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jenm 01-16-2014 10:18 AM

Brother's Drinking
Hi All!

I have talked about him before, but things have gotten progressively worse. As they always do with active alcoholism. A little background:

My brother is now 45. Throughout his life, there were times when he would binge drink. I remember times when we would "rescue" him from different places because he was so drunk. He wasn't a daily drinker (yet) and he was able to hold down a job and be halfway functional. This all changed about 5 years ago when my dad was at the end of his life. My brother drank his way through the worst of my dad's sickness. This was how he chose to deal with it, I guess. He showed up to hospice, where my dad spent his last 5 days of life, drunk. A day or two before my dad's funeral, my brother went out and got really drunk. His car veered off the road (he says because of the ice) and he walked to a truck stop to call my mom to come pick him up. When he was walking, his shoe came off and it was below zero temperatures. He got frostbite and did not seek medical attention right away. Finally he went to the hospital and he was immediately admitted and nearly lost his foot as a result of this frostbite. He was in the hospital for about a week, and he missed my dad's funeral.

I believe he stayed sober for a few weeks after that, and then went back to drinking. A lot. He would take 2 hour lunches from his accounting job and go home and get drunk. Finally his work noticed. If you ask him, he will tell you that his coworkers "ratted him out" but I don't think that was the case. He was drunk at his professional accounting job, falling asleep at his desk and snoring, I think it was pretty obvious. His boss called him in, and mentioned getting some help. My brother's response was to go to the office in the evening after everyone had gone home, clean out his desk and all his stuff, and quit with no notice. My mom gave him a ride to go do this. So he was no longer working and now pretty much drinking nonstop.

By the next Spring (4 years ago) one day it was pretty obvious that the white of his eyes were yellow - he was jaundiced. He sought medical attention right away and stopped drinking. He was diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease. This began a series of hospitalizations, infections, possible amputation of his leg, and just a really ugly thing to see. His body was bloated and he just was unrecognizable. He had to have emergency hernia surgery during this time in which the drs told us he had a 20% chance of making it through surgery. His liver was beyond repair and he needed a transplant. Thankfully he did not drink during this time. He did everything that he was told to do, including attending counseling and outpatient treatment. He continued to experience the horrible physical effects of a failing liver, but he was sober. He was in a hospital 2 hours away from our city and my mom basically moved there to be with him and take care of him.

In the fall of 2011 he was blessed to have a liver transplant. He was in surgery for many hours and it was a very scary time. He made it through and began his slow recovery. He moved into my mom's house full-time as she was his main caretaker. His health improved and he continued to improve. On Christmas Eve, 2012, I took my sons to my mom's house for our usual Christmas Eve gathering. My brother was asleep which I thought was odd for early in the evening. I noticed that the glass that he had been drinking out of smelled like alcohol. I couldn't believe it. He drank progressively for the next couple of weeks. He ended up getting in a car crash with a parked car while driving blacked out in January, 2013. He was arrested for drunk driving and my mom picked him up at the jail. He remained sober after this. He lost his license and his car was totaled.

He stayed sober through 2013 mostly and had a wonderful girlfriend. In November 2013 he took her to the comedy club where he used to work and do some comedy. This was one of his "danger zone" places where he used to drink a lot. He ended up leaving her at the comedy club while he went to a bar with friends. This began his drinking again. Throughout December of 2013, his drinking increased. He had moved into his own apartment by this time and pays for it with his disability pay. He is on disability because of his liver and transplant. He drank his way through Christmas, lying to everyone about everything.

Now we are in January, 2014 and he is not in good shape. His girlfriend broke up with him because she just cannot take it. I understand. She is very close to our family too. I have tried to communicate to him that I will help him find a treatment center to go to. He has cut off all communication with me because he knows that I will tell it like it is. It is my understanding that he has (and is, I'm not sure) drinking about a gallon of vodka daily. He told his (ex) girlfriend the other night that without her, he is giving up and does not want to go on. He told her that he is just going to drink himself to death. He is overweight, his physical health is just terrible, and he doesn't seem to want to change anything. He sits in his apartment all day by himself.

I am just sick. I am in no way judging, either, because this could just as easily be me. By the Grace of God it is not. I don't feel like I have anyone to talk to about this other than my sister, because his impending death and alcoholism just seems to be "glossed over". It is very real and very scary. I have looked into involuntary commitment, and I am praying about that right now. I don't know what the answer is. I am so sad that he is in such a dark place and tries to tell everyone that he is "ok" and he very clearly is not.

