How Do I Help My Brother Quit Drinking?
anonymous Asks ...
My brother and his wife had their first child born two weeks ago. My brother is a big partier and a fun guy who makes a lot of money doing sound and light for clubs and shows. Because of his job it is normal to have drinks around so I did not realize that things were so bad even though he usually had a beer around whenever I saw him at work. What was eye opening was that when his wife was in labor I know he was sneaking out into the bathroom and drinking. When I called him on this he said he was celebrating and that I shouldn’t get weird about it. I had not spent time a lot of time with him in the last couple of years and even though he was really hiding his drinking from me after I brought it up I could smell it on him all the time. He is an alcoholic I can see this plainly. The question is, with an infant baby in the house and he is the family bread winner should he go to rehab now? I want him to get help but I do not know what to suggest.
Rebecca Ashton Says ...
Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear of the current difficulties within your family.
Upon reading what you have written, I can see a clear sentiment in that you say; 'I want him to get help' but I am just wondering, what does he want? How would it feel to ask him what he wants you to do (if anything) and what kind of help he might want or need from you?
It sounds as though it might be helpful to try to set some time aside-when you are both feeling calm-in order to talk to him about your concerns and ask him for his thoughts before doing anything else.
It is important to support, not judge your brother and to respect his autonomy as much as possible; if he perceives you to be 'interfering' it could drive a wedge between you. This can be achieved by making your intention to work *with* him very clear. For example, you might suggest that you research local support groups/programmes together instead of doing it on his behalf.
Overall though, I would say that it is very important to put aside thoughts about what *you* want to happen, so that you can really listen to your brother and find out where he is coming from-that can go a long way to helping someone feel supported, rather than hijacked and it can create a much needed stable foundation for the work that lies ahead.
I wish you and your family the best of luck for the future.