View Full Version : Open Letter to My Sister

September 29th, 2008, 09:40 PM
Removed the letter since my sister actually found it, and I'm not interested in invading her safe space. I didn't realize she'd be wandering into the family board. I hope that those of you who are communicating with her keep giving her love and encouragement. She's doesn't believe it when it comes from her family.

I wish I could have keep some semblance of anonymity, because this seems like an incredibly supportive group of people. I'll keep looking. Good luck to all of you, whether those fighting for control over their drink of choice, or those who have to watch the storm.

September 29th, 2008, 10:11 PM

I can relate with your story, however, I am the one who drinks too much in my family. I do work everyday, and I am a functional problem drinker. I have also caused my family much pain. It is not that your sister doesnt care, I would guess. She is just so sick and she probably had no idea how to stop. She probably cant. Is she using this site? It has really helped me see things differently. Is she abusing other drugs than alcohol. I feel your pain and I wish there was something magical to say and take it away. Encourage her to get on this site as often as she can. The support is great. I will say if she doesnt want to quit, it wont happen. Does she realize she has a problem. Most alcoholics live in a big state of blame but it is really because they hate themselves and are so full of guilt. It is easier to blame others. I hope the best for you, your parents, and sister. Maybe your parents should just say no and let her hit her bottom. Sometimes, that is the only answer. Hard though, I know.

May want to jump in general discussion. Many more people visit there and will help you through this with suggestions.

September 29th, 2008, 10:13 PM
Dear Y...

I wish you were my sister! You are someone who cares very much. I hope your sister reads this with an open heart..........

Thanks for sharing your side of the story. It really helps us (me) on the other side.

Don't forget to take care of YOU!
Best Wishes & Hugs,
Love, Bambi

September 30th, 2008, 03:05 AM

thanks for the reply. supposedly, my sister at least reads the forums here. that is how I heard about the site in the first place. I looked around a little, and didn't see any posts that appeared to be her, so I don't think she is actually posting yet. I think that is the hardest part of everything, knowing that I can't do anything to help her. What makes it worse is that she's always been there for me and helped me through my hardest times (breakups, etc). And I feel a lot of guilt for not being able to be there for her. We live miles apart and I hardly ever see her.

She only recently owned up to her alcoholism. She talks about wanting/needing help. But nothing has really come of it. I think she drinks mostly out of loneliness (and to self-medicate clinical depression). Which is ironic, considering that while she is a complete joy sober, after just a glass of wine she's fairly intolerable.

Do it help or hurt to hear about the pain that your drinking causes the people around you? I mean, it may be cathartic for me to write my angry prose, but it is completely not worth it if it will only make things worse for her.

September 30th, 2008, 08:44 AM
Dear Y,

Thank you for your post. I think I just like your sister, made my whole family suffer because of me. Just 2 month ago my younger sister mad at me because my behavior after I drunk. At that time I really mad at my sister coz i think she don't understand me, after read your post I realize that she mad because she love me. And luckily I am AF since then, now my sister doesn't mad at me anymore.

But, I am sure that your sister isn't feel good herself. Hope your sister read your post too.

And for Y sister, if you ever read this, do try to visit here often if you need support to quit drinking. :l

September 30th, 2008, 09:15 AM
I think she has taken a huge step by owning up to her alcoholism...Do you understand that the last thing that an Alcoholic wants to do is DRINK???They don't take the Drink, the drink takes THEM.Yesterday Boss Man posted something that I think you would benefit from reading...It is very important.Go to Membership list at the top of the page.Go to the B's and look up boss man.Under his name click (read all posts.)Then read what he posted yesterday...I think this will help you and your sister...Blessings to you and your family..

September 30th, 2008, 10:36 AM
If you are psting this on the family members section then you, as do we on other sections, have every right to post how you feel.
As they say on other threads read what you need and leave the rest.

Post what helps you to cope with this.

I am the one with a problem in my family but I see it from both sides having a relative with a drink problem too.

Welcome to mwo.

September 30th, 2008, 10:39 AM
wow, you sound like my sister. Are you from NY? i doubt you are, but its pretty interesting how all of us alcoholics may have similar reactions from our siblings or parents.

