Sister apologized- do I return her calls?

Old 03-16-2009, 12:36 PM
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Sister apologized- do I return her calls?

I have posted a few times about my out of state- alcoholic sister. I last spoke to her 1/26/09 when she left me a drunk hating message about how rotten I am and to stay out of her life. Didn't hear from her again until about 3 weeks later when she called like nothing happened. When she realized I wasn't returning her phone calls she went from poor her the screw up, to bad me the self-rightous, to calling about other family members in crisis, to threatening that she wasn't going to call again if I didn't call back. This weekend she left me two nice messages. The second one stated that she was sorry for her phone call that she was feeling manic(she is not bipolar), and that our mother had been driving her over the edge and that she was sorry for behaving how she did on the phone. The message was the closest to a real apology, despite it not acknowledging her drinking or herself as the problem rather than that it is our mother's fault.
I am thinking about calling her to state that I appreciated her apology, and that I hope that she gets help for her drinking. Me stating that may be a trigger when she states that she no longer drinks (but still isn't in any program). I feel conflicted about not speaking to her at all when she has made some attempts to apologize. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:59 PM
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I would suggest asking yourself why you feel the need to let her know you appreciate the apology, or that you hope she gets help for her drinking (which you said stating that will probably be a trigger for her).

I've found that when dealing with toxic people, well my best policy is not to deal with them at all when possible, end of story.

That includes my oldest AD.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:48 PM
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In a very similar situation, it helped me to really listen to my heart. There is a small voice within that tells us why we want to do certain things, and although it's really hard to hear in the chaos of everyday life, getting down to where I could hear it (through counseling, meditation, etc) helped me make "true" choices for myself.

There were times when I received similar apologies and felt an urge to respond in order to try to (benevolently) control and manipulate.

There were others when I realized that I was simply protecting my future self from guilt.

And still others (later on) where I truly felt I loved my sister and wanted to be honest with her. My half of those conversations were something like this: I love you a lot. Thanks for apologizing, because you really hurt my feelings. If you ever do it again it's likely I'll sever contact permanently, for my own peace of mind, so please don't. I think we both know that it was your abuse of alcohol that led you to that place, and I hope, for your sake, you can find a way to help yourself.

And when I hung up the phone, I had no guilt, no fear, no wishful thinking, no sense of having pushed her in one direction or another. I fully knew that she would probably drink again that night. I knew that what I'd said was true: that the next time would be the last time. And that that was okay. I was just speaking my heart's truth, FOR MY OWN SAKE.

Only you can know what your own motivations are. I hope you can find some space in your life to find the right path through this. Sadly, nothing you do can save your sister. All you can do is save yourself.

Sending you hugs - I remember all too well being in your shoes. Twice.

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Old 03-16-2009, 02:59 PM
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Thank you everyone for the support. "Give Love"- your message really helped. I guess I am still trying to control by stating I would like her to get help. I also don't want to hurt my sister by not acknowledging her effort, but it is a thin line to walk. I really liked how you accepted the apology and set your own limit about not being able to accept future apologies for the behavior. I am going to think a bit more before I decide to respond, because often me responding leads to her then wanting to talk 2-3 times per day about her problems to which she has no insight.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:44 PM
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I stopped commenting about my brother's drinking to them as a general policy. They know they are alcoholics. Long ago I handed over the number to AA and said I think this would help you. And then I let it go.
It had taken me years of pain and finally attending AlAnon and counseling to get to that place of not feeling responsible for their problem anymore (meaning it just does not matter what I say it will not change their life or make them see or be the ah-ha moment!!!!)
It was a HUGE relief.
Now I try to just deal with behavior.
If they hurt me in some way but then offer a genuine apology I will accept it...or not. Has nothing to do with their drinking. Their drinking or not drinking is their business.

My business is to keep myself in a mentally healthy place. If that means, for me, I cannot be around my A brothers or I have to limit my contact with them...then I do. I don't need to apologize for that and I don't blame their drinking. I am just taking care of me!

I would consider accepting her apology but setting some limits as GL said so wisely. If not wanting to hear her complaints 2-3 times a day then just say that up front. Stop feeling so guilty about taking care of your own anxiety and mental health!!
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