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Can I have a hand-hold? Sister has drinking/MH problems.

(5 Posts)
FetaCompli Tue 06-Sep-16 10:47:38

Have NCed for this as it's probably quite outing. My sister is in her early thirties, married her DP of several years last year, no kids. A few months ago it emerged that she'd cheated on him, and since then their relationship has (understandably) fallen apart.

She has a history of MH problems which had appeared to be under control, but since this has happened she's gotten a lot worse. She's self-harming, has taken two overdoses (thankfully no lasting damage as yet), is drinking to the point that she is incapable of keeping herself safe. I'm terrified of what could happen. She is very selective about what she tells me, which makes it hard for me to support her. She has some friends who enable her drinking and it has recently emerged that she's involved in what appears to be risky sexual activity, and has been talking about it online. I'm trying to make sure this doesn't get back to my parents, who would be very upset.

We have discussed rehab, and she made some initial enquiries, but I don't know what the next steps are, and I recognise it's not a magic cure.

Her STBXH is concerned for her health and appears to be trying to care for her, but also wants to move on. She has friends who want to help her, but she's selective about what she tells people, and seeks out enablers when she wants to drink. I'm trying my best to help, but have a young baby which means I can't always be physically there for her.

I don't know what to do. I'm scared I might lose my sister. I don't recognise this person. Is there any support for families of people with drinking/complex MH problems?

hellsbellsmelons Tue 06-Sep-16 14:29:13

You could start with Al Anon.
They help people who have family members who are alcoholics.
Contact them on-line as well and see if they can give you contact details for local support services.
I'm sorry this is happening to your DSis.
All you can do is be there when she needs you and lets you in.
Could you get her to her GP?
She needs meds and referral but only she can agree to do it.

3BagsFull Wed 07-Sep-16 14:59:55

From reading your post, I think alcoholism is only one part of a fairly complex MH situation. It's more like a symptom than the core problem, but, being by far the easiest to identify, it is easy to single out as such.

The self-harming, risky and extreme behaviour, overdoses, addiction etc. point to a personality disorder or manic depression, but I'm no MH expert (only an educated MH sufferer). Your sister needs a psychiatrist, and you, dear OP, needs to see a counsellor for the sake of your own stability.

If your sister's state can justify it, she could be sectioned - I know this sounds awful but after two overdoses I wouldn't risk a third...

flowers to you for being such a caring sister!

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 07-Sep-16 15:10:32

The 3cs re alcoholism:-
You did not cause it
You cannot control it
You cannot cure it

You can only help your own self ultimately and one way to do that is to contact Al-anon.

You cannot act as a rescuer or saviour in any relationship. Your sister does not want your help or support and as her sister you are way under qualified to do so. You need to remain as her sister. I reiterate that you can only help your own self here. She does not want rehab and instead adopts risky behaviours. She is not serious about wanting to help her own self and may never do so.

SusieQwhereareyou Wed 07-Sep-16 16:55:48

My sister has borderline personality disorder, and suffers from depression and anxiety. She also uses alcohol to vary degrees of risk, but this is very much a symptom of her mental health problems, not the problem itself, although of course over so many years they become intertwined. My sister is also in her early 30s. I also have an alcoholic ex husband, so I know how frustrating it is when you want to help and provide support, and you feel powerless.

Ultimately, all you can do with your sister is be there for her, and let her know no matter what you will be there. This is very important for my sister as she can be very destructive and she worries about pushing people away. You can't make her get help. I couldn't carry on providing support to my ex because the dynamics of our relationship were very unhealthy, but it was the same thing - I couldn't make him get help, and his partner now can't either, and she tries far harder than I ever did.

I don't have anything constructive to say really, but your post really resonated with me and so I wanted to respond.

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