Two Brothers

One has spent much of his life in school now close to his doctorate in English; the other a narcissistic alcoholic that has abandoned two families and broken my parents hearts. I struggle with what my responsibility is here. My father regularly asks me to fly in so we can go on a wild goose chase trying to track him down after he has checked himself out of rehab .... again. I tried early on to help ... Can't say i did every I could but I did the intervention; I tried to talk to him, tried to fly in to get him into rehab. But that was before he made rehab a full time job. Checking in and out so many times i have lost track. I started questioning it early when visiting him while he was checked into Betty Ford all he wanted to talk about was the celebrities he was hanging out with. I couldn't give a rat's *** that Billy Gibbons was his house mate.... I would have hoped he might have spent more time thinking of his family (hadn't abandoned yet) left back home. I realize alcoholism is a disease .... unfortunately i have seen all too much of it during my life. i like a drink myself... probably more than i should. I'll think there but for the grace of god..... But I am able to control whatever urges I may have been born with. Why the hell can't he. And why must he destroy so many lives in his path.

Why am I writing this story now? I just heard he fell and lost his front teeth. Jesus....It is the first time in a long time I have felt anything but anger toward him.
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4 Responses Feb 8, 2012

I, too, have a brother who is a one-man life-wrecking machine. This may well be the 1st time I've mentioned him on EP. There are times when I literally forget he exists. I only feel a little guilty afterward. Thank you for sharing your story.

As a 'recovered' alcoholic, I can say with good conscience ronap, that you're done.<br />
You've done what you could. An addict (of any kind) will use and abuse pretty much anyone in their path.<br />
I have 'worked' with many alcoholics to help them get sober, and at first was very nervous about it, feeling I'd say the wrong thing and drive them back 'out there'. The best piece of wisdom I gleaned from that is : "When an addict is ready, you can't say anything wrong. But when they're not ready, you can't say anything right."<br />
It's now up to him. Those who continue to hound him, stand to get hurt. You don't have to hate him, but for your own peace of mind, you have to keep him at arms length. You have a responsibility to your family, and chasing him denies them.<br />
<br />
If you try to understand addiction or him, it will drive you crazy. Addiction defies all the rules of logic.<br />
I look at years gone that I threw away, and the people I've hurt, and now that I've had time to reflect on my thinking,, compared to current times, I still wonder: What the hell WAS I thinking?!<br />
There's another side of me that still understands on some level.<br />
<br />
This is a sickness, not a sign of weak character. And insanity is the name of the game. I cite: There was a time, when I drank, I always had some consequence the next day; my car was wrecked, I woke up in jail, my wife was supremely pissed, friends were angry, my car was missing or had been impounded, on & on etc. But during this period of my drinking, I KNEW, on a conscious level, that if I get drunk, there will be some consequence to pay the following day, yet, when it came time to make that decision, to drink or not, it was the easiest decision I made. By the time I knew I was in trouble and had serious problems with alcohol, I was addicted to it. <br />
When an advanced alcoholic tries to stop, he is plunged into the depth of despair and physically risks death from the DT's. There is an immediate consequence for trying to quit and in too many cases, it can't be done by one's self.<br />
Eventually, the alcoholic just drinks for 'oblivion'. There is no more joy or fun in it... you just drink to stay out of the pain.<br />
This is when that time of decision is so critical. Unfortunately, the odds are against us. Only a very small percentage get help, and of that, only a small percentage get any long time sobriety.<br />
It is an insidious disease and destroys even the innocent.<br />
What eventually happens to those who will not stop the pursuit of 'helping' them, is they themselves become sick too. It's called co-dependency. And if anyone thinks this disease won't kill you, allow me to testify that I watched my mother die a slow, agonizing death from it, via my father's addiction.<br />
So give yourself a break my friend. You have done what you can, and now it's all up to him. There may be many, many, many trips to rehab. He may get it, he may not. But on ANY level, you stand blameless. So don't take it on, the guilt is not yours. You may walk away a free man, if you can.<br />
There may come a time when you could be in a position to help, but do so under very restrictive guidelines and do not deny anyone else for his sake, because they did nothing to deserve it. Your only responsibility is whatever is that path in front of you today.

So sorry to read about the troubles with your brother ronan. How very distressing for you and your family. I understand the borderline love/hate thing you feel towards him. You've helped out before because of the love you have for your parents more so than for him I'm guessing. He sounds like a desperate case. Alchoholics love the alcohol more than they love their life and family though, not that I'm any expert. I know that AA has helped many people and that there are folks on here who have come through their addiction with them. Perhaps it would help to talk to someone who is coping after having been through it. Maybe there is a counselling programme which would help you and your parents come to terms and to offer some coping mechanisms? I suppose it's down to your brother to help himself if he comes out of rehab and falls straight off the wagon again and there isn't much anyone else can do if he is flying against whatever help he is being given. It is hard to love someone who seems to behave beyond the boundaries of decency .... but your brother probably doesn't have anyone else to care for him. It's a crappy situation and I wish you all the continued strength to deal with it whatever way you can.

He is a weak man I think, not that I want to excuse his behaviour. <br />
I have two sons, one is successful the other kinda looser but I love both. <br />
You might say, easy, you are their mother but it wasn't/isn't always easy because both have ADHD but our eldest has a strong will and the nestling always searches for the best way to escape. <br />
You love your brother, right? Although he causes a lot of trouble.