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Dealing with an alcoholic sister

(25 Posts)
JGran Fri 05-Feb-21 14:36:21

Well, long story short. My elder sister is an alcoholic. Our mother was. Our aunts were and now my sister is carrying the torch. Her life has always been on the edge of disaster. If I hadn't stepped in about two years ago, she would have been on the street with my nephew. Fortunately, I've never been a drinker. When she told me that our other sister was kicking her out I decided to help (hesitantly) but had no idea that she was drinking again. We live in two different states. I asked her how much rent she could afford and then bought a house that I could rent her for that amount. Now, she has lived there for two years in May 2021 and has only paid one month in rent. She was $1,500 behind on her electrical bill which was going to be shut off at Christmas had I not paid it. She works and while its not a lot of money, it is enough. She has made no effort to find another job. She could make more somewhere else, but she can get away with a lot where she is because no one is around but dogs. I'm considering evicting her and not my nephew who is now 18. His girlfriend has moved in with him and they now have a baby. He pays his rent and electricity. First, I am contacting a therapist that she used to see with her son and we'll see if he has a better suggestion. I'd love to hear other ideas too if anyone has dealt with anything along this line.

cornishpatsy Fri 05-Feb-21 15:10:59

Sadly until someone reaches rock bottom they will not help themselves.

I appreciate it is hard to watch a loved one destroy their lives but every time you help you are enabling them.

There is no reason to give up drinking if you have somewhere to live with bills paid and someone looking out for you.

I feel for you, a sad situation to be in.

BlueBelle Fri 05-Feb-21 15:30:28

It is a very difficult situation because you’re dammed if you do damned if you don’t By keeping her in a home rent free you are encouraging her to carry on her behaviour because there’s nothing at all to change for if you kick her out it’s on your conscious if she dies or gets harmed You can’t actually win this one as she will only change when no one else will prop her up but then it may be too late
I think contacting the therapist is about the only thing you can do and may prove helpful but she has got to engage or nothing will
You really are between a rock and a hard place
I hope you can find an answer

keepingquiet Fri 05-Feb-21 15:36:37

You are in a difficult place. Your mistake was helping her out two years ago. I know that sounds harsh. You own a home you deserve to be getting a decent rent for and not running a charity.
The therapist shouldn't be giving info about clients and if he does he isn't a good therapist. Don't give him any money either because whatever he suggested hasn't worked.
I think you should give your sister notice to quit and stick to it. She has no motivation to stop drinking. Give your money to a charity for the homeless and alcoholics. It might be put to better use. And get your own therapist. You have had a very tough time and need help yourself. That's my advice.

Nicegranny Fri 05-Feb-21 15:42:33

Alcoholism is a serious illness. Is there anyway that you can help your sister into rehab?
I’m afraid that I could not give up on my sister if it were her in such dire circumstances.

maddyone Fri 05-Feb-21 15:42:34

My sister is also an alcoholic, but we live in England and my sister owns her own house. She fritters money away, but seems to manage to pay her bills. I haven’t any real advice for you except perhaps you should stop paying for anything for her. I’ve had to withdraw any support from my sister, including any communication, due to the unbelievably nasty texts and messages that she sends when drunk. It’s sad, but after more than twenty years of trying to support her, I’d had enough. Possibly that’s what you need to do too.

Hithere Fri 05-Feb-21 16:07:41

Stop enabling her. Evict her.

Madgran77 Fri 05-Feb-21 17:53:40

Until an alcoholic wants to get sober, it won't happen. By helping her out of all her self inflicted difficulties you are sadly stopping her from reaching that point, you are enabling her (albeit for well meant reasons) to carry on with her lifestyle and her drinking without suffering any consequences that might actually make her want to get sober.

Tough love is very hard to deliver but I do think it is what she needs and what you need to do. I think you do have to evict her. One thing though, will your nephew be pressured into letting her stay and will he start taking over your "benefactress" role? You need to be working with him on this strategy, making a plan together etc.

Good luck flowers

Shinamae Fri 05-Feb-21 18:04:57

I’m an alcoholic and have been in recovery for over 30 years now. As some people have said until she wants it nobody can persuade her to do it, for years I was told I was a drunk and l used to get quite belligerent about it, and tell people to bugger off it was none of their business but one day walking home from the pub I stopped in a phone box and rang AA and went to meeting the next night and that started my recovery...... I consider myself very lucky to still be in recovery.... I know it’s not easy but it is definitely definitely worth the struggle to get sober

timetogo2016 Fri 05-Feb-21 18:09:31

Agree with Hithere.
The more you give,the more she will take,sadly i know that for a fact believe me.

Shandy57 Fri 05-Feb-21 18:13:31

My best friend was an alcoholic and her Mum moved heaven and earth to help her, but she just couldn't stop drinking and sadly died from untreated cervical cancer aged 52, leaving her 74 year old mother to look after her 10 year old daughter.

If you can get your sister into rehab please do, sooner rather than later.

GrannyLaine Fri 05-Feb-21 18:17:39

JGran I'm so very sorry for your plight and have no answers for you. What I can tell you is that my nephew struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. My brother (his father) NEVER gave up on him and I used to get pretty cross, feeling that this was part of the problem, enabling the situation as others have said. Three years ago my nephew was found dead at his home from a cause related to alcoholic cirrhosis. In his grief, the only comfort for my brother was that he could not have done more. And I realised that my thinking was so very wrong.

