Wednesday, January 4, 2012

walking away

Most of us like to have a drop of an alcoholic drink at times, and unfortunately there are some that like to have a whole lot more than they should. My brother is one of them.

My brother is an alcoholic.

He is having a really hard time. Attempted suicide twice in the past 4 months. A cry for help. But won't accept the right help, or admit there is an issue. I have done some reading over the years to see what I can do. And there is nothing more I can do.

My brother was sent to rehab, and detox after being in trouble with the law. It was either that or jail. He mixed with the wrong crowd in there, and the first day of weekend free time, he went to the pub with a few of the other recovering alcoholics. He was kicked out on the street.

I am proud of my brother for building a life for himself after being kicked out, but the drink turned into the same story as we have all read as a family over the years. My mum was his lifeline. He worked for her, and was drinking, but never enough for him to hurt himself or others. When mum passed away, a part of my brother died too.

I love my brother. I care about him. And I am lost in what to do next. He has no home. He has no rental reference. He is violent when he drinks. I cannot put myself, and more importantly my children at risk.

How do you help someone that does not want to be helped. How do you make them go and get the help they need. How do you show someone that you love them without holding their hand all the time?

I told him I love him. I told him I am here for him. But I don't know if that is enough.

How do you help an alcoholic that does not want to be helped. How do you help a family of 3 that has completely fallen apart from the loss of their mum. How do I keep the promise I made to my mum to hold us together when they don't want to be held together?

A new year and so many questions, and questions that may have no answer. Maybe the answer has already been said. Maybe I have done all I can. I just don't want disappointment from the promise I made to my mum.

We all walk in a different direction.

*I do apologise if this post is a bit full on. It is full on. It is scary. But posting this might help someone else in some way, or it might help me find the answer. That is the beautiful thing about writing. You get it out. You see what you feel in words, and sometimes the words are not as messy as you believed they were in your head.


  1. I have tears :( And lots of love, but no advice. Except I think your Mum would totally understand that sometimes you can't keep a promise, no matter how much you want to. She would want you to take care of you and your beautiful little people first. xo

  2. Unfortunately, you are not alone in this battle. My brother-in-law is also an (undiagnosed) alcoholic. He drinks day-in, day-out. I want to love him, as I know I should, but his attitude angers me. I can't stand to be around him - mostly for the smell of stale alcohol and cigarettes.
    It must be tough, trying to keep the promise you made to your mother. But people who aren't prepared to be helped, can't be helped. And people who don't want to change, can't.
    Good luck, lovely lady :)

  3. Oh lovely girl. My brother was an addict. It was awful. We had to walk away too but kept the lines of communication going and eventually he decided to make a good go of getting clean and he did for a while. In the last few months his wife left him for another and has almost full custody of their four kids cos of the hours he works and his wish that they stay at their family home. I worry so much he'll slip into old habits. There's nothing you can do beyond letting them know you love them but you cannot put your family at risk. If you offer financial help you know that's going to be spent in the wrong way. We used to deliver food packages or pay for his counsellor directly so we knew those things were being covered. To walk away totally is not something I was ready to do but I can see why people would. Thinking of you lovely and I hope your brother finds peace. Much love. Xxx

  4. So I don't have the answer, but sending love and thinking of you x x

  5. xxx it is very hard to help someone, unless they want help themselves, with the exception of being sanctioned by law, it is pretty impossible, sadly. Even then, they can only hold someone for so long! It is very sad, especially when it is someone you love so much. It is so hard when they can't see the light.

    You would know from your history with an ED, that you need to accept that you need help and that you want help, before you can start recovering! I think the same goes with alcoholism..

    i am sorry to read this post, but I am glad that you have shared it. x

  6. Donna Seen (donnagem)January 4, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Wow! You just never know what troubles and traumas people are facing every day. This is a big one but I can tell by the words you've placed here, that your caring is limitless, your courage is perched ready to take off when needed and your understanding and tolerance is a testament to your strong character. It's never easy to try and hold someone, or others, together when they're fighting with every piece of themselves to tear themselves apart, within themselves and from their strongest support. There may never be a positive outcome to this situation, as sad as that concept is to face, but you can be sure that if he wakes to himself and makes the turn around that's needed, that he will always remember and give thanks for the love and support, unconditional and forgiving, that his sister gave! Your Mum would know that you are doing what you can to honour her request but more than that, she will want you and the kids to be protected. They are your number one, right alongside yourself and your Mum wouldn't have had it any other way! I wish you smiles as this situation progresses!

