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How to help my cousin stop drinking?
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How to help my cousin stop drinking?

My cousin is an alcoholic, she is in her 50's and has been since she was probably 13 years old. It is strange because some days she just drinks on the weekends but it depends.

One day at her house she was drunk and she accused me of messing with her husband which was a total lie and she kicked me out after cursing me and telling me never to come back, which she would normally never do!!!!!

Other times when she is drunk she is too nice, offers to take me out to Walmart to buy me all kinds of gifts, clothes, etc and buys food and spends too much money etc.

Some days when she calls me over her house she is very nice and I get there and she is mean. She is even worse with her own daughter... It is scary and I don't understand it. She mostly drinks straight liquor or vodka, etc and once in awhile she will mix a little something in it.

I wanted to ask how can I help her in any way? She also sais she drinks because of pain as she has Fibromayalgia. I told her about Lyrica and that it is suppose to help. I take it and it works good. She said that she can't take it because she drinks. She asks me for pain meds sometimes and I don't give her any but maybe 1 and she wants elavil for sleep. What I don't understand is that her husband has great insurance so why don't she go to the Neurologist to get her own pain meds. She doesn't like drs because they only give muscle relaxers, etc. I told her that she has to go to a neurologist now for pain meds. She does not listen and I don't know why. She sais that she wouldn't even drink if she had something for pain. I don't really believe that but she does clean the house and work at home better with the pain meds. Plus most of the time she don't drink while on the pain meds, she does sometimes but not always so I tend to believe some. I just wish she would go to the Nseurologist. Maybe it is because she doesn't want tests, I don't know. She has had many injections in her neck and now they don't really work for her. I just wish she would listed and go to a Neurologist or pain management instead of a regular doctor who doesn't help. Also if she needs sleep medications I wish she would go to the DR and get it instead of trying to bum meds. I don't understand why people do that when they can go to the drs themself to get there own meds. I just want her to stop drinking but when I tell her about meds that help Fibromayalgia it is like she does NOT care nor listen. I told her how good Lyrica and Gabapentin work and she doesn't even say anything, like she does not listen or hear me. I get tired of her complaning of pain when she does nothing about it. Any advice is appreciated. If you say to stop going over there, I have allready but she is my cousin and I am trying to help her. I have not been over there in 6 months allready because of this. Thanks!
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6 Comments Post a Comment
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736475_tn?1281262927
my heart goes out to you. your cousin has to come to the realization that she has a serious problem and needs professional help. you can't make her get it. you can only encourage. it sounds like you know better than to enable her any more by giving her pills and such. is she bipolar? she may just need treatment of that sort. drug use and alcohol abuse are symptoms of real problems underneath. keep posting. people here have lots of knowledge and someone may know what you can do. it's wonderful that you care so much about her and this must be breaking your heart. i will pray for you both.peace, sway
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Avatar_f_tn
Most likely she wont go to the doctor because she would rather drink.. alcoholism is a beast.  I watched my father die from cancer and only take his pain meds a handful of times, because he was an alcoholic. He'd rather his drink.  She will need inhouse detox off the alcohol.  Depending on the severity of how much she drinks, and to me it sounds like a lot, and everyday, she cannot safely detox at home.  She will need medical assistance.  There are medications they can give her, once she is properly detoxed  that can help with her fibro. Hopefully she steers clear of narcotics.  She can and probably will become cross addicted and there are better meds for fibro than narcs. BUT she has to want it unfortunately.  She is your cousin, and you love her and want to help her and I applaud that and sympathize with your situation.  All you can do is show her you love her but be firm in no enabling her.  What does her husband say?  Perhaps an intervention type setting could help.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with refusingbondage


You can't do anything to help her unless she is ready to get help and wants it. Your doing the best thing by not going over there. I know you love her but you need to tell her unless she wants to get the help she needs that you can't be a part of her life any more. Don't enable her in any way don't give her any more meds, don't take her calls, don't do anything till she gets help.
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1218318_tn?1266812201
Lot's of good info above on what your lo what she's doing to heself.

