My brother in law is an alcoholic. He has tried to quit- did the inpatient program for 5 days (until insurance ran out), did outpatient counseling, goes to AA meetings, and has tried Antabuse. He cannot stop. He has been involved in 2 DUI's-the first he lost his license for a couple months, and the second his lawyer got him off. It has gotten so bad he goes to work, but leaves late morning, buys vodka, drinks, passes out, buys more, etc until it is time to go home. My sister is petrified. She has tried to help him (dole out his Antabuse and vitamins in the morning, control how much $ he has on hand) but it is uncontrollable. He keeps talking about killing himself, if only he had life insurance that would pay if he did. He says he wants to quit but just can't. I want so much to help, and have given the best advice I can, but I am wondering if any of you have any thought on this. They are at rock bottom and every day my sister wonders if this will be the day that everything blows up in their faces. Oh yeah, his boss at work knows what is going on and had a meeting with him and my sister. He is willing to give brother in law another chance but if he is found to be drinking on the job again (which by the way he was today, but not caught) then he will be fired. My sis is a stay at home Mom without many marketable skills. They pay bills on a month by month basis with no savings to speak of. Any advice? Words of wisdom? Please help!
Jul 27, '01
Blue Bear, I sent you a private email in reply because I saw that button before the "reply" button for this page. It's been a while since I've been here and I couldn't even figure out how to log in for 10 minutes. Lord, maybe it's the hour (late)....or maybe I'm getting dumber! Read your private email. Much love, Scarpetta
Jul 28, '01
Very well said, Wildtime. I used to work drug & alcohol rehab, and all of the things you said took me back to those emotionally draining days.
There are 2 people who need help in this situation. You cannot help your brother in law, period. He has to do it himself. It is always a sad thing when co-dependents realize that they are not enough. Your focus now has to be your sister. Like Wildtime said, help her get some skills, take her to some co-dependency meetings, and help her prepare for what is to come.
Drugs & alcohol kill people, and it's a sad thing. But what is even more devastating is the aftermath it leaves behind with the addicts' loved ones. Help your sister NOW!
Jul 28, '01
I totally agree with the above posts. Your focus needs to be on your sister. Get her to Alanon meetings! Don't let him take her down with him. The path he is on is leading to jail or death. She needs to run for her life. She can still be supportive, but only from a distance. I know it's hard when you really care about somebody, but it's time for some tough love. I can tell by the way you speak of him that he probably has a good soul. But, he needs to help himself--AA meetings, therapy for the obvious underlying depression and suicidal thoughts, and medication if appropriate. If a doctor declares him as being temporarily disabled due to his alcoholism, they cannot fire him while he is in treatment.
It's all up to your brother-in-law. Pray like crazy and give it up to God. It's out of your hands.
Jul 29, '01
Get her to/go with her to Alanon. Ask her to commit to 5 meetings before she decides it is not for her. Call the number in the telephone book so that someone will walk up to her and and ask her if this is her first meeting and help her to transition into the meeting group. Do not insist she must leave him or abandon him and save herself. She has to figure out what is right for her.
She can call her husband's employee EAP for assistance and see if they will be of help her to her. Her husband's employer is enabling him, as she is. Believe me it is all too easy to do and the classic example is that his employer manages to not notice that he is drunk at work so that he (the employer) can keep sending home a check to the guy's wife (and kids). I believe the concept of "raising the bottom" can make a difference: which means that the guy has to know that alot is at stake: job, marriage, etc. However, those things cannot be at stake until they are at stake. And that means the employer, the wife and whoever else has to mean it when they say, "If you don't get help, we'll......"
Her husband needs more than a 5 day program and now that he has failed a 5 day program, that might be apparent to someone. 5 day programs aren't useful to many people that I know (except insurers, who can say, "we tried."). In 5 days, it would be hard to get past anyone's denial, especially if they aren't fully detoxed.
If your sis is reluctant to leave, the Rx is Alanon and vocational training. She's going to need it.
It is hard to watch someone you love go through this.
Jul 29, '01
BlueBear: I am sorry about this situation. I know from working in a Detox Unit that it is his decision to change his life and stop drinking. However, there may be underlying issues and a really good therapist might be able to help bring them out. It's certainly worth a try. Otherwise, the alcoholic might not turn around until he/she has lost everything and then, starting over is a very difficult road full of temptation to drink again. He needs objective support. I agree his wife should contact Alanon. Church and prayer help in a lot of cases. God Bless.
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