Blogs


Notices

Should I stay in contact with my Alcoholic Brother

Old 07-18-2010, 09:43 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 2
Should I stay in contact with my Alcoholic Brother

My brother is an alcoholic and has been one since he was 16. (he is 41 now)Like many of you, I could write a novel about all of the trouble he has gotten into and the BS he has put me through. I will spare you the details. He is the proverbial "functional" alcoholic. He stays employed, gets drunk on various weeknights, and generally get's wasted every weekend. I am able to stay away from 99% percent of his drama these days because I now live very far away from him. We get along alright over all. I have not seen him face to face for almost 3 years. Even though he lives in a place with cold, cold winters, and I live in San Diego, he has never come to visit me, because he knows I will not allow him to drink in my home. What's more important, seeing your one and only brother, or drinking? We all know the answer to that one.

My brother has no friends besides me and his alcoholic, substance abuser, low self esteemed, enabling girlfriend.

Anyways, my brother calls me usually once every 1-2 weeks, and he usually has a new plan about how he is going to reorganize his life, quit alcohol, event something, start a business, move to a foreign country, etc, etc. I know now from 20 years of listening to these stories that nothing is going actually get done, because he will just stay drunk and lose all ambition.

The crux. So, I try to call my brother once a week to stay in touch. Typically he answers the phone, I ask how he's doing, then I tell him a little bit about what I'm excited about: a new novel I'm reading, a new movie I've seen, a place I've traveled to, what I'm doing with my girlfriend, etc. He has no interest whatsoever. He says "yeah", "hmm", and asks no questions for me to elaborate, like you would in a typical conversation between two human beings that care about each other. After about 5 minutes he finds an excuse to get off the phone: he has to take out his dog, his gf is just arriving, his gf will be arriving soon and he has to clean, cook, etc, or he is in the middle of something, etc.

My question: Should I even bother maintaining the relationship? I love my brother, but I feel that he has no care or empathy for me. As long as the conversation is about him, we can talk forever, but if it ever changes over to something I'm doing or interested in, it quickly ends.

I actually brought it up to him at one point, and he changed his attitude for about 2 weeks (he feigned interest in me), but now he's back to "all about him". I have plenty of non-alcoholic friends that I have healthy two-way communication with. Should I continue with this relationship? Should I not call him and then just wait for him to call me? Even though, when he calls me, the calls are still just all about him. I'm not waiting for him to change. I know he won't.

Do any other's out there have relationships like this with their alcoholic family members? How do you deal?

Also, what are some of the best books to help people deal with alcoholic family members?

Thanks in advance.
MyBroIsAlc is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to MyBroIsAlc For This Useful Post:
FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010), kelsh (07-19-2010), LucyA (07-20-2010)
Old 07-18-2010, 11:05 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Bristol TN/VA
Posts: 12,262
Blog Entries: 5
There is no right or wrong....what do you want to do?
Live is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Live For This Useful Post:
FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010), LucyA (07-20-2010), MyBroIsAlc (07-27-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 12:07 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
ladyamalthea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: My House
Posts: 1,122
Blog Entries: 12
My sister is an addict, but it's all the same to an extent. Right now I have no contact with her or my parents because my parents are mad at me for not helping them to enable her, and I don't want to get drawn back into trying to save her and trying to save them from her. So I'm working on me for now.

It sounds to me like our situations are very different in this regard, however, since you don't seem to be tempted to rescue anyone. If you want to stay in touch with him, you may just have to come to terms with the fact that, as an alcoholic, he's gonna be a bit on the immature side, and that means he's gonna be a bit selfish. What do you think would be best? I don't see a right or wrong here, as long as you are being realistic.
ladyamalthea is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to ladyamalthea For This Useful Post:
FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010), LucyA (07-20-2010), MyBroIsAlc (07-27-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 07:08 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
RollTide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: seeking sanity
Posts: 645
I don't have any advice other than to suggest going to an AlAnon meeting.
RollTide is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to RollTide For This Useful Post:
FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010), LucyA (07-20-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 07:26 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
To thine own self be true.
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 5,924
Blog Entries: 5
It sounds to me like you have reached the point where you realize you are getting nothing out of this relationship but perhaps are hanging in there and making an effort simply because he is your brother? I cannot say what is right for YOU, only you can do that. You may want to give Al-Anon a try. Also, there should be plenty of books at your local library on Alcoholism.

