Blogs


Notices

I don't know how to help my sister.

Old 03-25-2011, 02:44 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
I don't know how to help my sister.

Hello everybody,

I have an alcoholic sister. I am 23 and she is 22.


Quick life background: My sister suffers from anxiety attacks, and depression. She used to be on medication but is no longer on them due to my mom's insurance going out and I can't add her to mine as she is a sibling.

I don't know when she started drinking. When I turned 21, she was giving me drinks like it was old news for her, and she's the younger sister. Alcoholism runs high in our family, however all those that drink are either dead or not in our lives. I know that her boyfriend (she's still with him) did enable her drinking a lot.

Speaking of her boyfriend, last September he was arrested for hitting her when they were both drunk. He is on probation and required to go to anger management classes as well as random breathalyzers. After the court date, they promised each other, in order to save their relationship, that they wouldn't drink.

Fast forward: (I'm sorry this is so scattered. It's such a long story, so I'm going to provide tidbits).

My sister binge drinks every time her boyfriend is away. When she drinks, she is angry, hateful, and says very degrading stuff to me. Her and I live in an apartment, and her boyfriend stays with us (not my willing), but sometimes goes to his parents house. I find bottles everywhere!

She's a dangerous drunk as well. Several times, she's left the front door open and all our animals escaped. She's drowned in the bathtub three times now, one time she was rushed to a hospital. She was even raped once by an old high school friend (still unknown who to me) when I was not home, and she went to the hospital.

I've told her boyfriend that she had been drinking, but he ends up always coming back the next morning. A lot of times, he's under the impression that it is her anxiety making her act weird (how does he not SMELL it?).

She always drinks until she blacks out, as well. She never can casually drink. One time she ordered pizza, and I got a call from the driver while I was at work that the front door was wide open and she was laying naked in the living room.

I've asked my mom several times to help, since she had a drinking problem in her teens. However, she suffers from some mental illness of her own and ends up posting about my sister all over her facebook where my sister can see. My sister gets upset, drinks some more.

I've always been the mother of my family. The apartment is very expensive, and with our mom out of the house and unemployed, I'm the 'breadwinner' of the family. All my friends keep telling me that the only way to wake her up to her self destruction is to move. They can visibly see what it's doing to me. EVERY day when I go home, a part of me expects to find her dead because I wasn't there to save her from a drunken stupor. I check to see if she's breathing all the time. It's killing me, and my friends know me as one of the happiest, most patient person on the earth. But they see me cracking, and way too many of them had to come into the apartment with me after dropping me off because I was too scared to see what I would find.


I tried everything with her. I tried saying "not only are we sisters, we are roommates. You can do whatever you want, until it interferes with my living."

I've tried distance.

I've tried drinking WITH her.

I've yelled, screamed, cried, held interventions.

I've even kept some of her binges secret from her boyfriend as long as she opened up to me about the drinking and admitting she has a problem.

My friends want me to move. They visibly post all over my facebook their offers for me to come with them.

But I'm scared to move on. I'm scared of change. I think of everybody she's pushed out of her life, and how in the middle of the night she cries that she doesn't have any friends. I've always been her pillar, her one friend. I don't want to have to leave my home that I've known for 8 years to teach her a lesson, but I can't keep this going. What if I leave and she dies? But what if I leave and she LIVES?

I'm so sorry for this being so scattered. I've kept this inside so long. Please help? I'm running out of resources and it seems all I have left are tears.
InShadows is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to InShadows For This Useful Post:
barb dwyer (03-25-2011), keepinon (03-29-2011), NTurn (03-25-2011)
Old 03-25-2011, 03:01 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
My questions:

1. Should I move? Even though it's terrifying for me to even think about, and my new roommates may not be the most reliable people?

2. Should I tell the boyfriend every time she drinks? Or is this interfering too much?

3. I like to drink on occasion (maybe once every two weeks). I've started drinking away from her though, at a friends or in my room while I'm cleaning/watching TV. I also toss the bottles so there is no evidence. However I feel I should always be sober in case she does something idiotic like what I've said above. Is it still okay for me to drink with an A in the house?

