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Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

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Old 09-05-2008, 07:09 AM   #16
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: MD, USA
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mike987 HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...


This is my opinion based on what you've written. Keep in my mind that I am not a professional counselor, and a lot of what I write is based on personal experience and conversations with addiction counselors.

First, I don't think you should cancel your vacation. It sounds like you could use the time away. I wouldn't rely on your brother to watch your cats because, based on what you've written, it's pretty clear the cats won't get taken of. Your nieces sound more reliable, so maybe you can depend on them. It's not clear to me why you're worried about your house.

I don't know if you've written how old your nieces are, but this doesn't sound like a real good environment to be living in. Especially if your brother is lending out their cars to strangers. But going back to what I said before, these are specific things you can point out to your brother, how his drinking is affecting others. You can't rely on him, and his daughters are fearful of the home situation.

In regard to the Al-Anon meetings. Someone had written they advocate a tough love approach. I'm not sure what this means. I do know that most counselors will talk about stopping enabling the addict. Usually this means not providing him or her the means to feed the addiction, like money, a place to stay, etc. I don't know if this is the case in your situation. However you try help your brother, though, it is just as important for you to help yourself. In the end, you can't change him, and you shouldn't let his problem rule your life.

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Old 09-05-2008, 08:31 AM   #17
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cmpgirl HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

Originally Posted by mike987 View Post
First, I don't think you should cancel your vacation. It sounds like you could use the time away. I wouldn't rely on your brother to watch your cats because, based on what you've written, it's pretty clear the cats won't get taken of. Your nieces sound more reliable, so maybe you can depend on them. It's not clear to me why you're worried about your house.
The reason that I am worried about my house is twofold. One, I know my brother has been letting people he doesn't even know, crash on his couches and in his spare bedroom. Some for days at a time. I don't think he would hesitate to offer my home to some of these people, while I am gone. He believes that all people are inherently good.

And two, Since I have learned that some of these people are heavily connected to dealing, etc., and I am a chronic pain patient with an emergency supply of medication (narcotics) that never leave my home, I have visions of coming home to find my house has been ransacked and my jewelry and meds gone. There are only a couple of people who even know that I take meds, but one of them is my brother and he is such a chatty cathy (even when sober) with complete strangers, I have no idea who he might have said anything to. We have a safe, but if you've ever been robbed, you know that is not always a deterrent to someone who is truly motivated.

I don't know if you've written how old your nieces are, but this doesn't sound like a real good environment to be living in.
Luckily, they are both in their early twenties and have places of their own. The younger ones car was at her father's house because his neighbor had done some maintainance/repairs on it for her.

...these are specific things you can point out to your brother, how his drinking is affecting others. You can't rely on him, and his daughters are fearful of the home situation.
I plan to tell him my concerns and that the girls will be doing it instead, but I am dreading this conversation. This is going to upset him even further. I am afraid if he knows that I don't trust his judgement, it will make him turn to the bottle even more. I know in my head that this is his problem and not within my control, but it doesn't make me feel much better about hurting him. He just did this for us when we went away for a couple of days in July. Although it was before this issue got so out of hand. It's going to turn into a very ugly scene and I really didn't want that in my head during my whole vacation. Unfortunately, if I still want to go, then I'm going to have to do it.

In regard to the Al-Anon meetings. Someone had written they advocate a tough love approach. I'm not sure what this means. I do know that most counselors will talk about stopping enabling the addict.
I am familiar with Al-Anon, because I have a very dear friend (who is now 16 years sober) that I sought out Al-Anon to help know how to deal with his addiction/alcoholism. I have great respect and admiration for the organization and have no problem with the "tough love" aspect of it.

However you try help your brother, though, it is just as important for you to help yourself. In the end, you can't change him, and you shouldn't let his problem rule your life
I know it's what I need to do. I guess my stress is more exagerated because I will be leaving for what is supposed to be a relaxing week and I know my head won't be in the most conducive place for that. It makes me feel like, "why bother to even go".

I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. I completely understand what, and agree with, what you are saying to me. I hope you don't feel that I'm being resistant to your suggestions/advice. I guess I'm just out of practice dealing with this, and it just came up so suddenly and at the worst possible time. (Not that there is ever a good time) Hubby has convinced me, since last night's post, that I just need to do this, get it out on the table, go on our trip and try my best not to let it dominate my week.

I will let you know how it all goes, when I have the chance. Again, thank you for listening and lending your support. Healthboards and the people who post here have been a Godsend to me for many reasons. Take care and God Bless, CMP/MM

Last edited by mod-anon; 09-05-2008 at 10:59 AM. Reason: edited quotes

Old 09-05-2008, 09:48 AM   #18
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tiggertoo2174 HB Usertiggertoo2174 HB Usertiggertoo2174 HB Usertiggertoo2174 HB Usertiggertoo2174 HB Usertiggertoo2174 HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...


