My sister is visiting with my family over the holidays. She is on medication for chronic back pain but I think there is something wrong. She keeps nodding off all the time and she seems really spacey. She is also drinking a lot which she never used to do and she just basically looks high all the time. I have asked her about this but she just says the medications make her a little bit sleepy but they help her with pain. I am sure she is addicted to these pain killers and high all the time. But since she denies it and since she has prescriptions and it is not like she is buying off the street I am not sure how I can convince anyone else that she needs to get some help. I am frustrated because no one else sees or wants to see the problem. I am on my own and I want to know if there is some type of intervention that I can do without the rest of the family getting involved.
I applaud you for your concern and from what you've shared with me you are wise to be concerned. Mixing alcohol with medications is always potentially dangerous and drug interactions can occur. Unfortunately, what your sister is doing is legal (based on what you've shared with me) and the only way I could see to intervene would be to involve the rest of the family. Sharing your concerns with family is what I would advise - it's too easy to pretend that this isn't happening. Your sister is unlikely to see herself as "addicted" or an "addict" yet if she is taking pain killers that are opiates then any person taking these long term will become "dependent" upon them as our bodies simply adjust to having them in our systems. I encourage you to share your concerns very candidly (walking on eggshells never works). Even if she were willing to have a conversation with her doctor about mixing meds and alcohol that would be a step in the right direction. Good luck and blessed be.