I personally had to cut all communication with my youngest brother, who was what I thought was my best friend for most of my life, because of the sickness, chaos, and pain he brought me. I have never regretted that decision. I found my peace that way. I realized that I held onto him, kept him in my life despite all the problems he created, because I had an idea of what life is supposed to look like. I thought I knew what brothers and sisters do. It was like some kind of dream that existed only in my mind, and never in reality.
Learn2Live is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Learn2Live For This Useful Post:
FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010), MyBroIsAlc (07-27-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 07:31 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
nodaybut2day's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Quebec
Posts: 2,708
I have no sibblings so do what you will with this...but it seems to me you already instinctively know that there is nothing positive in your relationship with your brother, and that you keep in touch out of a sort of family obligation. I'm a big fan of getting rid of crazymakers in one's life, or at the very least, reducing contact as much as possible. Perhaps this is an option for you (as in, if and when he calls, don't answer)?
nodaybut2day is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to nodaybut2day For This Useful Post:
coyote21 (07-19-2010), FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 09:23 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Climbing hills, flying down...
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: By the Sea
Posts: 565
Blog Entries: 12
Hi and welcome to SR!
I so relate to your situation--the alcoholic in my life is my sister: 42, actively drinking for 15 years now. My therapist once pointed out something to me that I found helpful: "if she weren't your sibling, would you stay in touch with her if you find her actions and lifestyle unacceptable?" And the answer--my answer--was no, I wouldn't, at least not while she is actively drinking. It is too painful to watch her self destruct and destroy her life, so I am detaching from her. It's the best thing I can do for me and for my family. I cannot change, cure, or control her, but I can control what type of relationship I want with her, and for now, that is no relationship.
Two helpful sources: the books Sober Sibling (Patricia Olsen), and Addict in the Family (Beverly Conyers).

Wishing you good thoughts in whatever you end up doing.
FarawayFromCars is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to FarawayFromCars For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (07-19-2010), LucyA (07-20-2010), MyBroIsAlc (07-27-2010), theuncertainty (07-28-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 10:46 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Omak WA
Posts: 1,049
Unhappy Should I stay in contact with my Alcoholic Brother?

MyBroIsAlco,


Your post could have been my post. After my Mom died my Brother sold his house & moved in to be with Dad...but it ended up taking advantage of my Dad.

My Brother was an active Alcoholic then & got worse when he had access to Dad's money. When the lawyer was doing the Probate of Dad's will when he died he found that our Dad had left the house to both of us. What a mistake.

My parents enabled my Brother all of his adult life especially after his two divorces so he was very dependent on them.

He drank more & more & got into drugs too...I hadn't heard from him in three years & I was getting copies of some of the utility bills since I was co-owner.
I ended up evicting him from our home along with his drug buddies he was renting rooms to for more income.

I need to take my husband to the ER so have to quit but my Brother is sober now, I sold the house, & I send him money when he calls me asking for it.

I don't initiate anything else...this is his money & he wanted me to handle it for him.

kelsh....will write more later.
kelsh is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to kelsh For This Useful Post:
FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010), Learn2Live (07-19-2010), theuncertainty (07-28-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 02:30 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Omak WA
Posts: 1,049
Thumbs up Should I stay in contact with my Alcoholic Brother?

MyBroIsAlco,


Hi again. I kinda left you quickly there. We are back home & my Husband has the flu and Pneumonia again so is on an antibiotic...same routine we go through most times. So glad he didn't have to stay in the hospital again because he doesn't get his meds on time & they let his fever get so high he is hallucinating before they know it...can't seem to understand one little factor that is different from most people.

Anyway I shortened my post about keeping in contact with my Brother. I guess I am of the feeling that if he is bad sick or dies, someone will call me because he has good support. I sound kinda cold but I have to protect myself too.

He had stopped using the Meth using alcohol to detox & a doctor's help but refused to do a medical detox under supervision in-patient so he ended up having one heart attack...survived that & then relapsed around Christmas Time 2009 & had a second heart attack so that woke him up to realize this is serious & dangerous business.

I love my Brother with all my heart & would do most anything to help him if he is trying & not in denial of the whole picture of where he has been and what he is trying to do to get better. It is sad but we both have the strong predisposition for alcoholism & depression and for years he has denied he had a problem just his best friends & son & daughter had the problems. It doesn't work that way.

kelsh
kelsh is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to kelsh For This Useful Post:
FarawayFromCars (07-19-2010), Learn2Live (07-19-2010), theuncertainty (07-28-2010)
Old 07-19-2010, 06:27 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,103
I cut communication with all THREE of my sisters, and I don't regret it.

