Post # 1
Going anonymous here since this is personal and about family.
So my 27 year old brother just called me having a panic attack and asked me to help him stop drinking. He didn’t say anything specific that he is looking for from me – just help. He said he didn’t have anyone else to talk to about it and he has a lot of anxiety. My mom and I have noticed my brother has been drinking a lot lately. Pretty much everyday and during the daytime as well as night time. I always said something to him, but he would brush it off. My mom said she talked to him about it, but didn’t get anywhere.
When he just called me, I asked why he thinks he is drinking so much and he told me he didn’t want to get into it right now because of the panic attack. He has had a lot of serious depression issues in the past and has been suicidal. He hasn’t held down a job in years and is still living with my mom and stepdad. He has seemed happier lately; he socializes a lot more instead of sitting in his room – but maybe that’s a side effect of alcohol? I’m just worried that maybe his depression is worsening and that might be leading him to drink more. Alcoholism also runs very deeply through my mom’s side of the family. 3 of my mom’s siblings are/were alcoholics.
I want to help my brother any way I can, I just don’t know where to start. He never wants to go see a therapist or talk to anyone (about his depression) so I feel like he wouldn’t want to for issues with alcohol either. I told him to call me anytime he needs me but I just don’t know what to say or the best way to help him. I’m glad he knows that he has a problem, I just want to make sure I can help him.
Does anyone have any experience with this? Or any advice? I would definitely appreciate it.
Post # 2
Refer him to professionals and don’t be involved any further than that. This is something that can, and probably will, be very emotionally explosive for him and is best left to trained pros. Being supportive doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in the line of fire. Google treatment centers in your area, give him a list with phone numbers and leave the rest to him. It’s hard, but it’s only going to work if he has to put in the effort to getting help.
Post # 3
Try to get him to go to AA – maybe even go with him for the first time. He might need to try multiple days/times/locations to find a group that he feels comfortable with (my family members who are in AA have told me that each meeting time seems to have a different dynamic and type of people who go). From what they’ve told me, it sounds like you can kind of just sit back and not say much when you first start if you want. It has really helped multiple members of my family.
Post # 4
Anonbee15: He definitely needs to seek medical advice. It is possible that he may need to be detoxed off the alcohol, and it could be dangerous for him to stop on his own. He should probably go to a dual diagnosis unit. That is a psychiatric unit that specializes in drug/alcohol dependence as well as psychiatric issues such as depression and anxiety. From there he could go to a 30 day rehabilitation program.
Your brother is very brave to admit he has a problem, and very lucky to have such a supportive sister. Best of luck to both of you.
Post # 5
AA did wonders for me when I was having issues. Maybe look up information on where local meetings are for him and AL-Anon meetings for you/your family. They could have information that can help as well. Treatment centers are a great idea as well.
Post # 6
Agreed with AA. Go with him, maybe talk to people who you know who go to find out meetings that might be younger if he wants that… But don’t get involved to the point that you blame yourself if he backslides.
Post # 7
You could also go to alanon. Find a program for you and your mom to go to. It helps so you can get your head around it and actuallly be some help to him.
Post # 8
tksjewelry: Bridey77: Thank you both for your suggestions. I have already begun researching different treatment places as well as psychologists. I don’t know that he would ever go to any of them though. His mindset was always that they weren’t going to be able to help him. And so for years, he never did anything. He has good days and bad days in regards to his depression. I will definitely provide him with the contact info though.
DBS5127: frywedding2015: Rappig: HisIrishPrincess: Thank you all for your responses. I don’t know much about AA so I just started looking it up. There are tons of meetings in our area on every day of the week. I think it would be a great idea and I would definitely be willing to accompany my brother to the meetings if he wants. I just don’t know if he would want to go. But maybe since he recognizes he needs help, then he would. This is just making me so upset and worried.
Post # 9
I am a recovering alcoholic myself and have many friends who are as well. I saw a therapist for a long time who wanted to talk about my drinking “problem” but I didn’t want to admit it to her. However, once I started going to AA it helped greatly! I can’t say I was “cured” as soon as I went or anything crazy, but it is much easier to admit and accept once I was able to meet, talk to, and hear from people with the same problem as me. it made me feel like I wasn’t alone and there was someone out there who could truly understand what I was going through. Idk if any alcoholic knows exactly WHY they cannot stop drinking.
I would highly recommend a twelve step program, even if he doesn’t think it will help just going once may change his mind, inspire him, or simply help him realize he is not alone. I know I got more out of these than therapy, though if he does have underlying issues (depression, etc) he may want to seek out counseling later on…it’s easier when u get sober. From personal experience, I didn’t care about anything when I was drinking–I also drank everyday (usually all day) and have severe panic attacks (I think they were brought on by my excessive drinking because I never had them prior)–so that can make it hard to want to seek therapy for other problems..but it sounds like he DOES at least want to get help for drinking!
I hope this helps, if u don’t mind me asking (and u don’t have to answer) but what area is he in? I know a lot of people who can recommend great resources all over the country.
The good news is that HE asked for help, that is a good step in the right direction!!! Unfortunately many people don’t ever admit or want help. 🙁
ETA: I second looking into detox. I had to witness people have seizures in rehab due to withdrawals and it was horrific.
Also, from watching loved ones struggle with addiction, I can say there is not much you can do but be supportive as possible. I’ve learned I can’t “make” anyone get sober no matter how much I want to help them, he has to want it himself. (Which it sounds like he is there, or very close at least)
Post # 10
kortizi0: Thank you so much for taking the time to write out your reply. It’s great to hear that AA has helped you, that gives me hope for my brother as well. The detox information is scary to hear as I had no idea. I am going to try and talk to him and see what he is willing to do. I don’t want to push him, but he approached me so I think it will be okay. I am definitely going to recommend AA and someone he can talk to comfortably to work out the issues that are leading to his drinking. Thank you again!
Post # 11
Anonbee15: your welcome! Sorry I didn’t want to scare you, but I don’t think most ppl know how serious it is. I drank every day for years and was okay without detox but definitely something to look into just to be on the safe side . Best of luck to u and ur brother, I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers