Moodscope's blog

28

April


Letter to my alcoholic sister. Friday April 28, 2017

You are breaking my heart;

I see you abusing yourself with alcohol and prescription medicines, unable to engage with any of us or with life in any meaningful way. When you are sober, you become paranoid, creating confusion and chaos around you, upsetting us, playing the "Poor me" card, making ridiculous claims and demands, bad-mouthing us...

Where is the charming, witty, talented, generous, caring sister we knew, admired and loved? We see her so very rarely these days...

Yes, my heart is breaking; I try to make contact with you and you reject my attempts.

Meanwhile we continue dealing with the deaths of Mum and beloved auntie,
sorting through their things, getting their properties ready for selling and you...?

You drink yourself into oblivion, holding us all up, trying to play us off against each other; when sober you create problems with the neighbours, and try to undo everything we have achieved.

What gives you the right:

• to "opt out" of the situation?
• to sabotage our attempts to deal with the realities of two properties to clear
and sell, two estates to wind up?
• to act like a spoilt child with your "Poor me" claims?
• and then to claim that you were "there" for Mum and auntie when in reality you
weren't, whilst we were, week after exhausting, distressing week throughout 2016.

When do we get to act the child?

• to sob our hearts out for losing both Mum and auntie within two months?
• to turn our backs on what is happening?
• to stamp our feet and shout "It's not fair" like you are doing?

And the more often you behave badly, the more determined we become to restrict our contact with you.

And that breaks my heart even more; not only have I lost Mum and auntie, now I am losing you as well – to your addictions and to your denial that you have a problem.

No-one is more determined than you; why, oh why can't you harness that determination and tackle your issues? Why do you continue denying the reality of your situation; refusing all help that is offered to you? Discharging yourself time and again from hospital against all professional advice?

I love you.

You are breaking my heart.

For my own sanity I cannot keep on like this – forever hoping that you will change your ways.

This is good-bye...

So, lovely Moodscopers; dare I send this?

Frankie
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Molly Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:10am

Gosh, that was powerful. First of all, I am sorry to hear about your mum and your auntie. Your sister must be in a bad place. She needs support from you, and not judgement. There must be times when people give up trying to support people whether it be their family or friends, but my view is, if your sister is reliant on drink, she is probably very messed up, very sad, but is her only way of coping with life. If her family then judge her, she will feel more sad and drink more. Alcoholics are not bad people. They are just trying to cope with their lives as they are, and I bet her life is pretty bad, i would say, don't restrict contact, she already feels isolated, love her for who she is, she needs you xx

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:16pm

Thanks Molly; yes, she does need us. We drive miles to bail her out and then she refuses our help and we are left wondering why we bothered. In fact I sometimes wonder if we enable her by turning up ... Thank-you for reminding me of her isolation. Frankie

Molly Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 6:37pm

Hi Frankie, I read your reply on Friday and couldn't think what to say, bad couple of days for me. I don't know if you will get this now. I don't know if your sister has been diagnosed with a mental illness, but I would say that an alcoholic is someone mentally ill. I appreciate how hard it can be to deal with. I drink too much, I am not an alcoholic and I do not need people to bail me out, as I do it quietly at home and usually just end up crying my heart out as the dreaded drink brings out all the emotions so I can relate slightly to your sister. If I am in a bad way with regard to my depression, I drink, to try and get rid of it (even though it ultimately makes one worse!) and then my own sister blames the drink, and has no idea of the hell I face each day with the depression and she doesn't want to understand - because it is easy to blame the drink. I do realise that your sister is in a much worse state than me and also it is me who is the one that is there when there is a family crisis, she never is !! Every situation is different I know, but I hope that my input might help a little. Love M xx

Frankie Tue, May 2nd 2017 @ 9:20pm

Hello Molly; now it is my turn to say that I don't know whether you will see this! Thank-you for your input, which means a lot to me ... It is so easy to think that my sister is being manipulative and "acting up" by drinking to seek attention. It is so much harder to think of her as having a mental illness, so thank-you for reminding me of that. I do hope that you can find another way other than drink of expressing your emotions. Wishing you (and me!) peace of mind and heart. Frankie

Molly Wed, May 3rd 2017 @ 10:30pm

:-) thanks Frankie

Norvena Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 6:20am

No. These emails from Moodscope come out addressed to us by name so it was as if one of my sisters was sending it! Don't send this letter. Are you kidding? Your sister behaves in a way you resent and you want to know when it's your turn to behave that way? Use your "I" statements and get counselling.

Angela Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:42am

Harsh.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:17pm

My sincere apologies Norvena for any upset I have caused you; that was not my intention at all. Frankie

LP Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 12:26am

Norvena, you are entitled to your opinion but there is no need to be rude.

E Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 1:28am

I didn't think Norvena was being rude, tactless perhaps but not rude. Let's not try and close down an open and frank exchange of views by being too censorious shall we?

LP Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:25am

I was perfectly clear about being entitled to an opinion.

E Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 11:42am

You also made it very clear that that opinion was not welcome.

the room above the garage Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 6:41am

Hello Frankie, what a coincidence, you were strong in my mind yesterday afternoon...and here you are! I know this will not have come easily, I'm sure for as long as I've been on Moodscope you have had this weight around you. What I wonder is, how do you feel knowing the letter has been written? Is it enough? I wrote a similar letter (about a different subject) and it brought a finality to a bad experience. I haven't needed to do any more with it so far. I know you are a loving, caring person who has been there many, many times and so to have reached a point where you are considering your health and family first I know will have been very difficult. Even dealing with the thought. Each situation is different but my gut feeling is that people cannot be saved if they do not wish to be saved. And are you being the 'enabler'? Is there a chance without you she may fall to the bottom of the hole and seek a way out? Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom. There has to be a parameter. I wonder how the letter would read if it was from a wife to an abusive husband? I think perhaps we would be helping you pack a case. Your letter shows deep love for your sister. There is no doubt of that. Although this is a very tough blog for you to have written, I am glad you have and it's good to hear from you. Love ratg x.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:20pm

Hello RATG; weird or what?! I did hope it would be enough to write the letter, but it hasn't been. Yes, we have carried this weight for over twenty years now. Thank-you for understanding my deep love for her, despite everything. Frankie x

