Addiction, Suicide & Holidays
I have a brother who is 26 and has been suffering alcoholism for about 5 years now. It began when his father died.
I have tried everything to help him, and I thought he hit bottom after he rolled his car 4 times, breaking his leg and 6 of his ribs. He was required to go to jail for a few days and to do a treatment program as well as AA. I talked to him about his experience and he said it was good but AA was "stupid".
Shortly after that, he began drinking again and continues to do so from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed.
My mother is also an alcoholic, but not as bad. She is an enabler. She has been "taking care" of my brother since his alcoholism began.
I am the closest person in his life and I still haven't been able to help. I have tried being angry, upset, and helpful and nothing has worked.
He has attempted suicide once before and threatens it all the time. He told me directly, "I just want to kill myself. I want to fall asleep and never wake up."
This concerns me because his grandmother overdosed on an entire bottle of sleeping pills two years ago. I am very concerned for his life.
On another note, I am having him and my mother over for Easter. Should I tell him there is no drinking allowed at all? Should I put him on a limit? I do not want him to be drunk when he is here. I just don't know what to do. I am worried that if I tell him he can't drink, then he will not come at all. Please help.
You are in a particularly difficult situation because you seem to be parenting both your mother and your brother.
There is very little that you can do about your mother enabling him, and this does not help your brother. It seems at this point, that your brother has no intention to stop drinking. He feels
stuck, and he hates himself for this, but he can get help if he wanted to.
When someone threatens suicide they feel desperate, and because of the family history you're right to be concerned. It may be helpful to speak to your family doctor and see if he can be mandated into treatment or psychiatric services due to his mental and physical condition.
It's also extremely important that you do not enable him in anyway. I know this is hard to do because you care for him and he's blackmailed you by the possibility of suicide, but still you must.
It would also be helpful for you to go to Al-Anon meetings and speak to other members. All the members are in similar situations and you can develop a support system of people you can call on when it gets tough.
As for Easter: What it was Easter like last year? Was he drunk? Was he rude? History has a way of repeating itself.
Neither telling him not to drink nor setting a limit will be helpful, because as you know he simply won't come. It's your decision. If you want him and there are others invited, tell them that your brother has a drinking problem and he will probably get drunk.
If you think that he will disrupt the party, tell him that although you love him and want him there, it would be too embarrassing if he gets drunk. Leave it up to him. Tell him, if he doesn't drink he's welcome, but if he thinks he can't do it, you'll bring him the left-overs when the party's over.
The goal is to make the day the best it can be --given the difficult circumstances.
Keep demanding that he gets help, and tell him that you'll be there for him when he does. He knows where the meetings are so he can go to them if he chooses. He can also go to counseling or rehab. You can point him in the right direction, but unfortunately he's the only one who can change his behavior.