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I feel like I'm a hostage

Old 10-12-2010, 12:09 PM
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Question I feel like I'm a hostage

My sister is an alcoholic/pill addict. We are both adults with our own families.

My sister's in rehab (again). This time her husband is divorcing her and getting custody of the children. I understand that.

I keep my phone with me 100% of the time just in case she calls. She feels so lonely and scared. I'm taking days off of work to go visit her. Now I'm bring her youngest son to vist her on Saturday.

I feel like I need to do this for my sister, but I have a full time job and a toddler of my own. I'm starting to neglect both of those things. I want to help her get on track (I'm hoping this is her rock bottom) but how do I support her and not lose myself in the process? I'm really the only family she has.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:34 PM
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You are being very kind and caring.....but please don't neglect yourself and your familly...that doesn't help in the end.

Please check out and read the stickies at the top of this forum...it contains so much wisdom.

As much as you love her and want the best for her, softening things can actually work against her best interest, keeping healthy boundaries for you and your life will protect your interests and prove a good example.

((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:41 PM
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Live is right Zappy. While it may sound counter-intuitive, taking care of yourself (and allowing her the dignity to accept the consequences of her actions) is the best thing you can do for her.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:43 PM
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If you feel like your a hostage, there is something out of whack. That something is the balance we all struggle with on a daily basis. Only do what you truly feel you can do without compromising the things that are important to you. Remember she needs to suffer the consequences of her actions in order to understand the havoc she has wreaked. It's part of the painful and important process of growth for her. Do not rob her of that. And do not rob yourself of your needs either.

Find and keeping a balance is the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones who suffer from this insidious disease.

Peace,
Jen
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:52 PM
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I remember what it felt like to be at the beck and call of the alcoholic in my life (my then-husband). My heart beat faster every time the phone rang, and as soon as I saw it was him calling, my heart ran into overdrive. I was always running to the rescue, helping him solve x,y,z problem, supporting him, listening to him, lending him cash, etc etc. It made me feel important, wanted, needed...

It was exhausting.

Very soon, I began to feel resentful even if he did thank me endlessly when he was sober. I started to feel like his caretaker, not his partner.

Have you considered reading Codependent No More, by Melodie Beattie? It might really help you in this situation.

Just because you are the only family your sister has doesn't mean you have to JUMP every time she calls. Some alkies are frightfully good at making everything seem like an emergency, and they become panicky when you don't respond right away. Your sister is in rehab; she's in good hands. If there's an emergency, the people who are caring for her are trained to handle it. If it's something beyond the scope of their expertise, then they'll call the people who can take care of things.

As much as this is a difficult time for both you and your sister, perhaps it's also time to put some healthy boundaries in place so that she begins to understand that she is not the sole reason for your existence and that you have many other fish to fry. That doesn't demean in any way the breadth and scope of your love for her; it simply keeps things healthy.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Zappy View Post

I keep my phone with me 100% of the time just in case she calls. She feels so lonely and scared.
She is either going to stay on track or not/ relapse or recover no matter what you do or not, to support her.

This need to be reachable at all times says more about us than it does those who may or may not be seeking their own recovery. Learning how to take responsibility for ourselves is what maturity is all about. This includes sitting with the emotional pain of being scared and loney.

Giving her the dignity of bearing the consequences of her addiction is a gift.

Establishing boundaries for yourself....your own behaviors and letting go of the outcomes is what our recovery is all about.
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:33 PM
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how do I support her and not lose myself in the process?
By taking the BEST possible care of your SELF and your minor children as you possibly can. You can help NO ONE if your life becomes unmanageable. You cannot "help" her through this. She has to learn and practice doing it her SELF.

P.S. Being there at her every call is not helping her. A person, especially when they begin Recovery, needs to learn that they can do it themselves. That they do not NEED anyone to be successful at this. They need to be courageous themselves, and feel the sense of accomplishment from doing so. Be supportive by sending a card and calling once a week. Not by being a life preserver. At least this is what I had to learn to do with my brother.
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:56 PM
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She's in rehab sweetie...thats a great sign now you need to get out of the way and let the healing begin and let God do his work...sometimes the best way to help is to just step back and love them from a distance....sometimes a very great distance.

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Old 10-12-2010, 03:15 PM
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Hi Zappy
I went through this with my sister aswell. I was even ready to give my job up to 'help' her get well. I didnt but this is how much I was involved in her addiction with alcohol. Her problems became mine and the phone rang all the time (but only when she was intoxicated) and we would go through all the same stuff over and over. She wouldnt even remember that she had talked to me an hour before.
She went into live in rehabs 15 times and each time she was scared, alone and in a terrible state. It made me feel sick and hopelessly afraid for her.
I did eventually distance myself from her and did start thinking of myself and my own family. It had become a mess and her life was interfering with ours so much that I was unhappy all the time.
I would suggest that you keep posting here and you will learn and see how to bring yourself back together. I feel for you so much, the pain and sadness of seeing someone we love hurt themselves like this, is terrible and it is hard to let go. With my sister I drove her to rehab, the hospitals etc etc but in the end I had to let go of all the rest (the addiction) because it was affecting my soul too much.
I wish you all the best.
JJ
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:40 PM
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Don't compromise your life and well being for her. She is where she needs to be, the staff at rehab are trained to help her, if recovery is what she wants.

I sure understand your wanting to support her, however, she needs to be responsible for her recovery, and you need to get out of her way and concentrate on you and your family.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:07 PM
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My experience has been that rehabs don't want the patients calling people all the time.They have a very short time there to do the work they need to do. If she is still having drama while in rehab, let the staff there deal with it.It's their job, not yours. I agree with the card and very limited calls for her sake a swell as yours. And if she calls and you don't get right back to her..she will have to sit with her feelings and perhaps figure out a solution on her own..(I am just starting to "get"all this w/ my AD).So..put down the phone tonight and spend some time with your family.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by keepinon View Post
My experience has been that rehabs don't want the patients calling people all the time.They have a very short time there to do the work they need to do. If she is still having drama while in rehab, let the staff there deal with it.It's their job, not yours. I agree with the card and very limited calls for her sake a swell as yours. And if she calls and you don't get right back to her..she will have to sit with her feelings and perhaps figure out a solution on her own..(I am just starting to "get"all this w/ my AD).So..put down the phone tonight and spend some time with your family.
+1
That's just what I was going to say--be HAPPY that she has every resource she needs right there, right now, and step away.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:36 PM
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Being an alcoholic/pill addict is an awful way to live as you have witnessed.
Your sis is once again struggling to overcome. Try and show her all the compassion
you can. She may have tried recovery before and failed, but NOW she is trying again.

My son died from the disease of addiction/alcoholism this summer. I don't regret one moment that I supported him or visited him the three times he went to rehab to try to beat this disease.

If your sis was inpatient with any other disease you prob. wouldn't feel as conflicted in showing support. Addiction is potentially just as fatal. I hope your sister gets some long-term sobriety this time. Sometimes all we have to offer may be compassionate words and thoughts which go along way to help them in the struggle.
Your sister is fortunate to have your love.
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