Alcoholism and the Family
anonymous Asks ...
How can the family ever know when there is no legitimate hope that a person is ever going to be able to stop drinking? If a person has been in and out of treatment centers, recovery homes, jail and the street for the past 10 years is there any particular reason to keep trying? If there is we are willing to continue the fight/hope – I am just not sure if there is any point any longer. The constant hoping and disappointment is really hard on my parents.
Florence Cameron Says ...
I hear the concern for your parents and the seemingly endless string of reckless behavior of an alcoholic sibling. For parents of a child, of any age, going through the throws of addiction it is a painful experience because it is up to individual to change as we are our own change agents in our lives. The problem is that your sibling has a brain disease, which is not curable, but is treatable and your parents cannot "fix it". Until your sibling can be free from alcohol and/or drugs, only then will they regain control of their lives. I recommend your family attend Al-a-non support groups to learn how to give their adult child back their disease. Al-anon can help families of alcoholic loved ones let go and disengage in the drama and chaos that so often accompanies addiction. This means releasing the alcoholic lovingly, from their responsibility and distancing themselves from the sequela that surrounds their adult child. This takes learning about the disease of addiction, and making informed choices regarding how they enable their child to continue in their personal destruction. When the financial and endless emotional care ends for the alcoholic there is greater a chance that they will find their bottom and be forced to make real changes in their life. If your family consistently rescues your sibling then they are continuing to support their adult child's demise. Time, money and heartache is the consequences of a family desperately trying to help an addicted member without professional help. Sometimes giving the addiction back to the addict in a loving way and releasing responsibility of them can allow your parents to gain some emotional control over their own lives. I encourage you and your family to seek out the help of professionals, as this is a matter that is way above your families' ability to deal with on their own. Many times the addiction wins, but until your parents are convinced that they can't change their child's life the suffering will continue. Al-Anon can help. Best wishes to your family.
Jeannie Cameron, LMHC