September 30th, 2008, 01:18 PM
WOW what a letter. I can relate to this letter how ever my sister has showed NO understanding with my issues and drinking and she has a degree in PSY... coming from a family where I was molested by my adoptive father for years ( this is her bio father not mine ) It seems I only talked about these issues when drinking and all I ever heard from my family is be quiet you are just looking for attention... No body did anything about it.. Today I have a year sober and it has not been easy for me at all, I have cut all ties with family.... I HAVE TOO....to much pain and anger will only drive me back to the bottle and I do not want to do that, I have worked so hard to stay sober.... Thanks MWO and for all the people who post I know that I am not alone and that there is hope and healing if we truly want it

Waiting for his way out
September 30th, 2008, 04:04 PM
Yabasta, it has taken my husband over 12 years to come to the conclusion he has a problem. The book and its program has helped a lot. He is now able to go several days AF. He too blamed his problem on everything else but himself.
You are a great support just by letting her know how you feel. You should give your parents the "Co-dependent no more" book (found in most book stores) it will give them great insight on what they are beint put through and they will be able to understand how to react to your sister. Good luck.

September 30th, 2008, 06:27 PM
No, not from NY. ;)

you know, I would completely support my sister cutting off ties with the family if (whether justified or not) we are a source of anger and stress for her. I mean, honestly, who really cares whose fault it it? I would just like to see her happy every once in a while. I would like to see the whole family happier. At this point, even if we couldn't ever talk to her again, if we knew she was sober and safe, I think it would be well worth the sacrifice.

Whatever she needs.

But, as bad as it is, it seems like the proverbial bottom my be a long time coming, yet.

September 30th, 2008, 09:19 PM
Hi Yabasta

I see so many things in the email you posted. First you are really angry at how your sister's problem is affecting your parents' life and your life. I wonder if part of you has some sibling jealousy or competitiveness because she is messing up and getting all the attention. I hope that doesn't offend you, just something that can arise.

After all, you don't see her that much so why are you so angry at her? Or are your parents the ones complaining to you? It's up to them if they want to help her so I think you should stay out of that and just go on living your own life miles away. If they complain to you tell them you don't want to discuss it because you find it too distressing and tell them to invest in that codependency book. If they are being taken advantage of they should do something about it themselves and they are adults.

You can tell the same to your sister, that it's too distressing for you, causes you too much pain to hear about her self-sabotage. But the tone in your messages above in my opinion, would cause a depressed person a lot of pain.

You say you care about her and feel guilty not being there for her but you also say you don't care why she is destroying herself. These are conflicting feelings. Maybe you feel powerless to help and you are a person who likes to fix things. If so, you need to let it go if it makes you this angry. Maybe Alanon would help?

I know the cycle of being depressed, self-medicating with alcohol and then becoming more depressed must seem impossible to understand from the outside, but for the person suffering it makes sense to alleviate the suffering temporarily with alcohol and the link with long-term mental health does not seem to sink in.

A doctor can help explain that to her and maybe some medication could help. She can come here and read up on everything and find a better way to deal with her depression. She should be in therapy too.


Waiting for his way out
October 1st, 2008, 01:04 PM
I completely understand your anger. For us, the non-drinkers, that is all we have to fight back. We scream, cry and yell at the top of our lungs. The angrier we are the bigger the problem becomes. Trust me, if you are able to reduce your anger and realize there is nothing you can do about her drinking until she starts doing something herself, the better it will be for you and for your parents. Read the book with them and formulate a plan together to deal with your sister, because it is clear you love her so much... deep in your heart.

October 3rd, 2008, 12:45 PM
i think its perfectly acceptable to be angry at someone you love when they are destroying themselves and others around them, thats also known as LOVE, being jealous of a drunk !!! i dont think so - we just want a proper relationship with our loved ones that doesnt revolve around alcohol.
getting involved with other peoples drunk loved ones and problems can only compound things -
we love our brothers / sisters / aunts etc we cant dissapear into a bottle - we are frustrated it wont stop

Waiting for his way out
October 3rd, 2008, 12:47 PM

October 3rd, 2008, 07:41 PM
Evielou mentioned I posted something on the 29th. I'm not sure which post it was. I've been doing a lot of research into the physiological effects of alcohol, and how it differs between those who are alcohol dependent and those who aren't.

All people can drink, and drinking causes pleasure. Primarily the pleasure comes from alcohol exciting the serotonin system in our "mood-brain" which is our middle brain. This has the effect of amplifying our current mood. Contrary to common belief, alcohol does not by itself make you feel better. Often a sugary fruity drink and pleasant atmosphere are found to create a good mood to amplify. The term "angry drunk" simply refers to a person who was already in a bad mood, and AL by amplifying it will make the bad mood much worse.

