Easy way out?

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Easy way out?

Post by Blessings7 »

I'm new to this forum. My sister is an alcoholic who has been to rehab several times with short to little succes. She says AA is boring, it's my fault that she drank yesterday, and doesn't know why I won't step up and pay for counseling with an addiction clinic locally (with no offered details about how often, bottom line how much, etc.? Which is really not the point anyway bc I made the decision to decline.).
My response, good or bad, was that she needs to take responsibility for her own recovery and asked her to stop trying to manipulate me with guilt and blame.
I have suggested meetings; using her own counselor and speaking w someone about a sponsor at a 1-night-a- week program for addictive behavior at a local church (not connected to the church, just renting space).
She's 10 yrs younger than me (I'm in my 70's), I've never been a drinker, however, like everyone else in the world, have had issues from my childhood which called for years of counceling, participation and alanon. There were 6 members in my family growing up, as well as into adulthood.
I never know where to draw the line of enabling. My response to her was that "she needed to have some skin in the game, ass on the line". Also, telling her that she needed to take responsibility for her recovery, that there were other options that didn't cost her anything.
I know she's feeling great dispair, depression, anger, worthless and self destructive; none of which I can change for her. I told her I can only offer emotional support which she obviously doesn't want bc she keeps pushing me away w blame and "being my victim", as if to say it's all my fault that I make her want to drink by sometimes addressing her drunken tirades where she'll send ling, hateful, butter msgs to me for 12 hrs straight just bc she drunk and going through her pity party.
Anything I say to try and encourage her, compliment or empower--is all bullsh*t to her in the moment. Then the following day, it's back to "I'm sorry's", yet no memory of her actions or hurtful words.
I deal w it in different ways: sometimes, I declare space for myself: there are times I try to express how I felt about her comments and furious that she can't even remember. I've set boundaries that we cannot be in each other's presence of she's drinking and I will not take phone calls. When the nasty msgs start running for hours, I block her temporarily. I've recently disconnected my landline bc that was the last avenue of reaching me.
If course I worry about her when she's struggling and she's speaking of suicide, etc. (I just called the police to do a well being check a couple of weeks ago bc she had been threatening suicide in a very dark, very inebriated state). She's still my sister.
So, my question is, am I being too hard on her at a time when she's expressing desparation, DT's, etc. or do i let her take the wheel on her own recovery. She's been in several rehabs and knows the answer as to what to do when you're heading down that rabbit hole.
I've made other suggestions, if she can't afford the life-long counseling fees, like AA, getting a sponsor, books, etc. None off which appeals to her. She needs accountability somewhere. I'll call her out on her BS w me, but it ends up in a battle and usually I back off or she runs away.
Anyone have any words of wisdom.
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Re: Easy way out?

Post by MyNameIsBetsy »

Hello Blessings, welcome.

I have a couple of initial thoughts, and maybe will think of some more later. Others will jump in too. All of us here have the experience of being active alcoholics, and we each did what we needed to do to get sober.

Your sister is using you. But you know that. Worse still, her drinking is causing you to lose your own peace. We have a sister program, Al-Anon. Al-Anon is for friends and family of alcoholics. I suggest you look into it and find out if they can help you regain your own peace of mind.

Until your sister is ready to put down the drink and do whatever SHE needs to do to make that happen, there is absolutely nothing you can do to make it happen for her. She has to be the one to take the initiative. She has to want it badly enough to do the work - herself.

By the way, it is NOT your fault that she drank yesterday, but you know that too.

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Re: Easy way out?

Post by Brock »

So, my question is, am I being too hard on her at a time when she's expressing desparation, DT's, etc. or do i let her take the wheel on her own recovery. She's been in several rehabs and knows the answer as to what to do when you're heading down that rabbit hole.
In answer to that, I would say absolutely not, you have gone the extra mile and then some, and as you say in a few places in your post she has to take responsibility for her own recovery, it’s not like she is a newcomer, she knows where the solution lies.

Yes, I and maybe some others would agree with her that AA meetings are boring, there are many boring things in life we have to do. I am in my 70’s as well and didn’t accept that I would have to stick with AA until like your sister I was over 60. Then I found out that once I did the steps meetings became optional, and I hardly go any more, but I have come to enjoy those few meetings I do attend, as I enjoy reading and writing here as well.