I'm over here from the pain mgt board. Just a couple of practical suggestions for your security. First change your locks, board the cats or get one of your nieces to take them to their house (the furries usually get in a snit about it but they get over it). Second, get a safety deposit box today, put your meds and valuables in it when you leave, or if that's not practical take your jewlery and meds with you. When you talk to your brother make sure he knows that there will be nothing there while you are gone. I don't think your brother is likely a danger, but drug dealers usually don't have many scruples about a simple B&E. I'd also talk to the local police department about watching your house, tell them you thought you had a prowler or something if you have to. If there are neighbors you know and can trust ask them to watch your house too. A retired neighbor with time on their hands can be a great help.

I'll be praying for you and for your brother.


Old 09-05-2008, 10:06 AM   #19
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friendly_one HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

CMP, honey, listen to me.....get that spare key from your brother, let your nieces take care of the cats/house, fill out a vacation security check form at the local police department, and lastly.....TAKE ALL OF YOUR MEDS WITH YOU!!!!!

We know, as CP'ers, it's not wise to take all of our meds with us on vacation, but in this circumstance, I WOULD! You know safes can be broken into. You are just going to worry yourself to death about your house, cats, and meds, ya know?? I think it would ease your mind, a little, knowing at least YOU have your meds and not somebody else.

As far as the vacation security check form from the PD, this is how my local PD form is handled:

1. Where you live (obvisouly). Contact number, i.e. cell phone number or your vacation house number.
2. How long will you be gone?
3. When do you leave/come back (dates)?
4. Does anybody have keys/access to your house? If so, what are their names/phone numbers? What kind of car do they drive?
5. Will anybody be allowed into your house or on your property while away? If so, what are their names/phone numbers? What kind of car do they drive?
6. In case of an emergency, do you want to be notified?
7. In case of some type of suspicious activity in your house (like doors/windows broken, etc) do the PD have permission to enter your house?
8. Lastly, notify the PD as soon as you get home.

For us, I also write down that except for our friends' car (the ones that take care of our cats/house) there should be ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER cars parked in the driveway, or in front of the house (we don't have alleys), etc. If there is, this is deemed suspicious. Also, again, except for our friends coming by (I also write down the dates they come by to check on the cats/house..we talk about that in advance) there should be ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER people inside the house or hanging around the house. If there is, again, this is deemed suspicious.

That's all you have to say. You don't need to go into details, unless you want to. Given the new circumstances with your niece, her car, and "other people", I would stress the notion about no other cars, people, around/inside the house, including your brother! I know that will be hard, CMP, but I really believe you should stress that.

When you get back and notify the PD you are home, they generally (at least ours does) come by the house and make sure the homeowners are present, everything is in order, nothing looks suspicious, etc. They also, again ours does, give you the original form you filled out and then on a separate form the dates, times, officer's initials & badge number, and how the property looked at each visit. They check and look at EVERYTHING! They do random checks, so if anybody suspicious is watching the house, they never know when the PD is coming. They come at all hours of the day, night, and early morning. After the check, then they write down "All Secure". There is also a separate part of that form the officers use if something suspicious is going on and what action did they take, etc.

I'm so sorry, CMP. This really is turning into a very dangerous situation. I really think you need to get that form and fill it out. If you don't want to take all of your meds with you, you can always go to the bank and get a security box, ya know? That might be a little overkill, but heck, whatever it takes to put your mind at ease. I'm just shocked at the situations your brother is putting his own daughter in! I have never been around anybody that has had a drug/alcohol problem. Addiction really is a terrible disease. Bye for now.


P.S. Tigg and I posted at the same time. You know, boarding the cats (although they will hate it) might be best. Or, can you take your cats with you? Is that an option? Then get the key, fill out the form, and either take your meds/jewelry or put them in a security box.

You know, if you're not up to the "confrontation" with your brother about the house key, then do what Tigg said....change ALL the locks. Just make sure you document in the security form about nobody (if you take the cats, board them, or have your nieces take them) having access/permission to be inside/around your house/property. Then, if your brother comes by with "the daily house party" or "other people" and tries to get into your house, then the police can handle it. Just trying to give you some options, ok? Definitely ask some neighbors you trust to keep an eye on the house. I'm fortunate to have the block captain of the neighborhood watch live directly across the street, in full front view of my house. She doesn't work (homemaker with small children) and is ALWAYS outside. Plus, in our subdivision, we have no alleys. So, all the driveways and garage doors are in front of the house. The only thing in back are the yards that share fences. You cannot drive back there AT ALL.

Last edited by friendly_one; 09-05-2008 at 11:14 AM. Reason: add info

Old 09-05-2008, 01:16 PM   #20
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SpinalMalady HB UserSpinalMalady HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

Hey cmp:

My love, one of the reasons I have been MIA from the CP boards most of the summer is due to dealing with almost exactly the same sitatuation you are now faced with.

If I may, let me just say that you, my friend, MUST take care of you. You have to do whatever it takes to keep yourself healthy, and this vacation is a definite must.