While alcohol amplifies our "mood brain" it also shuts down our forebrain, which is the logical one. That's the part of our brain that handles logic, memory, thinking, morals, education, basically everything you've learned in your life. Luckily this shutdown last only 6-8 hours, but it's enough so that anyone who takes a couple drinks, will not act logically for a while.

So look at what you get: Enhanced mood, logic shut down. That's basically the "purpose" of alcohol.

Some of us, as we age, or the more we drink, obtain a special biology for it. It's not well studied, because we aren't normal. What doctor in the world is going to study abnormal people, particularly some that "choose" to be abnormal. One study I read says that our livers change to metabolize sucrose out of alcohol. It's more efficient than the old acetylehyde metabolization that most people do. Sucrose is blood sugar, and acetelehyde is basically vinegar. So your body turns wine to vinegar, but mine turns wine into sugar, so booze makes you sour and me sweet, get it? This is one reason why alcohol dependent people start getting pudgy, because they are literally eating their drink. In addition, the constant dosing of serotonin (the mood enhancer) and dopamine (which shuts down your smarts) in the brain cause the brain to restructure to expect this doping forever. The good thing is that you become a "smarter drunk" as your forebrain gains systems to cope with being shut down half the time. The bad news is the serotonin system of your "mood brain" gets out of control, not that it ever was in control because remember, your mid-brain is not capable of acting with logic, only with feeling.

When you dose your brain with serotonin, it tends to shut down the natural serotonin production cells, even as the receptors getting bathed in the chemical. Serotonin is extremely important to happiness. There's an entire class of drugs called SSRI's, like Zoloft to handle depression, who's sole purpose is to gently raise serotonin by decreasing the rate at which the body absorbs it after use. (SSRI = Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitor). Please recall that Zoloft is famous for causing suicidal feelings, murder, and amnesia, particularly for those who forget to take their daily pill. If people commit murder just by forgetting to take a gentle pill, what do you think the serotonin systems are like for those of us who've bathed our brains in alcohol-induced serotonin soup for years? For one thing, our natural serotonin production shut down way long ago, because it thought it wasn't needed. It takes days and weeks of abstinence for those cells to wake up and realize there's a job to do.

Daily alcohol use causes a lowering of the serotonin system. Each day, we flood our systems with it, but the next morning, our system fails to recover to the baseline. So each day we start with a lower and lower mood, one that can only be fixed by our drug. After weeks and months of this cycle, we become emotionally fragile, weepy, emotional, frightened, and paranoid. Our Forebrain, ever adaptive, applies some cleverness and becomes co-dependent with the mood brain. It is ever creative in games like "find the money" and "hide the bottle", in it's own attempt to coddle the crying mood-brain and keep it satisfied.

So for those of us who have become dependent on Alcohol, it is as necessary for daily life as water or food. Our bodies "crave" the sucrose in every cell. Our brains, the logical and the moody ones, play out a daily co-dependent drama to get what is necessary to maintain the balance. So our serotonin deprived mood, we live in a biological prison camp. When our "gruel" is not available, and when no amount of begging for the necessary chemical will work, conniving, lying, deception, and deceit all become the "logical" road required to stabilize the system.

Yes, we know that perfectly normal people live perfectly normal lives without it. We would not be on this site if we did not know it or seek being normal. But the detox process affects so much of the physiology, chemistry, and mental stability that it takes a huge effort to be a success. For instance, my first 7 days AF I lost 7 lbs. A pound a day! Do you know any diet where you can lose weight that fast? What probably happened was my liver, unable to metabolize alcohol as it had for the prior 22 years, attacked my fat instead and ate it up. I like it! Even if I totally stopped eating, I would not lose weight that fast. For me, the metabolic changes from abstinence exceed those from starvation.

Imagine a "flu" where you lose 7 lbs in 7 days, spend your time sweating and trying to sleep, and feeling clinically depressed to the point of suicide. That's a bit what going Alcohol Free feels like. Everyone who goes through this has got to be a superhero. It takes such an incredible act of will to undergo the suffering and making the change.

