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30 Years of Alcoholism and No Better

by Bob

I have a brother who has alcohol and drug problem for thirty years. His also has been diagnosed with Bi Polar. Every couple of years he goes through episodes that are violent. He has been arrested numerous times, once for destroying his sisters home.

He no longer works and is receiving money from Veterans for disability due to Bi Polar. This has recently allowed him to have more money for drugs and alcohol. His mother has been a enabler for years, because when she doesn't comply with him he makes her feel guilty about his childhood.

I have told Mom for years that you need to stop enabling him by doing everything for him; cooking, cleaning, finding him apartments, etc. They don't live together (they used to) - but now live close to each other. My sister won't allow him in her house anymore. He is a loose cannon when drinking and doing drugs, and based on previous history, capable of anything.

He refuses to go to rehab. How does a family deal with this we have tried for thirty years, he seems to be getting worse, and my family is afaid of him? How do we protect ourselves and get him the help he needs? We don't want to see him kill himself or someone else. We are all exhausted and tired of dealing with this. We don't want to wait for a tragedy that will either kill him or finally put him away. Answer

How do you want to help someone who doesn't want to help themselves, Bob? What is there for you to do after 30 years, when nothing in all that time has worked?

Until your brother decides he wants to do something about his alcoholism and drug addiction, the sad reality is that there is little anyone can do to help him.

Because addiction is one of those illnesses/diseases/conditions (call it what you will) - that requires absolute and total commitment on the part of the alcoholic/drug abuser to change their lives. Bottom line is it takes hard work to overcome an addiction - all those negative and self-destructive mental, emotional and behavioural patterns don't just disappear by themselves. It requires a total transformation, from the inside ... out.

Unfortunately your mother, even though no doubt well intended, has simply enabled your brother's alcoholism and drug addiction - meaning he's never had to take responsibility for his life, and so has never been able to bottom out which most addicts/alcoholics needs to do before they're ready to change.

Your brother is comfortable remaining a victim, because that provides his justification for continuing to drink and take drugs. And your mother simply enforces that image by doing everything for him and allowing him to manipulate her.

So all you can do is hope and pray that something happens (without hopefully hurting anyone else in the process), that forces your brother to seriously re-evaluate his life. There is no miracle or magic cure unfortunately. Until something switches in his own mind and makes him go 'I've had enough of this life', no one can help him.

Take Care

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