Does anyone else have family who are drinking themselves to death/addicted to prescription pain killers? I have a brother that is an alchoholic and another who is addicted to prescription pain meds. I worry constantly that either they will die from it, or in the case of my alchoholic brother get really sick, unable to work or care for himself, then die. I know my husband would not allow him to move in with us, as he does not want to support a drunk.
I just feel so hopeless about them at times. I hate the idea that I am going to end up with no family. Or be put in a really bad position and have an alchoholic brother living under a bridge, too sick to work.
I have a sister and BIL who both are (IMO) addicted to prescription pain meds. The rest of the family either ignores it or turns a blind eye, yet I have to wonder if they were doing street drugs and not something prescribed by a doctor if the family reaction would be different.
My brother is in prison (burglaries he committed to get money to buy drugs). He'd been to rehab a time or two before, but only because he got caught. Addiction is a nasty thing, and there's nothing you can do. If they turn their lives around, it's because they made the decision. You can't help them make the decision. Stay back and don't enable.
You cannot fix, help, or otherwise do good for an addict until they are ready and willing to help themselves. Statistically, it takes something like 6 or 7 false starts before someone is successful in attaining sobriety/being clean for any real length of time.
And in counseling, you can learn how NOT to enable your ailing brothers. What we see as helping them recover can often actually be helping them stay hooked. Those bills you pay? Helping the addiction stay. Those thing you buy them? Helping the addiction stay. The food/rides/etc? Helping. Unless the rides are to and from counseling... you are creating time/$/whatever that they will then funnel to their drug of choice.
My dad was (is?) an alcoholic. I'm in my third year of university and I still have a hard time forgiving him for everything.
Everyone says they have to hit rock bottom before they decide to make a change. I watched my dad SIT at rock bottom for a long, long time. Finally he just decided one day that he would get better. I don't know what was the motivation, but I honestly think that the sober living half-way house after rehab helped him stay clean. It's about 8 months now, and I still have a hard time believing he is clean. But, for now at least, he is doing everything in his power to help himself.
I'm so glad your dad is doing better. My brother was sober for 15 years, and then started drinking again. Going through about a 1/5 of vodka a night. He asked for help about 2 years ago after passing out with the oven on 400 with a pizza in it, and smoke was everywhere when he woke up. I sent him to a rehab in FL for 8 weeks, and I took care of his apartment, bills, car ins and pets. I would go feed his animals every day and walk the dog, and spend every other night over there so they wouldn't be alone, and spend about 5 hrs during the evenings on the nights I didn't stay there.
The rehab place tried to get him to go to a halfway house out there, but my mom and I talked him in to coming back here to get his things in order (he had a dog, 2 cats, his car, apartment, and job (that they held for him and paid him for the time in rehab...great company). When he came back, I would drive him to the AA meetings each night, until he said he would drive himself. He stopped going within a week and started drinking again. He blames me for his drinking again saying that I forced him to come back. I felt that he HAD to come take care of things here, whether it meant finding new homes for his pets (I offered to take the dog, but my DH is severely allergic to cats), and get his car/put stuff in storage/end his lease on apt. But he still blames me.
Reading your post makes me think I should have let him stay in a halfway house, but I still don't know what I would have done with his cats. They were 16 and 18 years old...no one would have adopted them. And he wouldn't have had a job there.
My older brother is bi-polar and a raging alcoholic. If it hadn't been for my parents establishing a trust fund so he would have a roof over his head, he would be living under an overpass in some arroyo. As it is, he is a frequent flyer (1-2x/month) at the local hospital. They dry him out for a few days, he goes home, and within the week all of his calories are coming out of a bottle.
You are right not to enable such behavior. My father enabled my brother all his life, always running to LA to bail him out financially. All my brother had to do was threaten to kill himself and Dad would run, checkbook "ablazing." He had my father on a rope until the day my father passed away. Just remember, you can't solve their problems, they have to want to get better. You do them no favors always enabling/bailing them out.
