slept and I can't talk to anyone about this as my mum is dealing with having inoperable lung cancer and she's enough on her plate as it is, one of my other DBs hasnt long discovered he will be paralysed for the rest of his life and is having trouble coming to terms with that (understandably) and DH doesnt understand.
Supporting my mum and my brother is so hard and now that I also have this on my mind I feel like Im cracking. Its too much.
I just feel like Im trying to hold everyone together but its all just falling apart.
Has anyone here been through anything similar? Or can anyone recommend some kind of support I can access about my DB's alcoholism?
As I know I have no concrete proof he's drinking, maybe he was holding his mates drink but I just know he is lying. I know it in my heart, and as this is the one thing I can't talk about with my family I need to talk it out somewhere.
I think it's Al-Anon who support families of alcoholics (?) My sister is a 'dry' alcoholic. She had serious problems for a number of years, but had to get to her personal low to want to stop. She has been ok for a few years now. It's very hard, but not much you can actually do IME.
I don't know if I can be any help but I didn't want to read and run. In my limited experience of people who have a drinking problem, I have found that they will lie an awful lot and so your instinct is probably right IMO.
It sounds as though you feel responsible for this, which is understandable (many of us do) but actually it is very well documented and understood that no one can do anything to stop an alcoholic from drinking, except the person themself.
In other words, you didn't cause it, and you can't control it and I can't remember the other bit. But you get my drift.
If your brother is aware of the risks and continues to drink regardless, that is his decision. You must remain aware of that and never try and coerce him or persuade him to stop.
That's all I can offer except for a shed load of sympathy; others on here will be a lot wiser.
I think what I mean is, you have got a lot to cope with. You are not responsible for stopping him from drinking. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it, so, in that sense, take it off your shoulders and put it down on the floor in a safe place, and continue with what you were doing.
It sounds as though your Mum and your other brother are in a bad place right now - do you feel as though it would be wrong to tell them what you know? It must be very hard to carry that burden all by yourself.
Try contacting Al-anon for support if you feel unable to share it with your mum and other brother. You need support too for all of the things that are going on around you.
Like a pp said. You didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. You absolutely are not responsible for him stopping drinking.
I'm so sorry you are going through this. Do you have anyone else in real life who can support you? And please speak to Al anon.
My dad was an alcoholic and the repercussions of the drinking are lies are so far reaching. You have my every sympathy x
Thanks for the replies I will try al-anon.
pip my DB had an accident earlier this year and is now paralysed, this was confirmed at the beginning of Oct. He cannot cope with it at all and calls my mum multiple times a day from the hospital he is in to cry tell her his life isnt worth living if he cannot walk again. We have finally got some sort of counselling for him to help him come to terms with this but its taken a hell of a toll on my mums health on top of her own diagnosis. Carrying all this by myself is hard but will probably kill my mother.
I think you need to triage this. You cannot possibly support all of these people. So the priority is: your own family, mum, paralysed brother, yourself, drunk brother.
It honestly isn't worth your energy - if he drinks, he drinks. You know the 3 Cs?
- you didn't cause it
- you can't control it
- you can't cure it
Al Anon will help you get some perspective on it and learn to detach with love. All you can do is keep him away from your kids from about 11 a.m. onwards.
Overall the amount of stress you are dealing with sounds unmanageable. What is it that your DH 'doesn't understand' about the fact your mum has inoperable lung cancer? Or is that he (correctly) thinks you shouldn't be torturing yourself about this particular brother? Can you talk to your GP about accessing some counselling? The wheels are going to come off very quickly if you find the strain intolerable - and anyone would under the circs.
Very sorry to read about your family's troubles.
I would talk to Al-anon on 020 7403 0888 as they are helpful to friends or family members of problem drinkers.
Your DB is still an alcoholic; there is no "used to be" here.
You can only help your own self here; you are not responsible for him although you likely think that you are.
Good point, Attila, I meant to say the same - there is no 'used to be' about alcoholism, it is always present. You don't get better.
Again, thank you all. I know I have to find a way to detach from him but I feel I cant give up on him, however I know that I have to work on seeing his problem as his problem and not make it mine but it feels impossible at the moment.
tripbot with DH, I just meant that as supportive as he's been through all of this, I dont think he can begin to understand the difficulties of my brothers alcoholism as DB was 'sober' in all the time I've been with DH, iyswim.
Sorry Im not being very clear, I find it difficult to articulate this sometimes.
