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People with Good Intentions Say Dumb Things

answered 07:58 AM EST, Fri December 14, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
I get accused of enabling by the rest of my family since I let my younger brother stay in my basement and help him out with some spending money in return for odd jobs (he isn't really able to do much so it's mostly just charity.) He gets completely drunk everyday and his liver is already very damaged. 

I have come to the conclusion that after 20 years of drama that he will never stop and basically that is his choice. If I did not let him live here I think he would be on the streets, and he would just be a homeless person that begs and drinks. I prefer to save him from that fate and let him have a little dignity. Is this enabling?

Jim LaPierre Says...

You don't mention your age or your brothers but you seem resigned that his alcoholism is perhaps late stage and unlikely to change. It's true that you are enabling - but there is a point of no return from alcoholism. Further, what people do in the full light of day is generally okay says I.

The dangers of enabling are largely that the person is unaware that they are doing so. You are choosing to protect your brother from some natural consequences. He of course is also aware and I assume grateful. The perils of black and white thinking are that everything is either "good" or "bad." That simply isn't true. Good luck to you and your brother

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Page last updated Dec 14, 2012

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