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Do I Have the Strength to Drop my Alcoholic Brother Off at the Homeless Shelter???

by Nina

My alcoholic brother has lived with me and my husband since our mother died 2 years ago. Brother "B" has not held a job for 15 years, as our mother enabled his lifestyle. B moved to our town, in our house when mom died and we have supported him.

B likes to work around the house, split wood, powerwash the porches, etc. He is sweet and has many great qualities. I had planned on B getting a job and get on his own feet, but he got very sick and spent the past year in the hospital and in a nursing home. My husband and I spent so damn much money and time taking care of him! (B is only 41 years old, 15 years younger than me )

He is healthier now, but drinking again. None of our 3 other siblings wants to support him. He recently stole some liquor from my neighbor, and friend, and I can't deal with it anymore.I told him he could continue to live here if he agrees to a 28 day program, but he says no.

But he doesn't have any where to go. He has pissed off everyone who knows him. And now he has abused me just too often. But DO I REALLY HAVE THE GUTS TO SEND HIM TO THE HOMELESS SHELTER?
Any thoughts you have are welcome.


Hi Nina

What are the alternatives if you don't send him to the homeless shelter? Because by doing nothing you just further enable his behavior in that he continues not having to bear the consequences for his drinking and the destructive choices he makes.

You've been more than reasonable and given him a choice - rehab or out. If he's not prepared to accept that condition, well then he has to bear the consequences. Alcoholics are excellent at manipulating and getting us to feel sorry for them ... and so we avoid taking the tough decisions that even though they may seem harsh ... are in their long-term best interests.

Your brother has had it all very comfortable for such a long time - never having to take responsibility for anything and being able to continue drinking however and whenever it pleases him. If he wants to continue doing that then fine - but he has to then learn it will be at his own expense, on his time and in his own environment. It's not your responsibility to keep him in his lifestyle.

So if taking him to the homeless shelter is the last resort you're left with then unfortunately so be it. IF he wants to continue staying with you it should be on your terms - and if he's not prepared to accept those - well that's his choice. It sounds like you've done everything you can - so don't feel bad about putting him into a position where he has to start learning to live on life's terms, and not his distorted version of them.

Sometimes learning the lesson that life (or any person) doesn't owe us anything, is one of the most important lessons we'll ever learn. But at the end of the day no one can tell you what to do - only you can make that decision.

Best of Luck

Comments for Do I Have the Strength to Drop my Alcoholic Brother Off at the Homeless Shelter???

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Dec 27, 2010
same predicament here...
by: Anonymous

Little brother living with my Mom the second time in his life, first was 5 years, this time has been almost 2years he is 44!. No job, no friends,alienated everyone in the family, been thru rehab 3 times,steals money and credit cards from my Mom, eats her food lives in her house,she pays his truck payment and insurance, all day in bed, can hardly walk and looks like he's dead on his feet 24/7, We looked into getting him commited in ANY way, and it is virtually impossible to do so legally. HE has to do it. UGH!!! my poor 73 year old Mother is going to waste her retired life taking care of him...kills me to see this, she raised 8 of us and everyone else had way worse odds than his and we all made it. Want to shake him till I cause brain damage, (if there's any brain left)

Aug 17, 2010
by: Nina

Thank you so much for your comments. It does help to hear this from others. B has gone to live with another one of our brothers (who is a drinker also). B has gotten a part time job. So we'll see where this goes. In the meantime I'm exploring services that are available in this area, since I know nothing about that side of life... Halfway houses, veterans benefits, etc.
But THANKS again for responding.

Aug 11, 2010
by: Anonymous

i would think about if you're willing to do this for the rest of your life? did you ever think that his helping around the house and being 'sweet' may be a form of manipulation? alcoholics have a built in radar which they use to hone in on people that they can manipulate. he may use your history together as children as a tool also. believe me..if it came down to his alcohol or you, he'd choose the alcohol.

is there any way that you can have him committed to a treatment center? and once he leaves there, he has to go to a half way house or other living place?

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