Thursday, December 11, 2008

The blog I've been avoiding til now....

OK blog elves, I am officially requesting feedback again, so if you're reading this I'd appreciate it if you stick with it and comment when you're done.

This is the blog I've been avoiding writing, because I've been in denial about its subject matter. But recent events have jolted me out of my happy denial.

Christmas...is going to suck this year. And not because of anything I've done, or anything that has happened to me or the kids, etc., etc.

It's because of my sister...

My friends and long time readers will know that I'm not close to my sister. She makes things very...difficult.

She's an emotionally abusive alcoholic. She's 36 and has probably been a full blown alcoholic for about the last 8 years, and had a drinking problem since she was 18. But she's one of those extra-fun alcoholics whose in total denial. Even after several DUIs which resulted in long periods of her losing her liscense, and being so desperate for a drink that she's drank mouthwash, cooking wine and hand sanitizer, she still refuses to admit she's dependant, addicted.

She likes to say that she's in a dark place. Yes, the dark place of...alcoholism.....hatefulness, bitterness, alienation by design.

But this month she's found out that she's likely going to be getting a divorce.

She has been married about five years...to my brother ibn law who I've never really liked or been close to because he's always seemed shady to me...and he's a big pussy too, but I digress.

Amyway....

She's been scared into temporary sobriety because she says she says she wants to fight for her marriage.

I want to be supportive, but knowing all of the history, and being witness to it, I can't help thinking she deserves to get a divorce. After all the horrible shit she's done to me, and people I love, the way she's skated thru life consequance-free with slaps on the wrist, the way my mother always bails her out and takes nothing but abuse for it, I'm just a little happy she's finally gonna have to pay the piper.

And that also makes me feel crappy.

So I try to be supportive. I called her last night and told her I knew what she was dealing with sucked, but whatever the outcome, it was good that she wasn't drinking, and I wanted her to keep not drinking because then she'd be healtier.

I worry about her because she looks horrible. She's not healthy and she's stick-thin. She's in her mid 30s and looks like she is in her mid to late 40s.

I want to be supportive because I love her.

I have kids tho and the business and a social life. I have a life. And spending too much time around my sister, she becomes like a cancer.

What do I do????

How can I make this Christmas not suck, aside from totally avoiding her? (which, by the way, is an impossibility in my family since my mother won't allow that)

Do any of you have experience or insight?

I want to have a good Christmas. I want it drama-free, but I know my sister will make it drama central.

I want to be with the people I love and have a Christmas to remember for good reasons.

Lil' help here??

6 comments:

Lady with a View said...

First - same goes for me as for you - remember that this comment comes from a newbie friend.

I am related to 4 recovering alcoholics - two siblings, my father and my grandfather (my grandfather has actually passed due to the disease). I have four siblings - I am the only one that hasn't been through a 10 step program. So - I do have some insight..lol..

The way I have survived the craziness that goes with addiction is by compartmentalizing my life. On the surface, that probably sounds like a really sad way to live your life - but it allows me to find balance. I know, and have fully accepted, that people can only be who they are - not who we want or need them to be. Given that - I put them in a "place" in my life and that is where they stay (until such time that there is sufficient time and healing that may expand that space). I keep them in that compartment of my life - it saves me from being an emotional pin cushion (for the most part).

My husband has what I consider a drinking problem - he isn't raging like your sister - but he let it get out of control. I am still struggling with that relationship - but when he crossed the line - I did what I had to do.

That is where you have to be with addicts - you have to have your line and know where it is. The temptation is to move the line - to let things slide because you love them. I have recently been reminded that you are not helping them by enabling them.

As cliche as it sounds, no matter what you do - how much emotional support you offer or what you personally sacrifice - she has to save herself and you have to let her do that - succeed or fail.

Addiction is a long, twisted road that causes everyone who loves the addict a great deal of pain. So - if you do decide to personally sacrifice to help her - make sure you take care of yourself physically, spiritually and emotionally. You'll need all of your strength.

One thing I did - and it is cliche again - is write out my priorities. Your first priority will be your kids, but what next and where does she fit in? Writing it out helped me see my path.

I'm not sure this is really going to make sense - or if I am articulating myself very well...and now, I realize I need to take some of my own advice.

Sorry for the long post - I hope some of it helps.

Peace - Kim

The Rambler said...

I'm struggling for the right thing to say and I've been back a couple times, thinking and pondering....

I had an employee that used to be my old roommate. In fact he's the reason my husband and I met.

He's my first experience with someone out of control with his alcohol.

He not only changed in his personality but in his physical appearance. He moved a lot slower at work, he looked confused more, his skin started to turn yellow, his fingers locked up. We did the polite way of suggesting help. We without meaning to formed a small support system of helping him.

He and I had a really intense moment and I let myself do something as a manager I don't like to do and that was show some real raw emotion and fear. I told him I felt I was watching a person on the edge... to death. I believe I was the first person to tell him that.

I tried to convince him to get help. I told him he wouldn't lose his job. That to get help BEFORE it resulted in losing his job. It exhausted me. That rawness. The support group that had formed at work were encouraged by me to be raw and honest. To not allow him to be in denial with us. We were not going to enable.

Well, I'm sure you won't be surprised. It lasted a day or two and he convinced himself he had it under control. Until one day he came to work with his mouth bleeding and I sadly/angrily made it a sanitary health issue that he could not work until he could be cleared by a doctor. He had liver issues, and his kidneys were being beat up. No doctor would let him back without the proper help? Right? He was gone a month. In that time, he left several of us messages. He had tried to get another job while he was out from us. He called one of my managers and screamed he was the reason no one would hire him. He called me to say "goodbye" and that he appreciated everything I tried to do for him. I was angry but freaked out. I called another friend to check up on him. It was an empty drunken threat. I couldn't do it anymore. I had a daughter that I wanted/needed/deserved to have if not most, ALL my energy and attention. I rejected his calls, I avoided him when he came to look for handouts at work, I got encouraged when he came to me the day before he went into Rehab, I was beyond happy when he got out 30 days later and looked like the old friend I knew. I was devastated a week later when he fell off and one of us from work found him passed out drunk on the streets.