Thank you for letting me share. I literally feel sick to my stomach about this, and I am praying for him constantly. I know that his drinking combined with his anti-rejection medications that he has to take forever is a deadly combination. I know that there is another side to the darkness of active alcoholism, I am proof of that. I also know that when someone is in that dark place, it seems like there is no way out. I just don't know what to do. I refuse to enable him. Thanks for listening! Take care, Jenm

R. Lee 01-17-2014 11:38 AM

jemn, Thanks for sad update. Be strong. Continue to drink is his selfish choice.

Some people never get the message (If you drink you will die)

You be strong!!

jenm 01-18-2014 07:55 AM

Thanks R Lee - I am trying to be strong! All I can do right now is pray for him. Although I've never had the physical problems that he does as a result of drinking, I know what it feels like to be in that dark place. Thanks! Take care, Jenm

R. Lee 01-18-2014 12:35 PM

jenm, Yes prayers. I sending them.

Sam Bailey 01-18-2014 03:28 PM

Hello Jenm,

You don't know me, though I've been a constant reader of this section of AddictionSurvivors, and of your Posts, for a long time.

I spend most of my posting time on the "Opiate Side" of AS, since it was my Opiate Addiction that very nearly ruined me and many of my beloved family.

However, I ended my terrible, oh-so-dark Active Addiction nightmare a few years back---and I continue to thank God that I am free of it.

Yet, truth is---I am not completely free from Active Addiction at all. Nope. You see, my son, my wonderful, bright, sweet, beloved son, is still lost in his own dark addiction. He is alcoholic. Other drugs, too---at times.

Today, though, he is better. Sober, I think. Three days ago, he was not. This year (last) has been particularly crappy. Several years before that too, also crappy too.

Yet I have hope that he will find Recovery. He is healing, that is true---though it's not a linear thing. But he IS healing; and I continue to pray that he will recover. I believe this will happen. I know that it is not a certainly. I know this. Still though, I believe...

Anyway. Sorry. I'm not writing to discuss my son. I have done so in the other section, the Opiate several posts.

Why I write to you today is, I guess, simple enough. I want to give you comfort, some degree of comfort--though I know I probably cannot. Oh, it is just so hurtful when the people we love hurt so deeply, and in such dark places.

I know how your heart must ache, how awful you must feel. I feel it too, with my son. The heartache is, at times, beyond gut-wrenching.

Yet it seems to me that, despite your heart-pain, you're doing well. You're a strong and, I believe, a capable, compassionate, loving woman. An esteemed and admirable person, that's what you are. I think so.

Yet. I wish your pain wasn't so terrible.....and I wish for your brother some miracle that would, somehow, just snap him awake. Some kind of clear-headed epiphany that would point him toward healing.....toward recovering his good life.

Jen? Maybe this will happen. Maybe so. Maybe not, I know this too. But maybe so!

Meantime Jen, you must continue, for your sake, and for the sake of your dear young boys, to do the next right thing.....

.....which seems to me that this is precisely what you are doing.


sam b

jenm 01-19-2014 09:42 AM

Thank you Sam for your thoughtful and caring post. I realized this week that I was allowing my brother's illness to negatively affect my own life with my boys. I cannot allow this to happen. I have a family to take care of, three wonderful boys who are just amazing. I continue to pray for my brother. I will also add your son to my prayers. I know that God has a plan - and things happen on HIS timeline, not mine! :)

In my head, I cannot imagine what a "bottom" for my brother looks like. It is not up to me. After near death with the liver, crashing his car drunk, and so much more, I'm just sad that he continues to drink. A lot. This disease is very powerful, and it has torn our family apart. I thank you for your kind thoughts! :) Take care! Jenm

R. Lee 01-19-2014 08:21 PM

Sam, Thanks for you input. My prayers for you & your son.

OHIL 01-23-2014 10:42 PM

Jenm, my heart aches for the situation you're in. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself because you cannot help someone who does not want it. I say that because it reminds me, too. I will pray for strength for you and that enlightenment and a desire to recover comes to your brother. Wishing you peace and serenity...

jenm 04-08-2014 09:00 AM

And it continues.......

The good news is that he got a job. A full-time job doing the accounting work that he loves. He was just about to get his license back after he lost it when he was caught drunk driving, but he had another setback. While riding his bike, he (I guess) hit a patch of ice and fell and broke his foot/ankle in 3 places. No one called me that day to tell me that he was in the hospital, I only learned about it from a text that his girlfriend sent me. Supposedly he was sober when this happened, but I certainly have my doubts. He had surgery the next week and he can't drive or even put weight on it for quite some time.