Case-in-point: Couple years ago a guy was coming to my AA meeting who had been living on the streets and in vacant houses for a few years pan-handling. His mom actually took him back in (he's in his early 40s). He had a nice set-up in her basement, food, all needs taken care of. All she wanted was for him to look for a job and remain sober. For some reason I took up his cause and I sent him over to a friend who was hiring for a big construction project. Much more $ than minimum wage. Turns out he didn't WANT to work, or even stay sober for that matter. Now, he's back on the streets and drunk for all we know. He got off the elevator, and then got back on, and continued on down the tubes. By giving him a place to live Mom was softening his blows and making it much too easy for him to keep using.

People need to suffer the consequences as a result of their own actions and learn from them. All we can do is suggest to our loved ones, but we cannot DO for them. We love them so very much; we wish we could twist screws in their heads and tune up their brains to our "normal" thinking, so they finally see the light. But sadly, seeing the light is something they will finally do on their own - and we can only hope.

Your a wonderful person for trying to help, and I wish you the best on your mission.  
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1305762_tn?1311552599
First off let me extend my sympathies to you and your situation. This is a tough road and one that is not easy to go down. You've gotten some tremendous advice from the people on here and I hope you listen to it. Let me add some of my own thoughts and ideas as well.

Al-Anon would be a great place for you to start. This is a support group for friends, family, loved ones of alcoholics. http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/english.html will help you find a meeting near you. You should check it out as soon as possible and follow the program once you do. They can advise you and help / support you better than I can. This is what they do.

One thing you have to realize is that it is NOT your fault. Do not blame yourself for any part of it. I'm not saying you do but this sort of situation can really make a loved one feel like they should be doing more than they're doing. Feeling helpless is normal but realize that you can only do so much. Your cousin has to realize on her own that she needs help and has a problem. You cannot be responsible for her health and her life, only she can. Now that's not to say you can't offer to help or do everything in your power to help her but only she can choose wether or not to accept it. Leading a horse to water, etc...

She needs to confront her addiction, not just treat the pain of the fibromyalgia. Trust me, this doesnt all just suddenly go away if her fibromyalgia does. If she is an addict and it sounds like she is then it's likely that even if her pain was treated she'd either  continue drinking or abuse her pain medication. Addicts do not simply stop just because their excuse goes away. Mark my words she'd come up with other rationalizations or reasons to continue drinking or begin to abuse her pain meds. I doubt she had fibromyalgia at age 13 anyway. It's all part of the disease and goes way beyond any physical pain.

An intervention might not be a bad idea. Have you or other members of your family ever confronted her directly about how much she drinks? At the very least she's abusing alcohol and even if it is "helping" with her pain it will eventually cause much more problems down the road. Maybe this is a way to approach it?

"Hey this might kinda work but it's not good in the long run, maybe we should try something else?" Might be a good way to bring it up.

Heavy drinking has no "upside." Given time alcohol abuse will have negative effects on every major organ in the body. Brain, heart, liver, pancreas, skin, etc... If it comes to that she'll look back on her fibromyalgia like it was a relaxing massage.

Al-Anon would be a fantastic place for you to start. Also, if you open up your local phone book (a large one, like the yellow pages), in the front or back there's usually a list of toll-free hotlines for alcoholism, gambling problems, depression, etc. You may want to avail yourself of some of these support lines. Maybe give the numbers to your cousin as well. The operators on these lines are very well trained and beyond offering an anonymous, sympathetic ear they can usually refer you to local support groups and health services for both you and your cousin.

Please keep us informed and let us know if there's anything we can do to help. Remember you're not alone! Use the resources of Al-Anon and this forum to your advantage. We're here for you! Many of us have been in your shoes, her shoes, or both. You are not alone!

Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Its been years since i posted this blog and have learned a lot. We moved and my grandpa, her uncle passed. Her mom is almost 81 and she had tried some in getting her help, well mostly just saying don't drink and your killing your liver.  Her daughter also don't visit much at all and her other children won't visit her. One out of three is am alcoholic. Her mom isn't bit her uncle (my grandfather was) He stopped drinking at about the age of 70 after heart surgery but he started drinking stone again last year before he passed. He smoked but quit at the age of 30 or 35... I've never cared for alcohol  but my brother drinks a lot only on the weekend when not working. My mom never drank... She was abused  by her father when he drank and badly abused.  My mom never knew her mom because she passed away at age 35 of cancer when my mom was 2. A sad  story because my mom has been through so much.
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