4. She really needs anxiety medication but all the people that talked to her after she was hospitalized wouldn't put her on a psych hold saying intoxication doesn't count for them to admit her. The one doctor that did take her to a detox center couldn't give her anything because of the bad alcohol/drug reactions. Should I talk to her about the ability to get on the meds she wants if she stops drinking?

5. When she's drinking, is it alright if I ignore her and go to my room and do my own thing? With her anxiety issues, she always gets very upset at this.
InShadows is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:08 PM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Presstoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Island of Misfit Toys
Posts: 102
Hi Shadows,

I am so sorry to hear about your sister and how it's hurting both of you. I agree with your friends about moving, or better yet, tell her she has to move out. Does she have a job? Are you enabling her by letting her live with you? Why doesn't she and her BF have a place of their own? She's very sick, you love her but you can't save her.

I have left behind a few friends because they literally did the same stuff, like drowning in the tub and it seems crazy until you're living it. My elderly father was drunk and fell off the couch onto the wood floor and I just left him there. He lives 900 miles away, what does he do when I'm not visiting? It hurt me so much I took all of my clothes out of there so I don't have to go back if I don't want to. I have to take care of myself, so do you and so does your sister. This forum is so great, thank you for sharing and I'm sure other people will probably have better advice for you. My way is to walk away when helping just isn't helping.

I wish you luck and support from your friends and family.
Presstoe is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:13 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
She does have a part time job, and her boyfriend doesn't work because of previous theft felonies on his record and he claims he cannot find anything due to that (although I've never even seen him fill out an application personally).

She's just so dumb (saying this in the nicest way possible) I worry about her making it out in the world. With the mental illness on top of the A, virtually no support system but me, I'm terrified for her. I know it's an excuse though. And then I have to think about how I would afford the place if I kicked her out. It's stressful to even think about!
InShadows is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:17 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Presstoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Island of Misfit Toys
Posts: 102
Originally Posted by InShadows View Post
My questions:

1. Should I move? Even though it's terrifying for me to even think about, and my new roommates may not be the most reliable people?

2. Should I tell the boyfriend every time she drinks? Or is this interfering too much?

3. I like to drink on occasion (maybe once every two weeks). I've started drinking away from her though, at a friends or in my room while I'm cleaning/watching TV. I also toss the bottles so there is no evidence. However I feel I should always be sober in case she does something idiotic like what I've said above. Is it still okay for me to drink with an A in the house?

4. She really needs anxiety medication but all the people that talked to her after she was hospitalized wouldn't put her on a psych hold saying intoxication doesn't count for them to admit her. The one doctor that did take her to a detox center couldn't give her anything because of the bad alcohol/drug reactions. Should I talk to her about the ability to get on the meds she wants if she stops drinking?

5. When she's drinking, is it alright if I ignore her and go to my room and do my own thing? With her anxiety issues, she always gets very upset at this.
Here's my thoughts:

1.) If it were me, she'd have to move.

2.) It doesn't matter, yeah it might be interfering, when she moves out, this will no longer be your issue.

3.) What you do has nothing to do with her. Back to number 1, she needs to go.

4.) I think she would benefit from detox and rehab, we're not allowed to give medical advice here, so listen to the doctors, ask them.

5.) Do whatever you want to do. It sounds like you're completely entangled in her life. Alanon might help. I'm not a professional, but what you're describing sounds like codependency. You need to move, or she needs to move and take care of yourself.

Be well- Take care of yourself and think of all the things you can do with your life aside from worrying about your sister. Let go of this.
Presstoe is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Presstoe For This Useful Post:
InShadows (03-29-2011)
Old 03-25-2011, 03:23 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
Presstoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Island of Misfit Toys
Posts: 102
Originally Posted by InShadows View Post
She does have a part time job, and her boyfriend doesn't work because of previous theft felonies on his record and he claims he cannot find anything due to that (although I've never even seen him fill out an application personally).

