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How to deal with my alcoholic brother

Community Member

Hello everyone, I am new here, so thanks in advance for taking the time to read this. I have joined this site because I am seriously concerned for my brother. My brother is an alcoholic, although he doesn't think he has a problem. These last couple of years he has gone through some horrible situations. He's broken up with his long term partner ,he was seeing someone else but he found out that the baby she was carrying was not his, he lost a lot of money because he gave it to her, his car's been repossessed, he's on the verge of losing his job, he has acted out recently while drunk at our nephew's 18th birthday,lost weight and is isolated from most of the family. There has been ongoing arguments with our sisters for a while, but that came to a head recently.Now, a lot of what he has gone through has been self inflicted, but the arguments with our sisters aren't actually his fault (long story). The reason I mention this is because the rest of the family believe he is wrong about this, due to the lies being told and that is because of the way he has chosen to deal with the situation. He uses alcohol to deal with everything and when he drinks too much he brings up whatever he has been stewing on. I have tried so hard to get through to him, telling him that he doesn't have to act badly or let others influence his behavior. I have tried getting him to see that if he continues to drink so much, he may lose access to his daughter (they both adore each other, but her mother doesn't want her around him too much). He doesn't have a steady place to stay. My husband and I offered him a room but said that we don't want excessive drinking around our two girls. He declined our offer. I don't want to offer him money as I know it won't go on food, rather alcohol, but he has said that he has slept on the street before. No one else wants to contact him. They have the view that "you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped" or they have said "he made his bed, he can lie in it". I am worried that one day I will get a phone call saying he has either gotten himself into serious trouble or he has done something to himself. I don't know what to do to help him. He won't answer my calls, although he's sent a text to say he's okay. I seem to be the only person he doesn't have a problem with at the moment and the only person who hasn't written him off,which is why I feel like a lot is on my shoulders. I really need some advice. Thank you and so sorry for the long post.

5 Replies 5

Community Member

Hello Pebbles and welcome to the BB Forums.

Your brother is very lucky he has you to in his corner. It is never easy supporting a family member or friend who is an alcoholic. Just like any mental health condition it is very isolating and can tear families apart. My husband is an alcoholic, so I know what its like living with them and trying to support them. We feel powerless and frustrated when we recognise that a loved one needs help, but they refuse to acknowledge they have a problem, and have no desire to do anything about it.

You have already offered advice and support to your brother, which has apparently been refused. Try not to force the issue or to put any pressure on him to accept your support. Try not to avoid him as he will only isolate himself more. You need him to feel comfortable about going to you for support when he is ready to seek help. Its true that you cannot help somone who doesnt wish to be helped. Meaning it is up to him to go to you. Just make sure he knows you are there for him when he needs you, and be available to listen to him when he wants to talk. Reinforce that he could lose contact with his daughter unless he seeks help.

Having said all that, you also need to look after yourself. Its a good idea to work out in your own mind just what you are willing, and not willing, to do – and be consistent with that. For example you very kindly offered him a room in your own home but set rules about drinking around your girls. Dont deviate from that. You were right not to lend him money, as all it would do would be to 'enable' his drinking. Sometimes they need to reach rock bottom, before crawling back up again. Thats harsh I know, but also true.

You could consider offering to go with him to counselling or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. As he refuses to accept that he has a problem this will be difficult, but you could say that you want to know more about alcohol and how it affects families. Make him feel that its about what you need, and he may be more willing to go with you.

If you are seriously concerned for his welfare, consider calling Lifeline on 13 11 14. He wont thank you for it, but its better than the possible alternative.

I'm sorry I'm unable to offer you more Pebbles. Its a really difficult thing to deal with as there is so little you can do. Continue to be there for him as you're able, and within the limitations you set yourself. He will come to you when he is ready. Take care of yourself.


Community Member

Hello dear Pebbles.

Firstly, let me offer my deepest compassion to you and your family. You are going through an extremely difficult time.

Your brother is in denial, but you can get support through Alcoholics Anonymous which offers support to family. There you can discuss with them how to tackle the issue.

I agree with Taurus. Please look after yourself and your family. Follow through with Alonon. I think that's the name of the organisation for family of alcoholics.

kind regards


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Pebbles, it's great that Taurus has replied to you as she is in the same situation, and her comments have been really terrific.
I was the one in my family wife (ex) and 2 sons so I was the alcoholic, but now only drink socially for several reasons, but the issue is with you trying to help your brother, which is never going to be easy to overcome an addiction, because to anybody that's their solution to all their problems, unfortunately, it only covers the problems and nothing can be resolved.
You can't really blame him for lying, I know it causes a problem, but it's done because if he told the truth then they still wouldn't believe him, because all they see is a person who is always intoxicated, where he may, in fact, try and con money out of anybody just to buy the grog, I'm not saying that this happens, but that's how they see him as.
At the moment there isn't any incentive for him to get better, and I'm sorry that he doesn't appreciate the effort you have put into trying to help him, I have to compliment you, but there will be times when all you are doing is talking to a brick wall.
I have to go now but hope you can still reply back to Taurus, myself and any other people who do join in. Geoff.

Community Member

I know this is an old post.....but I had to respond.  I remember not being able to access my account for a while, so my sincere apologies for the rudeness!

I appreciated all the advice given to me when I posted this.

Just for an update in case you are all still around....unfortunately my bro still doesn't have a relationship with our sisters,  but he has managed to mend a couple of bridges with other family members. 

He still likes to drink but he has improved his situation greatly since I last posted this.

Thanks again guys.

Hello Pebbles, thanks for the update and if you can, please keep in touch with us.


Life Member.