A mom writes in asking for advice about her brother. She says her older brother, who is 13 years older than she is, is an alcoholic. He has been in and out of rehab throughout his life but still struggles. He is currently living with their parents, which the OP describes as a “rough situation.” She wants to help him but is at a loss regarding how to do so. She specifies that she is really the only person he talks to, and she feels that responsibility.
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A member of the community asks:
“How can I help my brother who is an alcoholic?
I know this isn’t entirely mom-related. I am 28, and my brother is 41. Has been in and out of rehab but falls off the wagon. He lives with our parents, and it’s a rough situation there too. I have no idea how to help, but I’m the only person he talks to. Has anyone dealt with similar situations and any success stories to overcome this…”
Community Advice for This Mom Who Wants to Help Her Alcoholic Brother
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“I’m a recovering addict and I can tell you from experience… when we relapse, we JUST need support. There is a fine line between support and enabling. But, I have a sister who wants to write me off because I relapsed. That accomplishes nothing but hard feelings, which can lead to another relapse. My parents, on the other hand, practice tough love. They didn’t coddle me, they made it very clear that they were disappointed in me, but they stuck by my side and their attitude is simply “what do we need to do to get you back on the right path”…
… Be supportive but don’t baby him. Keep your intentions clear and stick to your guns. You and your parents need to be on the same page if he lives with them. Remember, as hard as it is for the family to go through this, it’s very hard on the addict as well. Good luck. I hope my personal experience will help you in this situation. I’ll say a prayer for all of you. Also, side note…nothing willhelp if your brother doesn’t WANT to get help. It’s hard for family because your efforts will be for nothing if he doesn’t want to get better.”
“Does he actually want help? That is a big thing, because you can’t help people who don’t want to get better, unfortunately.”
“I have an uncle that is a heroin addict. We have tried so many times to help — he’s been to rehab 6 or 7 times. We’ve tried the get him a job, a place to live, and the tough love thing didn’t help at all either. Nothing works for long because he doesn’t want help.”
“To be honest, all you can do is be there. Anyone who is addicted to something cannot be pulled out of that situation because of someone else. They have to see what they’re doing is hurting themself and others. They have to want help and to change. Otherwise, they’ll continue to do the same things.”
“He has to want to help himself. He’s 41 and lives with his parents. Probably enable him. Personally I would have kicked him out and make him realize he needs to get his life together. It’s hard to do but you have to stop making excuses for him.”
“Find an Al-Anon meeting near you. They help family members of alcoholics and you may be able to find other resources there. The truth is the alcoholic has to make the changes, but al-anon can definitely help you. Praying for your family. Best wishes.”
“Speaking from personal experience with my aunt, he isn’t gonna get better unless he wants to get better. We put my aunt in rehab and my parents even took her son away from her and she still didn’t get better until she was ready. Well, not exactly. It wasn’t until it was life or death literally with her. But she chose to live and get son back over drinking.”
“He has to want help, but do as you keep doing and show your love. I know from experience how hard it is to see someone you love suffer from alcoholism, always let him know your rooting for his happiness and sobriety. Look up AA meetings in your area for him to attend, not sure where you are, but there’s an app called “meeting guide” where it goes off your location showing you all the times and places of meetings each day of the week…
… Most places are usually closed meetings (for anyone who wants to stop drinking) with one open meeting (for family to attend too) once a month. I can also suggest searching for an Al-Anon meeting for yourself, it’s to help the families of alcoholics.”
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