I know it well, since I've done it three times in the last six weeks. I've made 7 days three times, and slipped every time. I'm going to do it again starting tomorrow. This is one roller coaster ride that will never be at Six Flags! I would rather bungie jump off the world's highest tower, in a pink spandex spiderman suit with big huge letters "I'm Stupid" than ever endure Day 2 again. And according to some on this site I'll probably go through Day 2 a dozen more times before I get success.

I hope this is what Evie was talking about. It's not a solution to your problem with your sister. It's simply an explanation that there IS a biological basis to alcohol dependence, and that those of us here on this site are working together to find the inner strength we need to end it. I'm hoping your sister can soon also find the strength, and that you will find positive ways to affirm it.

I hear my older brother has a bigger drinking problem than I ever did. However, he and I have not spoken in 12 years, and my Christmas gifts to his family are ignored. I've actually never understood why he cut communication to me while maintaining it with my three other siblings. I think in his haze he's simply trying to hide in a cave. Since I grew up the same as him, in the same years, same schools, same friends, I can recognize his lies and distortions better than anyone in the world. He doesn't speak to me, because I can call him out in every one of his little deceptions and tricks. In a way I wish he would write a post and at least get some dialog going. Probably not going to happen. You are doing well to reach out to your sister. Good luck.

October 4th, 2008, 09:57 AM

I'm here at MWO because of my drinking issues, but I could have written your letter to a few of my relatives for exactly the same reasons! I'm glad that RJ included a place in the design of this website for family members of alcoholics to share there feelings. Those feelings need validation too. Hopefully, your sister will find the strength to want to change her life because it does have to come from within her. I think your a wonderful sister (despite being angry--rightfully so) for caring about her and wanting her to have a better life. Good luck.

October 4th, 2008, 12:40 PM
Wow Bossman, your post made me ponder a lot and made me want to take up this fight again.

October 4th, 2008, 10:21 PM
Lukalee, here's something I read.

When you stop drinking your sucrose and serotonin systems ares going to crash. You can't help that. It's going to make you low energy (sucrose) and depressed (serotonin).

The easy one is sucrose, your blood sugar. You can't successfully eat sucrose, because your digestive system would just break it down. What you need to do is convince your body that you are eating well, so it releases stored sucrose already in your body. Be sure to eat a good breakfast (yes, your mom was right) and also a snack between every meal. Eat fruits, nuts, grains. Avoid meats and fats like cheese except for main meals. Three meals and three snacks, and go the high fiber wheat bread, nutrition route, and your body should respond by releasing stored sucrose and keeping your energy up.

The hard one is serotonin. Without it, you will feel depressed. Most of us have natural serotonin production shut down for years, because we've been artificially flooding that system. Why should a cell produce a chemical that is found in abundance? I tried 5-htp pills, a serotonin precursor without success. Complex carbs, "oatmeal cookies" can build serotonin. But more immediately it can be built by "winning" even if it's little small wins. Knitting builds serotonin, and all other simple repetitive tasks. Building a picture puzzle. Gambling builds it big, but only if you win, so I wouldn't recommend that route. Crosswords or Sudoku if you find those easy and can "win". Give yourself a prize for every hour alcohol free. Give yourself a big prize for every day alcohol free. Celebrate every tiny benchmark. Smell Roses, celebrate the beauty of a raindrop. All of this can help build serotonin, which will raise your mood.

For sleep, definitely take Melatonin 3mg 20 mins before bed, and if you wake at 2am, another 3mg. I was reading today that the effectual dose is actually 0.3mg, and that OTC pills have 10 times the necessary dose. I spent part of my day splitting my pills, if only to save some bucks. Melatonin is normally made by a little gland in your brain, the Pineal gland, and is a required part of the natural sleep process. (Not the drunken induced coma sleep, but the real sleep) Here's the rub; Melatonin is made from Serotonin, so when your body is low in Serotonin, your Pineal gland can't make Melatonin, which is why going AF means you can't sleep. Unlike Serotonin (5-htp), Melatonin pills can be ingested and actually work quite well. So while you can't take a Sucrose pill, or a Serotonin pill, you CAN take Melatonin pill and it will help you go nighty night in 20 mins flat, no kidding.

I hope this info helps.

