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My Brother's Alcoholism Story and How He Almost Killed Himself

by Lisa
(New York State)

My name is "Lisa". I am 28 years old and my brother, Dave, 30, is an alcoholic and suffers from severe depression many other mental health issues. I'm hoping from this someone can give me some words of advice and support.

He was checked into a hospital detox program two nights ago. But before all this let me tell you what happened leading up to this. I will try to keep it as short as possible.

My brother still lives at home with my father. I am married and own a home with my husband. Our parents divorced about ten years ago. For years, I knew something wasn't right with my brother, even when we were teens.

Since he was the oldest and the boy, he always got his own way and was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted. As for me, I was the girl, and closely watched, especially with my boyfriend at the time, who was not a favorite among my family members. (now my wonderful and loving and caring husband who means the world to me and treats me like gold).

So whatever I said to my parents they kinda shrugged off as Dave "being a boy" and "that's how Dave is." This and also the fact that my parents had their own relationship troubles at the time.

Anyway, the point is he had troubles from a very young age and he was just sort of looked over, nobody did anything about it. Now flash forward about 3 or 4 years after my parents divorce, my father found someone else, "Nancy." She is a wonderful, caring individual who was able to see things from a new perspective and I have her to thank for noticing all the behaviors that my father was overlooking in his own house.

She is also a nurse. There were nights she would call me and tell me what was happening in the house, practically crying on the phone because she didn't know what to do. It just escalated from there.

My father is a good person but lets himself get walked on most of the time, and my brother was feeding off of that. My dad would give into Dave, and give him anything he wanted. New clothes, gadgets, money. My brother's room was also severely dirty, you couldn't even see the floor from all the dirty clothes, and junk.

My father did nothing about it and asked Dave time and time again to clean it. Dave would say he would, then nothing would happen. My father kept believing it would get done, but nothing did. It got so bad my father refused to even open Dave's bedroom door to see the mess. My father said it was his room, and if he wanted to live in a dirty room, it was his choice. I never saw it either, considering I didn't live there. But it was my fathers house.

Nancy called me up one evening and told me her and my dad went into Dave's room to clean it. In his closet they found more than 70 bottles of vodka. Not those teeny tiny bottles, the jugs. Again, nothing was done about the situation. When my dad would confront Dave, Dave would get severely irritated to the point he would start to shake. So my dad would back off and do nothing.

A few months after the incident Dave called me up and admitted that he was an alcoholic. I congratulated him on his efforts to get sober and offered to go with him to AA meetings, and would support him 100%.

Dave also bounced around from job to job, going from one to the next. There were months where I had no clue whether he was working or not. I couldn't get a straight answer from Dave. Each time I talked to him his story would change. He would tell my father stories about how his job called him and said they didn't need him that day, or they changed his schedule, or whatever. You name it, he said it.

This happened many, many times. And every time my father would believe it. Dave claims that he has severe anxiety, so he has gotten Paxil from his doctor. My father and Nancy would comment on how strange he would act when he would take these pills. And with Nancy being a nurse, she knew something wasn't right. My father just thought it was a side effect of the pills, but Nancy knew better.

Last week my father was called to go on an emergency business trip. He didn't want to go because of everything happening at the current time. But he had to. So he went. A couple nights into the trip he calls my husband and I saying he received a call from Dave's doctor, and the doctor said they received a disturbing phone call from Dave saying we was contemplating suicide.

When my father tried to call Dave there was no answer. My husband was asked to go over to the house to see if Dave was even still alive. When he got there Dave was unable to stand on his own and urinated on the floor in front of my husband. My husband immediately called 911. Dave was severely intoxicated and had taken more than the prescribed amount of Paxil.

Dave was admitted into the psychiatric ward of the hospital and is currently there now. Its very ironic that a person that was so hated by my family (my husband) ended up saving one of my family members lives. That's a whole different issue I have to work out, though.

The next day after he was admitted, myself, my husband and Nancy went to the house to clean up his room. If we didn't do it, it would never get done, and I wouldn't leave that whole burden for my father. What I saw in his room will haunt me for many years.