I came very close to a total breakdown this summer. Thankfully, with the help of a great therapist, I've been able to keep it together. We are quite alike, it seems, in that we tend to be "fixers". And in the process of doing so, we tend to forget about ourselves. Please don't let that happen and take care of you.

My situation with my brother is so very extreme. It took me many hours of counseling to come to the realization that these are HIS choices, and until HE is good and ready to make better and healthier choices, there is nothing and of the rest of my family can do. He is choosing to live on the streets. The years of alcohol abuse has caught up to him, and sadly, his liver damage is very advanced. He is demonstrating dementia like behavior, and currently, because he has no money, no home, and no family support at this time, he isn't drinking. He refuses to go to the doctor. He refuses therapy, rehab, or any other type of help. He cannot walk, yet he refuses ANY type of assistance. We tried to have him commited, but that failed! Why none of us are quite sure of, but they wouldn't even do a 72 hour commitment for evaluation! We've had to have him arrested three times now because he keeps breaking into my 82 year old mom's home (which ironically is in direct line of sight of the police department). We've all decided we will not "love him to death", yet we all realize at the same time, that he is virtually on deaths doorstep.

These last two weekends have almost made me literally go mad. Two weekends ago we had the threat of a Tropical Storm, and this past weekend got hit with Hurricane Gustav. I worried all weekend about where he was going to go, because I knew he would NOT go to a shelter.

I'm learning to "Let go and Let God". It's a very hard thing to do, but I've finally realized that I have to take care of ME. I think perhaps for me the turning point was the wreck that nearly killed my daughter just six days after her wedding (on her way back from the honeymoon) on 8/8.

Honey, please do whatever you need to do to take care of you. I'm saying extra prayers for you, and the rest of my HB friends. I'll keep your bro. and nieces, and hubbs in my prayers as well.

We can't quit loving, or worrying, but we can learn to not let that worry and concern control us. These are HIS choices that he is making, and until he is ready to seek help, sadly things may get much worse before they get better. Not to scare you or upset you, but the reality is out there too that he may not make that turnaround. We all pray he will, but if he doesn't it's NOT your fault, nor his children's.

Please try to enjoy yourself in Maine, and try to RELAX. I know it can be difficult, but try to relish in the time God is giving you and the Hubbs to be together.

I'm soooo sooooooo sorry you are having to endure this. If you are experiencing even one nth of what I've been through this summer, it's way too much to bear. The bad thing with me, is I've already lost one brother to alcohol back in 1985. This makes is doubly hard for me to deal with. And the anger is over the charts for me at what he's doing to our mom. She should be able to live the rest of her life in peace, and he's tearing her apart, not to mention putting her in harms way physically.

I'm so sorry this was so long. I could probably type for hours. I just really felt the need to share with you since I'm in the same spot as you. Much love to you hon, and I will pray for you that you are able to get a bit of peace of mind, at least enough to replinsh those health stores for you in order to keep you in the best physical/mental/emotional state possible.

Big Bear Huggles!!

~!~ Becky ~!~
\lm/ = "I Love You" in Sign Language

12/10/04 MicroD & Hemi Lami 100% Success
09/05 Re-injured post Katrina
06-07 In Pain Mgmt. trying to deal
3/9/07 2 Level PLIF due to CES

Last edited by SpinalMalady; 09-05-2008 at 01:17 PM.

Old 09-05-2008, 03:35 PM   #21
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Confused089 HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...


I think you've gotten some great advice - I saw your post last night before anyone had responded and also thought that it was essential that you go on your vacation - I wasn't sure how you would deal with practical aspects of your brother having keys to the house and the arrangement to care for your cats, but people have posted some great solutions to the practical problems and have even given you a way to delay the conversation until you return if that's what you want to do.

It now sounds far worse than what you originally described and I am less hopeful about the influence you and your nieces may have on your brother at this point. Aside from practical issues, I do not think it is likely that it will make a difference in your brother's life if you talk to him now or when you return - the impact, if there is a significant impact, would probably be greater when you will be around after you talk with him.

I think that the first post suggested your brother was on the edge and getting worse - you last post suggests that he has sort of "crossed over" - it's not just alcohol at this pt, but illegal drugs. When you wrote the part about lending your niece's car out, I thought it was a very serious violation of your niece's property and reflected the influence of alcohol and drugs on him. After reading what you've written about his personality and how he believes everyone is intrinsically good, I can see him lending her car to a "friend" even if he were not having issues with alcohol and drugs right now. I suppose it isn't completely clear whether or not he is doing drugs at this point or just hanging out with others who are, like his girlfriend. You didn't say whether or not drugs had ever been a problem for him in the past. Only you know whether or not he is probably using drugs along with everyone else crashing at his house now. I would imagine that he is, but you and your nieces probably have a better sense of this.

I think you should be really careful about thinking you are going to do or say something that is going to "drive him to drink more." It's taking responsibility for his behavior in a way that you can't and shouldn't do. He could have a reaction like that, but it would not be your fault or responsibility. In addition, it sounds like he is drinking plenty without any prompting from you.