For me the main lesson of AA has been I stopped being selfish and doing what selfish people do, including blaming everyone else for my problems and accepting it was my own fault.

I wish you and your sister the best of luck, and hope that you can rest at ease knowing that you have done your best.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Easy way out?

Post by positrac »

I have an older brother 7 years older than myself and I have been sober over 30 years while he has had relapse after relapse. One area for me is we aren't close. But if I had contact he'd try and get me to enable him and use me for a door mat.

I will say I do not understand family dynamics and I am honestly glad, and I say this because keeping myself out of the drama of life is one thing and having that drama at my door is another.

What I can say is we can only do so much and it should not make us feel guilty and or continue to feel obligated to endure anything.

You don't understand us and you don't need too as you should live your life and make a clean and clear line of acceptable conduct and hold your ground.
Just saying we all have options and mind games need not apply.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
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Re: Easy way out?

Post by PaigeB »

Blessings7 wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 9:21 pm Anyone have any words of wisdom.
No wisdom - just experience... My adult children. It would be a freakin' nightmare if I tried to cajole each one. I don't take the drunken calls. At least they don't have to do the apology thing right?
So, my question is, am I being too hard on her at a time when she's expressing ...
When she's expressing dot dot dot. I have heard it all from all 3 of them - I get it though. I came to the realization that my crutch (loving and wanting the best for my family member) was also their crutch to escape the NEEDED moment(s) of desperation and the full realization that they likely have a disease they might want to look into getting help for. I had to do it because I KNEW I had to do it. Them hearing from me (even AA sober me) that they have a disease meant nothing. It really did have to get LONELY until AA - literally the last house on the block and the lights and the laughter - started to look damn good. In fact, I heard at a meeting last night where a gal was expressing how mad she was at being told she was powerless over her disease. She also then said she was grateful, because without that anger/fear moment she would have never been able to get and stay sober.
I never know where to draw the line of enabling. My response to her was that "she needed to have some skin in the game, ass on the line"... She needs accountability somewhere.
I had to draw it right at the beginning - a solid NO. Then and Only then was I able to set boundaries. :idea: :arrow:
I made a list:
Only 10 dollars a week - not when I am weak!
No drunk calls - none. No calls at all after dark.
Your emergency is NOT my emergency. Not even if you need the hospital. USE YOUR RESOURCES not me. No rides and no deliveries. (I thought about buying a bus pass)
If your are hungry I will give you food - To Go.
(Maybe) Sunday dinner is at 1pm, if you are sober.

I HAD TO TAKE ACTION like you said - get some skin in the game. I had to lose ALOT of skin from crashing before I started to point my actions toward being sober. Then my actions - my skin in the game - started to bring rewards to ME... not to them, but to me. I had to act to get results.

Page 30 of the Big Book, More About Alcoholism:
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals - usually brief - were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.

Just a guess here, but it may have to get worse for your sister before it gets better.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB
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Re: Easy way out?

Post by MyNameIsBetsy »

Paige, spot on. Hugs to you. - Betsy
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Re: Easy way out?

Post by avaneesh912 »

Anyone have any words of wisdom.
This part from the chapter "Working with Others":

Sometimes it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge. The family may object to this, but unless he is in a dangerous physical condition, it is better to risk it. Don’t deal with him when he is very drunk, unless he is ugly and the family needs your help. Wait for the end of the spree, or at least for a lucid interval. Then let his family or a friend ask him if he wants to quit for good and if he would go to any extreme to do so. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered. You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.

You may want to talk to some women in AA in your area who are willing to make that 12 step call. Wait for the next incident and make the arrangement for the AAers to give her some hope.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Easy way out?

Post by Theo50 »

Hello and welcome to the group Blessings7. I am sorry for your current situation.
You are not responsible for your sister's drinking problem and should not feel guilty no matter how much your sister tries to blame you for her alcoholism.
Unfortunately most alcoholics must make the decision on their own to stop and pursue a recovery program. The best we can do as bystanders is pray for them to get to that point before it is too late. I understated that it is awful to watch the ones we love destroy themselves but we really don't have any control over others. I hope that you can get to a better state of mind. The serenity prayer sums it up.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
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