She's just so dumb (saying this in the nicest way possible) I worry about her making it out in the world. With the mental illness on top of the A, virtually no support system but me, I'm terrified for her. I know it's an excuse though. And then I have to think about how I would afford the place if I kicked her out. It's stressful to even think about!
Get rid of the BF too! Read what you're saying- he's a complete leach, I'm sorry, I shouldn't judge him but seriously!? YOu think he's good for your sister? And I can tell you if she was working and supporting herself on only HER OWN 2 feet she might not have the time to continue harming herself.

You will find a roommate. I have walked broke out of impossible situations and made it happen because it had to happen, I had to make it work. Don't be afraid to try. I'm 32 now and I know how you feel and lived much like you are when I was in my 20's and it all worked out ok. Maybe your friends can help? What about your parents? She's still a child really, can they intervene if you go to them? You have options. Can you rent a smaller place? Think about your next move because you have to get out of the situation you're in.
Presstoe is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:29 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
Presstoe, thank you so much. I even have tears in my eyes. I know I'm enabling her so much, and I HATE it! Going from being a mother of the family and then suddenly being the cold shoulder that she can't rely on.
InShadows is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:34 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Presstoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Island of Misfit Toys
Posts: 102
Are your parents in the picture at all? You shouldn't have to be a "mother", you're her sister and just because she doesn't live with you, that doesn't mean that you have to stop being a sister to her. You need some boundaries, decide what you can and can't do for her based on your health and well being. Go to Alanon because those folks will be helpful to you. I have gone and it wasn't as bad as thought it would be, I was kinda scared to go.

Do something nice for yourself right now, to help you calm down and relax, or check out other stories by friends and families affected. I feel better when I read that other people have been thru the same thing and how they coped.

Take care- Lots of love!
Presstoe is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:45 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
Thank you so much! And in regards to parents, I do not have a dad, and my mom lives about 30 miles out. I don't have a vehicle so I really only see her when she comes and visits, and she isn't very mature at all. When I tell her about the struggles, she blows it over the top and treats it like Lindsey Lohan drama.
InShadows is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:57 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
Presstoe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Island of Misfit Toys
Posts: 102
My parents were much the same way, they minimized or completely ignored problems often referring to anything they wanted to ignore as "a phase".

Maybe your friends can help? If you move it might be easier, plan your steps and go slow. Find a place and inform her of when you're leaving and have lots of people around to help you pack and move. It might be easier than getting her to leave and you can get a more affordable place by yourself so you don't have to worry about roommates, like you mentioned.

I kicked a very good friend out of my place by just dumping his stuff out and changing the locks, but I can see how that wouldn't work out with your sister and her BF. Turn to the people you can trust so you feel the confidence to take the right steps forward.
Presstoe is offline  
Old 03-25-2011, 04:17 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
same planet...different world
 
barb dwyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 10,944
Blog Entries: 7
hi INshadows and welcome to the forum.

this is a sad story no matter how I look at it.
The biggest thing is
you're just kids.

There's so much more in this world
than worrying about a drunk sister.
I lived that one, too - and at about the same age.

I'm glad you're here.
I really am.

I go no answers
nothing for overnight anyway.
But it may well be time to start looking for another smaller place
that's only big enough for you.

It would remove the 'stayover' option
and be something you can afford for yourself.

Maybe just a casual thing to start doing on your own
sort of a private 'hope chest' thing for your own peace of mind.

I encourage you to look for and attend any alanon meetings
that might be near you.
sometimes hospitals offer 'support groups'
in areas where alanon isn't active.

I'm glad you're here.
there's a lot of people on this forum
that know what you're dealing with
and want to offer their support to you.

Welcome!
barb dwyer is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to barb dwyer For This Useful Post:
InShadows (03-29-2011), Presstoe (03-25-2011)
Old 03-29-2011, 03:55 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 8
I got a strange text last night from my sister's BF. He was asking me if I washed her sheets, and why, and if so why didn't I dry them because they were soaking wet.

Confused, I told him no, and that I'd be at the apartment shortly after a 10 hour workday. My sister was in the living room, slumped over, vomiting on her knees and barely able to sit up. Her BF said she told him I washed her sheets and told her to drink PM cold medicine, and gave her a big dose, and that's why she was acting weird.