The woman whose feet don't touch th Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 6:44am

I cannot tell you what to do - I don't want to take responsibility for the outcome. But I understand how you got there. I understand how enabling supports the person in their bad. Behaviour. To let thee person go and give them the chance to change, Alanon the support grip for families of alcoholics is very good. Ta take care

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:26pm

Thank-you for understanding; I feel less alone. Yes, letting her go is hard. I had forgotten about Alanon - thank-you for reminding me! Frankie

Sarah yellow rose Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 6:49am

Frankie thank you for your honest post today. I remember you mentioned your sister before one Christmas when your Mother was alive. I feel that while you are grieving and dealing with the houses , is not a good time to send a letter. It could actually cause more drama for you which you don't need. I also feel that you have already decided not to send because you would have already done so. I think you are wise and brave to ask us Moodscopers for our comments which I'm sure will be helpful. Please look after yourself and take some time to rest too. xx

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:31pm

Thank-you for your lovely comments Sarah YR; how lovely that you remember! I hadn't thought that I must have already decided not to send it ... I feel ... no, I was feeling desperate about the whole situation and unable to cope with it any more. I just want it all to end ... Your wise words about timing is invaluable - thank-you. Frankie xx

Leah Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 6:52am

Frankie,

What a heartfelt moving blog. I feel your pain and your frustration. Your utter exhaustion and grief and disappointment are so evident.
You and your family have been through so much recently. No wonder you feel like you are breaking.
I have used the letter form as a cathartic experience
to write letters to loved ones, ex loved ones, and even wrote a letter to my bipolar. In my experience the letter form is in the process and about what the letter writer learns from the process. I have never sent a letter.
How difficult and emotional was the letter to compose and write.
Were you surprised what you learnt from writing the letter?
I also feel for your sister, as I have been the one with the problem in my family and I know I hurt people when I was ill.
You are the only one who can answer the question.
Hugs Leah

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:36pm

Hello Leah; thank-you. It upsets me every time I re-read the letter ... though it was quite easy to write it. When I am with her, I can and do cope, apparently very well according to those around me; when we are apart, which is most of the time, it is just exhausting ... I just want to hold her in my arms and rock her like a baby and make it all better ... Frankie

Mary Wednesday Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 7:12am

My darling Frankie, this letter is heart-breaking; so real and honest and sharing your pain. But I really believe the power lies with you having written it and shared it with us. I can't tell you what to do*, but I can tell you that letters like this rarely do good and are often destructive. I have sent letters in the past (having points of similarity with this one) and the outcomes were not good.

I am so sorry that you are having to deal with your grief and with the inevitable administration of the deaths of your loved ones alone, and completely understand your feelings of anger and resentment. But presenting that anger and resentment in this form, I believe, is counter-productive, and will have the opposite effect from the one you desire. As Steven Covey (Seven Habits) says, focus on the outcome you desire. The outcome you desire is for your sister to stop drinking, for her to start functioning in a meaningful way and for your relationship to be restored. This letter will not go any way to achieving that.

I hope, that in sailing jargon, writing this letter has helped you "spill wind" so you don't capsize. But - no - don't send it; it won't help.

With love and hugs, Mary

*Ooops, I see that I just did!

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:39pm

!!! Thank-you Mary, for telling me what to do! or rather, not do! And thank-you for sharing the benefit of your experience with me. What you say about focussing on the outcome is really helpful. I will look up Steven Covey. Frankie xxx

Michelle Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 7:14am

It's up to you to send but it may not change anything. What your sister is going through is her business. I'm sure she is the one suffering and has a broken heart too. Your job is to love yourself. Can I suggest you look up Byron Katie on google. You will find a scenario on a scenario like yours and see how you can be set free. Check her out and her 4 questions that she uses to set your mind free from suffering. It's called The Work. Have a go and set YOURSELF free from these stressful thoughts as that's all they are causing s lot of pain and suffering. Good luck and best wishes for peace x

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:41pm

Thank-you Michelle for sharing this; I will look this up. Yes, my head tells me that nothing I do will change anything; my heart tells me I have to keep trying. I don't seem to be able to reconcile the two ... Frankie x

Welsh girl Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 7:26am

Hi Frankie, just to let you know of my situation. I wrote two letters to my sister, about 5 years apart, and they were both about the situation with my ailing father and my siblings' uncommunicated expectations. I sent the first letter, which I wrote very carefully so that it did not contain accusations but nevertheless showed how I felt about her, and my brothers', thoughtlessness. It made a difficult situation even worse, to the extent that virtually all communication ceased. (As an aside, I have suspected my sister is a high-functioning alcoholic for years).The second letter, which is written in a similar way to yours, I have kept and will never send. I found writing this letter hugely cathartic.
As others have said, the decision is yours about whether you send your letter but I hope my experience will help in your decision making. Good luck!

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:43pm

Thank-you Welsh girl for sharing this; it does help enormously. I can well imagine that sending this could make things worse but had lost sight of this possible consequence. Frankie

Annette Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 7:44am

Hi Frankie what a heartfelt post.I hope you feel some relief from writing this letter.I read your post out loud and the more I was reading I felt like shouting yes yes send the letter.But I had a look at other comments and they were wise and sensible comments.It is hard to give up on family and certainly having experience of my mother's time with alcoholism being put through selfishness hostility and lots more.Backed off but didn't cut contact.After being hospitalised with ill health due to alcohol abuse mum stopped drinking .That was years ago the past is not spoken about just take each day as it comes and we are actually closer now.You are going through so much you need to look after yourself.Crumble up the letter see how far you can through it then bin it /shred it.But keep a copy .

