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Old 12-11-2012, 01:43 PM   #1
'busa
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Alcohol/drug abuse question. Serious.

A friend got attacked last night by her older sister with whom she lives. Had she not locked herself in her room, who knows what would have happened. Even so, she managed to inflict enough damage that the cops arrested her sister for domestic battery. Alcohol seems to be behind it all. The older sister is a good person and I consider her a friend. We've all known each other for a long time and when she was younger she was into partying and drinking and drugs and such. It always appeared to us that she was on another level than the rest of us, but we probably ignored some obvious signs of a major problem developing. Basically, she's turned into a somewhat functioning alcoholic. She's managed to keep a pretty good job in the medical field, but other than that, she's completely out of control of her life. Last night was the first time she ever got arrested for anything. I don't know whether it will have any effect, but I doubt it.

My friend has the option to press charges, but it's unclear what, if any, positive effects that might have. There's a chance her sister would lose her job, but considering that the path she's headed down might cause her to lose a lot more than that, her job might be the least of her problems. If she did press charges, at least there might be a mandate to enroll in treatment and follow up with counselors or something. I don't know if we can get her to seek treatment otherwise. Other than her job and drinking, she doesn't seem much else in her life that she appears to care about.

Are there ways to get professionals involved? I'm afraid of backlash should we confront her too directly. Right now, other than the two parties involved, only two other friends know about this. It's a very embarrassing issue, but I'm afraid it'll go from embarrassing to tragic if nothing is done.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:45 PM   #2
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You really can't help someone until they're ready to help themselves.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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Haven't seen you post in a while. Was crossing my fingers the thread wouldn't be about you.


All I can say is... phew.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:47 PM   #4
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in the long run, the tough route is usually the best one...

sorry to hear this.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:50 PM   #5
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Not pressing charges would be enabling the alcoholic's behavior. Ask the DA if they can include mandatory AA or rehab as a part of sentencing.

Suggest organizing an intervention regardless.

Tell your friend she may want to find a local Al-Anon group to join. It's the AA for those who are close to/live with alcoholics.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:52 PM   #6
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I'd start with an honest - sit down - conversation with her about it, and your concern, if possible.

It will be hard for her to see how deep she is, but big events like this can be turning points. If anything instill in her the fear she should have for inflicting so much damage in her alcoholic rage. What might happen next time, when she has such complete lack of control of herself under the influence?


as said, she has to want help first though, for it to really take.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:52 PM   #7
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You really can't help someone until they're ready to help themselves.
I know that. But we don't appear to have the luxury of time, as she'll end up hurting either herself or someone around her.
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Haven't seen you post in a while. Was crossing my fingers the thread wouldn't be about you.


All I can say is... phew.
I was out of the country for vacation. I had fun, but I actually missed my friends and was eager to come back. Then, this...
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in the long run, the tough route is usually the best one...

sorry to hear this.
Which route is that? Getting the cops involved?
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Not pressing charges would be enabling the alcoholic's behavior. Ask the DA if they can include mandatory AA or rehab as a part of sentencing.

Suggest organizing an intervention regardless.

Tell your friend she may want to find a local Al-Anon group to join. It's the AA for those who are close to/live with alcoholics.
I've heard interventions often backfire and alienate the alcoholic further. The mandatory rehab is the only reason (although a pretty good one) for pressing charges.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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sister hasn't hit rock bottom yet. until she does, better hope the most damage she does is to herself. her sister should press charges and also get a restraining order. she should also immediately start attending Alanon meetings. they will have resources, advice, and professionals.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:57 PM   #9
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I have seen alcohol and drugs destroy the lives of a few people i have grown up with. I have also had the problem myself. Even now i know someone close who has this problem. I can say this 100%. They cannot be helped until they agree that they have a problem and are ready to fight it. But i could never take the risk of pressing charges against a friend. It would maybe help. But it could also be disasterous.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:57 PM   #10
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If you're hosting an intervention, you have to be prepared for that outcome. But remember that if it does, you're not losing a friend. An alcoholic doesn't have friends, they have enablers. When it comes down to it, an addict is concerned with one thing: feeding their addiction. Not friends, not family, just their addiction.

An intervention needs to spell out a couple basic things: we love you, we don't want to lose you, we can't be around you if you're not sober, and let us help you.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:59 PM   #11
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I'm afraid so... press charges.

the younger sister may fear a broken relationship, but then the older sister... strung out or not, should have thought of that before hurting her.

she is the older one after all... she needs a wake up call.

this is it.

also, anyone know if she is even the slightest bit remorseful for what happened?

as you stated "Other than her job and drinking, she doesn't seem much else in her life that she appears to care about."
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:59 PM   #12
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I dealt with this on an extremely personal level. It did not get to the extent you have made mention of, physical violence and authorities involved, however it did get to a point where actions had to be taken.

With individuals who have a substance abuse problem, it's not an issue of "if" for when it will effect themselves, family/friends, work, other individuals...but instead an issue of "when". Sometimes it takes an outsider, such as law enforcement and what not, to create a change. Although I am not for that being the first step, there are instances where it is inevitable. Have you/family/friends ever had a conversation with this individual? I know it can be an extremely difficult subject to bring up and understand how to try and discuss, but I feel it needs to happen. Sit down with her, talk about what is going on...it was very possibly that she will respond with that there is no problem and try to make it out to not be a big deal. However if she is cognizant of the results of her actions, as she should be now; with the harm she cause to her younger sister it will be difficult for her to deny what is happening.