His girlfriend had been trying to be supportive and spend time with him even though they weren't "together" anymore. I got a text from her yesterday that she was at his apartment on Sunday and found that he was drinking vodka in a glass with ice, that he claimed was water. He was so angry that she told me that he proceeded to call her some ugly, awful names. She is done with his verbal abuse and his manipulation, and I don't blame her.

He is still going to his job everyday, but it probably won't be long until his alcoholism seeps into that workplace as well. Feeling sorry for himself, he blamed his drinking on Sunday on the fact that his girlfriend didn't spent time with him on Saturday. If he drank yesterday, and he probably did, he would blame it on her, me, our mom, his job, his depression, you name it.

I go between anger and terrible sadness that he will die from this disease if he doesn't stop. Although the last time he had his 'numbers' checked (he has to go every so often since he had a liver transplant) they were good - despite all his drinking over the holidays and before. That won't last. He will not get another liver transplant. He also doesn't seem to think that he needs treatment, counseling, or AA meetings. He is just fine on his own.

He will be 46 years old later this month, but his actions are just like my 5 year old son. Very, very sad. He seems to think that as long as he can make it to work and make all this money, he will be just fine. I have no idea how he got alcohol since he cannot even walk or drive, but I know that alcoholics are resourceful! Please keep our family in your prayers, we certainly need it right now. Jenm

gmasusie 06-27-2014 11:43 PM

How are you and your brother and your mom? It truly is a family affair, isn't it. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Love, GmaSusie

jenm 07-01-2014 08:58 AM

Hi gmasusie!

As far as I know, everything is still the same. My brother no longer works, evidently there was some unethical practices going on at his workplace and they tried to get him involved. He quit. No two week notice, nothing. He still gets disability pay I think so I suppose he lives on that. I have not spoken to him in many months. We do not talk at all. The last I knew is that he is still drinking and trying to hide it from his girlfriend, I guess she found a receipt from a drive thru liquor store. It is my prayer that he can get through the pride and get help. I just continue to pray.

Other than that the boys and I are doing well. I have a very busy week with both jobs and hopefully we can see some fireworks on the 4th! Thanks for asking, I hope all is well with you! Love, Jenm

R. Lee 07-01-2014 08:52 PM

Stay strong Jenm. All we can do is pray for the alcoholic who still drinks.

jenm 12-02-2014 09:33 AM

I'm sorry to say that my brother has not changed as far as his drinking is concerned - in fact, I would say that it is even worse. His drinking has always increased around the holidays. I just pray that he doesn't get another drunk driving charge or even worse. It is SO HARD to watch someone that you love kill himself with alcohol. Especially when I know for a fact that there is a way out!

He was supposed to pick up my son and I for Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma's. After he was an hour late, I called and I can always tell when he has been drinking. He really can fool everyone else because it is so common to him to be intoxicated that it is almost like normal. I just asked him to tell me the truth. He got mad and directed very hurtful statements toward me. Long story short, he went to Thanksgiving with my mom and my grandma. I could not participate. I could also not explain it to my 6 year old son who was crying and screaming because he wanted to go to Thanksgiving dinner at GG's. I knew it would be a disaster, I cannot "pretend" that all is well when my brother is once again drunk at one of our family gatherings.

He followed up with some very evil and hurtful words to me on Saturday. Apparently I "ruined" his relationship with his girlfriend because of my influence and that I talk to her about his drinking. I also "ruined" Thanksgiving. He sent me a really long email detailing all of the things that I have done 'wrong' since about 1998. I didn't even read it, I deleted it. He told me that I'm a hypocrite and chastised my church and my Christian friends.

You know what? I do not claim to be perfect, the only one who ever lived a perfect life was Jesus Christ. By HIS saving grace, today I can humble myself and ask forgiveness when I have wronged. I know I have made mistakes. I still make mistakes. But I stay in the word of God and know that by my choice to open my heart to Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have been forgiven.

After many months of not speaking, I had what one would call a "surface" relationship with him, at least we talked some. I'm grateful that he came (an hour late) to my little son's birthday party at a restaurant, although he smelled as if he had been drinking. Unfortunately, now I just cannot participate in his continued alcoholic destruction and hurtfulness and it is so sad to me to watch the enablers in his life. It just breaks my heart.