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:47pm

Hello Annette; thank-you for sharing your experience. How wonderful that your mum stopped drinking and that you are now closer - it gives me hope. Yes, throwing the letter is a good idea (it's certainly better than throwing chairs which scared me when it happened as I had never done anything like that ever before ...) Frankie

Hopeful One Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 7:46am

Hi Frankie- oh what a difficult situation!My instinctive reaction to your question was 'NO -don't send it 'And then I thought a little more and the answer was the same. My reasons are much the same as the others who have replied so far.The letter is really for yourself and it shows to us that you are a compassionate loving person. As for your sister the first piece of work ,using that same compassion and love, is to slowly try and convince her that she has a problem BUT it can be helped.As soon as ,or if, she accepts that the doors open to counselling particularly with an organisation specialising in alcohol and drug dependence.The AA is an example but the organisation will also have a 'one to one' service. I know because I volunteer with one.

I debated whether to fly a sortie today as I did not wish to undermine the difficult situation you face in any way . But I felt a smile would do you no harm- I hope fellow Moodscopers agree!

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

In an office:
AFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD

Outside a second-hand shop:
WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Thanks RATG for your comment yesterday.

Angela Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:46am

Thank you for giving us a smile H.O. We certainly need it x

the room above the garage Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 10:08am

Hello HO! No matter the situation, if we have no humour what is left? I'm delighted with the squadron's offerings today :-) Do you counsel those who have the problem or do you hear from relatives too? I think the close families of addicts have little voice but perhaps the worst burden.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:51pm

Thank-you HO for your kind words and advice; unfortunately she is in complete denial and refuses all professional help - even though she keeps being hospitalised for falling when drunk and injuring herself (on average twice a month). I always appreciate your jokes, thank-you! Frankie

Hopeful One Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 4:14pm

Hi RATG- I counsel them.Unfortunately the organisation I work for has no policy for meeting the relatives which is a real shame. Thank you all for your kind comments.

Jenny Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:06am

Dear Frankie, Your post hit a nerve with me. I had an alcoholic mother for all of my childhood and most of my adult life, and the pain and stress was immeasurable. She never acknowledged her problem,even when I came close to being taken into care. I lived on my own with a crazed unhappy woman until I was 17 I left home for my sanity. I tried over and over to help her, paid her debts, bought her new clothes and tried to have the loving relation I longed for with her. It was always destroyed in a number of drunken phone calls and the dread of her destructive contact made me very anxious and unable to cope. It wasn't until I was 55 I thought that enough was enough, she wasn't going to change and I wasn't strong enough to ride her roller coaster anymore. So I stopped answering her calls and stopped visiting. I felt constantly guilty and didn't know if she was dead or alive. Then last year I found out she had past. There is no good way to deal with this situation but self preservation has to be taken in to account. I think writing the letter for yourself is important, but not sending it. Unfortunately I dont think there is anything you can do but look after your self and realise that the alcoholic mind has only one commitment and that is to the bottle. You can love from a distance but you will never be able to change them. Take care.

the room above the garage Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 10:04am

Hello Jenny, you said it...self preservation. I'm sad to hear of how you grew up and reminded how great human spirit is to be able to dig deep. You understood there was a space between your mother's behaviour and yours, how intuitive for a young girl. Love ratg x.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:52pm

Thank-you Jenny for sharing your painful story; "love from a distance" - really helpful. I am going to write this on a post-it and stick it up to remind me ... Frankie

Derek Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:15am

Personally, no - I wouldn't send it. If you found it helpful to write it then that is good, but I doubt if sending it will have a positive effect on an alcoholic and might weaken any remaining relationship you have left. Some things you can't fix.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:53pm

Thank-you Derek for your wise words; "Some things you can't fix" - another invaluable post-it reminder! Frankie

Eva Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:24am

Frankie, so hard, I totally hear you, why do you have to take the high road, why must it always be you? Can you not send the letter, but use it as a beacon to yourself to practice self care when dealing with your sister. When she gets herself into a situation, (all the time! I hear you scream in my head) can you first ask yourself what is best for you and then make a decision to act based on that?

One thing I do know from recent past experience with my multiple bereavements is that you are possibly very fragile right now and you need a lot of TLC. So you must give that to yourself. Your emotions may be totally up in the air and polarised, I had such difficulty in dealing with my mums incessant, stress induced, illogical, controlling demands in the wake of my dad's death, I did say some awful things to her, after being pushed into a corner. I don't regret them, we were both hurting and I needed to protect myself, but I am glad I didn't cut all contact.

I would say try to protect yourself, you can't change her or get her to take help, she has to recognise she has a problem and seek it for herself. But don't close her out completely, acknowledge her existence (I see you, but I can't help you if you can't help yourself ) and then move on if that's possible. I think some counselling for you to help you to get a little distance might be useful, this is what I have been doing to get through the rage and anger my mum caused at the time and to work through past issues.

I hope this doesn't come across as patronising and I am aware that my mum was not an alcoholic so I don't have any experience of how to deal with one, but look after yourself is my main message.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:34pm

Thank-you Eva for your wise words, especially for reminding me that it is not surprising I am fragile given the multiple bereavements. I am glad counselling is helping you and yes, distance is what I need. No, it's not patronising! Thank-you for sharing your experience. Frankie

Sally Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:38am

Dear Frankie, I just knew it was going to be you as the blog began. Because our own father was an alcoholic, with an all- too-similar story and behaviours as your sister.'s It is terrible for family. His friends mostly scattered. He was violent and abusive. Would he have listened or paid heed to such a letter? Difficult to say, (especially as he died four years ago,) but I suspect not. He would've played the "woe is me card", railed, and made our life hell by doing hurtful things. Would we have felt better, cutting loose? Well, my husband did just that. It hurt Dad, who greatly valued his son in law, but the limit of endurance had been reached. Lies, deceit, twisted thinking, difficult , hurtful and inconsiderate ways... what it all the alcoholism ...or partly his own character? That's the thing.
Going back to your duster, would her fate / death be on your conscience, should death come to pass? Do alcoholics often recover as they reach rock bottom? I have no facts and figures to hand unfortunately .