Jaxjacky Fri 05-Feb-21 18:35:52

Your sister will only engage with the therapist if she wants to, she can stop at any time, is that what she’s done before? You haven’t said what sort of relationship either you have with her son, or he has with his mother, but it doesn’t sound a brilliant environment for a baby. Too many unanswered facts, but I think enabling her by letting her live rent free for nigh on two years is a bit silly and almost saying you’re ok with it all.

Oopsadaisy1 Fri 05-Feb-21 19:05:43

Very easy to say that the sister is being enabled.
Not so easy to hear the Police on the end of the phone telling you that someone has been found dead in their flat.
Cause of Death, Acute Alcohol Poisoning, 8 times over the Drink Driving limit.
If we had known the state my Brother was in could we have helped? I’ll never know but I do know that I would have done anything for him if I had known where he was.

grannyactivist Fri 05-Feb-21 19:07:00

GrannyLaine, I know that my own response would be the same as your brother’s. If it were any other illness I don’t think people would be saying ‘don’t help’. And yes, I do know how hard it is to support an alcoholic. If it was me I’d be asking myself what can I afford to do or not do, and can I live with the possible consequences?

grannyactivist Fri 05-Feb-21 19:10:34

Sorry Oopsadaisy crossed posts. I’m truly sorry for your loss and it puts into perspective the soul searching that relatives do, whether they have been able to help or not.

Jaxjacky Fri 05-Feb-21 19:28:52

Sorry oopsadaisy I feel really insensitive now and yes, fortunately, I have no idea, there but.

NellG Fri 05-Feb-21 19:34:54

I think you already know what you want and need to do, and I can't imagine having supported her so generously for so long that the decision has come easily to you.

Point her in the direction of some professional help and do what you know you must. You matter too.

I spent the whole of my adult life supporting an alcoholic/recovering alcoholic sister but even sober she is a horrible, selfish human being.

Everyone's situation is different of course, but not everyone would condemn you for throwing in the towel with her. You can't save her, you already know that.

The best of luck with it and my good wishes.

sodapop Fri 05-Feb-21 20:44:54

Well done shinamae that's some achievement 30 years sober it can be done.

As everyone said JGran your sister is the only one who can bring about change. Talking to the therapist is a good idea if she is able to help. Time to start withdrawing some of the support you are currently giving your sister. Talk to your nephew so you can both agree a way forward. Good luck.

mokryna Fri 05-Feb-21 20:56:02

Congratulations shinamae flowers

JGran Sat 06-Feb-21 12:11:32

Congratulations for those that have remained sober. Had I known two years ago or at any time before Thursday, but her son's didn't want to say anything because they are full on enablers. Her eldest son is in prison. He is a recovering alcoholic. Her youngest is the one that lives in the unit above his mother's. Her eldest is the one that told me because his younger brother let him know that it has gotten so bad. I spoke for two hours last night with two AA members near her and the one woman is willing to meet with us and may be her sponsor. We will also be having a family intervention with the therapist. The other part...the most difficult part...will be me evicting her. She still has one more person that will be willing to enable her. I have not talked to him at this point and don't have his contact information. I know he would take her in as he wants to be her boyfriend. I don't know if he is a drinker. We'll see. Thank you everyone.

Shandy57 Sat 06-Feb-21 12:48:15

Best of luck JGran. Take care, let us know what happens.

Love Sat 06-Feb-21 13:28:21

Many years ago my sister was alcohol dependent.We were both in our early forties & my parents were both at the end of their tether with her.They had tried everything to help her kick the habit.Sadly she died of a brain tumour aged 44 leaving two teenage children.With hindsight I wish I had been kinder about her addiction.She did try many times to kick the habit but never succeeded.

Msida Sun 07-Feb-21 16:29:43

A life saver is joining AA It gives a 12 step recovery and helps many many people to turn their way around

Russel Brand that has been successful with stopping drinking has written a book which also might helo

But, all this has to come from your sister, she really needs to be in a place were she is ready to make a change. Encouragement is good as long as it is done by a genuine person that really wants better for her

It's a difficult fight to fight but can be done

Thistlelass Tue 09-Feb-21 10:36:00

Can you not start legal proceedings to recover your lost revenue? This might shake her up to realise she cannot carry on as she is. I am 5 years sober. It was very difficult to stop drinking. I paid £9000 at one point for a 28 day rehab. I only had that money out of my late mum's estate. It was a haven for me and I looked so much better at the end of it. That said I was drinking again about 6 weeks later! Now when I actually stopped I was begging Drug and Alcohol services to admit me. I was unable to cope with looking after myself at home. I will forever be grateful to have gained access to the only rehab bed in my local NHS hospital. I stayed there for 3 weeks and have not lifted a glass since. Underneath the drinking lay significant mental health issues. I wish you luck with your decisions. I only made it because I wanted to be sober. I had my own home and sufficient income that I could have just drank myself to death had this been my wish. I chose life and do not regret it. I really wish there were more recognition of this illness as a terminal one.