I was probably the one who said something about the tough love approach of Al-Anon - I don't have any issue with exercising care not to enable your brother in any way or many of basic ideas of Al-Anon. I have heard of some instances where I thought group members went overboard in their interpretation of what it meant to enable or some of the other principles and tools. I meant only that if you elect to go to Al-Anon or if your nieces do, that you should choose a group you feel comfortable with and one where you feel supported. I have never been to Al-Anon - I have simply seen it used in ways I thought was too extreme a couple of times. I do think it would help you to know where to try the line since you sound like you may be "taking on" too much responsibility for your brother (what I said in the previous para.). I think I was also influenced by the situation which did not seem nearly as bad in your first post. At this point - tough[er] love seems more necessary.

I'm somewhat more pessimistic about how much of an influence you and your nieces may have after your last post, and far more certain that you need to take care of yourself and do everything humanly possible to get yourself on that vacation. You will inevitably feel resentful if you don't go b/c you are both worried about your brother and about your home, especially if your brother doesn't respond to talking by turning around his life (which seems far less likely at this point). I know you are probably worried about further escalation of the partying and problems during your absence. I think it's very unlikely you would be able to stop this somehow if you cancelled your vacation.

As your worrying about your niece's car, I was hoping that someone else would comment on this. I doubt that anything will come of it, but I really don't know - it seems like your niece would have a better idea since she has heard of the dealer. Hopefully, someone else will comment on this.

Cmpgrl, I know it's a lot to take in and worry about on top of your S-I-L's problems right now. I think you need this vacation - if you needed it before, you really need it now. I know that changing the locks, calling the PD, boarding the kittens, and moving your meds to a safe deposit box will stir things up and probably seems difficult. I think you have to take some or all of these measures even though your brother will feel hurt. You don't need to tell him you are doing all of this. I think you have to decide how comfortable you feel about a few white lies (possibly about the cats and the locks) to ensure that you can relax and enjoy your vacation. I really think it's important (as everyone has said) that you put yourself first and make sure that you get the vacation you need and deserve right now. Sadly, the problem will still be there to address when you return. The only thing that is likely to occur if you try to deal with it before you leave is that it will be harder to enjoy your vacation. It honestly sounds like things have already escalated - I don't think waiting to talk another week is going to make a difference in your brother's life right now.

Again, I'm sorry you have to deal with this. Just remember that these aren't your problems and you didn't create them, nor are you in any way responsible for solving them.

I'm not sure what your approach should be when you return. My earlier post was aimed at what I saw as a less serious situation. It's probably still a good starting pt. to have one one one talks w/ your brother - I'm not sure how much of an effect it will have though, particularly if your brother has moved on to using illegal drugs. Does your brother have other sober friends/ old long-time buddies who are [or would be] concerned about him? I'm wondering if his friends who are might lend a hand with all this if they know what's going on or suspect a problem. It seems like an awful lot for you to deal with on your own.

Wishing you the best.

Last edited by Confused089; 09-05-2008 at 04:12 PM.

Old 09-05-2008, 03:52 PM   #22
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forginon HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...


I want to offer some thoughts, many of which have been offered already or alluded to, but I need to put my "spin" on them due to my experience.

I have never shared this on the PM board, but my brother is an alcoholic and we have been through situations much worse than this one, if you can believe that. I can hardly believe it. You may feel some of what Tigg and Shay shared was "tough," but they are right on the money. You must do what they recommended.

I won't go into detail about my story, but it got so far as my mother being threatened and harm being done. Too many details and too much sadness to go into now.

Do not go on vacation unless your home is secured, and there's no opportunity for your brother to use it. Change all the locks. Tell your brother he is not welcome there when you are away.

If your home is secure, or once you get it secure, then please do go on vacation. Use the police or whatever it takes to ensure your home is secure and safe.

Take all of your meds and valuables with you. Without exception. Or secure them somewhere else that your brother doesn't know about.

Does your brother know about your involvement here? Your username? If so, be very careful with whatever you put here with info that could come back to haunt you. If needed, go back and edit posts with such information.

Your niece should notify police regarding her concerns re>her car and the risks involved. This is not a time to fear what your brother/their father might think or feel.

I do think you can bring up your folks w/o it being interpreted as a guilt trip by your brother. You had a good childhood, and it's to their credit. It's because of them that you and your brother are so close. They are gone now, but they've left alot of themselves in each of you, and you are both reminders of them for one another. And if he does sense guilt, is that so bad?

First words - you mentioned that he frequently takes first words spoken and runs with that. "I love you," are wonderful first words. Use them. He needs to be reminded of that. He also needs to know that you feel afraid. Afraid for your home, and your nieces. He needs to know his behavior and the people he has become affiliated with has brought this on. And, that until his behavior changes, all the security precautions remain in place.

MM, your brother's long-term health and life are now more at risk than ever before. Tell him how that makes you feel.

Please share with your nieces from this thread. Maybe not all of it, but whatever you feel is helpful. They need to know what folks with experience in these kind of things are saying and what they are concerned about.