What I DO know, however , is the sense of liberation, freedom to grow and relief his death has unleashed. No longer is he holding me back with destructive comments and demands and emotional blackmail. Is was and is sad . I am do sorry for you and your family that you are in this predicament. I am not , however, gets judged to give you any advice, because only his death has afforded us all the peace of mind we craved our whole life long. Only his death allowed us to be happy and to grow towards reaching our true potential. I know that my brother and sister and daughter and niece agree because we gave talked about it. I acknowledge Dad had a prloblem, an illness, but he was beyond reach. His first love was the bottle.
Very best of luck, Frankie. With whatever you do. Virtual hugs. You are not ultimately responsible for your sister, but, having said that, blood ties can make you feel responsible.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:38pm

Thank-you Sally for sharing this; I recognise my sister in your description of your father's behaviour. Your final sentence sums my dilemma up beautifully. Frankie x

LP Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:44am

Hi Frankie,
I'm sorry to hear about your losses. Your mother, as mothers do, loved all of her children.
I get your letter. You want your sister to face up to and understand the effect her drinking has been having and how unfair it is, especially at such a difficult time. I'm guessing that she would be unlikely to agree with or take on board any of what you have said, let alone decide to change. Your message will be rejected.

As unfair as it is, she is unable to help and needs professional help. You need to focus on you and how you manage at this difficult time.
I've written letters. Boy have I! Letters diaries, outpourings of pain. I kept them hidden away for years then after a long emotional journey got rid of their huge burdensome load. Writing in that way helped me at the time. Now I write here I guess! I once wrote one to my maternal grandmother whose parenting led to to my turmoil. There was simply no point in sending it. No one is all bad. I admired so much about her and our relationship on the whole and on the surface was fine. We were not that close. At her age there was no changing or undoing of what had gone wrong. She had struggles and there were reasons why she was how she was as a parent. We know all these things. I guess I'm just saying that there may be simply no point.
My siblings and I are dealing with an alcoholic family member too. When there is a crisis with someone else, that has to take a back burner and in a very practical way make sure that that issue doesnt get in the way. That family member has tried to cope using alcohol which has in turn tightened it's grip. They are not in control.
It's a trying time and you probably feel like you've had enough of your sister's draining presence. As mentioned above, now isn't a good time to deal with it, but it sounds like you do need space from it if that's possible, just so you can get on with what is necessary and get some emotional as well as physical rest. If there's a gentle way of someone enabling that to give you some respite in a way, it might be helpful all round. When things have settled and you are in a better place, you'll be able to decide how to move forward.

My heart goes out to you at this trying time and thank you for sharing your dilema. Wishes for moments of rest and peace of mind to you and all. LP xx

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:42pm

Hello LillyPet and thank-you for your considered response; yes, it is just SO draining! Yes, I need space and thank-you for reminding me that I can wait until things have settled a bit more. Frankie xx

Salt Water Mum Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 9:38am

Oh Frankie, my heart goes out to you. And Jenny, I am thinking of you too.

Well done for writing the letter. And sharing it with us. It affected me deeply.
I want to say 'send it send it' because I too have written such letters and had those repeated conversations, I have written emails and even long long texts. Sadly, they got me nowhere.

Unless an addict is ready to hear and change, everything you say falls on deaf ears. I wish it was the opposite. I wish they could hear and listen. It's heartbreaking - and in my case it was my husband, someone I loved deeply and had children with. It was (and is) also two of my closest friends. All my strong heartfelt and honest words did was make everything worse with our relationship. On the plus side I felt better for being honest and being true to myself and saying what I felt was the truth - but that's the writing part. You've done that.

So, yes, get it on paper. It's wonderful to get your thoughts out there. Of course you can send them. But know that your sister will only choose to read certain part of your letter. She will accuse you of calling her self-piteous and she will insist that is unfair and you have a had a luckier life than her and that she is doing the best she can and she is grieving too and that no cares.... and so on ... not because she is a bad person but because she is an addict and she is so stuck in the depths of denial that she is incapable of change. That doesn't mean she won't change - it means SHE has to see it, feel it, be driven to it.

The only way to help her see that for herself is to Detach With Compassion.
Focus on your own wellness. Yes, go to alanon - an amazing group. I tried a few and regularly attended one that I felt at home in. I realised that I had lived with an addict for so long that I needed to work on myself. I couldn't help hm. I had to help me. I had to detach from his addiction. Because I was so caught up in it, so entrenched in the darkness that I didn't even know who I was. I had to get myself well.

Detach with Compassion.
Be there for her when she approaches you. But detach when it gets too much.
Tell you love her and wish her well.
Don't feel the need to argue her justifications for alcohol or self-pity - let there be silence, let her words of denial hang in the air. it's amazing the power of someone really hearing their own denial. The constant debate and arguing and emotion is a distraction for them from the real truth.
Do think about going to alanon.
And... keep on writing those letters. For your healing.

SWM x

the room above the garage Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 10:11am

Hello SWM, what great words x.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:49pm

Hello SWM; your reply has moved me deeply; thank-you for sharing. And you are so right with what my sister's response is likely to be. Detach with compassion - brilliant; and silence; so powerful, I can see that (though that's a tough one for me who "can't abide an unspoken thought" according to darling hubby!) Frankie x

Sally Sun, Apr 30th 2017 @ 8:48am

Oh, SWM, this is amazing. Honest, true, hard hitting and accurate. I love your bit about silence. I know it to be exactly so. You write : " let her words of denial hang in the air " and so on. Marvellous advice. Perhaps I should apply it to "difficult people" I have to deal with who are not alcoholics, but ....well, difficult!! The realisation HAS to come from the person afflicted/ addicted. Yes, yes, yes!