Yeah...addiction pretty much sucks. I wish like anything I didn't know who "Bill W." was, or what it meant to be "10-13" at the ER. The thing about addiction, is that it effects friends and family just as much as it does the person who is addicted.
As family members of someone addicted, it is very easy to enable. It's a fine line between not allowing the person to harm themselves - or others - while allowing them to hit rock bottom so that they realize they they DO need help. Right now I am reading the book "Good News for the Chemically Dependent and Those Who Love Them" which has really helped me. I'm also going to counseling once a week, because being 5 months pregnant, and having a loved one who is addicted to prescription drugs tends to do a number on my own emotions.
Said loved one is currently in a 9:00 - 3:00 Out patient program, after detoxing - in patient - for 10 days. He actually went to another facility weeks before, but all they did was increase the dosage to one of the drugs he was addicted to. Unfortunately, this drug - a "Benzo"...yes, another word I wish I didn't know... - has withdrawals so severe that stopping cold turkey can actually kill you. So, needless to say, it is important detox happen in a treatment facility, where the person can be monitored, and given withdrawal meds.
I think it's also important that the person is also under the care of a GOOD Psychiatrist, who can also treat any underlying mental disorders, since so many addicts start out by self medicating as a means to "treat" their depression.
Right now things are OK, but I know we all have a long way to go. Some days are pretty good, and other days - like today - are pretty low, and pretty emotional. What gets me through each day is knowing that God loves my loved one even more then I do, and He will take care of him - and myself.
Anyway, my thoughts and prayers go out to the OP, and everyone else dealing with this. Feel free to PM me anytime.
My sister was an alcoholic and crack addict. She lived with my mother, and then two of our brothers until they couldn't deal with it anymore. I had just retired from the navy and decided to give her one more chance. I told her she and her three boys could move in with me, on the condition she get treatment and stay clean. I told her that she had one chance.
She blew her chance when she went on a binge at a crack house for three days, taking her 9 month old boy with her. I filed for custody of the two older boys, the baby's father filed for the baby, and I she moved out. This was fifteen years ago.
Happy ending. She went into treatment, and continued with almost daily AA and NA meetings for some years. She went back to school and is now an RN.
Anyway, all I could do was love her, but not enable her. I laid out clear conditions, and followed through on the consequences when conditions were not met. Was it hard? Hell yeah! I knew that possible outcomes included her either dying or spending time in jail, and I knew that I could do nothing but to allow it to happen - because it was her decision whether to get help or not.
Big recommendation for the OP to attend Al-Anon or NA meetings. They have sessions for the non-alcoholic family members. I found them to be incredibly helpful when I was married to an alcoholic. The bottom line is that you cannot change other people's behavior, but you can change your own behavior towards them. These groups offer invaluable coping strategies and support.
Great suggestions. You can't heal them, you can't give them a backbone or morals, you can't give them values and you'll hurt your life if you try.
Look after yourself, your family, your kids. Al-Anon and NA meetings will help get the misplaced guilt lessened. You can't rescue them, they aren't your responsibility...and being druggies and alcoholics, will probably use your guilt and neediness to make them whole against you.
The more you make their lives function, the less reason for them to change.
Jetsmom-there is nothing you did that made your brother relapse. There's always an excuse, and a way to make it someone else's fault when they go back to drinking or drugs, but the only cause is because they didn't want to stay sober.
On "Intervention" they had the story of Chuckie Negron (son of Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night) and they show how many chances this man had to help himself, and how many different rehabs he's flunked out of, but the bottom line is it's up to him. Chuck Sr. went to rehab or tried to quit over twenty times before he made it back, and as far as I know is still sober. There are other family members that have sobered up and stayed sober too, but Chuckie just can't or won't do it. It's very sad (all of the stories on there are sad of course), and as we all know it is up to the addict to commit to living without drugs or booze. At least your family tried, and at least you admit that there is a problem-lots of people just ignore drug or alcohol use, and make excuses for the addict. Someday maybe he will make it back to sobriety, but you can't do it for him. Maybe Al-anon or another family support group would help you cope with the situation, and help you deal with your brother. You can't make someone become an addict, and you can't force them to sober up.
