Observations from an Alcoholic’s Sister ~ Emotions

Apr 16, 2014

Richard and Me

There are so many dif­fer­ent emo­tions fam­i­ly mem­bers of alco­holics feel. One emo­tion I def­i­nite­ly felt was anger. I was angry because of what I saw Richard’s alco­holism doing to him and to our fam­i­ly, espe­cial­ly mom. I felt as though Richard was being self­ish and unap­pre­cia­tive of all that mom and dad were doing in hopes of him get­ting sober and it made me furi­ous.

I under­stand alco­holism is a brain dis­ease but like any dis­ease most do what they can to con­trol or get rid of their dis­ease, most don’t let the dis­ease con­trol them or end their life with­out some sort of fight. Alco­holism is a beast to con­trol and I saw first­hand how strong the crav­ings were but I still felt Richard could have tried a lit­tle hard­er to gain the strength to over­come his crav­ing for alco­hol, not just by going to sev­er­al 30 day rehab facil­i­ties but through exten­sive ther­a­py, pos­si­bly med­ica­tion and cer­tain­ly mak­ing a new group of friends. It was hard but I had to accept that Richard was not me and what I would have done and what he was doing are things I had no con­trol over no mat­ter how bad­ly I wished I had. Alco­holism is the alcoholic’s dis­ease yet sad­ly their dis­ease is one that affects every sin­gle mem­ber of their fam­i­ly.

I know mom was angry because no mat­ter what she did or how much she asked there was not one thing she could do to get Richard sober. It was all up to him and believe me if there was any­thing mom could have done, she would have if it aid­ed in his sobri­ety.

I remem­ber dur­ing one of my vis­its mom and I were sit­ting out­side on the patio and she told me, “you know when Richard was lit­tle I could put a band aid on any scrape or cut and that would fix it, but with alco­holism I can’t do a thing”. Hon­est­ly, I think a lit­tle part of my heart died the day she said those words. I could feel her pain as well as see it on her face. We just sat there con­tin­u­ing to talk, while inside sat her only son and my only broth­er drunk, heav­i­ly into alco­holism and there was not a sin­gle thing either of us could do but feel help­less, pained and sad.

Besides feel­ing anger, pain, help­less­ness and sad­ness I often expe­ri­enced feel­ings of guilt and regret. Many times I wished I could have gone back and tak­en the one drink from Richard’s hands that start­ed his fatal jour­ney with alco­holism. I wished I had been more aware of the issue as it was start­ing and felt guilt and regret that I had­n’t noticed until it was too late. In some odd way I felt respon­si­ble as his old­er sis­ter because I did­n’t notice. After all, when we were younger if I saw Richard doing things I knew he should­n’t I would tell him to stop or make him think about the con­se­quences of his “not so bright idea” and this usu­al­ly made him stop. If it did­n’t, the bossi­ness that came next made him wish he had.

If it were up to the alco­holic’s fam­i­ly, all alco­holics would be sober but unfor­tu­nate­ly this is not the case. Sobri­ety is 100% up to the alco­holic, not their par­ents, sib­lings or friends.

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