Oli Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 9:40am

Your letter is powerful Frankie.
If you have finally decided to cut all ties with your sister then you don't need to say anything to her.
You can just go and get on with life without her.
Alcoholics are hard work and life is easier without them. You can't help them.
The decision is not judgemental (you've got all that out in your letter); it's pragmatic.
There is a time for some relationship to end. And it's liberating.
[/my 2p's]

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:50pm

Hi Oli; now why didn't I think of that? Cut the ties but don't tell her ... and it's worth far, far more than 2p, believe me! Thank-you. Frankie

The Gardener Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 10:54am

What a horrible situation. I agree with Derek above - let the writing of it be a catharsis. We went through the full horror with a son - any attempt, in however tactful or loving manner possible to 'get through' to him was useless. Eventually he 'hit the buffers' (as said by another son). Then the crisis, the endless and, I must say, marvellous help from state and family. suffering (as Mum) fears for his very survival, watching him self-destruct - he did not do the harm your sister did, Frankie, in taking it out on others - he went into a shell. Hopefully, all is well - but I have always the inner dread that some set-back may get him back on the 'sauce'. It seems (I did Samaritans as well) that the cure for alcoholism can ONLY come from the individual - a moment arrives when the realise what is happening - that moment come, then it's all the help available - including, if they have retained enough humanity, from those who have suffered the most.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:54pm

Thank-you dear Gardener; and how awful to have to watch your son self-destruct - that must be even worse than a sibling ... I am coming to realise that sending the letter is not the right course of action. Frankie

E Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 11:01am

I have an alcoholic brother so this subject is close to my heart. Over the years I have watched him go from a charming, witty, if chronically insecure adult to a wining winging self deluding and selfish child. But the worst part of being an alcoholic, in my opinion, (apart from the chronic pancreatitis, liver disease, relationship breakdowns, unemployment, and inability to contribute meaningfully to anything in any shape or form what so ever), is that it turns you into a such a bore. Alcoholics are in my opinion chronically boring, and their behaviour ultimately so self defeating.

Alcoholics are fond of the notion that alcoholism is an illness and that they are powerless to deal with it without the support of what ever support group they may or may not be a member of which can be (and I stress CAN BE) a useful excuse for some who wants to avoid responsibility for their actions. Groups like AA, can in my opinion, operate a bit like a religious cult, the devil is out there and always ready to get you the moment you step off the chosen path (the 12 step path). That said if AA or what ever support group does it for you then a life long dependance on that group may well be a price worth paying for your sobriety but there is still a price to be paid.

What AA and the attitude it foster’s does not engender, (in my opinion), is a sense of self reliance and ultimately honesty. In my dealings with my brother I have always been brutally honest with him and while I cant say it has stopped him drinking it has meant that our relationship, or what remains of it, has retained some measure of authenticity. So I would say be honest and send the letter and don't beat yourself up about it afterwards. It is called tough love by some. However that said I would agree with Sarah Yellow Rose, now may not be the best time to send it. So sleep on it as they say but in general, (again this is only my opinion), honesty is the best policy with alcoholics.

Some commentators here may find this harsh but alcoholism is ultimately so self destructive to the individual and those around them that some times I feel it necessary to cut through to the nub of the matter and say what needs to be said before it is all too late.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:58pm

Hello E; thank-you for taking the time to reply; I have heard the phrase "tough love" before and found it useful, so thank-you for that reminder. I really like the notion of a relationship with some measure of authenticity - thank-you. I am definitely going to sleep on it. Maybe, thanks to all you lovely Moodscopers, the need to send has gone ... Frankie

Monica Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:58am

Dear E, thank you for sharing your experience here and for providing a view of the alcoholic that many don't touch upon: how boring they ultimately are because they rely on tired old patterns of behavior that get them nowhere, thus providing that cycle of self defeat you mentioned. I have an alcoholic individual in my life that I keep at arms length as often as possible, but unfortunately she is my boyfriends sister so I still have to hear of her 'antics' when she acts up because my boyfriend is part of the enabling 'gang' that provide her with the audeince she desperately needs to keep going. I agree with your thoughts regarding AA and how it does not do much to foster true self reliance or emotional honesty, and without the skills to be emotionally honest, sending a letter such as one written by Frankie wil not garner the results she needs, because, in my experience, alcoholics are too selfish and self centered to ever look at their behavior to see how destructive and damaging it really is, and they are always more than happy to lay the blame for their problems on someone else. Frankie, I commend you writing your letter because it seems it has already given you some relief at this difficult time in your life. I would like to extend my sincere condolences on the passing of your mother and auntie. Coping with the deaths of two beloved family members is a lot to deal with and I can not imagine what you must be feeling as you go through all the personal belongings of people you loved, and deal with the legalities of selling the properties, AND you are also dealing with the disruptive behavior of an unhelpful relative. I would like to suggest looking into the Grief Recovery Method to help you process the feelings of loss you are dealing with at this time (www.griefrecoverymethod.com). As a specialist trained in the method, I can attest that the tools you will learn will provide much solace in regards to the loss of your mother and auntie, and it may just provide some relief regarding the loss of a sister that once was, but seems to have disappeared in a dependency on alcohol. I do hope that you continue with your own self care in the face of all that you are coping with. You are doing a lot and you deserve some kindness for yourself during this difficult period. Sending you light and love for the grieving period ahead. Sincerely, Monica

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 6:00pm

Hello Monica; thank-you so much for your supportive words and for this information which I will definitely follow up. I can relate to much of what you say at the start re; antics and "acting up" ... oh, and don't get me started on people who "enable" ... (!) I have learnt to accept the enabling behaviour of certain people around my sister since I have failed to change it in any way over the years. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and I do hope you see this! Frankie

Monica Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 7:40am

You are very welcome Frankie! My heart goes out to you and all that you coping with at this sorrowful time in your life. I do hope you find the grief recovery method to be of some positive help for you when you have a chance to look into it. Much luck to you in finding your way around dealing with your sister and her issues. You deserve to be supported fully by people who care and want to support you <3

Frankie Tue, May 2nd 2017 @ 9:22pm

Thank-you Monica; I am currently writing about it - poetry mainly - which is helping. Frankie

Millie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 11:05am

Dear Frankie,

If you really do care for your sister as you say you do, then please do not send this letter. My own experience is not dissimilar to the one you outline, and like one of the other respondents, I too, read your "letter" as if my sister had written it to me and since I lost my mother not so long ago, I read your letter in absolute shock (and confusion). (Are you trying to shock your sister so that she "wakes up"?) I can't possibly know your sisters story, but I suspect she needs a lot of love, support and kindness right now, the last thing she needs is more loss in the form of rejection from you. She sounds like she is in a very lonely place and possibly has been for some time, the loss of her mother is compounding this loneliness, so please think carefully about sending your letter. Talk to her if you can, rather than a letter. Tell her how much you care about her and how much her "seemingly" self destructive behaviour is hurting you precisely because you care. There is a reason why your sister is drinking, what is she avoiding confronting? Agreed, her behaviour will be testing you and it does sound like your sister needs professional help beyond that which you can give and she needs to come to this decision herself. You could try planting the seed and suggest it, but be prepared for the fact that she is not ready to hear this yet, but you will possibly have prepared the ground for germination so to speak. (apologies if I am stating the obvious and you have tried this many times before)