MM, I am worried for your brother. I'm even more worried for you and your nieces. You have become so precious to me. I think of you so often. You have been so helpful to me and so caring. For all the others on the PM board as well. You are known well for your compassion. I'm worried that your tender spirit is being harmed. I know how lonely you feel having lost your parents and your little one, amongst so much else you have suffered. And the one you should be able to rely on as your protector and overseer is now causing you so much pain. I know it hurts.

I know you know this, but please remember your brother has a disease. A terrible disease. And it's the disease that is at work and causing all this pain and fear. This doesn't absolve him of responsibility, but it must be understood in context. He is in God's hands. He always has been. God's love for him is unconditional and complete. God is able to take care of your brother. In fact, He's the only one that is able. You can place your brother in His hands with full confidence that God will do the right thing for all concerned. You can go on vacation MM.

Please re-read the posts from Tigg and Shay and then do everything they recommend. Nothing in what they have covered is overkill. I know from personal experience.

I really hope you get to go on vacation MM. If you do get to go, you've got to have fun. Otherwise, what's the point? Be sure there's someone there that can provide you with daily reports that your home is OK. No more detail that that. I've only taken one vacation to Maine and I constantly remember the fun we had. We would go to little diners along the route that follows the coast and have lobster every day. They always had "seconds," lobsters that were missing some body part that couldn't be sold full price. And they were so good. Lobster and butter every day. And all the blueberries. We'd stop along the road and trek in a few hundred yards and just pick and eat and pick and eat. The stains took weeks to get out. Some never did. I hope you have a blast.

Your Friend,


Old 09-05-2008, 04:19 PM   #23
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Confused089 HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

Cmpgrl, after reading Steve's post, I think he is right. In addition, there may be no better way to make an impact on your brother than to talk to him about the fact that you have had to take all these steps to protect your home and yourself b/c of his behavior. From your posts, I know that this is the last thing you want to tell him, but I think Steve is right - he needs to know how his behavior is affecting you and your nieces.

I didn't completely understand Steve's comment about posting here and making sure that no one could identify you. Obviously, I don't think you want your brother to know you have posted here about him, but Steve's warning seemed to go beyond this and it wasn't clear to me what he meant. Hopefully, you understand.

I think you have gotten very good advice though it is probably very painful to read and to act upon it. I hope you will.

Last edited by Confused089; 09-05-2008 at 04:21 PM.

Old 09-05-2008, 06:42 PM   #24
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mike987 HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...


You had written: "I hope you don't feel that I'm being resistant to your suggestions/advice." Don't worry; I don't think that at all. I realize you are going through a very tough situation.

I don't know very much about your particular situation, or what you brother is like. But if you are really worried about him and his friends using your house while you are away, then tell him you want your key back. Then have the locks changed, also. But don't add any drama too it. Just tell him you don't feel comfortable with him having access to your house, especially if he's lending his daughter's car out.

If you do confront him about his drinking, I don't think you should worry about him increasing his drinking. If he's going to do that, he'll do it no matter what you say. Sadly, addicts don't usually seek help until they suffer consequences from their addiction. And you and your nieces taking steps to help and protect yourselves would be a step in this direction. At one point I went to Nar-Anon meetings. It was there and from reading the literature that I really learned the meaning of words like denial, enabling, co-dependent.

The last thing I will say, and I don't mean to offend anyone here, is that keep in mind this is just an internet message board. You should probably get some professional advice on dealing with this situation. I mentioned before an EAP. I had also called local treatment facilities. You'd be amazed at how helpful these people are just over the phone, considering this is what they do for a living. You would probably really benefit from talking to a professional in the field.

Old 09-05-2008, 09:59 PM   #25
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cmpgirl HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

Well...... I have some news,

I was going to try to reply to each post separately, but I decided it would probably take up so much room, it would slow the server down. So first, a general update, then some replies to specific posts. (If I can stay awake that long)

As of 12:30 this afternoon, my dilemma about the house/cats has been resolved, and I am happy to say that we will be leaving for Maine, as planned, on Sunday morning. My youngest niece has the house keys and I trust her completely. Our neighbors have been alerted, some with more detail than others. What happened was the strangest thing, but just reaffirmed my already strong belief that God has a plan.

My brother happened to come over shortly after hubby walked in the door for lunch. I think we were both a bit surprised and initially, caught off guard. We made some small talk and then I just casually asked if either of his girls had asked to speak with him or had spoken with him in the last day or so. He said no and asked why. We told him we had recieved calls from both of his girls over the last couple of days, and they were quite worried and upset. We told him we felt the same and when he asked why, we just started talking.

I think we did a pretty good job of not coming off as if we were attacking, but he did initially get defensive (as I expected him too) and I thought for a second that he might walk out. Before he could leave, I asked him for the house keys and I could see that he was quite shocked and a bit crushed, but before I could explain further, he said, "fine, I'll go get them now" and huffed out the door. I have to say I was almost convinced for a second that he wasn't coming back, but he did. (He lives only about 6 blocks from us.)