I would not go the legal route first, it is likely to result in a feeling of attack and alienation against her...that there isn't anyone that is in her corner. Come to her as friends with a want to solve the problem "with" her and get her better. If the results of the charges being pressed cause her to lose her job and what not, who knows where that road may lead. There are options out there and help available. More often than not people just do not take the time to go out and find them, or be there for others who need the help.

I am under the mind set that in America, we are a country of addiction. It may not be alcohol/drugs/whatever, people are addicted to things. The individual in my life has been sober for a year now, and even to this day it is a struggle. Not so much with the substance, but instead the life that was being lived based on it. When you get yourself clean, you realize why you made the choices you did and what things have lead you to doing things that may "mask" other emotions. It can be a difficult thing to live with. And then on top of that, living a "sober" life can be difficult when others around you still partake in these things. In my case I am referring to alcohol as well...and having to be around alcohol while not drinking can be tough for certain people.

Hope that kind of helps...of course not include too many personal details however always want to help in situations such as these because it has greatly impacted my personal life, numerous times and a variety of situations.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:13 PM   #13
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also, anyone know if she is even the slightest bit remorseful for what happened?

as you stated "Other than her job and drinking, she doesn't seem much else in her life that she appears to care about."
I hate to say it, but she seems a bit burnt out now. I can't say for how long, but she doesn't appear the same. I can't tell what's going on in her head. I've been around when she'd have major outbursts directed at her sister over some bills she has to pay or even for no good reason at all. I think that's increased in frequency. Does she feel bad? I don't even know if she realizes she's hurting her sister.
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An intervention needs to spell out a couple basic things: we love you, we don't want to lose you, we can't be around you if you're not sober, and let us help you.
That sounds reasonable enough. The sister doesn't want to tell their parents who live in Europe and are old and frail. She also doesn't want all our friends to know. Only two of us know other than them two.
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Have you/family/friends ever had a conversation with this individual? I know it can be an extremely difficult subject to bring up and understand how to try and discuss, but I feel it needs to happen. Sit down with her, talk about what is going on...it was very possibly that she will respond with that there is no problem and try to make it out to not be a big deal. However if she is cognizant of the results of her actions, as she should be now; with the harm she cause to her younger sister it will be difficult for her to deny what is happening.
My friend has tried to talk to her before at which point her sister would immediately feel attacked and attack back and say "You drink and you've done drugs, too..." It basically went nowhere. The difference now is that the arrest is kind of a big deal and might, hopefully, make a difference in her way of thinking.

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I would not go the legal route first, it is likely to result in a feeling of attack and alienation against her...that there isn't anyone that is in her corner. Come to her as friends with a want to solve the problem "with" her and get her better. If the results of the charges being pressed cause her to lose her job and what not, who knows where that road may lead. There are options out there and help available. More often than not people just do not take the time to go out and find them, or be there for others who need the help.
Their condo is paid off, so are their cars. The only bills they have is electricity and maintenance. Which makes me think that she's spending shitloads on alcohol and maybe drugs. If she lost her job and either went on unemployment or got a lower paying job, she could still cover the basics.

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I am under the mind set that in America, we are a country of addiction. It may not be alcohol/drugs/whatever, people are addicted to things. The individual in my life has been sober for a year now, and even to this day it is a struggle. Not so much with the substance, but instead the life that was being lived based on it. When you get yourself clean, you realize why you made the choices you did and what things have lead you to doing things that may "mask" other emotions. It can be a difficult thing to live with. And then on top of that, living a "sober" life can be difficult when others around you still partake in these things. In my case I am referring to alcohol as well...and having to be around alcohol while not drinking can be tough for certain people.

Hope that kind of helps...of course not include too many personal details however always want to help in situations such as these because it has greatly impacted my personal life, numerous times and a variety of situations.
Thanks. Seriously.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:15 PM   #14
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The more people that can positively participate in an intervention, the more it may hit home for the addict that their behavior is causing serious problems for them and for everybody around them.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:17 PM   #15
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the younger sister is enabling the older one. the younger one is going to also have to give up drinking if she is serious about helping.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:20 PM   #16
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The more people that can positively participate in an intervention, the more it may hit home for the addict that their behavior is causing serious problems for them and for everybody around them.
I thought so, too.
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the younger sister is enabling the older one. the younger one is going to also have to give up drinking if she is serious about helping.
She's willing to do that.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:33 PM   #17
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. If she lost her job and either went on unemployment or got a lower paying job, she could still cover the basics.


.
not to sound callous, but functioning alcoholic / medical field doesn't sound like a good combo anyhow... sounds like another disaster waiting to happen
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:40 PM   #18
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That's a tough call. It seems to be a big gamble if the sister presses charges in hopes that it might steer the older one in the right direction. That would force the decision as opposed to her friends/family being able to confront her and in essence have more control over the situation. I could be wrong, though....


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Haven't seen you post in a while. Was crossing my fingers the thread wouldn't be about you.


All I can say is... phew.
+1
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:42 PM   #19
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not to sound callous, but functioning alcoholic / medical field doesn't sound like a good combo anyhow... sounds like another disaster waiting to happen
childhood dentist was one. blew his brains out.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:46 PM   #20
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...Thanks. Seriously.
Of course. This is an extremely difficult thing to deal with and every situation is different so it is hard to give advice. Nothing against the options that everyone has recommended but you will have to work through this with your friends and surrounding family to come up with a plan of actions that works best for this situation. Be aware that the plan might fail...multiple times...and be ready to not give up. Because as hard as it may seem to you, I can guarantee it is an multiplied by a factor unknown to you by the person that is going through it -- even if they don't show it.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk about certain aspects or anything else with this...trust me when I say I know feelings that you are going through.
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