This is a very difficult time for all of you and grief is not the same experience from one person to the other. To give you an alternative perspective, when I lost my mother, I believed my sisters were moving far too fast for me and I took their "haste" in selling my parents property in a matter of months after my mothers death, as a complete lack of respect for my parents 54 years together in the house that they loved and lived their life in. My sisters weren't interested in my opinion however as each had their own agenda. One sister wanted the whole scenario "wrapped" up as quickly as possible as she was planning to move to another Country and marry, and the other wanted to "move on" and concentrate on her own children and family. I was reluctant to let go and not ready to move at my sisters pace, which to this day, I still believe was detached, harsh and heartless. I have no contact with either of my sisters now at their request. My advice is simply to act with heart and be honest with yourself. What is your agenda? (Would it be easier for you right now if you didn't need to deal with your sisters' issues on top of everything else - and the answer may well be yes and who could blame you, is not your sister creating her own problems after all, why should you deal with them?) My sisters have seemingly successfully moved on having severed their relationship with me, which begs the question as to sibling relationships.

There's clearly an awful lot more to say and as many questions to ask as answers to be sought.


with kindness and sadness for your loss

Leah Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 12:02pm

Millie I found your post so moving. I think when a parent dies it can cause so many different emotions and so many conflicts. I am sorry about you and your sisters. I am lucky because my brotherts and I decided after my parents died that nothing was worth us being angry with each other. Sending you kind thoughts and thank you for sharing such a painful story.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 3:05pm

Oh Millie I am so sorry that this caused you shock and confusion; thank-you for your generosity in sharing your painful experience. It has helped me more than I can say to get a glimpse of my sister's perception of our recent bereavements. I can't work out what my agenda is - it would help if I could! Thank-you again. Frankie

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 1:12pm

Oh WOW - just WOW! Thank-you all SO much ... for sharing painful memories, for wisdom, for advice. I feel so supported, heard, understood - at last! This gives me the strength to carry on - particularly apt as I will be seeing both my brother and my other sister this weekend and I will be able to share your wisdom and experiences with them. Thank-you, from the bottom of my heart. Frankie

Molly Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 3:43pm

You really did have a great response Frankie. I have been sitting reading all of the replies when I should be doing other things! Good luck with everything. Molly xx

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 3:48pm

Thanks Molly - yes, I am so touched, and now empowered as a result - good luck to you too with whatever you should be doing! Frankie xx

Richard Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 2:37pm

Dear Frankie,
No, don't send it. Telling someone who is dealing with life through addictive behaviour to "just snap out of it" is no more effective than saying the same thing to someone with depression or anxiety. It doesn't give them any insight into how to snap out of it and just makes them feel worse, which makes them want to use more.
You might want to read "Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening" by Robert J. Meyers, or the newer "Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change" by Jeffrey Foote. Meyers invented something called CRAFT (Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training), which has a high success rate at getting loved ones into treatment. It stresses rewarding the behaviour you want to see instead of punishing the behaviour you don't want. CRAFT is also the basis of the SMART Recovery Family and Friends programme, which adds some cognitive behavioural techniques to help you deal with the impact of your sister's behaviour.
Disclaimer: I'm a volunteer facilitator for SMART Recovery.

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 3:07pm

Hello Richard; thank-you so much for these suggestions. I have heard of Al-Anon but not CRAFT and SMART. I will follow this up. Frankie

Maria Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 4:13pm

Dear Frankie, I'm sending you love and light as you deal with this enormously difficult time. Both of my parents were alcoholics and I believe you can't help them until they want to help themselves. Usually it takes them hitting rock bottom, and that can be much deeper for them than what you envision it should be. I hope seeing all the love and support you have here lightens your burden. If writing the letter wasn't cathartic for you, how about burning it? My hope is that as you see the smoke rise so will your troubles. Wrapping you in a great big hug!

Frankie Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 4:21pm

What a wonderful idea Maria - thank-you. Yes, I feel so much lighter having read everyone's lovely words. And I can feel your hug! Frankie x

The Gardener Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 6:43pm

Frankie - what a response, hope you feel people are 'with' you, though none of us can offer a solution, or do anything but sympathise. I am struggling with the usual grim evening - at this time of night Mr G gets abusive, melancholy, childish, self-pitying (this is an emotion I have never been able to cope with - I will do anything, for anybody, but when they will make no effort of their own I crack, Mr G will not get out of chair to get a glass of water - but that's off the track). I came out of the bread-shop yesterday - 50 metres in front was Claude - weaving all over the place. Now Claude is tall, good-looking, can be very funny, has a good singing voice - but, the drink has him. He can't annoy anybody, like your sister, because nobody can, or will, put up with him. Every so often his liver rebels and he is carted off into hospital. Sometime, somewhere, the alcohol or drug dependence started - with my son it was depression - but, the depression/alcoholism is a real chicken and egg situation. I could drink myself silly tonight, to shut out current horrors. But, if I have to get up to Mr G in the night I would probably fall over (or, perhaps, I'd just let him get on with it?) Not worth the risk. Maria has said what I (and others) have said - alcoholics can't be helped, it has to come from within - hopefully before it's too late. Really feel for you - be strong - I've found letters a great mistake - can be kept and used to smite you with later in life.

