Question: Dear Luise: I have a 36 year-old brother that lives with my parents. He works full time but has a drinking problem. My brother drinks I would say 3-4 days a week after he gets home. His problem is that once he starts he doesn’t know when to stop. He is not a mean, sloppy, nasty drunk but he drinks. My parents do not know what to do. They have mixed feelings – do we let him live home or kick him out to get an apartment – but then they would worry more. We all offer him advice. He went to counseling maybe 2 times and says he will go. I know this is a disease and all you can do is give him advice and love but how long do you keep this up and still let him live at home? P.
Answer: Dear P.: The place to answer your question and to receive support in taking the necessary action is Al-Anon where relatives and friends of alcoholics learn how to support those they love that suffer from the disease. (And I think, like your parents, that almost everyone has mixed feelings regarding how to do that.)
As I understand it, you can’t give advice and you learn not to “enable,” which is sometimes what providing housing can represent. Don’t quote me, though. Go to the well-established authority on this very critical issue and start attending meetings.
There are also many very helpful books, one being the classic: “How Al-Anon Works.” You can get a used copy from amazon.com Blessings, Luise