One of them helped ruin my marriage with her delusions that my exhusband was abusing me. Another one was married to an alcoholic, crack addict who touched me inappropriately in the car on the way back from my niece's birthday party. My third sister is a religious nut who never ceases to make it plain that she thinks I am going to h*ll unless I start going to church - she was with an AH for 15 yrs.

I can't even believe any of these women are related to me. It boggles my mind.

Just because you are in the same family with someone does not mean you have to tolerate disrespect from them, or that you're obligated to help them in any way, or even speak to them, if they are destructive and might bring you down.

Originally Posted by Learn2Live View Post

I personally had to cut all communication with my youngest brother, who was what I thought was my best friend for most of my life, because of the sickness, chaos, and pain he brought me. I have never regretted that decision. I found my peace that way. I realized that I held onto him, kept him in my life despite all the problems he created, because I had an idea of what life is supposed to look like. I thought I knew what brothers and sisters do. It was like some kind of dream that existed only in my mind, and never in reality.
sandrawg is offline  
Old 07-19-2010, 08:50 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 33
set boundaries,try not to build walls imho
headly is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to headly For This Useful Post:
LucyA (07-20-2010)
Old 07-20-2010, 03:18 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
LucyA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,017
Originally Posted by headly View Post
set boundaries,try not to build walls imho
I want to second this,
I lost my brother to chirrosis and heart disease aged 38, I was almost ready to cut off all contact, except I was finding that difficult because his son was living with me, he was 11 and needed some kind of contact with his dad and I went along with that because I agreed that a child who'd recently lost his mum needed his dad (yes, at the time that would have been however bad his dad was, not sure I'd do the same now!)
That part aside though, and speaking as a sister, I looked after my brothers dog while he was ill and living with my parents ( my brother had to leave the dog and I wasn't about to let a dog suffer for him!) and because of looking after his son and his dog, and the fact that he was 'living' at my parents house I had to keep in touch or ignore the rest of the family. I'm so grateful now that I did! Don't get me wrong we had very little conversation and even less relationship, but we were still in touch (on my terms) he knew I woudnt tolerate his drinking at all ,and it was only because he was too weak to drink at my parents house that I had anything to do with him, but he also knew I loved him.
My story isn't yours, we're all different, as are our brothers and sisters. I did what I did, you'll do what you will.
LucyA is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to LucyA For This Useful Post:
Bernadette (07-20-2010)
Old 07-20-2010, 07:27 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bernadette's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,813
Hi MyBroIsAlc,
I've been all around the barn with my 3 A bros. I have the least contact w/ my oldest bro who lives far away from me and although he gave up booze he smokes pot 24/7/365 and I just have a very hard time connecting with him. We speak on birthdays and Christmas, by phone, send the occasional email, that's about it. Works for me because it is just reality - there is no reason to have more contact, our contact is completely inauthentic.

With my other bros it is a little more complicated I guess. I am closer to them, live closer to them, and so I see them at family functions. If they are drinking I usually leave, I don't make a fuss or a statement, I just have my own fun & talk to everyone I love and then get out before I have to see their decline. They know they cannot drink in my house etc. so they rarely visit my house!

But I do have more of a relationship with them. I used to never answer their phone calls, just let it go to v.m. and if they sounded sober then I would call and talk to them. One bro had several months of AA and sobriety under his belt and I started rebuilding alittle more frequent contact - I found I could pick up my phone when he called and it would all be good. Then one day I picked it up and he was wasted, so now I am back to letting it ring through to v.m.

One thing I've always found over the years is I can always send them messages of love - a postcard here or there, or a letter. I do love them, and I know they know that.

I guess you could always try going no contact for a while. Nothing is written in stone. Maybe a few months off from your uncomfortable contact will point you in a new direction?

Good books that helped me were "Under the Influence" and "Codependent No More."

Also more than anything AlAnon helped me change my perspective. SD probably has a lot of meetings to choose from so you could maybe find one that "clicks" for you.
peace-
B
Bernadette is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bernadette For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (07-27-2010), theuncertainty (07-28-2010)
Old 07-27-2010, 12:53 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 2
Thanks, and I'll try to get the two books you recommended.
MyBroIsAlc is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to MyBroIsAlc For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (07-27-2010)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:14 AM.