By the time I got there, she couldn't even talk, and she smelled so strongly of alcohol. She has had a cold and she was gasping for air and going in and out of consciousness. I wanted to kick her BF in the face! She's like that and you're just casually sitting on the couch waiting for me to come home? SHE HAS ALCOHOL POISONING. He's whining about the SHEETS?

Luckily I got a ride home from a friend, so we lifted her into her car and drove to a local hospital less than 4 minutes away. They get her on a gurney and hook her up to IV's, a catheter, oxygen, and they post guards outside her door.

They were going to release her to me later that night when she woke up, but I said NO. I told them to get her to detox. I called my mom and told her to be the mom she needs to be and get down to the hospital. I told her I got her in a safe place, and as a family I can't do this alone.

I told my mom I'm out of the apartment if she even attempts to pick her up from detox early. My sister called her crying, saying she was scared and so sorry, and she didn't want to lose us, and that there would be no more drinking and she just wants to be home.

I want her to stay. She robbed me a night of happiness and much needed rest. I finally got a hospital to get her help, I want her to have to clean up the mess she's make of her life and mine. She's spoken so many words, but never followed up with action.

And I'm done with the boyfriend. It took me coming home to save her from .466 BAL (she's 5'3" and 170lbs). He can't keep breaking up with her than coming back after I'm done with the mess.

Now I'm just wondering. How to I act when she comes back?
InShadows is offline  
Old 03-29-2011, 05:55 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
 
keepinon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: central coast, ca
Posts: 1,652
WOW..first off I just want to say I fully understand how hard it is to watch someone you love slowly kill themselves...amny of us on her no longer will "take a front row seat" to another persons destruction.My daughter is 19 and an alcoholic/addict who has 6 mo. clean and sober.It was hell watching her..so I stopped.
We are powerless over another persons drinking..we are not stronger than this disease..however there are ways that we can go on and live full and happy lives even if our loved ones don't get sober...Alanon helped mne realize that..I urge you to go...it can bring you a whole new way of thinking and dealing with this addiction.
A's will say lots of things about quitting..it's part of the disease..what you need to look for are ACTIONS..not words.Is she going to a rehab (kudos to you for not taking her home)? Will she work a program like AA? Does she take care of her emotional, physical , and spiritual health?..that's what people in recovery do.Saying and doing..two very differnt things.For what its worth..alot of A's have anxiety issues..alcohol is not a treatment for anxiety..she doesn't want the proper meds because they donn't get her high..she is looking to completely check out, not reduce anxiety.A diagnosed mental health issue is not an excuse to continue active addiction..
keepinon is offline  
Old 03-29-2011, 08:00 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
 
Hopeworks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,236
Have you looked into a residential treatment program?

Having her professionally evaluated would be my recommendation ... many people benefit from being isolated from the alcohol in the earliest days of sobriety while focusing entirely on recovery away from home.

You would have peace of mind knowing she is safe and alcohol free and in treatment.
Hopeworks is offline  
Old 03-29-2011, 09:16 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
Aw, man.

I wish I could give you a big hug and take care of YOU for a change.

Of course, that's the rescuer in ME.

You handled all this so awesomely. It's gonna be tough dealing with the aftermath, though. I agree that in-patient rehab is probably the best solution if you can get her to agree. If she won't, though, I think you are gonna have to do what you can to save yourself, first.

No matter how strong we are, there comes a breaking point, and it sounds like you are on the cusp. One of the things I've heard in Al-Anon is that on airplanes, they always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first. You are no good to yourself or to anybody else if you burn yourself out.

I know she's your sister and you are loath to "abandon" her. But there is little else you can do. MAYBE if she gets the alcohol out of her system long enough, she will be willing to do something about her drinking. Some people never do, though, and it's incredibly hard on those who have to continue to deal with it.

I hope you will try to get yourself to Al-Anon. It can be a real lifesaver.

Hugs, sorry you are having to deal with this.
LexieCat is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to LexieCat For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (03-30-2011), StarCat (03-30-2011)

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 04:10 AM.