October 5th, 2008, 04:10 AM
Wow, bossman.. your posts have really made me think.
I was struggling yesterday because saturday's are a trigger day for me so kept myself busy ALL day until I was exhausted.
Im definitely going to change my eating habits now, to try and raise energy levels.
Im already on an anti-depressant, so hopefully that will now work with the decreased serotonin levels now that Im not drinking.
Thanks for your info - you're a marvel at research :)

And to Yabasta,
I think all family members feel a mixture of love, frustration, anger and resentment when they see their loved ones going on a downward spiral.
Ultimately, it has to come from US whether we make the change, but knowing that we have the support of our families helps us so much more. The constant lectures I have from my mother makes me feel worthless and makes me want to drink, but the support I get from my fiance makes me want to keep on trying.. I may slip again, but positive vibes from those around me help me scrape myself off the floor and try, try again. If I had NO positive vibes and support from anyone then I really think I would stay huddled up in a heap on the floor thinking that they would all be better off without me since Im causing so much unhappiness.

Its hard, and exhausting to give so much support and not feel like its getting anywhere at the moment... but she needs you.. and you need your sister back.


October 5th, 2008, 06:49 AM
hi yab,very interesting letter,beleive it or not i think she loves you,i think your hole family loves you,but i have to disagree,with there not to blame,it is a proven fact,alchoholism is passed down thro the genes of ones parents,i happen to lern this in a hospital or health center i had a so called holiday in this past winter,30 days,of lernin, why, we are the way we are,what im trying to say tht is where your alchoholism can bring you to one day,mine did,in the od days they called it assylums,sanitariums or mental hospitals,now as i said earlier its a HEALTH FACILITY,as you said your sister may read this,its not ones spot to pass judgement on someone else,when there maybe in the same boat,knowledge and the truth about alchoholism,is the only way to understand and defeat it,or keep it from ruiningour lives,my dear i do wish you well,you and it sounds like your famly have a long and interesting journey ahead of you.but not just you,all of you have to want to take the journey ,i do wish you well gyco

October 5th, 2008, 05:15 PM
A lot of interesting thoughts here. It appears that my sister has outed herself somewhere else on the board, or so she says.

I posted on the "family members affected by drinking" part of the board for a reason. I'm not looking to confront her or anything, and I really really really appreciate everybody's responses. Since I know that she is reading this thread now, I am faced with two choices...to stop posting, or just keep posting and tell her to assume the risk when she decides to wander into the family board.

So, since the LAST thing I want is to make things worse when I am only looking for how I can cope and be there for her, the advice I seek now, from anybody, is whether I should just say thank you and sign off?

October 6th, 2008, 12:57 AM
Hi Yabasta,

I haven't seen the mail you posted but I can relate to the heartache, anger and confusion you must be feeling.

I joined MWO because I have a drinking problem and the program has helped me enormously... I now have 2 months AF under my belt as well as sucessfully modding for 3 months. My brother who lives on the other side of the world from me for the last 6 years has recently admitted he has a AL and drug problem which we have know/suspected for a while now but felt helpless to do anything about as he is so far away. I too wrote him a long e-mail telling him about my drinking problem and how I am beating the AL beast but I haven't had a response from him.

I'm sorry I don't have the answers but I wanted to let you know that what ever decision you do make you must also take yourself into account.... I have learnt the hard way that I can't do it for my brother, he has to do it for himself!!

October 6th, 2008, 03:43 AM
yabasta;432453 wrote: A lot of interesting thoughts here. It appears that my sister has outed herself somewhere else on the board, or so she says.

I posted on the "family members affected by drinking" part of the board for a reason. I'm not looking to confront her or anything, and I really really really appreciate everybody's responses. Since I know that she is reading this thread now, I am faced with two choices...to stop posting, or just keep posting and tell her to assume the risk when she decides to wander into the family board.

So, since the LAST thing I want is to make things worse when I am only looking for how I can cope and be there for her, the advice I seek now, from anybody, is whether I should just say thank you and sign off?
Hi YaBasta,

I guess it is up to you if you feel you are going to get help and possibly be able to improve things by continuing to post here?

If you feel that posting here will benefit you, I would continue- if you don't I would not continue, because your sister has been posting here for almost a few months now, and is quite an active member of the community so she, like me, obviously does feel she is getting something from being here, or she would not keep coming back.

It would be a shame for her if she felt intimidated or unable to share fully with you being here and unable to take whatever good she is getting by coming here, if you yourself were not getting anything out of it.
However if you feel you can get something from this site, you should also take advantage of that, I feel.

Can you not discuss it with each other? You do sound quite close.