I did all I think I could.

I'm sorry that it's your sister because there's supposed to be a code that we all stick by our siblings. But as we grow up, we make families of our own. Our children become our FIRST priority. It's all I can think of to say. That to let their joy for this Christmas be what warms your heart (not meaning to be cheesy). They deserve your attention. They want your attention.

Forgive the length but it's all I could think of to write. :(

David Ray said...

I definitely see why you have been avoiding to write this blog entry.

Truth is, I have never had an alcoholic around me, although my mother drinks a lot - but she's not near to alcoholism like your sister is. But I've known other addictions even though not addictions involving drinking or drugs or sex or shoplifting or any actual addictions of the sort. I'm not sure how to put that so it will make sense. Anyway though, so, I can definitely see this both through the eyes of your sister and through yours.

Undeniably, your sister needs you. I know you want to help her and you can. If you do help her fight to sustain her marriage she may find a way to repay you when you will be in need of her assistance, whether that happens in 5 or 20 years. I know that there is a battle going on inside you about this and I'm afraid I cannot tell you to do that one or the other. Your kids are far more important than your sister, but she is family as well and if you deny helping her your relationship might deteriorate further. I know you don't want that. But sometimes when people need you -the same way she does right now- you just have to shove that fullspoon of ego down your throat and help, no matter how difficult it may be to digest. You may not like it, it may ruin your Christmas this year, it may take you away from your kids for a while, but in the long run it will make you feel better and Christmas will come again next year and you have all the time you want in the world to be with your kids - they will understand why if you explain to them, they already know you're their daddy and nothing can change that; whether it is a not-so-jolly Christmas or whether it is a short time gap and odd intervals, they know you're there.

On the other hand, why ruin your Christmas for your sister's sake? You didn't do anything, why do you have to pay the price for a lifetime of her mistakes? Maybe that divorce is something that was long way coming and she might actually deserve all that she's coming to her. Maybe you need to confront her and share your thoughts with her, even if you find that to be futile since she may not understand what you're going through and what you have already been through because of Mike and your father and the leniency your parents seem to have been showing upon her all this time. Sorry for talking this way, but see how terrible it sounds? I know I can be a real asshole, I'd probably just pretend to be of assistance to her when all my thoughts are at home with my kids.

But as I have said before, my dear Brian, no matter what I or other people tell you, no matter the feedback we give you on "do this" or "no, do that" it is ultimately your decision to make. You are alone in this, but no matter which choice you make, I want you to know you have my full support and no matter what choice you make it will be the right one.

Didn't mean to sound so intrusive and get so talkative again, but what the heck? Mean and intrusive is all I am sometimes...

distractinglybombastic said...

Thanks everyone for writing. I will take things away from what each of you has said and try to form something that's comfortable for me.

Until then, I have a horrible cold right now so I'm gonna go hibernate in my bed for a while but I'll probably be writing another (unrelated to the last) blog tonight.

Seriously, thanks for the comments. means a lot to have feedback

Penz said...

Wow, you definatly have a situation. Being brought up in an alcoholic family and being the sober one I have to tell you that it is always drama.

What I think is that you are already realizing the situation for what it is. Drama. I know you want no part in it, and your mother won't let you avoid it, so you must stand your ground.

Your sister is a grown woman who although does not have a good mental head on her shoulders is responsible for her own life. Tell her you love her, no matter what. If things get out of hand or she does, tell her how you feel in a calming way. But stick to your beliefs.

Christmas doesn't have to suck because of her. Its what you let happen to you that decides how you feel about what activity or thing in life is going on.

Think about those beautiful kids. They are your number one priority. Your job is to keep them safe and in a healthy enviroment. You may also need to tell your mom that in case things blow up at christmas, but whats important is that you protect your kids from that behaviour. They don't need to have you feeling down on christmas.

Christmas is about the ones you love, but if the ones you love are not sane, or rational, then you must let them know you do not agree with their actions, that you love them as people, but that your job is your children. If they cannot respect that or act correct, then you just move on with what your doing in life. People tend to come around when you tell them like it is.

I deal with this with my inlaws monthly. My mIL is a closet drinker and calls when shes all buzzed, she has said many things to piss me off, I call her on it and I stick with it. T doesn't and can't say anything. Last christmas I told them they were not welcomed at my home because of her drama. But, I told her and everyone else why. I don't hide my feelings from anyone. That lesson did not come easy either, but I know now what when your dealing with drunks and family its about you and your kids, NO MATTER WHAT!

I hope I helped somehow. :)

Smile and don't let that ruin your christmas k. there are worse things going on in life right now for others that you can be grateful for the life you have made for your family. much love to you.

Kalei said...

I think that you can either let others have control of your happiness or you can take control of your own happiness. You seem like you took the reigns and have already made a happy life separated from the drama of your sisters with the exception of family get-to-gethers.
Your sister seems to have let others either effect her happiness or take full control of it. She will need to help herself there. She sounds like she really needs help, but professional help, not the kind where you get sucked in and only provide her with what she thinks she needs. Aside from that, i am truly not qualified to give advise in this department as Lady with a View seems to have that to offer by way of experience. I am sorry you both have that to deal with in your lives, and certainly that you have to deal with it around the holidays. Lady, you have given much insight. Thanks to the both of you for sharing.

Thanks again for reading my post and commenting also, It makes a girl feel validated. =)