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Intro & the things I'd like to say to BIL

Old 10-17-2010, 09:49 PM
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Intro & the things I'd like to say to BIL

I am the SIL of an active addict (alcohol and prescription drugs). AS you can see by my screen name I believe that my sister deserves so much better than the hand she has been dealt.

My sister is a wonderful, caring, giving, talented, social, and intelligent wife, mother, and sister who is active in her church and community as a volunteer and who is completely dedicated to her family (AH included). Her AH is crushing her spirit with his actions and words and it KILLS me to see it happening and to feel so helpless to do anything about it. Her AH is also fast-tracking his spiral toward losing ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING for them and I so wish I had a life preserver I could throw her to get her (and their kids) out of the situation, but I don't.

There are so many things I really desperately want to say to BIL. I have not talked with him about his problems at all since I learned of them. On the one hand I tell myself it is none of my business and not my place to talk to him about it, but on the other hand I have an incredible urge to say something (well actually a lot of things). I know deep down that my words would not change him. I understand that he is no longer a rational person and that trying to reason with him is pointless. I also know that he would likely not "hear" my words as I would intend them due to his warped "reality". But yet I still feel the need to write him a letter or an e-mail or to go over there to talk with him.

What is a SIL to do? Am I supposed to sit by and ignore the pink elephant? It feels incredibly fake to me to be around him and act like life is peachy and to let him act like life is peachy. The smiles he gives when everyone is around make me want to slap him sometimes. I would never do it, but it is how I feel.

I guess the bottom line is that my sister deserves better and I am not sure that he can ever be better. I know that people can and do recover ... but so far I can't see him ever getting there.

I look forward to reading posts and learning from the experience and wisdom of those who have been-there-done-that. Thanks in advance for any advice or thoughts you can share.
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:54 AM
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Hello SisDsrvsBetter. Welcome to this great forum.

Has your sister told anything to you about this... ? unfortunately just as alcoholics, many partners are also in denial about the problem, or know something is wrong but they put up with it anyway. There is no way to know when it is enough for either one of the dancers, in this sad dance.

I also dislike hipocrisy and would feel totally upset in your shoes.

One book that is useful to us worried about someone else's alcoholism, is "Codependent no more" by Melody Beatty. Alanon groups also help many. Have you or your sister gone to an Alanon meeting before ?

There are others with ESH that will be coming along - you are among people who understand now, and many have already reached a peaceful state, regardless of what the alcoholic is doing... regardless of what others in general are doing.

There is much hope and healing going on in this forum everyday... you are no longer alone (((((((Hugs))))))))))
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:02 AM
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PS About expressing your feelings, have you thought about writing a letter then burning it or trashing it? This is a good way to work on those feelings. What is imporant is that you no longer carry that need. A letter (or anything else, because here we have all tried having heart-to-hearts, yelling, giving ultimatums, etc without any impact) won't change BIL but these kind of exercises, sure does help changing how you feel about BIL...

Do you have a therapist? Getting a therapist knowledgeable about addiction has helped me move forward (I work with an alcoholic ex bf). This is tough and we need all the support we can get.
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:25 AM
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hi there-

i don't think there is much you can do to help your brother-in-law, however, what about trying to reach your sister? you could point her to this forum...perhaps she will relate to some of our stories and begin her own recovery...

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Old 10-18-2010, 02:46 AM
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Welcome SisDeserves Better. As I was told when I went to my first AlAnon meeting, "You've come to the right place." Yes, your sister does deserve better. So did I and I lived in the insanity WAAAAAYYYYYYY too long. What helped me was this forum and Alanon. They saved my life and helped me see that life can be good again.

The people in my life that I could be honest with about things and talk to were and still are so important. So my thoughts are that your being there for her is already a huge comfort to her.

The more I educated myself on the disease the more I realized that I was powerless over it. Maybe you could send your sister a link to this forum or tell her about Alanon.

Keep coming back. We're glad you are here.
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:59 AM
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I will reiterate some of the advice you've already gotten. I'm relatively new at confronting this issue myself, so I profess no expertise. However, as the husband of an alcoholic wife, I know that having friends and family members in whom to confide is very therapeutic, at least for me. As I'm living with a person not grounded in reality, I find it somewhat comforting to have people around who help keep me tethered to a more rational world.

They can't solve my problem, or stop AW from destroying herself, but at least I have somebody to talk to. As a person who has never really been very social or talkative, this has come as a revelation to me.

Maybe, at the very least, you can give your sister some comfort... a temporary escape from the madness. There may be more you can do, but I'll leave that advice to the experts.

Good luck; be well.
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:55 AM
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Your post serves as a perfect example of why alcoholism is considered "the family disease". The alcoholics drinking/drugging affects everyone even remotely associated to them.

But to hear them tell it, "I'm only hurting myself". I'm guessing this is the most universally uttered phrase among alcoholic/addicts, and it's universally untrue.

You are right to realize that speaking to him, or your sister for that matter, is not likely to change anything. If your sister is in denial, perhaps you could lead by example by joining Alanon yourself, and learning all you can about alcoholism.

Alanon is for the "Family and Friends of Alcoholics", so you qualify for membership. I believe it would help you to learn better ways to cope with his sickness, and more importantly HER sickness. Because, believe me when I say, living with active alcoholism makes the non-drinker sick as well. I was bat-sh!t crazy when I finally got myself untangled from my axw.

Living with and dealing with an alcoholic is like living in Bizzoro Land, up is down, black is white, and everything I thought instinctively was the right thing to do, was wrong and visa versa. SR and Alanon can help you help her to sort out the best courses of action.

I hope you keep coming back and posting, there is a world of knowledge here.

Thanks and God bless us all,
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:56 AM
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Thanks everyone for the welcome and for your suggestions.

My sister does attend Al-Anon meetings and went through family counseling/education during a stay my BIL had in a rehab facility. I know she has been reading books, and I think she *might* have visited/read some online forums, but I am not sure. She is doing what she can to be informed - even if her AH is skipping meetings, in denial, etc.

She has talked to me about what has been happening, but I think she talks to others who live in her same town more ... friends, church family, etc. I know it isn't easy for her to talk about because talking about means reliving what has happened and having to tell the painful stories over and over again. I tend to wait for her to take opportunities to talk to me if she wants to because I don't want to push or pry or make this more painful. I never did call her often (even before this was happening) becuse she is a busy person, and now I fell like I don't want to call her because she is constantly getting text messages and calls from friends, co-volunteers, etc. and I have seen how all the calls/texts can cause her to feel frazzled. I feel like it is a fine line to walk ... being there to listen and making her feel worse.

Thanks again for your welcome and thoughts.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:49 AM
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My brother was married to a narcissistic self-indulgent pot-head for 20 years.

It used to drive me crazy because I too felt he deserved better.

Guess what? He's a grown man. He didn't need my input.

He finally divorced her earlier this year, and I had nothing to do with it.

I find it's best to work on my own recovery and life, and let the other adults in my life live without my interference.
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