When he came back, (which was about 3 minutes) he was more calm and asked us why this was such a big deal (his drinking) so we did our best to explain why. We stayed focused on facts and also on how his drinking and subsequent behavior were causing a great deal of pain for his family, especially the girls. We talked about the car incident - I was very specific about how dangerous a position he put his youngest in, his quitting work at 1:00 or 2:00 every day, his drastic weight loss, his almost absent voice, his blind trust in people he doesn't really know anything about, his now empty bank account and everything else we could think of that we were deeply alarmed by.

At the beginning he said he knew he was an alcoholic, but he didn't care; he was having fun; and he wasn't going to stop. It was when he added that he wasn't hurting anyone that we started explaining that he really was. I could tell that he was really struggling to understand what harm he was doing. I've seen denial before, but his is profound. He did start to go into the "victim routine" that he is so good at, but I stopped him in his tracks. I have had to do this on many occasions with him over the years. It's very much a form of "nobody likes me, I'm just a bad person and I don't deserve to even be here." He's done this since we were little kids.

He did claim that he had no idea about some of these people being dealers. I am almost inclined to believe him, given how short a time he has even known any of them (slightly over 3 weeks) and how oblivious he can be to things like that. The jury's still out on that one. I did see a look of regret/pain on his face when he realized what could happen to his daughter. And I think when I started talking about how he was the only real parent those girls had, it registered. (His Ex is a whole different nightmare)

By the time he left, I think he was at least going to absorb some of what transpired. Did he go straight to her house and start drinking? No question about it. But, he did say I love you back to both of us and genuinely returned our hugs. There is a part of me that has some hope, but sadly it is a small part. I have feared my whole adult life that he would eventually drink himself into the grave. I am glad that I said what I needed to say, and I know it is completely in God's hands. I feel relieved, angry, frustrated and so very sad. And exhausted.

I can't even tell all of you how much you mean to me. I mean that for all, not just my PM buddies. You are all angels, sent from God above. If I hadn't had this forum, I would have never known how to even begin to deal with this. I have had some dealings of alcohol and substance abuse, but it's been a while, and never this close to home. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And so do my husband and my nieces. I've relayed all of this to them and they were quite touched. I will try to update as time goes by, or if anything else comes up in the near future. I don't know where this will lead, but as always, I am praying for the best. I will reply to individual posts tomorrow. It's time for me to get some sleep. God Bless you all, CMP/MM

Old 09-06-2008, 12:46 AM   #26
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 287
Confused089 HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...


I'm glad that you had the opportunity to talk with your brother today and that it went as well as it did. I don't think you should give up hope, though I think it has to be "cautious" hope that shields you from the disappointments that may follow. I hope you can put this to the side and truly relax and enjoy your vacation. I know that's easier said than done. I think you handled the conversation beautifully.

I've noticed how we're all posting advice from our own experiences/brushes w/ substance abuse - I know my posts reflect my experiences and beliefs about substance abuse. Just something to think about as you read everyone's posts and make your own decisions about how to handle things.

I think that many substance abusers believe they are only hurting themselves, and that they should be allowed to make that choice since it is their life. Understanding that they are hurting people that they love and care about *can* have a profound effect - the problem is that it is often temporary, and it's just one of the first steps. It is really hard to cut through the denial. I honestly believe that humans in general have an astounding capacity for denial and writing and rewriting the stories of their lives - I think we all tell ourselves different stories about what our lives are about, why we do certain things, etc. and that denial is a part of this storytelling. It's just profoundly dysfunctional and hazardous in an addict or alcoholic because the denial supports the abuse.

I still think your brother has shown that he will do a lot to gain the approval and keep the love of the people he cares about, and who care about him and I believe that continuously giving him feedback on how his actions are affecting the people he loves may help immensely. There are so many "stages" in the process though - there is deciding that you have a problem and don't want to drink - and just getting to this point can take so long. But, I think the most powerful tool at your disposal is telling him how he is hurting people he loves, and who love him. I would keep giving him this feedback as often as you can to try to break through whatever story he's telling himself. It's just a long road - even admitting that there's a problem does not mean that the person is really ready to change - they just may not be able to imagine without alcohol.

I also think many ? addicts are quite sensitive and lack some of the coping mechanisms other people seem to have - so often there is a sense of not fitting in, being loved or worthy of love and a self-destructiveness that goes along with not feeling like they are worthwhile and lovable for who they are. It sounds like alcohol makes your brother feel like he's more likable and fun to be around. Perhaps alcohol dulls some of his sensitivity and the feeling of not fitting in. You said he was a "happy drunk." I am curious if he knows how to feel happy without getting drunk. [Pls do not feel you need to respond to my post or my question - I know how much you have to do before you leave.]

Those are my thoughts for now. I truly hope you can use this vacation to relax and let go. I believe you have handled an exceptionally difficult situation beautifully. I hope you can feel good about that and let go of it for a while so that you can take care of yourself.

