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Unread 01-16-2014, 10:18 AM   #1
jenm
Senior Member
 
Posts: 976
Unhappy 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
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