  7. Firstly I'm sure your Mum would not want you or your children to be in any danger by carrying through on your promise. Please don't ever question your natural instinct to protect your little ones or yourself.
    If your brother is not ready or willing to help himself yet then is your help really 'help' or just enablement? the best way to show your love may just be to stop holding his hand. I hope that doesn't sound harsh.
    I kind of get it. I have 4 brothers and all 4 of them self medicate and are dependant on alcohol to a certain degree. One in particular I would say is an undiagnosed alcoholic. But a highly functioning one. There but for the grace of God go I. I don't drink much, partly due to fear. I'm addicted to other things instead.
    Follow your heart and take care of you.
    SeeK advise from Al-Anon maybe? Just take care of you and trust your Mum would want you to do so xoxo

  8. So sad reading your latest post. I agree with what has been written to you. Thinking of you and your little people xxxx

  9. Oh my love, that is one of the hardest of all of life's hardships. I don't think we can help others if they don't want o help themselves... But we've got to never give up trying, right? x

    PS - drop Edenland an email... She will ave the most insight on this topic of anyone I know.

  10. Sorry to hear this :( Alcoholism is such a horrible thing. It took my fathers life, and recently I separated from my partner of 10 years due to his addiction to drink. It was one of the hardest decision's I have had to make, but with a beautiful new baby boy, I had to put my son first! My ex would become violent, abusive and a very different person whilst drunk... He still drinks, does not see it as a problem in his life and is not a responsible role model for our beautiful little boy! People have told me to go to alanon meetings etc, but I think we all have choices, when your choices are hurting the people that love you, it's a selfish way to live. Hopefully your brother, my ex and sadly many others will realize this and change there life for the better! My favourite tune to help me through is: ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE! Thankyou for sharing YOU ROCK :)

  11. First of all, you are such a strong brave gal ... your mum would be beaming with pride that is for sure ♥

    You may have heard of a group called Al- anon
    If you haven't I think it may be a good "starting" point for you

    It is awful that helpless feeling... but what is worst is that feeling of, have I lost my brother, of is he STILL in there somewhere... gosh I know that feeling.

    I wish you the best of warm wishes with you & your brother.


  12. Stay strong, you cannot help someone who doesn't want help, hopefully one day your brother will get to that point. Look after youself and your little ones. Al-anon has been mentioned a few times, it will give you the tools to understand alcoholism and how to detach from it so as you can get on with your lives. Love and prayers to you, your little ones and your brother. xoxo

  13. Life only delivers to us what we can cope with and you have clearly done just that, you have showed your love and your mother would see that and love you all the more for it regardless of the outcome xx

  14. hugs lovely girl, sorry to hear this is going on.
    i have an inlaw who is an "undiagnosed" alcoholic & gambler.
    you can't help them unless they want to be helped...I don't know what anyone can do to convince them unless they actually hurt someone else or themselves in the process.

    big hugs, be strong ♥

  15. Its a hard juggle. Wanting to help someone who doesnt say out aloud that they want to be helped is a tough role for a sibling - you don't have the same relationship as a parent would but you are still so invested in them being OK. One of the better places I've been involved with over the years is family drug support (Tony Trimingham is a amazing - as well as ARAFMI ( talk to some other family members walking the same path as you. I also like the ramblings of Graham Long from Wayside Chapel he really understands people who feel they have nowhere else to turn. I get his weekly emails - they shed light on places I hadnt thought about.
    The challange for you is the need to always be available in case your brother reaches out for your help as well as trying to reach him when he might not want to be reached. I wish there were easier solutions x

  16. I wish I had an answer, or something that could give you some hope or peace. I think you've done the right thing by telling him that you love him. But you can't put yourself or your family at risk. Love from afar is still love, right? Of course, it's easy for me to say that. I'm wishing you some peace, and for your brother also.

  17. This is so tough Hayley and I certainly don't have the answers. But, stay strong and trust your instincts with regards to your kids. Once again a very brave post!

  18. I can relate to this first hand, it's heartbreaking beyond words & I wish you & your family all the best. It's true, you can't help someone who doesn't want help, but you can always be there to offer your love & support when they let you in. You won't let your mum down, she'll know that the love you have is unconditional, and that's the best you can do..x

  19. Sadly, with any addiction, there's nothing you can do for them unless they want to kick the habit. I've learnt this myself. All you can do is offer support but if they become a danger to you or your children you have to let go. It is so hard, especially with all you have been through as a family. Good luck xx



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