I see what you mean, Livin - he doesn't really 'get' how devastating your DB's return to active drinking is likely to be. Honestly, all that you can do is keep him away from your house and family. It's not a question of giving up on him, it's a question of prioritisation and putting your resources where they can do the most good. You cannot help your brother. These are his choices.
My late uncle was an alcoholic. He died in his 60s after a heart attack- fortunately he was visiting one of the few friends he had left by then and so an ambulance was called straight away and we have the small comfort that every effort was made to save him.
I cannot begin to list the lies that he told to cover up drinking. He lived a long way (over 150 miles) from others in the family, having moved to a new job after his divorce. Even so his behaviour caused a lot of pain in the family.
I wish we had known about Al-Anon and hope they can be of some support to you.
Take care of yourself, first and foremost.
You have a lot going on, and you won't be able to function let alone help anyone else if you keep putting their concerns first, and end up drowning.
Make sure you have time to eat, sleep, exercise, maintain a hobby, and regular time with good friends. Everything else comes second to that - you know the adage about putting your own oxygen mask on first.
Your brother's drinking and its consequences are his own problem to handle.
Sorry about your uncle saints.
I try and get to the gym as often as I can and spend time with my family/friends ricekrispie but sometimes its hard, Im just so tired. Supporting my mum/DB and all from almost 200 miles away, working a full time job and keeping my own family going takes up a lot of my time. If it wasnt for DH I wouldve combusted.
re your comment:-
"Again, thank you all. I know I have to find a way to detach from him but I feel I cant give up on him, however I know that I have to work on seeing his problem as his problem and not make it mine but it feels impossible at the moment"
That not giving up on him idea is co-dependency; it often goes hand in hand with alcoholism. You cannot afford at all to put his needs above yours. Read up on this and you will learn more. You have to start by helping your own self first and detach further from him. You cannot help anyone who does not want to be helped and as his sister what can you do to help him?. You with all due respect cannot help him, only he can help his own self and any will to change has to come from him.
Setting and maintaining boundaries like keeping him away from your home and family life would be a good start. Talking to Al-anon would also be very helpful.
Alcoholism is truly a family disease; the alcoholic is not the only one affected by any means.
You know that bit in the safety announcement on the plane when they tell you to don your own mask before helping others? It's because if you've passed out you can't help anyone else.
You're obviously a compassionate person who cares deeply about her family but unless you look after yourself too you're not going to be able to support them.
Your priority I think is yourself and your mum. Your brother who is paralysed needs love and support but he also needs the counselling - you can't make him come to terms with it, he has to do that.
And your brothers drinking... Well that's the thing you can do nothing about - only he can stop. This year has been traumatic for you all - do you think that's triggered the drinking?
A very unmumsnetty hug to you. You can't fix everything and everyone- all you can do is make the most of your time with your mum. Self care isn't selfish, so be kind to yourself
Al Anon is brilliant - I highly recommend it.
Some fantastic advice here.
Agree with Atilla, please don't look at distancing yours from your alcoholic db as giving up on him. For him to get himself better, you HAVE to distance yourself!
Aside from that he's the one that has chosen to fuck up his sobriety again, his other db, and his DM haven't had much say in their situations. Rest assured though if they could do something to alleviate their horrendous situations they would.
Get some support for yourself, first and foremost. THEN offer what you can to your mum and paralysed brother.
Your own family and you are of equal importance, you can balance it all, with their support. Your drunk brother needs to sort himself out. He knows this.
I'm angry at him on your behalf.
I've had a good think about the advice here and you are right, distancing myself from him/his drinking is the right thing to do. He texted me last night out of the blue to say that he had one drink that night and he hasnt had one since, he promises. Right now, his promises/words don't mean shit to me, hes just proved he can lie to me too easily (Thursday he was adamant he was holding a friends drink).
I juat texted back that right now Im having difficulty believing him, hes already lied to me over and over and I need some space to process this, so please stop contacting me for now as its too much for me. I will be in touch with him when I am ready.
skipton, he doesnt know about my mums cancer. My mum is still trying to keep it as much of a secret as she can and only me, DH, DB3 and his wife, her best friend and my aunt and uncle (and MN ).
As she doesnt want it getting back to my grandad as it will upset him too much or my DB2 as he wouldnt cope and might start drinking again, and tell my grandad. Fucked up isnt it?
She has quite a few problems with her legs and has so far managed to pass off her treatment/illnesses on this.
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