Last edited by mod-anon; 09-17-2008 at 07:42 AM. Reason: removed quote

Old 09-06-2008, 04:52 AM   #27
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 2,521
sammyo1 HB Usersammyo1 HB Usersammyo1 HB Usersammyo1 HB Usersammyo1 HB Usersammyo1 HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

cmp, I came over to this board to try to understand abit better your worries posted on the PM board. I am glad I did. I will state that I do know how it is, as I have some people (family & a friend) who are alcohlics.
I have reached the point in my life, ironally enough since suffering with CP that I just cant tolerate it or overlook it. Just know I understand completely & I have lost many nights sleep over worrying.

My best friends just went through this with their cousin, whom they love dearly. Needless to say it took years of in & out of rehab & trouble to wake him up. He is just out of recovery for like the third time & so far so good. He is a wonderful person when he is sober. He had to hit rock bottem & sadly enough have noone to help before he realized that he had to do this on his own, he had been given chance after chance & hurt those who tried so hard to help him. We are all praying this time he will make it. He did loose every thing just about & for awhile gave up because of that, now he has a new start & friends & family are back in his life. He was instructed not to contact anyone them at all when he went back to drinking the last time, that they would not take his calls unless he was sober.
I would never tell anyone what to do, for everyone is different but for him this worked, thus far.
I have someone very close to me with this problem & I cant handle it anymore so I avoid it as much as possable. I had to do this to protect myself. I mentally could not take it anymore. I pray & pray & Steve is right sometimes you just have to hand it to god. I dont want to be an enabler anymore, & am trying hard not to.
You did the right thing by taking the keys, you sent him a message. It has nothing to do with love. you told him you love him, but at the same time you let him know you dont trust him. He needs to know this. How else can he come to terms with how he impacts your relationship? Tough love its called.
I will say I feel so bad for his daugthers that I want to cry. Alcoholics justify why they drink, most look for excuses or use it for escape. If only they could see the hurt & scars it leaves behind.
Your brother is lucky to have you. Hopefully he will realize this. Dont ever risk yourself because as long as he is an addict he will never acknowledge it anyway. It is a selfish dx that leaves many victims in its path.
I experiance this in my life so I understand & wanted you to know. Its not something I like to discuss but you are special to me & would do so in return.
I am here if you ever need me. Go & enjoy yourself & hand it over to god. Let him guide you in making choices. your neices need you & your brother will have to decide at some point what he wants out of life. You just take care, physcially & mentally. God bless, Sammy

Old 09-07-2008, 02:41 AM   #28
Join Date: May 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1,360
skych HB Userskych HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...


I am so sorry to hear of all that is going on in your family at this time. Alcoholism and drug addiction is very very messy. Ay least this has been my own experience at times.

Please remember that when speking to your brother he is not hearing you from a rational or logiccal perspective. He is only hearrinf from alcohol or a drug induced perspective.

Something I ahve learned over the years of being a sober addiict and alcolholic in recovery is that ( When the desire to drink and use drugs or alcohol is stronger than to Not use them...well...drinking and drugging are going to get done.

I am praying for you and your family right now as you all venture down this road!

I am sorry I just fonund all this was going on because I am not feeling well and it is the middle of the night and I am awake trying to focus my own thoughts to something here we are! Reaching out to you is a really wonderful way to help myself! It is a gifft!

Cmp, one of the hardest things for a family member to do when they find themselvs in this position is to remember that they can not carry the addict or alcoholic! This is so very important for you to consider when trying to keep yourself safe and put together. What I mean by safe and put together is-- as the outsider of a oerson living in addiction of some sort it is so very important to have boundries Boundries are not fun when we are first learning to put them into place. They are awkward and uncomfortable to say the least. But in my evperience it is a necessity to keep my own personal self safe and able to get out of harms way if it may arrise.

Your brother has to make the decision to change on his own and for himself not for anyone else. This is something you may already know. I have wittnessed many a person try to get and stay sober/clean for many different reason, but until the reason came from with in that persons soul (myself included) it did nto hold.
As long as he thinks and feels he is "happy with this woman" and as long as he is in Denial of what he is really and truly doing YOU can not penetrate that! Yes this is a harsh way of putting it, but I am speaking to you as the person who has been in your beloved brothers shoes as you already know I am and addict/alcoholic in recovery. When I was still drinking and abusind street drugs i was GETTING SOMETHING FROM THEM. IT was still working for me. As sick as that may sound! It took much long and hard dedicated work to get to the pkace i am today. It is obtainable for anyone who seeks it...your brother included!

Our natural instinct as a mother, brother, sister friend, father...whatever is to "fix" or "rescue" If this is something your trying to do please stop and think about your motives and stip trying to rescue. It is really counter productive in my experience and also harmful to both parties!
Addiction is a tricky kind of deal because in order to deal with a person in the throw of their addictions we as a person...a sister a brother, nother , friend, spouse...need to learn how to take car of ourselves in the situatuon!

