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How to deal with an alcoholic

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Beef03, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Question for the board, How should you handle an alcoholic?

    I have been lucky enough that my parents were not big drinkers, and that I have not had much experience at all dealing with alcoholics. I don't have much of a problem with drinking or those who choose to do, I enjoy beer, but within reason.

    The issue: My sister's husband, a guy I quite like who played a huge role in my sister getting her life on track, has apparently turned into an alcoholic over the last six-eight months. He's not violent, but he drinks about a case a night to the point of passing out. In the process has drank through what little money my sister thought they had, thinking they were finally getting ahead as they prepared to pay back loans (they owe my parents thousands up upon thousands of dollars and me a chunk of change as well). It is complicated further because my sister is working a night shift and they have a six-year-old son and apparently it has become routine for her to come home with him passed out on the couch, cigarette in hand. Apparently last night she got off early, thinking she would surprise them, and it took a half hour to rouse him. She is now considering quitting her job, which for the first time in years is a job she actually enjoys and it pays better than anything she has done before and is a reason they were finally starting to get a head, because she can't trust him to be responsible around my nephew if left alone.

    Now I am hearing all of this from my mother, but I have a feeling I will be getting a call soon, or I may be making it myself. Unfortunately they live about 18 hours away, so it's not like I am actually available to physically do anything. There is some family in the city they live in, but I'm not sure who knows about his issues or how close they are. The thing is when I talk to her I want to have some sage advice handy, and I have no idea what to say.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Intervention. If not for his sake, for the kid's sake. She'll come home to a burned down house soon. Not trying to be overreactive or harsh or scare you or whatever - but don't fuck around with this one.
  3. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Not an overreaction at all, was my first thought when my mom said he was passing out with a cigarette in his hand.
  4. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Last time I was there, now eight months ago, they still kept most of their smoking to a covered deck area that pretty much serves as a boot room and storage area. Not sure from talking to my mom earlier if that's where she found him this last time or if it has progressed to the living room. But still, one spark there and the whole trailer could go. Oh yeah, they live in a double wide, owned by my parents and rented to them, in a trailer park.
    So frustrated on my end. Things were finally really looking up for my sister who's had a long history of bad decisions. Married, Better job, ready to start climbing out of debt, and now this. Damn.

    Like you said it's not irreversible, yet, I hope. Which is why I'm looking for your guys' suggestions now before it does spiral further.

    Thanks all.
  5. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Beef, I'm sorry to hear what's going on.

    I lived with a violent and abusive alcoholic for two years and, honestly, I'm not sure I can even offer any good advice. It's a hell of an illness.

    It took four hospitalizations, several seizures and the loss of custody of her daughter to get her to realize what was at stake and sober up (a year and counting). In the meantime, it killed our relationship beyond repair.

    The one thing I will stress is that as much as your sister might love her husband, SHE MUST NOT FEEL BAD FOR HIM. She can not base any decisions going forward on what is best for HIM. She must base her decisions on what is best for her and her daughter, no matter how painful they may be.

    I spent a lot longer in that relationship than I should have and endured a lot of abuse at her hands because I wanted to help her. I wanted to "fix" the problem and, by extension, save our relationship. It wasn't until I left and forced her to stand on her own two feet that she straightened out (but not before she nosedived and was hospitalized with a .38 BAC ... during which time she was coherent and able to speak with nurses, much to their astonishment).

    Your nephew is the top priority and that means making sure she is not left home alone with her father. Really, it's non-negotiable if he's passing out with cigarettes in hand. And maybe removing your nephew from the home will snap him out of it.

    And there is no way in hell your sister should quit her job. What could that possibly do to help??
  6. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    Thank you for sharing BigPern. I don't think it has become violent, although I know they have been fighting.
    Her thinking of quitting the job would be so that he is not left alone and responsible for my nephew. That would be the only reason.
    I will be giving her a call tomorrow. I believe she is at work by now or heading there soon.

    Again thank you all.
  7. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Oops, I meant your nephew.
  8. Beef03

    Beef03 Active Member

    No worries at all.
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