October 6th, 2008, 04:08 AM
I would also like to share something on this thread- it is in no way directed at anyone- but I just feel it is a good place to post it.

When I was 20, my Spanish BF and I were out of work (Its a seasonal town) and I really wanted him to visit the UK and get to know all my family. (I had left home at 16, and only ever been back to stay for a week's holiday since).

My mum seemed quite happy that we would be there, and made us a room up in her 3 bedroomed house- my 18 year brother and his GF were there and also my 16 year old male cousin. My mum did not sleep there as for years she had stayed nights with her S.O who lived about 5 mins down the road.

My BF and I quickly found jobs and were out nearly all day either working or in the pub at the end of the road where I re-aquainted with some old friends from years before.

We woould arrive home soon after the pub shut and make some food before going to bed. My brother however took exception to this- he did not work (and incidentally never has since) but my mum did not mind him sponging of her- although my sister and I had been told since our early teens we were to provide for ourselves- which we did. (My parents were divorced when I was 7).

One night my brother and I had a huge argument where he threw in my face that I was an alcoholic, dirty drunk etc.
I remember crying my eyes out all that night- partly because we had rowed, partly out of embarrasment- I had told my BF how wonderful my family were, we had barely been there for a fortnight and that happened- and partly because of what he said. At that time I do not believe that was a fair statement- I was a daily drinker, but not a daily drunk, more of a party girl really. I also worked very hard, and basically had never asked anything of my family since I was 15, and felt it was very unfair.

When my mum arrived home in the morning he grabbed her and told her whatever and she told me and my BF to leave.

It was the middle of Winter, and if I am right one of the coldest winters ever in the UK- temperatures reached up to minus 20! We had no money to get a place and ended up sleeping on a friend's floor until we could save the money to get back to Spain.

My brother and i eventually made it up- with living so far apart we never had to communicate or socialise much anyway.

My brother was always very health conscious. he was vegan from an early age- and if he drank- a very big IF- it would be half a beer which he would sip slowly and grimace at while he tried to finish it.

However fast forward 20 years to 3 years ago....

I am still in Spain and by now a fully blown alcoholic. I don't know how much my family know of this- my mum knows a bit but the rest I don't know.

My brother is nearly 40, never worked and lives in a cabin he built in my Dad's garden. Dad is diagnosed with throat cancer, and a big part of his care is placed on my brother's shoulders. My brother began drinking. by the time I got back back, his drinking had escalated to at least a bottle of wine a night- sometimes 2. he would lock himself in the cabin and get drunk.

I would go down the supermarket before I left the house every night to go back to my hotel, and buy him a bottle because I knew he was short of money.

My dad died soon after, and my brother now lives with my mum again. He inherited some money of my dad, and now pays my mum some rent for his keep. He is still drinking daily, he cannot stop, although I do not know how much. Sometimes he sends me emails written at night, and they are pretty incoherent.

By this post I am just trying to say we never know what life has in store.

I would never ever had thought my brother would become a drinker- not in a million years.

A Work in Progress
October 6th, 2008, 06:50 AM
Oh, Marbella, that is an amazing, touching, and sad story. But in the end, you are emerging from the awful place, and we can hope that your brother might, too.

Yabasta, I agree with what Marbs said in her earlier post. Stay if you think this is helping you. If your sister wants you to stop posting here, she can easily tell you that by way of a PM, and if she does, I think you should respect that. Ideally, both of you can stay, and end up understanding each other's perspectives much better.


October 6th, 2008, 08:12 AM
thanks again for your replies. Our relationship is complicated. We didn't get along at all until I was out of high school. Through college, though, we were best friends. I moved out to LA for law school around the time things started getting really bad with her marriage and she stopped calling me. I think she felt like I was too busy for her.

Law school sucked the big one and it was hard for me to keep up with any of my previous relationships. I sort of just drifted in and out of the family for the next 3 years.

So, basically she doesn't really talk to me about anything of substance when she's sober. I was here for 4 days and we spent the majority of our time together and never said anything real to each other. It wasn't until she was drunk Saturday night that suddenly she wanted sister bonding time. But again, although after drinking she's not afraid to say what she feels to me, it isn't like I can be open with her because she get super irrational when she's been drinking.