It is har to put consequences or limitations behind our boundries, but it is of the utmost importance to NOT go back on what we have stated is our word.

Cmp I can only imagine the heart ache you must have for you brother and the direction of his life. I and honestly and truly care deeply for you and your famlily during this time. I do plan to come back later and to post some more of my own personoal ecperience if you would like. Please ask me anytime you know I am here, My typing is a bit screwying with the aspen colllar on my neck, but I am trying my best to keep it legible.
Fogive me if this info is in this post somewhere else and I have missed it. It is somewhat har to read with the neck but I am real trying my very best on this one alrightly...
How old is you brother? Is he married or has he been? HAs he ever been to reatment or addmitteb his issues to you or anyone else before in the past? If so can you describe or recall who and when...the information may help later with him.

For now Cmp...
I must return to my bed! I do care so much for you and your family. Please tkae into consideration that sometimes all there is to do is do the best we can to take care of ourselves through certain times. I amnot saying things are to that point and that point only yet....just throwing it out there for thought.

God Bless you

Please excuse any funny typing as i am having trouble tyoing at all with the neck and collar.

Last edited by Administrator; 10-07-2008 at 08:34 PM.

Old 09-16-2008, 06:47 AM   #29
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 1,883
cmpgirl HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

Just an update......

We're back from vacation and feeling somewhat more relaxed and refreshed. My brother called one of the nights that we were away and told me that he had gone to his Primary physician and also his therapist. He told his therapist about the "talk" we had with him and she explained that she wasn't surprised or shocked that his family not only knew what was going on with him but that we all said something about it. He then said he had an appointment with an ENT that his PCP set up, due to some on-going problems he has been having with his throat. He was in good spirits and did not "sound" as if he had been drinking (at least not enough for it to show) and that he wanted to thank us, again, for caring. All in all, when we hung up, I felt somewhat positive.

Since we returned we've found out from my niece that the ENT found a lump or growth in his throat and that he has to have surgery on 9/26 to have it removed and biopsied. The most disconcerting thing is that he has been here
and even played golf with hubby on Saturday, and never mentioned it himself to us. I guess he has his reasons, but I don't for the life of me know what they are. We have been debating whether we should bring it up or wait til he says something. He also told hubby he has still been seeing the girlfriend every day, but that he has not been drinking. Obviously, we're taking that with a grain of salt........

Hubby also had a conversation with a co-worker who is a mutual friend of my brother and she told him that my brother had spoken to her about our talk and that while he understood why we felt the need to let him know our concerns, he feels we are over-reacting and he doesn't have a drinking problem. He also said he feels like the people he is associating with are not "bringing him down" but on the contrary, he is helping them.

So that is the situation to date. Obviously, I am now even more concerned than before. This medical news is upseting, to say the least. And even though I am not surprised, the fact that he told me last week that he was ending the relationship with this woman and has not, is not a surprise, but a disappointment. I guess we'll just have to take this as it comes and do what we can (if asked) and let it go if we aren't. It is his life and his decision. I understand that he is the only one who can acknowledge his problems and seek help if he wants it. We can't "fix" this for him, or make him see what he refuses to see. All we can do is pray and love him (as much as he will let us).

I want to thank all of you again, for your advice and support. All of your kind words and prayers are greatly appreciated. It is such a blessing to have this place to come to. I will update when I can. God Bless all of you. CMP

Old 09-16-2008, 03:24 PM   #30
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 609
friendly_one HB User
Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...

Dear CMP,

I'm glad you had fun!! Now, for your brother, I'm concerend. The reason why is becaue my Uncle was an alcoholic. He did not start drinking unti after he came back from WW11. He was involved in heavy combat. My Mother ( her brother) said he had to kill a number of people in Germany. The one thing that set him off was when he had to kill someone with a boyantte (sp?) She said he never got over that. He was barely 18 years old, then.

Well, after he retured from the War, the damage was done. He became a hard core alcoholic. I guess that is how he dealt with the trauma of being in heavy, hand to hand combat for a couple of years. He never drank before entering the War. My Mother said he was a COMPLETELY different person when he returned. I guess back then, they really didn't know about PTSD or even how to counsel someone, like today.

My point I was getting to is this....all of his years of very heavy drinking from his late teens/early 20's (after he came back from the war) to late 60's early 70's to self-medicate the post traumatic stress, they found a lump/growth in his espohagus due to him not being able to eat anything solid, and barely drink something as thick as a milkshake. Well, he was DX with esophagel cancer. Basically, that's the main cause of this type of cancer.....excess alcohol. From the time he was DX till his death, was less than 6 months. He basically just wasted away in front of us. The docs had feeding tubes inserted into him, but that was basically futile.

There was no surgery, chemo, or anything that would help him. It was to advanced( mets everywhere from his liver, lungs, and brain). I'm so sorry, CMP....I hope and pray this does not turn out to be cancer.


Last edited by friendly_one; 09-17-2008 at 08:59 AM. Reason: spelling

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