View Full Version : What can I do for my brother?!!

07-07-2011, 12:16 AM
My brother has been drinking whiskey for 5 or 6 years and is an alcoholic. He hides bottles around his house, etc... He recently was hospitalized and really almost died. He was diagnosed with hepatic encephalopathy and has a little liver damage. He was sober for several months and has been taking lactulose and an antibiotic. I noticed alcohol on his breath the other day and he admitted to drinking a beer. I became somewhat hysterical and tried to talk with him and remind him that four doctors at Vanderbilt told him that if he drinks, he will die. His wife (a nurse) and children have tried to reason with him but nothing seems to work.

I've learned a lot about his conditions over the past weeks. When the ammonia levels get elevated he slurs his speech and speaks very slowly, walks like an old man, and basically just sits and stares. I wish we had taken video of him at his worst so he could see how bad he was. I think he thinks that he can drink beer instead of "the hard stuff" and take his meds and he'll be ok.

I am at my wit's end. I am so scared for him. He's not working so there is no job to go to (I think he was fired for smelling like alcohol). Does anyone have suggestions as to what to do? Of course we've all talked to him and tried to reason with him. He just lies and tells us what we want to hear.
I have researched other medicines like Campral and Revia. Does anyone know anything about them or other drugs? I would really appreciate any suggestions that you might have.

07-07-2011, 03:32 AM
Oh tim...please take it from someone that has addiction in her famly....
UNLESS your brother is "ready" to receive help, there is nothing you can do for him.
What is most important is that you do not enable him, which is doing for him the things that he should or could be doing for himself. Don't pay his bills. Don't give him money for booze. I know this is hard, but this is not something that you caused, can control or cure. And believe me I KNOW how hard it is to sit by and watch someone destroy themselves to the point of near death. And sadly we lose so many to this terrible disease.

Have you heard about al-anon? This is meetings for the loved ones of alcoholics or addicts. They address the famlies and they can help you to cope. The thing is give it 6 meetings before you make a decision to go back or not. It really does take a bit of time to gather the information, get comfy and see if that particular meeting is for you. PLEASE check this out for your area. You can google search those meetings in your town. Often times the local hospital will hold meetings in one of their conference rooms.

We cannot talk them into recovery, pressure them into recovery, threaten them into recovery or even LOVE them into recovery. It just does not work. What happens is we get sick and tired too and we end up being the drowning person trying to save a drowning person. And in the end, unless they are ready, we only end up sick, and nothing changes...when "nothing changes." SO we can change. We can find our hope...we can learn to cope with this and we need to surround ourselves with others that understand and that are going through the same thing.

A GREAT book for you would be Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. Please do get and read that book. She is a recovering addict and when you read this book, you will find that it is SO inspiring and informative.

Reach out to those that understand. Sadly some people just think they can quit with willpower. Drugs and alcohol dismantle willpower. They are sick and they need help.
And it is not the kind of help that we are equipped to give them.

I am very sorry for your pain. Please.....seek out a support group for yourself.
You can begin to feel better, you really can.

07-07-2011, 05:40 AM
My brother has been drinking whiskey for 5 or 6 years and is an alcoholic. has a little liver damage He was sober for several months

He just lies and tells us what we want to hear.

Hello tim,

With all due respect,liver damage,in my opinion,is an absolute;either you have it or you don't.

It seems to be tough love time.

Try telling him the truth;that his lies are both ruining the relationship you have with him and inadvertantly affecting his health,which are two factors that weigh heavy on you.

Explain that you will be there for him,if or when he decides to want better for himself but watching him slowly deteriorating is not something you are prepared to do.

Since he wants to tell you what you want to hear,it's time someone told him what he needs to........

No better time than the present.


07-07-2011, 07:20 AM
rent a movie and watch it with him......leaving las vegas

maybe that will have an impact on him

07-07-2011, 02:58 PM
Thanks for all your replies. I am going to try some of the suggestions this weekend. I do know that when his ammonia levels get elavated next time I am going to video him. At least I can show him how awful he looks.

07-07-2011, 03:10 PM
I do know that when his ammonia levels get elavated next time I am going to video him. At least I can show him how awful he looks.


That's a short-term solution to a long-term problem......

In the long run,not even that will be enough.


07-08-2011, 02:31 AM
Sadly ....Phoenix is so right. We cannot "embarrass" them into recovery. I used to think if I put a pix of my daughter's son in her car, up on the dash that this would always be a reminder of HOW MUCH SHE LOVED him and that she could draw strength from that.
This was before I knew anything about this disease.

Anyway in one of her recovery attempts she told me that looking at that pix created such guilt and pain, that she used more to forget. It just does not work.

When the pain of using gets greater than the pain of not using....then maybe they will seek recovery. And when THEY get sick and tired of being sick and tired, then maybe they will seek recovery. We ARE TOTALLY POWERLESS. I am sorry...but this will only mean you are still "trying to get HIM TO SEE what he is not "ready" to see".

This is an inside job...and again, I say this with more compassion than you know, only HE can make this decision. It is never about what we do or do not do. If that were the case, we would all hold the golden key into getting others clean and sober.

One other thing...Please educate yourself all that you can about addiction.
Not only will you learn how powerless you are, this will help you detach with love...and let go of all of these things that you are trying to do.