So, I feel this huge combination of guilty, resentment, sadness and despair about our relationship, but we can't talk to each other. She won't call me or answer my calls or emails or posts on myspace/facebook, and I am terrified every time I dial her number that she will pick up, but she'll be drunk and the conversation will suck. To make things even worse, I feel guilty about everything positive that happens in my life because she's in so much pain right now, and everything seems to be going wrong.

Anyway, I wrote her an email that hopefully she will read. And hopefully today will be a new day for her. What has been immensely helpful is reading the posts in the general forum and reading her posts. She's honest with you all in a way she's never been with me or anybody else for that matter. It gives me hope that she really does want this and it isn't an act. It gives me hope that she will beat it.

Thank you all so much.

October 6th, 2008, 11:24 AM
Hi again YaBasta-

I do hope you continue to post here, with your sister's 'consent'- that is a bad word, can't think of the right one- what I mean is I hope it isn't disagreeable for your sister in anyway.

Like your sister, I am able to open my heart to people I dont actually 'know' far better than to those close to me- I could never be so open with my family- I suppose fear of rebuke and criticism holds me back. Whether that fear is rational or not, it is there!

I also feel for you when you say she is only wanting to bond after a drink- that is me down to a tee. It is not that I don't want to bond with other people sober- I just find it very difficult- kind of like I am an alien being- I begin to feel abit human when I drink, and feel maybe I can get on with my fellow beings- sad I know- it is just how it is.

Your relationship with your sister sounds very similar to my relationship with mine- other than the tables are turned- I am the alcoholic, she is not.

We also were very very close for a few years, but somehow we 'lost it'- it is something that saddens me greatly- like you two we became physically remote, but I don't think that was really the reason- basically both of us were just shit at communicating to each other honestly, and blamed each other instead of supporting each other on our very different life paths, if the truth be known.

I do hope you and your sister can begin to communicate again- it will take a lot of honesty and effort on both sides I believe. I hope you can do it, I really do.

I see no reason you cannot both use this board- I mean you don't have to have out and out slanging matches, and even if you do, well you are sisters:) it's allowed.

I think it could be very helpful to lots of us to see each other's perspectives.

Hope you don't go YaBasta!

October 6th, 2008, 01:22 PM
I have to be honest about this.

I think she was very hurt by your post. I guess what you have to ask yourself is whether you can be constructive in your criticisms or whether you will say something that will just kick her when she is down. I don't think your original post was constructive at all. There must be a kinder way of saying the things you said. You seem to have softened in your later posts. It sounds like she could be more considerate and that getting a job would be good for her and your parents.

I think that if you are in a stronger position than her with your life going well, you should not feel guilty, but remember not to become complacent. You never know when you will be in a vulnerable position.

Sometimes siblings can be very different but as they grow older they appreciate those differences rather than attacking each other for them. Be glad that you have lived your own life, done well and are engaged and hope that your sister will get back on the right path. Don't feel guilty for focusing on your career. She has responsibility for her own life, though you can be supportive of course.

One thing I will add about family members. Some people really don't respond to being judged for their drinking problem. Maybe other people do respond to a tough love approach. You can see a wide range of opinion on that from people who post here. If you want to help, try concrete approaches, suggest support groups, maybe research on detox. Otherwise, let her sort it out and maybe your parents are going to let go a bit too. I think they are trying to help her but they can't be there forever to look over her shoulder and make sure she is not drinking.

October 7th, 2008, 07:20 AM
I agree Nancy, if I feel if anyone is judging me- it will send me scuttling as far away as possible with a bottle in my hand.

I hope I don't judge them for their wrong-doings, which are plentiful, now I think about it :) and I don't appreciate anyone judging me.

October 8th, 2008, 06:55 PM

Hello everyone. I am new to this site. And I am Yabasta's sister (yup, there's another one). Yab told me about the letter she posted here and that our sister found out about it. Although I don't know the content of the letter, I feel I have a pretty good idea of what it might have contained. So I logged on, interested to see what the response to Yab's post. And I must say, thank you to everyone for being so honest and gentle in your responses. I trust you have been equally kind with our sister...thank you for that too.

I share Yab's feelings of extreme love and compassion juxtaposed with anger and resentment. I love her terribly and (having experienced four years of depression myself) have great empathy and compassion for the depths of her pain and struggle to retain any semblance of hope for recovery. Yet, I too am angry at how she treats our parents. And, more selfishly, I resent not being able to go to my oldest sister with my fears, joys, triumphs and failures. If I'm sad, I fear I will only feed into her sadness. If I am happy, I fear I will only depress her with my happiness. I've spent most of my life walking on eggshells, anxiously awaiting when a wrong move or wrong word would set her off her temper or tears.