I am thankful for the health and happiness of my 3 boys. I am so grateful and so blessed. They don't know their uncle very well even though we've always lived in the same city. Over the years, he has always been too busy or self absorbed to ever want to really get to know them. Or mostly drinking. Please continue to keep my family in your prayers, if you don't mind. I cannot make him sober, but I can pray that the Lord will work a miracle in his heart. Take care, thanks for 'listening'! Jenm

R. Lee 12-02-2014 10:45 AM

jenm, I would not depend on your brother for anything. I'm glad you did not take the ride with him driving.

Try not to put yourself in the position where he can be abusive when he is talking to you. (just suggestions)

jenm 12-03-2014 08:01 AM

Thanks R Lee - I know I cannot depend on him for anything. I suppose I was just hopeful that he might be sober on one holiday. It is a good example of me setting up expectations for an active alcoholic and then being disappointed. Good lesson for me!

Last year I didn't talk to him for over 6 months. I have taken the necessary steps now that he should not be able to contact us. If he emails me again with the hurtful and abusive words, I will again delete without reading. Thanks for the input! Jenm

lostdog 12-03-2014 10:22 AM

I'm so sorry to hear about your pain and brother and I will pray for you and your family. Do not take anything he says personally and continue to lead your life. Many blessings to you at this time.

R. Lee 12-03-2014 02:12 PM

jenm, That is a good plan. Stick to it. We are not doormats.

jenm 12-04-2014 09:54 AM

Yesterday his ex-girlfriend texted me to see how I was doing, she asked if he had apologized to me yet. That has not happened, and I am doubtful that it will. Evidently he was fired from his professional job on Monday. This was a job that he worked very hard to get, was very excited about - good benefits, decent pay, good hours. His ex-girlfriend picked him up at a bar that evening.

He spoke to our sister on the phone yesterday. He will not speak to me, because I tell the truth and he doesn't want to hear that. Of course he took zero accountability for being fired on Monday. It was "their" fault. The relationship end was "my" fault. He denied being intoxicated at work on Monday, but I have my doubts. They would not let him drive his car when he got fired. That tells me right there that he was probably drunk at work. I guess he couldn't go and get his car until the next day. So he (I guess) walked straight to a bar.

Drinking alcohol after having a liver transplant (as a result of alcoholic cirrhosis) is like playing russian roulette. His 'new' liver could reject at any given moment. The anti-rejection meds that he takes are prescribed exactly as his body needs, and the alcohol could dilute them or make them ineffective. None of this matters to him. He reports that everything is "fine" and that he is having a mid-life crisis. He is 46. I am so terribly worried about his mental state and he doesn't have anything else to do now but sit in his apartment alone and drink. Which he does. I pray that he does not drive his car and get arrested (again) for drunk driving. Or worse, hitting or killing someone.

I just pray for him. I cannot make him sober and I will NOT enable him. I still have to take care of myself and my 3 boys. They know exactly what is going on with their uncle and it actually serves as a good lesson for them. So very sad. Please continue to pray for my family - especially my brother as he is very, very sick. Thanks, Jenm

R. Lee 12-04-2014 10:32 PM

jenm, Tragic news about another alcoholic that so far can not find his bottom.

Stay strong!!

1418 12-13-2014 11:08 PM

You are doing the right thing. Your brother is still in the blame game... He isn't owning anything from what you write. I hope he hits bottom soon.

Hang in there!

gmasusie 12-26-2014 10:39 PM


I'm so sorry to hear this latest about your brother.

You know that you have no control over him, only yourself.

Look for joy and serenity for you and the boys.

You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Love, Susie

jenm 02-06-2015 06:43 PM

I heard from my brother's ex girlfriend that he needs an ultrasound and biopsy in Iowa City because his numbers are "off".

I'm sorry, but let me just think about this for a second. He was an alcoholic, and over drank to the point that his liver was absolutely SHOT. Thank GOD, he (after almost dying) received a LIFE SAVING liver transplant. He stayed sober for a year or so after, and has been drinking nonstop ever since. NONSTOP. Got a new professional job, and drank it away. I guess I am the only one who sees this.

Do I still love him? Yep. Will I enable him? Nope. It actually makes me cry as I write this. I will NOT enable him. Love, Jenm

R. Lee 02-07-2015 07:56 AM

jenm, Stay strong.

lostdog 02-07-2015 02:55 PM

Sending prayers .

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