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 1:41am

And I really feel for you too, dear Gardener ... thank-you for sharing your experience of letters being a mistake - I can (now) well imagine it in my sister's case ... Frankie

Victoria Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:41pm

Frankie I think you have responded to people's comments with incredibly grace and I can only imagine the amount of grace and patience you have given to the relationship with your sister. Whilst alcoholism is an illness, not everyone who has it is a shining example of humanity underneath it. Sometimes people are just sods, although it doesn't sound like you feel that way about your sister.
Your hurt and pain leaps out from this letter and there may be some level of catharsis with sending it, but possibly the best thing is to take that letter to a counsellor to come to terms with your feelings away from your sister.
Having been in a situation of great need with mental illness and not receiving family support I can see the arguments above for staying on your sister's side and putting up with it in the hopes she will eventually change. Or because you may feel that this albatross is your responsibility because you are related. My feelings are obviously tempered by my own experiences, but I think you could consider letting your sister go. You are not your sister's keeper, even with your mother gone, the mantle does not fall automatically to you.
My brother is an alcoholic, as well as falling somewhere between psychopathic and sociopathic. He is mentally, financially and physically abusive, though to many in the outside world he's the salt of the earth, lovely bloke, does a lot for charity. He used to fix my car when I was in my teens and early twenties, it was useful and also seemingly the only way we could interact. I still remember the day I threw down the phone in tears and stopped talking to him. My husband and I joked with very black humour about how much my self respect was worth. What price my mechanical work would have to be before I would talk to him again. The answer was, it didn't matter. My life is better for not having him in it. To no longer spend hours in the middle of the night with my sister in law refusing help after he had hurt her or kicked her out of the house. I cannot fix them if they refuse help. I don't have to love them because they are related to me.
In lifesaving the first thing you learn is to kick away a drowning person if they are clinging to you. You cannot save them like that, you will both drown. The adage is a little like putting your own oxygen mask first on a plane. I can only imagine how horrible a time this is for you with the deaths. You do not have to fix the relationship with your sister now, or make any life alternating decisions. Take care of yourself, keep her at arms length and allow yourself to focus on your needs and grief.

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 2:12am

Hello Victoria; I have already replied but it seems to have disappeared so here it is again: Thank-you for your kind words, and for reminding me of the image of the oxygen mask - so useful. Thank-you too for sharing your painful experiences; I am truly touched ... You have hit the nail on the head, I feel, in reminding me to focus on my own grief, something I have been putting off for months ... Frankie

Freya Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 8:55pm

Oh Frankie. I grew up with an alcoholic father, and a mother who enabled the situation. His drinking was never acknowledged, and we all had to pretend it wasn't happening. When he died young, he promptly acquired sainthood, and none of it had ever happened! I think that act of constantly covering up may have caused as much harm as the alcoholism. To this day (35 years after his death), my brother would claim that Dad didn't drink that much. Interesting that neither of us drink. So I can empathise with your situation, and with your wish to send the letter. But she's unreachable. The relationship with alcohol tops anything else ever. Unfortunately that is the bottom line of the it all. You have to protect yourself above all. Please take great care of yourself at this traumatic time xx

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 1:46am

Oh this rings SO true Freya, the pretence and the collusion of certain family members in the "poor thing, she's ill/in pain/being abused" etc. etc. "She is unreachable" - this I must learn and accept - oh boy, how tough and yet I still hold onto the hope that one day she will turn herself round. I think it's the hope that gets me ... Thank-you for sharing your experience. Frankie xx

Erika Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 10:11pm

Your letter was very powerful, but I don't think you should send it as written. However, you have a duty to protect yourself, and I think a much shorter letter that says "I love you, but I can't be around you. Please don't contact me anymore" would not be out of order. And it's okay to mourn the loss of your sister.

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 1:48am

I LOVE this idea - a short letter to the point ... and thank-you for your last line - really helpful. Frankie

the room above the garage Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 11:26pm

What a beautiful bunch you all are. Whoever said that modern technology was damaging to humans needs to read the responses today. People, strangers, connecting for a common good. Top dollar stuff.

Molly Fri, Apr 28th 2017 @ 11:48pm

:-)

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 1:51am

:-) :-) :-) What a lovely way to conclude dear RATG - I am so grateful to everyone, especially all of you who have been so generous in sharing painful experiences. I now have plenty of different ways to move forward: Waving and smiling (AT LAST!) to everyone Frankie xxx

Cyndi Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 12:35pm

Alcoholism/Drug addiction can take families down ugly paths. Sorry you are experiencing it. There are no easy answers. here in the states they have Al-anon (SP?). It is a side shoot of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have been a member of AA for going on 22 years. I was blessed that I had a "high bottom", and did not put my husband / family thru too much hell. But Al-anon is for family members to learn to/help them cope with a loved ones addictions and corresponding "isms" and their effects on relationships. If there aren't any meetings by you, may I suggest reading some books? My sponsor goes to Al-anon also, so I could see what books she recommends. Peace.

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 6:04pm

Many thanks for this Cyndi - yes I have used Al-anon in the past and am seriously considering doing so again. Actually, I could start by simply re-reading my notes from another support group I went to a while back - thank-you for this prompt! Frankie

Nicco Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 4:53pm

Frankie, I am so sorry you are experiencing such terrible difficulties. I have no idea what to write except to say that I feel for you. I have written similar letters twice, once to my late brother's partner clarifying some family lies which I felt I just had to do because I couldn't live with myself knowing that the person believed them, and the second one was to my husband's mother who was hell bent on wrecking our relationship right from the start - a very manipulative and controlling person who has made sure she won't 'lose' her other son in the same way - and I sent the letters. The outcome of both was that all communication stopped which was what I wanted. However, the problems these people caused did not disappear overnight but went on for quite a number of years afterwards, and the 'shadows' are still there. I know sometimes just writing the letter and not actually sending it helps. I also have turned to alcohol in the past as a way of anaesthetising emotional pain I couldn't deal with and found that people, especially the medical profession, were not sympathetic or very helpful - I felt that people just saw me as a drunk but were unable to see the reasons why I was so. I'm not sure if any of what I've said helps but I hope and pray that, what ever you choose to do, things will improve for your and your sister and those affected by the situation. Nicco. x

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 6:07pm

Thank-you for sharing your experiences Nicco - especially the way you describe your use of alcohol which gives me a window on my sister's behaviour. Yes, sending the letter could just start a whole new set of problems ... whilst writing it initially didn't help much, everyone's support here has given me a HUGE boost and plenty of different things to try, which should keep me going for quite a while! Thank-you again, Nicco, and thank-you everyone. You are angels. Frankie x