I have nothing useful to add. I have two friends in serious trouble right now. One friend, refuses to admit she has a problem and functions just barely enough to get by. So many people just ignore it but her daughter has written her off and i'm sure she thinks I have too, but i am not going to act like what she is doing is ok. Other one is more aware that he had a problem, but won't try to fix it. It is terrible and I worry about them and their families.
A terrible mess.
I know some farmers that employ a brother that stays drunk all the time, works when he can, is sick part of the time and eventually it kills him.
Sad, but that is how alcohol or drugs affect some people.
I almost married a fellow that was a super nice man, but had to get drunk every evening.
Someone addicted won't chose anything over their addiction, if given a choice.
Treatment teaches them, along with other, to try to give other than addiction a choice.
Works for some, not for others.
You could learn how the brain works and why addiction happens and what can and can't be done, remembering that we are learning more by leaps and bounds with all the new diagnostic modes.
How the brain works it is a very new science.
Some counseling would help you immensely with how to deal with this and help your brother best, since you can't do his part for him.
Alcoholism runs in my family on my father's side. My paternal grandfather, his brothers and 3 of his 4 sons (including my father) died from alcoholism.
Out of the 6 of us, one brother ended up an alcoholic. For years (decades) I busted my arse trying to help him, save him, fix him, whatever. I've dragged him out of some nasty places, I've driven him to hospitals, I moved in with him or moved him in with me.
He lost a great job and so many other things they can't be counted.
Over time, I gave up and just loved him for himself. But refused to taken in on alcohol related crap.
Eventually he remarried (he started drinking when his first wife divorced him) and his new wife was a heavy drinker too. But...she was also a hard-ass that doesn't put up with anything. She also has a wicked maternal streak.
Turns out she was just what he needed. For a couple years they were both sots, then she got fed up with HIS drunkeness. My brother is a functioning alcoholic most of the time and has kept his current job for years now, rising in the company. She's also a functioning alcoholic and kept a job and keeps a ridiculously immaculate home and cooks constantly.
At some point almost 2 years ago now, she said, "We're done drinking" and they both stopped. (he's afraid to not listen to her, LOL, she can be a bit of June Cleaver crossed with a drill sgt) neither has had a drink in almost 2 years.
They had to be ready, no amount of outside help was going to force them to stop drinking. And we're all thankful as heck because it's a bitch of an addiction.
So hang in there...it's tough and heartbreaking as hell but sometimes...they fix themselves. Or maybe they'll find tough-as-nails wives too.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
MrP 's brother is a end stage alcoholic. He is 64 years old, looks 80. We have been providing him with a place to live (free) for 10 years. When he moved in he was telling everyone he was being treated for lymphoma and that was the reason he looked like heck. He even shaved his head to look like he was undergoing chemo. He was busted when we realized he was bald but still had body hair.
THAK GOD THAT PLACE IS NOT IN OUR HOME.
We now know the drill, a period of sobriety, a few drinks and then it spirals out of control.
Then health issues, liver failure or broken bones from falling down drunk.
After his last stay in rehab one of the aids moved in with him and the lovebirds were happy for a while. She's far from the brightest star in the sky. They were talking about getting married and then he started to drink again.
So within the last month or two he has fallen down drunk, gashed his head and broken his knee and collar bone. Again. I've lost count but he has also broken his arm, been in liver failure and has esophogeal varricies. She is threatened to leave.
He refuses to go ito assisted living and Mr P can't bear to kick him out. I'm sure some people will say we are enabeling him but due to his age we have not a glimmer of hope that he will suddenly get sober.
We are simply warehousing him until he dies. All he does is sit and watch TV. When he is strong enough to drive he goes and gets booze.
After all these years Mr P is pretty numb about the whole thing but at the beginning, the first few cycles, it really broke his heart.
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