Very sick brother

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Re: Very sick brother

Postby dennis » Tue Mar 01, 2005 7:43 pm

Hey Jon,

If you're brother is an alcoholic like I am, it is more than likely his depression and mental illness is due to drinking, not the cause of the drinking.

Also, if your brother is an alcoholic like me - he'll drink until he wants to quit drinking, I doubt you will be able to reason with him. Something you might try is to offer to take him to an *open* AA meeting close to you. You can find these by looking in the white pages of your phone book under Alcoholics Anonymous and giving them a call.

A resource for *you* is the fellowship of Al Anon, which is for friends and family members of alcoholics. You will most likely find them in your phone book also, or you can try this web page which has an 800 number for the US:
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

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Re: Very sick brother

Postby curtis s » Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:00 pm

Dennis is pretty much on target if your brothers problem is alcohoism. Al-Anon may be a source of support for you and also you may learn how to stop enabling him.

It is of course possible that other things are going on. Substance abuse can mask a bunch of other mental problems. Obviously even a doctor can't make a diagnosis on the basis of one email, and we are not doctors. It is probably a good idea for you to consult with a mental health professional about this.

It doesn't sond like this is going to get better all by itself from your post.

Good luck and keep us informed

Curt
"What a long strange trip it's been."
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Re: Very sick brother

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Mar 02, 2005 7:05 am

Hi,

I have learned that times of stress for a group of people seems to lead to an increase in chemical dependencies. For example, more New York firemen are being convicted of drink-driving offenses than ever before. No studies have been done, but I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a correlation between that and their experiences over 9/11.

I'm curious if your brother drank before he went to Iraq. But in any event, whatever the cause he seems to be emotionally dependant upon alcohol. From my personal perspective, that is alcoholism, as distinct from alcohol abuse.

Why do I say this? Because others go through the same trauma yet without finding that alcohol seems to temporarily relieve the emotional stuff to the extent they have to get more of the effect.

There's nothing you can really do for him unless and until he wants to get help. As others mentioned, I'd suggest al-anon for you to deal with your problem about his drinking.

And why gamble your own alcoholic life on whether or not he decides to dry out?
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Re: Very sick brother

Postby ArtK » Wed Mar 02, 2005 10:32 pm

Triggers for me. I ended a relationship with a girl a couple of years before hitting my bottom. Went on a major bender until I finally came to the program. It was very difficult for me to eat and would often go a week without solid food. The only thing I could stomach were Big Macs (normally couldn't stand them) and cooked softboiled eggs.
For the most part it had to do with my inability to deal with the breakup. I was so full of anger and hate towards the girl that the only way to get some peace in my head was to drink until I passed out, which ironically became harder and harder to do.
Ultimately, while in a bit of an alcoholic fog, it came to me real strong that I was dying and only had 3-6 months before it was over. It was then and there that I made the decision on which route to take. In all honesty, the drinking myself to death was given serious thought but I finally chose to start AA. Through the program and the Steps I was finally able to deal with the breakup and many other issues that would trigger me to drink.
Sorry to be so long-winded but I also have a brother who hit bottom a few years before I came into AA for myself. I took him to meetings and even read the Big Book and then explained it to him (he didn't read well) although he in the end wound up relapsing. Maybe I didn't explain it quite right :) . But I guess I got enough out of those meetings that when I finally reached my own bottom, I knew that AA was the only way for me to have any chance of success. Although my brother is in and out of AA, he still seems to have retained enough program that he is able to function reasonably well. He always comes back now just when things are about to get really bad for him again. Who knows, maybe someday....
Anyway, wish you and your brother the best. Check out some meetings might make it a little easier to come back when the need is more urgent.
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Re: Very sick brother

Postby chisa » Sun Mar 06, 2005 8:26 am

make sure your brother is taking vitamin b1 suppliments and possibly a vitamin b compound suppliment. alcohol tends to drive this vitamin from the body and it can lead to complications - the initial stages are numbness in the extremities of the body - fingers, toes, etc. i think its called thiamin. ask a doctor or alcohol worker for the exact dose he needs to be taking - from memory i think i was told to take a quite high dose something like 50mg but get professional help for the exact amount. when i was still drinking my mother rung up a wonderful alcohol and drugs worker who gave her this advice. also try to get him to drink a lot of water. it will rehydrate him and also flush some of the toxins out of his body. another source of vitamin b1 is liver if you brother can stomach that or brown rice.

good luck
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Re: Very sick brother

Postby Blue Moon » Sun Mar 06, 2005 8:28 pm

Originally posted by chisa:
make sure your brother is taking vitamin b1 suppliments and possibly a vitamin b compound suppliment.
Good advice, but for one complication: the individual concerned hasn't actually stopped drinking. Alcohol simply destroys B vitamins, so heavy drinking whilst taking them just makes it pointless taking them.
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Re: Very sick brother

Postby chisa » Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:29 am

i think that you can take vit b1 while drinking but you have to take large doses of it - as i said above i was told to take 50mg (about 50x what is normal). this atleast allows some of the vitamin to remain in the system while drinking. when i was hammering it i felt my fingers going numb and after taking the vit b1 the sensation ended.

but again as i said he should really get intouch with someone who can advise better - maybe an alcohol worker of doctor.
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Re: Very sick brother

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:09 pm

Originally posted by chisa:

but again as i said he should really get intouch with someone who can advise better - maybe an alcohol worker of doctor.
Probably the best bet. If someone's really ill, quitting "cold turkey" can lead to DTs etc., which can be risky. I don't believe they're so common nowadays because of all the interventions and other drugs around. But anyway, once someone has quit drinking, whether it's with or without medical help, they're more than welcome to get stuck into AA to learn how to stay quit. That's what we're really about (in theory, at least!).
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Re: Very sick brother

Postby curtis s » Tue Mar 08, 2005 7:41 pm

I knew a person once who made a conscious decision not to eat. Eventually it became evident that this was more than anything else an attempt to kill themselves. At that point drastic action became neccesary.

If worse comes to worse you can look into having your brother committed against his will or more simply as a condition of his returning to your home afterwards. You will have to decide if this is appropriate but consultation with professionals is probably in order. At this point his lack of nutrition can perhaps lead to brain damage-in the old days alkies refered to this as a "wet brain" and it was due to all the calories and nutrition coming from nothing but alcohol. It is sometimes irreversable.

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