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My 22 Year Old Sister is an Alcoholic ... Should We Kick Her Out of the House???

My sister, who is now 22, has had an alcoholic addiction since she was 18. As her 19 year old brother I want her desperately to get well, even though I know its on her own terms and choice that she decides to get well. She has relapsed time and time again and has been abusive both physically and verbally to my mother and father, but especially my mother. This behaviour has put my mother on the verge of breaking down.


My sister was just like any other kid and teenager growing up, she was a great sister to be around, we use to have great fun together during those years. She did well in terms of results at school and she had lots of friends. I keep wondering to myself where did it all go wrong?

With her addiction to alcohol we have taken her to rehab 2 times over 2 summer holidays(period of 4-6 weeks each time) and have been taking her to rehab class and AA on a weekly basis, but she still relapses. She even has drinks when she's supposed to be at rehab class.

At home we have no alcohol and we hide our money, I've lost hundreds of dollars previously and that I needed for university for my course and textbooks. But somehow she still manages to gets little bits of silver coin change, to get the cheapest wine(s) from the local bottle shop to get off her face. I felt like printing a picture of her and giving it to the bottle store and saying, "do not sell to this person!!!" I just can't trust my sister anymore.

I feel at times I know she's trying to get better but she's not trying hard enough, I feel there's a distinct difference. I also feel at times she just a book of excuses for reasoning everytime she drinks, making a situation out of nothing and blaming both my parents and myself for her drinking. I feel like venting out all my anger out at her and just saying "stop drinking!!", but I know from what other alcoholics who have become successful and are now sober, that being angry at her doesn't solve anything.

It has come to point now where my sister was doing well, she hadn't had a drink for quite some time, but recently her drinking has become much more frequent from a few weeks between drinks, to one every week, to what it is today being nearly daily. She had a drink the day before and the day after christmas day. She's gotten drunk on each of my parents and my birthdays. When we all went over to a relatives house recently she drank numerous bottles of wine from their fridge. She has had also vanilla essence, listerine to get drunk and has nearly died from methylated spirits, which she has had numerous times.

The one thing that is important that hurts and annoys my family is that she doesn't show enough remorse for what she has done. At times she does have a cry and apologises and if she does she then starts getting angry again, blames(when she is not drunk) and then eventually out of nowhere another drink. How can we ever gain trust back when she does this all the time? I feel at times she's just wanting to be the centre of attention, but I guess this is a sign of my inexperience to this family disease.

My sister is going on the downward spiral and I feel she is on the brink of going into a hole she may not be able to get out of. Her drinking has become almost to the point of being pathetic through my eyes. She doesn't take her medication consistently to counter some of the urges she gets.

My parents have been talking about about whether it would be good to kick her out, as she is disrespectful and does not take onus on her own problem that she and she alone can only fix. There are positions at a sober house where other alcoholics live that my parents are considering taking her to. My parents have discussed it with my sister, of course she said "no", but its not like she really has a choice now? I know an alcoholic has got to agree to do rehab, etc. But after all she's done its not like she really has a choice here? She's got to commit and say yes otherwise she will never come out of that hole.

What should we do?? Should we kick her out of the house?? If not what should we do?? Should I be doing more, or should I be doing less, giving her more trust??

Answer



It's amazing how we as loved one's to someone suffering from alcoholism or another addiction always feel we should be somehow doing something more or different ... yet when in reality there is little we can do because it's not our disease, and is something the addict themselves has to take ownership for overcoming.

And until your sister reaches that 'place' where she has had enough of the insanity of her addiction, and is prepared to fight for her sobriety, as you have already experienced, nothing you do will have much of an effect. And unfortunately what it will take for your sister to reach that 'place' we don't know - because it's different for each person that eventually turns their life around and creates a new life of sobriety for themselves.

Sometimes the approach you are now thinking of - kicking your sister out - may help her reach that point. As a family, once you have done everything you can, adopting a tough love approach is your only real option left. It sends a strong message to your sister that if she wants to continue her drinking, she's on her own effectively - and having to experience the severest of consequences for continuing with her drinking, might give her the jolt she needs to start getting serious about making changes.

But as you know there are no guarantees with these things. So it's not for me to give you a definitive answer. However, maybe in some way still having all the comforts of home is in a way enabling your sister's drinking, so sending her to the sober house you mention could be good for her.

She's obviously also destroying all semblance of a harmonious home and family life with her behaviour and abuse etc. - and while it's important to remember it's her disease causing that - allowing it to continue will only allow further pain and damage to continue.

So I don't see anything wrong with your reasoning in wanting to kick your sister out because it might actually help her reach her bottom and 'place' where she is ready to change faster - but remember there are no guarantees. Sometimes as the saying goes you just have to 'Let Go and Let God ...'

Stay strong and I wish your family all the best.



Comments for My 22 Year Old Sister is an Alcoholic ... Should We Kick Her Out of the House???

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May 15, 2010
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Love
by: Christina

I dont feel like kicking her out would be the right thing to do. I wouldn't be able to live with my decision if we decided to kick her out of the house and have something happen to her. I've been through this situation with my own sister. It was almost as if she was an empty shell. Nothing I said to her seemed to get through. There was emptiness in her eyes. What I did was be with her every single day. Missing work at times. Showing her as much love as I possibly could. We removed all the bad friends in her life and kept her close to family. We had her meet with our priest so that she could open up and tell him things that maybe she couldn't tell us. Within a month I noticed a major difference. I feel like I have my sister back. Be there for her. As hard as it is. As hard as you just want to scream at her and shake her telling her to WAKE UP! It will click in her head. It's just going to take time. Peace be with you and your family. Jesus Loves

Dec 30, 2009
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Maybe You Should
by: Anonymous

It seems like you've done everything else possible thus far so maybe its time you as a family show you're not going to tolerate her behaviour any longer, and unless she commits to a life of sobriety she's out. As difficult as it may be, showing that kind of tough love can in the end be the best thing you can do, because it may give your sister the wake up call she needs. Best of luck

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