The Power of Acceptance: Embracing Change for a Brighter Future
My sister is drinking too much. She tries to hide her drinking, but it is becoming embarrassingly obvious.
If you think your sister is drinking too much and you are concerned about her alcohol or other drug use, you are not alone. Across the world, across cultures, across socio/economic statuses, sexual orientation, age and gender, and across families, alcoholism is a rampant disease. Reading statistics about rates of alcoholism is one thing, maybe an intellectual enterprise, but when your beloved sister passes out one more time at the family gathering, it is a heart wrenching reality.
When I try talk to my sister about her drinking, she gets really pissed off. It is impossible to have a discussion with her about it. She will derail the conversation immediately, and I am left feeling more helpless than before.
The hallmark symptom of alcoholism is denial. Guess what? People that are not alcoholics never try to convince other people that they are not alcoholics. Your sister’s symptoms are classic for the disease of alcoholism. Trying to talk to your sister, off the cuff, about her drinking is just a setup for both of you to feel anger, frustration and isolation. Especially if she has had a few drinks.
Make no mistake about it, if you are wondering about your sister's drinking, your sister probably is drinking too much. And, on some level, your sister probably knows she is drinking too much. If she is like the majority of active alcoholic women, she is filled with shame, guilt and remorse about it too. In the AA literature, they talk about the 4 Hideous Horseman: Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration and Despair. Imagine what this must be like for your beloved sister, living like this, day after day, denying there is a problem. If your sister is drinking too much, she is suffering.
Sure I feel sorry that my sister is suffering from drinking too much, but she can be so mean. When we were little kids we swore we would never treat our own children like our mother treated us, but I see the fear in my niece’s eyes and hear bravado and secrecy in her voice.
Nobody chooses to be an alcoholic. Your sister probably had the best of intentions to be a good mother, but if she is an alcoholic and keeps drinking, it will get worse. There is a way that you can approach your sister about her drinking too much. You may not get the results you want, but you will know you are doing the right thing. Addiction is a very difficult disease to experience. We suggest that you approach your sister in this way, only once. Your sister will hear you, even if she pretends not to.
Even if your sister is drinking too much after your conversation, she will always know she can come to you without judgement.First of all, make sure that you have your sister’s attention, but the conversation will probably be very short.
Make sure she is sober when you talk with her. Trying to talk with her after she's had a few drinks can be disastrous. Wait for the right time, for when she is sober. Conversations that other people have had that were effective, went something like this:
“Sister, I need you to know that I love you very much, and that you are important to me. I will only say this once. I notice you drinking alcohol and feel very sad that I am losing my sister. If you want help for your drinking, I will do whatever is in my power to help you. If you don’t want any help, and that is your choice, I will continue to love you, but I won't stand by and watch you destroy yourself.”
And then don’t bring it up again. Now the thing for you to do is to get yourself to an Al-Anon meeting, and if your niece is old enough, invite her to an Alateen meeting or bring her some Alateen literature.There you can learn the healthiest ways to deal with your sister's active alcoholism. You can make suggestions to the rest of your family, which they may or may not follow, and that is their business.
You can only be responsible for your own behaviour, not theirs. If your sister is drinking too much, let your family deal with your sister's drinking in their own way. You can't change the rest of the family, but you can role model healthy behavior.
Finding an excellent alcohol & drug rehab facility for alcoholism and drug addiction treatment is a way that you can be prepared to help your sister, if and when she is ready. Government funded, overcrowded drug rehabs or alcohol treatment facilities with waitlists can be very difficult to navigate. Choosing a private pay, holistic, 12 Step program like Serenity Vista can be a very attractive way to begin recovery from alcoholism. If she asks, let your sister know that rehab doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
We know that alcohol treatment is no vacation, but choosing an out of country, international, private pay facility like Serenity Vista in Panama can have some vacation like qualities that can make rehab much more palatable, and effective. Having an open mind and a wilingness to embrace the recovery program are essential ingedients to success.
Going away to a high quality program in a beautiful, get away destination, goes a long way toward making the prospect more attractive and desirable.
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