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enabling sister
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enabling sister

My sister has a son - now age 30 - who is a serious alcoholic.  He started drinking as a teen and can't stop.  He's been to several rehabs, multiple Drs and to several hospitals from bad car accidents,  He is so good at telling family - especially mom - that he's done and won't drink but it never lasts for long.  He doesn't last at AA, can't hold a job, and when he gets money he goes to Atlantic City to gamble.  Now my sister and husband have him living in a basement room so they can monitor his activities.  But he sneaks out, binges and causes so many problems.  But my sister, who has nearly lost her marriage over this says she can't let her baby boy die.  Sometimes her husband won't talk to her for weeks, and once for 6 months. She never lets him fall or have to be responsible for his actions.  For  years she paid his bills and cleaned his apartment and lied to her husband.  Now he's taken away her credit cards. For all these years she won't listen to anyone  - says that no one can understand who hasn't stood in her shoes.  She goes to church for counseling but she won't see a professional or realize that she has a problem, too.  It's like she is addicted to him.  What to do?  Hwo does a 30 yr old man learn to live his life and overcome his problems when he has someone who takes care of him.  No real job.  He says he wants to finish college ( 10 years ago) and become an attorney, but the first person who wants to go to have a drink he can't say no.  No chance of a relationship or family like this.  I know it must be hard to watch someone you love destroy himself, but isn't she helping him do this. He has her wrapped around his finger.  If anyone has any insight as to what to do . . . .
Tags: enabling
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1696489_tn?1370825574
I feel for you ALL.  I know what it's like to have an addicted family member... several, actually.  And the only thing us sober family members have come up with that works for them and us is this: leave them alone to fend for themselves.  Do not help in any way shape or form, or get into discussions about it.  That is unimaginably hard to do for someone you love.  It would seem to fly in the face of love to let them just fall.  But this is exactly what the addict needs (unless he really is a danger to himself and others, in which case he should be admitted to mental help) to become truly aware of what they are doing to themselves and their family.  Feel free to message me anytime, and I will do my best to be 'there' for you.  Hugs - Blu
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606340_tn?1371501412
  Al-a-non was made for enablers like your sister. At Al-a-non they learn that the enabler is as addicted as the alcoholic. He is addicted to his lifestyle and alcohol and she is definitely addicted to enabling him. It's not her fault and she doesn't have a clue but with the help of AL-a-non she can learn to live her life again, and by doing that will help him.
An alcoholic has to have something extraordinary happen to shock them back into reality. That is when they can have a moment of clarity and realize they have to change their lives to live.

If you can take your sister aside and explain that if she continues the path she is on now, her son is going to die. Ask her if she would be willing to go to one Al-a-non meeting to save her son's life. The alcoholic sometimes has to hit bottom to come to their senses. This can't happen as long as she is playing this dangerous role. Maybe you could enlist the help of her husband too. Good Luck to you and your family.
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Avatar_f_tn
This is way beyond this.  He has seen Drs.  He has had counselling and has been in and out of several rehabs.  He always says that he is done drinking and he will actually do okay for a month or so and then binge in a big way.  He knows he is a danger to himself and others and knows the harm he has caused his family but he won't or can't stop.  AA won't have anything to do with him anymore.  His sponsor won't deal with him, either.  He's goodlooking and charming when he's sober and says all the right things so you'll believe him and then he binges - big time.  The last time was about 3 weeks ago after he got done healing from surgery, fixing an injury from a previous car wreck.  Most of the family says, "Poor Shawn, he has so much going for him.  Maybe he's learned this time."  And I always say, "Not a chance." If he could even crash and burn ONE time and then straighten out his own mess it might mean something, but when the cell phone rings that my sister pays for so he can stay in contact, off she runs to save her baby.  I'm tired of hearing about it.  His father drinks and gambles but says it's okay because he's a good provider and has never missed a day of work.  He also locks the liquer cabinet so Shawn can't get to it.  But that doesn't stop someone from drinking.  All they do is hope he's learned his lesson but he never does.  And no one will get help.  This will go on until he kills himself and then my sister will say it's her fault - she didn't try hard enough.  My mother is wrecked watching her one daughter go through this for the last 12 years and she says she tired of talking to her about it.  I know that alcoholism is an incidious disease but there is nothing I can do to help him when the people closest to him keep excusing his behavior.  I'm just really venting here
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there.  My sister has been to al-anon a few times.  Said it did nothing for her. She doesn't want to hear other peoples problems.  She "needs" to run after him to make sure he doesn't get hurt.  She won't understand that she is hurting him more than helping him.  A few weeks ago he made a surprise visit to his cousin and went drinking, slept on her couch, urinated on it so bad it needed to be taken to the dump and caused my neice $800 to replace it.  He disappeared before morning - driving drunk. He's so sorry and says he'll pay her back but he only works part time carpentry jobs for a friend.  She said she won't let my sister pay her for it. Now they are all at a family vacation at the beach - Lets reward him and such a great place to stay sober.  I am home because of a serious illness.

I write all of this out of total frustration because basically - I'm done.  If you continue to do the same thing you will continue to get the same result,  And I'm done hearing all the excuses they give him and then they don't understand when it happens again.  He's blowing his life.  I just hope he doesn't kill anyone else when he's out driving drunk.  Also - he was on house arrest for quite awhile due to dui's and for a year he had to blow into something in his car or it wouldn't start.  Someone needs to practice tough love and kick him out until he decides on his own that he alone is the only one who can fix his life.  When I mentioned kickin him out the reaction was - but he doesn't have anywhere to go and how will he pay for it?  How much of his life will he live in mommy and daddy's basement and have all his expenses taken care of?
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495284_tn?1333897642
He will live there as long as mommy and daddy allow this.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results...This whole situation is insane.  I guess as long as they continue to live this way then they deserve what is coming their way.  I too hope that he doesnt kill someone.  His parents are helping him kill himself and that is bad enough.....You are going to have to just step out of this situation as they both have blinders on and refuse to see what is really going on.  Hold on to your own sanity here.  You said you have a serious illness so please take care of yourself.  Keep posting to us as we are here to listen and support you.     sara
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82861_tn?1333457511
God bless you, you're the only one in the family with her head on straight.  You're the only one who sees that he has to crash and burn and experience the consequences of his drinking before anything will change.  With everyone in his life enabling and even encouraging him to continue drinking... well, the writing's on the wall.  Until your sister finds the strength to stop rescuing him, that's all her life will ever be about.

I second what Sara says.  You are seriously ill.  Much as it hurts it's time to turn your back on the insanity of the family and focus on yourself and what YOU need.  This problem is bigger than you are.
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1666434_tn?1325265950
There are a lot of people behind someone's addiction besides just the alcoholic.  There are always a group of enablers that come into play.  I agree tough love is the best policy.  If someone is supporting their car, cell phone, living arrangement, etc that all comes into play with enabling.  As long as someone else is flipping the bill, they have no need to be responsible.  We have to separate our emotions from the alcoholic and view at our actions and what they are doing to actually hinder the progress of sobriety.

Keep posting and updating us.  You certainly have the right idea of the reality of the issue.
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