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Help for sister of an alcoholic

Old 12-27-2010, 02:22 PM
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Help for sister of an alcoholic

This is my first time here...bear with me. My sister is an alcoholic, who has lied about everything I can think of and stolen from my family for the last 5 or so years. I have been dealing with this for a while now, and have put up some boundaries between she and I, and she still continues to lie, and drink/use, and unfortunately, my family plays the "it's alright, let's just pretend everything's normal" game, which I refuse to play anymore. I don't want my children around her, and frankly, I don't want to be around her anymore either. It's not that I don't love her, but I don't want a relationship with the person my sister has become. If she were trying to recover, it would be a different story, and I would want to try to begin to support her.
My husband and I informed my parents and brother that we would not be coming to Christmas eve dinner like usual, and gave our reasons. My parents didn't listen to what I said at all, and just called me wondering when we could all get together, so my sister and her boyfriend can give our kids their Christmas presents. My gut is telling me that I need to tell my sister that I am not willing to have a relationship with her unless she is going to seek treatment of some kind (which she's tried several times before). I know I can't control her, but I can control me. I don't want to be unkind, but I don't want her to think for another second that she can behave the way she does and think that I accept what she's doing as normal, and therefore okay. Sorry this is so long! Is it wrong for me to discontinue my relationship with her until she commits to recovery?
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:33 PM
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I think you are completely right in setting boundaries for yourself and your family. Don't second guess yourself; you have to do what is right for you and your children.

Your parents are in denial, as you have said. They are not going to get it until they get it. Stay strong. Sometimes the greatest act of love is in the letting go.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:13 PM
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It sounds like you are wanting to establish healthy boundaries. Good for you!

AlAnon is also a wonderful source of support for families of alcoholics. If you've never been then look it up and give it a try. It's been a lifesaver for many of us who struggle with family issues due to alcoholism.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:44 PM
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Al Anon

My brother, sister in law and I are going to start going to meetings together, so we're all on the same page. Thanks!
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:13 PM
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Hi HS, and to SR! Wow, you could have written my story. Or I could have written yours. My sister is an alcoholic, too. She is currently in a program learning how to recover. I have limited contact with her, on my terms. But it took years of pain, frustration, and education to get to this point on both our points.

Of course you love your sister, and of course you want to support her if she chooses recovery. IF she does. At this point, she hasn't, and it sounds like you are ready to do what is best for you, which is to set boundaries that protect you and your family from being dragged down into HER choices and HER spiral of madness that is alcoholism.

Boundaries are not selfish; boundaries are there to protect you and to set up consequences for the alcoholic and his/her behavior. But...they only work if you set them and you stick with them! I know how difficult it is because you do love her. My alcoholic sister was / is very good at manipulating and playing on her loved ones' emotions so she could continue her behavior. I had to set boundaries for my sake, not for hers, as harsh as that sounds.
Your sister will make the choice to get sober if/when she is ready to, and you can support her then. But in the meantime, detaching with love may be the best thing for both of you.

I have found I need to reinforce my boundaries with both my sister and my parents (who, like your parents, want to pretend everything is "normal") regardless of how either party feels about me reinforcing my boundaries. I do it in a neutral and loving way, and I stick to it. I don't accept hysterics, drama, or criticism. If we cannot communicate like adults (I am speaking here mostly about my parents, though this applies to my sister, too), I do not communicate with them, but leave the channel open with "when you are okay with discussing this in a rational and calm manner, you can give me a call".
I know it is so hard...hang in there and keep posting! You are doing the right thing. On this forum, I learned that "if nothing changes, nothing changes". If we don't change...the alcoholic won't either. But regardless of if / when they change, we can live happier days.
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:23 PM
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Support

This makes so much sense...thank you for sharing this with me. It's so counterintuitive to the person whose been raised by the parents who just want everything to be normal, regardless of her actions, that I need to detach...but I do think it's the best thing for me and my family. It's going to create a lot of dischord (or repercussions, as my mother so kindly put it) with the rest of my family, but God made me stubborn, and strong for a reason, and I think this is part of that reason...plus I have a very supportive husband, and 2 beautiful boys that need their whole mom, not half a mom who cares for them, and half a mom enmeshed with Auntie's drama. This is going to be hard, but I know I can do it, thanks to the support I'm allowing myself to finally get. Thanks! It's amazing how much easier it is to be hopeful when you realize it's not possible to do it on your own...
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:24 PM
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I hear ya! Your parents want things to stay the same because then they don't have to deal with their own denial. Your boundaries may help them to begin to come to terms with your sister's disease, too. But, like your sister, they will come to terms with reality in their own time....or they may never will. Stay strong and feel free to PM me if you need support. It's not easy, but it will get easier. Sending you hugs!
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