Millie Sun, Apr 30th 2017 @ 9:32pm

Dear Frankie, I've been reflecting every moment since my earlier reply and keep coming back to your blog to read other responses. Like Nicco, I sent a letter to one of my siblings to put the record straight with a few home truths which should've just been between the two of us, but things got out of hand, and I subsequently was called a liar and fantasist which was the beginning of the "rot" which set in and resulted in my siblings refusing to communicate any further with me. It has been painful and I believe undeserved, but it's the price I've paid for telling the truth and stating a fact, hence my initial reply. I spoke as the sibling on the receiving end of your letter, although I must stress this was not about alcoholism in this case. That said, my father was an alcoholic although it was never named as such and unsurprisingly, my boyfriend is an alcoholic. It's taken me several years to understand that he is an alcoholic and knowing his history, I've cut him a lot of slack and guess I've been making allowances/excuses for him. However, I'm finally at the stage where I've had enough of the mood swings and of rescuing him, and so my dilemma is that having had my siblings close the door on me and knowing how isolating and painful that feels, I'm reluctant to severe the relationship with my boyfriend. I don't want to be unkind and cause pain to someone I care deeply about but neither do I want to stay in a relationship that is draining me and not serving me or meeting my needs. I guess I must take my own advice, and simply act with kindness. I remain of my original opinion that it wont be helpful to your sister to receive your letter although having sent a similar letter to a sibling, it may well be that you need to send it for you. Looking back, I dont particularly regret the letter I sent, but I do regret the outcome which of course I could never have anticipated. If you do decide to send it, I agree with Tutti Frutti, don’t slam the door shut, give your sister and yourself some space and leave the opportunity for a changed relationship in the future. Interesting observation that so many of us have had our family lives affected by alcoholism. I hope ultimately that things work out for you and your sister. Keep us posted. With kindness

Frankie Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 12:11am

Hello again Millie. Thank-you for sharing your experience of the consequences of sending such a letter. I have started using an exercise book to continue "writing" to my sister but she will not see it ... I am so sorry to learn that your boyfriend is an alcoholic. Maybe you do not need to sever all ties; maybe you can still be friendly but from a distance, so that you respect yourself and look after yourself. Having just re-read your message I realise this is what you are advising me to do! I wish you strength and resolve, and peace of mind and heart ... Frankie

Millie Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 11:15am

Hi Frankie, interesting to hear our own advice back. Touched by our exchange and the responses in general. Feels like all the hurt and chaos out there needs balanced by love and kindness which is exactly what this site is doing...with gratitude to the Moodscopers.

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:27pm

Hi Frankie
I didn't reply to you yesterday as addiction isn't an area I know much about but I am thinking of you coping with your losses and with your sister.

On letters they are a high risk strategy and I think it really depends how they are written what the recipient is like whether they will achieve anything. From what others have said it sounds very unlikely to work with an addict. I certainly wouldn't send the letter in its current form as the ending effectively blocks off all future communication with your sister even if she gets to grips with her drinking and that isn't what you want since you obviously love her. I wouldn't send anything without consulting a counselor on the drafting and timing and talking through all the risks of doing so with them. I have sent/ given letters after doing this and it is a genuinely terrifying experience. One out of 3 worked fairly well. (To my husband when we were going through a bad patch and I needed to get what was upsetting me across without starting an argument.) The others were injective. I think I got a bit of verbal abuse sent back from one of them but I was getting that from the person at the time anyway. it. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Love and hugs TF xoxo

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:28pm

Injective should say innefective.

Frankie Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 11:05pm

Thank-you TF: "High risk strategy" ... What a useful phrase; thank-you. And thank-you for sharing your experience, which I really appreciate. Frankie

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:41pm

Should say innefective not injective.

Tutti Frutti Sat, Apr 29th 2017 @ 7:44pm

And how they are written and what the recipient is like.

Jane SG Sun, Apr 30th 2017 @ 9:30pm

Dear Frankie, wow! I've cone to this very late so I'm not sure if you will see my response. My brother, who passed away in Jan, had a brain injury and became an alcoholic. When he died, of heart failure, I had so much anger, a lot of which was directed at my other brother. It nearly came spilling out but I was able to retain it. As for my brother who died, I had to learn to love him from a distance. My lovely brother. Don't send the letter Frankie. Take good care of yourself. Sending you lots of love xxxx

Frankie Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 12:17am

I feel your pain ... My lovely sister ... Have you been able to express your anger safely? I know from bitter experience that if anger doesn't have an outlet, we are the ones who get hurt. I wish you strength and courage for your ongoing grief journey. It is still early days for you ... Frankie x

John Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 5:18am

Hi Frankie, difficult challenges for certain.

Seems the #1 idea is first take care of yourself.

#2, a succinct letter is wiser.

In my own situation, with a brother prone to addictions, I simply stood my ground and said when you are ready for treatment let me know the facility and I'll send money there for you or to your account.

Didn't hear from him for years.

Calls now sometimes, but if he asks for money I remind him of some borrowed money that needs repayment before his line of credit eases, so he avoids that & we just talk and catch-up. Last convo or so he said he has a banking account, first in a long, long time.

Progress.

Frankie Mon, May 1st 2017 @ 7:48am

Hello John; thank-you for sharing. You are right - stand my ground ... This has highlighted what I need to do, and I have just begun trying to set very clear boundaries, which focus on my bottom line in any situation, but, oh, how hard it is to stick to it and walk away ... Hearing about your brother's progress gives me hope; thank-you! Frankie

Paul Tue, May 2nd 2017 @ 7:19am

Hi Frankie - if you haven't done so already, I strongly suggest you find and access your local Al-Anon meeting. They will be able to offer the help, support, and guidance that you need. I have been sober in AA for 21 years (suffering from alcoholism alongside depression), and can vouch for the strength and wisdom of AA and Al-Anon support. Paul

Frankie Tue, May 2nd 2017 @ 9:26pm

Thank-you for this reminder Paul; I have used Al-Anon in the past which has helped to a point. Well done you! I do not underestimate the struggle this involves, nor the struggle that my sister faces should she decide to follow your route; thank-you for giving me a sign of hope! Frankie

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