Anway, I do have a question, which is why I set up an account (can't post with out it). A lot of you have given the advice of trying to curb the judgements against our troubled sister and to just be as supportive as possible. Can you be more specific about what is and isn't supportive? Up until a few months ago, no matter how angry or frustrated our sister was with our parents or how distant she felt from Yab, she would still talk to me. I'm not sure what changed, I've always tried to be as honest as possible with her and at the same time optimistic about any type of recovery program she wanted to try, but she has pretty much stopped talking to me too (I did talk to her a couples times a week or so ago while she was staying with my parents for a short while). So, my question is...what is supportive? What does that mean? Because what I find supportive she may find irritating, demeaning, or overbearing.

Appreciate your points of view.
3rd sister

A Work in Progress
October 8th, 2008, 07:53 PM
That's a great question, Third. It's easy to be supportive to people who are succeeding, of course. But how to be supportive to those you love, when they are struggling, and not apparently succeeding much at all? You will get different answers from different people here about how best to do that; opinions vary considerably. The range, I think, extends from what is sometimes called a "tough love" approach (challenging people to get moving, to succeed), to one in which there is very little in the way of challenge, but a lot of sympathy and "hugs."

I think that most of us advocate and use the approach that we think would be most helpful, if we were the one getting the "support"; I know that when I am not doing well, I benefit a lot from being challenged (if it is done with some compassion), and not so much from being unconditionally hugged. Of course it is best to try to discern what the person you are dealing with (in this case your sister) would most benefit from, and that is often hard to figure out.

Welcome, and best wishes.


October 8th, 2008, 08:29 PM
Hi Third Sister,

I can see why you are mad about what she is doing to your parents. But I still think it is up to them to do something about that. Hopefully she will move out and it will ease the family arguments.

Work in Progress said it very well. Some people respond to someone giving them tough love and telling them to get their sh** together. For others it would be a slam.

For me, there's a big difference between seomeone telling you in a kind, concerned way "You have a problem and need to do something about it." and someone screaming at you that you are f***ed up.

In terms of being supportive, just like with any illness, you could suggest books or support groups, treatments you might read about, ideas about things she can do for her back problem (she has one doesn't she?), tips on jobs. You can also emphasize, saying she doesn't seem happy, you have been depressed before and came through it.

Bring up what she could be if she had this under control. I imagine she has talents she is not using, a life she really isn't living. Drinking is such a phenomenal waste of time. Or being supportive could simply mean not being harsh and judgemental.

It's probably painful that she doesn't contact you now but I really hope you don't take this personally. It could be about the family dynamics or just that she is going through something herself. She might be really self-absorbed.

Even though I suggest ideas for being supportive, I think it's really up to her to do something about this. Sometimes professionals are in a better position to help because they can look at the problem from a distance.

I hope you all get your relationships back.


Waiting for his way out
October 9th, 2008, 10:29 AM
Third Sister, I mentioned this before in an earlier post. Please buy the book "co-dependent no more" it is not expensive and it will answer a lot of your questions about support and behavior from those who are dealing with an alcoholic in the family. Everyone should read the book and formulate a plan, together, how to support your wonderful AL sister who needs you.
Understand and following the rules of co-dependency is not easy, it takes work, but it is worth it. Let me know if you need help.

October 9th, 2008, 12:18 PM
Hi Third Sister

I can only talk of personal experience and my own character when I say what I would find supportive.

I would like a friend or family member to tell me they know I am in a bad place and if there is anything they can do, or if I would like a chat in confidence, that they will be there for me- and basically that is all.

I doubt I would take anyone up on their offer, but it would be nice to know I wasn't being judged.

If they tried to force me to talk, or lecture me I would run a bloody mile! (And to the nearest bar, I might add).

October 9th, 2008, 08:40 PM
Fuck off

October 10th, 2008, 02:35 PM
wow, sorry about that... I'm not typically a mean drunk. Suppose I'm just mad at my sister...

Waiting for his way out
October 10th, 2008, 02:37 PM
we know. I know.. my husband has said horrific things to me while drunk. I always thought they were true until I came here and found out from others, he did not mean it. AND, he did not even remember saying them.
so, move on and take care

October 10th, 2008, 02:43 PM