His whole room was FULL of empty beer, liquor, and poweraid bottles. There had to be between 500-700 bottles. And this is only a 10X12 room. Stacked up higher than his bed. You couldn't see an inch of the floor, and could not walk anywhere in his room. But it was what was in those bottles that was even more shocking.

We found dozens of bottles of urine and feces because he was too drunk to walk ten feet to the bathroom, and also did not want my dad to see him intoxicated, so he would relieve himself in a bottle and keep it in his room. We managed to clean some of it up, but want to leave some for my father to see when he gets home tonite, to understand that Dave is severely sick. It's still pretty bad.

The three of us wouldn't have been able to clean it all up last night since it was so bad. My father is in severe denial about Dave right now, and doesn't want to admit that Dave has severe mental issues. Dave also has a severe hatred toward my father right now, and refuses to see him if my father visits him in the hospital.

So this is where my story ends. There is definitely more to the story, but I thought I would keep it short. This is what I'm living with right now. Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated.

Comments for My Brother's Alcoholism Story and How He Almost Killed Himself

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wow this is my story too word for word nearly NEW
by: Anonymous

Such a moving story and one sadly that could have been written about me. It was like reading and story about my life as everything is exactly the same except that I'm a girl with brothers and luckily am not in a mental hospital. I'm sober and trying my best to be strong and stay that way but I obviously have incredible empathy for your brother. there were ties I'm sure I'm could've been committed but my dad protected me and let me come to and sober up in my own time. Please pass on all my best to you and all your family. Your brother doesn't want to be this way but sometimes when you're that ashamed and humiliated you drink so it hurts less. I believe he will be strong enough to get better and pray he does so he can be come the man he wants to be and live a life he deserves to live

Get help for yourself too
by: Anonymous

As someone who grew up with a family of addicts and alcoholics, I recognize the signs. I'm glad your brother is getting help. You need help, too, though. Why don't you check on the 12 step programs for family members of alcoholics? If you do, you'll find the support and strength you need to not be broken yourself my your brother's illness, and the pain and burden it is placing on all of you. Addiction is like any other life threatening illness; when people have cancer or are in an accident, they need help. It's just that in addiction, it's not so obviously noticeable, and it's not clear always what a family member can or should or ought to do. How much can you do? Where's the line where you have to pull back and help yourself and your family and not let your brother's crisis over burden all of you. I really encourage you to look at what kind of supportive group you can set up around you. Wish you the best.

Know a little about this.
by: Anonymous

Your story is touching and I hope you find relief soon. The first thing I would recomend you do is find out who else in your family knows your brother has a problem. Agree on a solution. Talk to your dad and tell him he needs to put his own feelings aside and open up to your brother. If he chooses not to then he shouldnt be part of the solution. Your brother needs people around him that see he has a problem. Problems are sometimes tough to deal with and it takes special people to deal with them. You have taken the proper steps to help your brother on his journey and you should be proud of your effort. The number of people who want to help your brother far out-number those who dont. Thats your army. You either chose or where given the responsibilty of being the General, trust whats best for him by listening to your gut. You really need to trust that your doing whats best for him. Forget about anything else. Your an adult. Best of luck to you and your family.

so sad
by: Anonymous

Your brother is lucky he is getting help in time. My brother committed suicide 3 weeks ago. The pain is unbearable.

He's Seriously Ill
by: C-P

Your brother's story is tragic. He's obviously very sick and needs a lot of specialised help and care. Being in a psychiatric ward is probably a good thing for him right now and will hopefully help him deal with his severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Then once he's ready to be checked out, getting him into a proper alcoholism treatment program would be good next step, so that his alcoholism can also be addressed. Depression and alcoholism often go together - and so your brother needs a lot of specialised treatment and care to help him heal and start the journey towards recovery. And since most addiction treatment programs are good at addressing related disorders like alcoholism and depression, it will further help his healing and recovery. The lengths alcoholics and addicts will unfortunately sometimes go to to protect or hide their addiction can be shocking. But he's in the right place now, and hopefully with extensive treatment and care, he'll eventually recover. You've done what you can for now, and hopefully this will open your dad's eyes to how ill your brother really is. God Bless you all

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