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An Ear To Listen With And A Shoulder To Cry On

I would love to help anyone dealing with issues larger than themselves. I have experience in drug counseling and am working on my B.A. for psychology. Clearly I would not be giving medical help but I would be happy to provide advice, understanding and share ideas on how to cope.
Ambitieuxetvicieux Ambitieuxetvicieux 31-35, F 3 Responses Jan 12, 2012

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How many meds are too many? When will my liver just give up? Why as opiates not used to treat major depression? Do you believe in ECT? Did you see the movie Pi, remember they ending, could that work? You know the Egyptians drilled holes in peoples heads to cure them of all kinds of brain maladies? Would you assist a patient in committing suicide humanely for untreatable depression if it were legal?

I loved Pi.... loved love loved it!!! I have mixed feelings on ECT i have seen people who received it... very difficult to watch... maybe i was just too young to see it??? Psychosurgery in my opinion is largely outdated, the techniques using electric current to help with various disorders of thought or behavior has greatly improved however without knowing fully why or how it works...i find this distressing.... they dont fully understand the brain though so I guess we can only do what we feel is best in the moment

OK. I have a nephew--call him Clint--28 years old, who is drinking himself to death. He's the nicest young man you'd ever want to meet, when he's sober. He changes when he's drunk--aggressive, reckless, self-destructive. He drinks in binges, sometimes several days, sometimes a month or more. He's been beaten up several times, arrested several times, and lost his driver's license. He does keep a manual job, which he's good at, but it pays relatively little and I know his boss has given him warnings about his drinking.



This has been going on since he was 18 or so. He's been through one treatment program, stayed sober for six months, and has attended AA on and off, but he doesn't like it (he claims to be a Buddhist) and says it does him no good. His father, ironically, has been an AA stalwart for over 20 years.



Here's the crux of the problem: Clint is the youngest of three children. His father and mother divorced bitterly when he was too young to remember. His father paid child support and did not abandon the children, but he didn't see a lot of them either, since he was busy getting rich. The father has lived as an expat in Thailand for at least 15 years now--refuses to come back to the States. In that time he has sent Clint a couple of tickets, but other than that they have no contact.



Neither Clint's father nor his mother was ever much good at showing affection. The kids grew up with their mother (my sister), who was a dutiful but often depressed parent, and who today copes with her own emotional and financial stresses with an almost fanatical devotion to her evangelical church. She's in no position to help Clint.



Clint's older brother Paul has been estranged from everybody in the family for at least 10 years. Like his father, he's successful, but he's full of rage about how he grew up. Paul was really the closest thing Clint had to a father during his childhood. But, several years ago, Clint called Paul up drunk, they had an argument, and Paul told him never to call him again. Clint was massively broken up about that. He remains despondent about it to this day. Their sister, the middle child, is normal, married, has her own small business, but keeps aloof from the rest of the family and its problems.



So, Clint has nobody to turn to but me--and I live 1,500 miles away. I counsel him as best I can, but I have little knowledge of addiction and, frankly, not much patience with it. I advise him to enter a treatment program, but his very minimal insurance won't cover it, and he doesn't want to anyway. I give him pep talks, and tell him he should stay with AA. I don't know what else to do. The underlying problem is that he is terribly isolated. He feels, with reason, like an abandoned child. He feels he has no support but his alcohol. What else can I do? What would you do?

I would suggest you watch the A&E show called intervention. Helping Clint hit bottom is going to take the effort of his loved ones...it think if u could get his brother sister mother father involved in Clints push to recovery it would be very powerful for him. It seems all your sister's children are distant from one another .. what is your insight into that?

The family exploded long ago. I doubt there is any power on earth that could get them all in the same room. I have considered throwing the problem at his father and his brother by telling them they are the only ones who can save him. I have no real relationship with either of them--and therefore nothing to lose personally--but I worry that either or both of them might blame Clint for the contact, no matter what I said. They really don't want to have anything to do with him. It's like handling someone with a spinal injury--you're afraid if you do the wrong thing you'll only make it worse.

Do you think a professional interventionist could get the family together just to try this as a last attempt to help him?

Thank you Vitadisgrazia!

You are our first almost professional psychologist.

The way you phrase it, "the issues larger than themselves" is so spot on.

I had around four to five major depressions in my life, and only this last and most recent time did I finally succeed in pulling myself out of it without professional help...

but all those times I had help in the past made a difference. They taught me some of the skills to help make it possible, for which I'm very grateful.