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My Sister is an Alcoholic and I'm Scared I Might Lose Her.

by Jennifer

My sister is 36 and has had a problem with alcohol for the best part of 10 years. Maybe more, we've all lost count. She doesn’t work at all so doesn’t have much money. 3 years ago she admitted that she had a problem and went to doctors etc and was given the home detox option.

She tried this and then after her tablets ran out, it wasn’t long before she was back on the drink again. I have lost count how many times she has been given this home detox, but she keeps failing every time. She had tried to go cold turkey before with no tablets but she just wasn’t strong enough, and the will power wasn’t there.

About a year ago when she felt she was ready to try going cold turkey again as my mum stayed at her home with her for support etc, she ended up having a massive fit and ended up in hospital for a week. I thought this would be enough to shake the sense into her about how serious this is. She had her driving license taken away because of the fit also. Sadly this wasn’t enough and before long was drinking again.

She went into a detox program in a facility where she stayed there for 2 weeks, but yet again, after a few weeks of coming out, she was drinking again. She has since been back to that same facility for another 2 weeks, but is still drinking now. I hadn’t seen my sister for nearly a year due to her lies and not wanting to see anybody. She would pretend that she was out if anyone went her house.

I recently found out something that is not making her life any better, and this is the part I really need some advice on. At the early stages of her detoxing, she was seeing a bloke who treated her awfully. He was on cannabis all the time and was constantly paranoid about her, so ended up hurting her physically and mentally. She eventually got rid of him because she started seeing a new bloke, (who i’ll call John for the purposes of this site) who said he would protect her and look after her.

She made out to us all that he was this fantastic guy but it’s recently come to light that he’s a big bully and has been mentally abusing her. He’s part of the reason that when she came out of the 2 weeks detox program she was drinking again, as he would leave bottles of drink around the house where she could see them and obviously be tempted.

My sister hates him now and feels sick by him but she cannot get rid of him because he buys the drink for her. He also blackmails her by telling her to put on sexy underwear for him so that he will get her a bottle of drink, and he also makes her give him oral sex in order to get a bottle of drink. It’s really horrible to hear as she is dependent on John as he provides her drink for her. If she chucks him out for good then she can’t afford to get the drink and will therefore fit again.

Basically, John had an affair with my sister and she told his wife when they’d had an argument, so ever since then he has said he will get her back. I also haven’t mentioned it yet but she has 2 kids, aged 10 and 14. They really hate this bloke and end up stuck in their bedrooms the whole time cos they don’t want to be near him.

Its breaking my heart and I am so scared that soon, I will not have a sister. She has tried going back to doctors but they have apparently told her she will need to wait at least 9 months to get back into a detox program. She can also ask to go to into rehab after the detox program but again she obviously has to wait. The doctor has just tried to get her to cut down on the drink. How on earth you expect an alcoholic to do that I don’t know.

She even lied yesterday saying that she had fitted again but only a small one as she tried to get off the drink by herself at home. I really need some advice. I don’t know where to turn next, where to get her advice and serious help. I am so scared of losing her. Answer

Hi Jennifer

Your sister needs to get into a proper alcoholism addiction treatment program, ideally by spending at least 30 days in a rehab facility. Because simply detoxing is not going to be enough - she needs professional help to get her on the path of long-term sobriety.

It's shocking that the Doctors say she has to wait 9 months before she can be considered. That's a massive blight on the system whereby someone in serious need of urgent help is told they have to wait that long before they can receive it. So you're going to have to try and find a way to bypass that.

Try contacting rehab/alcoholism treatment facilities directly. Do a google search to come up with places - and then phone a bunch of them to find out if there is a way you can circumvent the NHS waiting lists.

Here is also a UK Website that will help you find an appropriate treatment program for your sister and allows you to do searches for rehab facilities in your area. So by doing a bit of legwork and phoning around, you should be able to find a facility that will take your sister, without having to wait forever.

Having said all that though, there is more to achieving sobriety than just going to rehab. Finding a proper alcoholism recovery program like AA to work post rehab is arguably even more important. In fact many people have overcome the worst of alcohol addictions without ever seeing the inside of a rehab facility - just by going to AA meetings regularly and working the 12 steps. So if your sister can start going to meetings in the meantime that would be a great start.

It also goes without saying that somehow she's going to have to get rid of her current boyfriend. The relationship is clearly toxic, and unless she does, she'll never beat her addiction. And if it means getting things like restraining orders to make it possible, then so be it.

If your sister is ever going to beat her alcoholism though, she has to want it. Because it takes effort and commitment to change and leave those self-destructive tendencies behind. So you can obviously try and intervene to get her the help she needs, but unless she really wants to change, your efforts are going to be in vain.

Let's hope that's not the case though and it's just a matter of your sister being given the opportunity to get the best available professional help, so that from there she can flourish and finally learn how to banish her demons. Good Luck and Take Care.

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No money for rehab
by: Jennifer

The problem is, my sister has no money, neither do any of us to be totally honest, not the kind that some rehab centres want. So is that why she is on a waiting list? Because she is not paying for it privately?

Ive told her she needs to move out of the area away from this boyfriend and nearer to friend and family, and then go to rehab. When she come out she can start afresh in an area where she has people close to her who can help and support her. I just have a feeling its going to take a while to get there. And I know its going to be difficult if she loses her children too.

I guess i'll need to start ringing around some rehab centres to see if anyone will accept her.

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