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Beyond Help?

answered 08:33 AM EST, Fri November 11, 2011
My brother in an alcoholic and he has liver disease (not cirrhosis) reoccurring gastritis and he just had seizures which have put him in the ICU for almost a week. He says that I need to give up on him because he’s never going to be able to quit drinking and that no matter what he tries he is never able to stop for more than a day or two before the shakes and cravings get too bad to resist.

Is it true that some people are beyond help or is it that he just hasn’t gotten the right kind of help yet. I pray that he’ll find something that will work because the drinking has already cost him a beautiful family and a good job and he looks about 20 years older than me even though he is my baby brother.

Donna Hunter Says...

Donna Hunter D. Hunter
LCSW, CAP

That is a good question.  In AA, the Big Book says no one is beyond help if they are willing to make changes in their life.  There is no quick fix in the world of addiction.  It is a physical, mental and spiritual disease.  I personally believe everyone one of us has the capacity to change, but not all of us choose to do what is necessary.  To  recover from addiction we have to change our life on many levels.

 

In my experience, those with serious, life threatening addictions are best served in a long term treatment facility, that offers step down programs- inpatient, outpatient, transitional living.  The difficulty with addiction is that the fog doesn't clear for so long- at least a year or so.  Without ongoing treatment and support, the cravings and desire to return to the addiction are very strong.  Addiction is a cunning and baffling disease.  What seems like god reasons to stop using: health  and family are no match to the rationalizations that go on- the addiction that talks to you saying, "You haven't had a drink in two months, you can handle just one."

 

So is he beyond help?  That is up to him.  I would strongly recommend you find a local Al-anon group to help you deal with being in family with an alcoholic.

 

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Page last updated Nov 12, 2011

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