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Helping a young addict

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by Amy Atz, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Amy Atz

    Amy Atz Member

    I have a brother who recently turned 21. He has been drinking more and more heavily for the past year or so, and it has reached the point where there is no doubt in my mind that he is an addict. He drinks to the point of blacking out multiple times a week and has had multiple run-ins with the police. He recently passed out in the driveway, and I almost hit him with my car when I got home late. My family seems to think that this is normal behavior for a man his age, and they are all burying their heads in the sand. I am worried that it will take him getting seriously hurt before anyone else sees how much of a problem this is.

    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. maryannballeras

    maryannballeras Senior Contributor

    I know where you're coming from. I used to drink everyday -- and by that I mean 7 days a week. I only got out of it since I got busy with more responsibilities that I need to fulfill and as much as I wanted to, I just didn't have the time to drink anymore. Maybe that can work as well for your brother. Is he working, do you know?
  3. gypsyangel

    gypsyangel Member

    Unfortunately sometimes people have to find out the hard way what addiction does and does not do for them. You can only show them examples to learn from. If they don't think they have a problem then you don't stand a chance. Not every 20 something year old should believe that drinking until blacking out is "normal" behavior. In fact, if a person has come to that point of tolerance, then they are definitely an alcoholic. I wish you luck.
  4. RakeMind4

    RakeMind4 Active Contributor

    Hi Amy, I'm sorry to hear this problem is coming into your life.

    Based on the behavior you've described, you are spot on with this. It's really, really weird how tolerant western culture is of alcohol, just because of its age old history with our society, and how it's thusly convenient to see it as "only a fun, silly thing."

    My advice to you is to keep the pressure on, both with your brother and your family members. Over time, if you stand your ground on an issue, and don't budge, it will become a reference point in people's memory. Then, as events unfold, that reference will become validated, as clear as day, and it will be quicker for the people in your life to face the reality of the situation. There won't have to be a longer process of them having to "slowly come to terms with it." Again, it is extremely unfortunate that your family isn't on board with you, and that you have to take this longer, indirect approach.

    But especially with your brother: be exceedingly clear (not confrontational, but clear) about where you stand in relation to his demon drink. You want your relationship with him to become completely and solely about this point. Even if you have to completely stop interacting with him. That's tough love.

    As an end note: You of course don't want to put yourself in situations where there is fighting, or yelling. That's not necessary. If your brother reacts to this unyeilding intolerance with anger, and starts being a dick to you, again, I'm sorry you have someone like that in your life. Nobody should have to be exposed to that.

    I wish you all the luck in the world. Don't let your brother's life become something that weighs down or holds you back in your own life. You first.
  5. Megalinoxo

    Megalinoxo Member

    I'm sorry you have to be going through this right now. Not having your family's support will make things harder but like RakeMind4 said, keep on the pressure. Make it a point to explain to your family every single time there is bad behavior from your brother. It will probably take a great deal of time for them to want to accept that he has a problem but I think it's something you should keep pushing.

    Maybe try confronting your brother as well. Do so in a loving and caring way. Say something along the lines of "Hey, I notice recently that you have been drinking a lot. I wanted to talk to you to make sure you are okay." If he becomes defensive and upset it could further prove your point that he has a drinking problem and at that stage you may want to back off encase he decides to make any rash decisions. But it also reminds your brother that you are there for him and are willing to provide the support he needs.

    I hope some of this helps. Good luck!
  6. yari1123

    yari1123 Member

    The behavior you are describing sounds like alcohol abuse which can be very dangerous. Do you see his behavior affecting his normal social life such as work and interpersonal relationships? If not, then he is in the early stages of abuse. Your family needs to be made aware of this as it can progress into full blown addiction. Perhaps, you can share some literature with your parents about how this behavior is NOT normal or acceptable but rather risky.
    Support is the number one thing when battling addiction; hopeful your family will listen and then you all can begin to intervene appropriately.
    La.oui likes this.
  7. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    It's a really hard situation, but if you want to help him he has to be willing to quit, he has to see that alcohol is destroying him. If he's willing to do that detox will be the best, he need to follow a detox program and counseling, maybe the AA?
  8. vennybunny

    vennybunny Member

    I agree, an outlet can be very helpful for some people. It is very easy to fall into old habits when someone is idle, bored and rudderless. As they say, an idle mind is the devil's plaything. Or something.
  9. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    That is why it's always recommended to move city or at least circle of friends when we are trying to quit the habit, if we just keep going to the same places it's way harder.
  10. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    Perhaps he is going through the motions of being free and is in party mode.
    If not does he drink in the morning? Does he drink everyday? Is it all that he can think about?
    You need to let your parents know that they have got to have a talk to him about the dangers of what he is doing. It is all fine and well to have fun and have a binge but when it means that you are not responsible for yourself: passing out in the driveway) then it could lead to more serious problems where someone could get hurt or killed. Ensure that they do speak to him before it gets worse. Maybe you should sit down with him and let him know that he is worrying you with his behaviour and that you ask him to please be more careful and for a while take a break from the drinking. See if he can do this if not then you need to get your parents to intervene.
  11. caparica007

    caparica007 Active Contributor

    That can happen I agree, if he finds a job and he has bills to pay he just might snap out of it and get in touch with real life, maybe it's just what he needs.
  12. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    We never know the full effects of alcohol in a person, some people can deal with it while living a normal life, while others can't perform their regular tasks, being this study or working...
  13. Muraki

    Muraki Member

    If you want to help your brother then as his real friend, your brother needs people that show him the real meaning of life. Alcoholism occurs in society and you must bee his society. Show interest in his hobbies and gets close to him, even if you don't like his hobbies be nice!!!! Break all ties with the people who brought him to alcoholism!!!!!!!! Fight with all your powers if you love you brother :)

    Good luck :)
  14. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    Good post there Muraki, at hard times we need to make the effort and act as real friends, get common activities hobbies going on, something that make him change his life.
  15. caparica007

    caparica007 Active Contributor

    That is a good theory, but usually it's easier said than done, an addict can only cease to be an addict when he wants too. After that radical decision is made all the help he can get will be of course good.
  16. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    Both drugs an alcohol offer us an escape from reality and many people want that, so many times it's not easy to return to the real world from where we wanted to leave in the first place.
  17. I'm sorry you're going through this, and I know it's difficult, for both you and him. Addiction is a terrible thing and it can happen at a very young age, sadly. The most you can do is offer to be there for him, and maybe even point it out to him, just to see what he says, and if he gets defensive or upset, I would back off a bit. Sadly, sometimes people don't understand that their family and friends are just looking out for them and they end up learning the hard way.

    I wish your brother lots of luck and that he doesn't end up going down a rough path.
  18. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    Yes, it's really important to be there, to be firm, but flexible at the same time, we want to help them get rid of the addiction, but they also have to want that.
  19. caparica007

    caparica007 Active Contributor

    I think I know what you're trying to say Gelsemium, but each situation is so particular that I believe that there is no formula unless we are professionals.
  20. Gelsemium

    Gelsemium Community Champion

    The formula we have to follow is the love formula, the genuine concern to try to get to the person and help to quit the addiction. The how part is the hard one.