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Sea Ray
11-19-2007, 09:57 PM
My brother in law "fell off the wagon" this weekend. He hit bottom, drinking vodka at 10am, not eating for days and taking drinks to ward off the shakes. To make a long story short, his sister arrived at his doorstep at 10am and by 4 pm convinced him to go to the emergency room. Upon examination he still tested .16% blood alcohol at that point.

He is now in day 2 of detox. I've heard that day 3 is the worst. I think they're planning on keeping him about a week and do rehab at the hospital.

Having never gone through something like this, what should we expect in the near future? I'm thinking when he gets out his alcoholic stupor he'll deny that he has to give up drinking and that he's just going through a bad time.

Will he need someone to stay with him for a few weeks or will he be OK on his own? He's a mid 40s bachelor. We're trying to figure out as a family if we need to rearrange schedules to set up a tag team to stay with him when he gets out of rehab. What should we as a family be doing for him?

GoReds33
11-19-2007, 10:43 PM
From what I saw on the internet, the side-effects of his detox will only last up to two weeks. I also saw something that mentioned that tremors and seizures are possible in those first two weeks. Good luck. I hope this all turns out well.

George Foster
11-19-2007, 10:54 PM
I feel sorry for you and your family. You obviously love him very much and care for his well being. With that being said, until he decides he wants to kick this, the families hard work will be in vain. You cannot babysit a grown man indefinitely. He has to be his own keeper eventually. Does he have a history of falling off the wagon or is this the first time in a long time? He cannot fool himself and think he can drink socially. He must give it up...all of it...forever.

You all are in my prayers. Good luck.

M2
11-19-2007, 11:51 PM
I've got family who've gotten on the wagon. It always takes longer than people on the outside want it to. You'll go from denial to a lot of lip service and you'll be floored at how irrational another human can be. You'd like to think enough of a demonstration that people care would help fix someone, that people would recognize how broken they are.

From experience, if you haven't gone past the reasonable limits of human endurance then your drinker probably hasn't hit bottom yet.

I also knew a guy who drank himself to death. He came from a good family, people who cared, but he had no bottom to hit. He went to top facilities, knew he had a problem, got sober a half dozen times and he still drank himself to death. Whatever it is inside that makes you stop, he never found it.

Razor Shines
11-20-2007, 12:10 AM
In the experience I've had with one family member I think M2 is correct, the person has to find that bottom and some just don't have one other than death, which was the case with my family member. Unfortunately I think the fact that your brother in law doesn't have kids (I'm assuming) will make it harder for him to find his bottom, but it's different with everyone. He could have already found his rock bottom.

You'll be in my prayers, I know it's hard.

bigredmechanism
11-20-2007, 12:27 AM
wisah i knew what to say here. i been through a lot of this with a close family member in the past. real tough times, i know what youre going through. basically, m2 hit it on the head; he needs to truly want to quit. interventions can work, but its ultimately up to him. i hope everything works out for you and your family.

Sea Ray
11-20-2007, 10:31 AM
Does he have a history of falling off the wagon or is this the first time in a long time? He cannot fool himself and think he can drink socially. He must give it up...all of it...forever.



This is his first time. He's always been a heavy drinker. He's someone who will drink before dinner and then when most of us are thinking about heading to bed he opts to "go out", play pool, shoot darts, etc and drink.

In August he started a new job where he works from home. I think that's when this turned into a 'round the clock problem.

I'm thinking he'll say he can go back to drinking socially and he'll fall off again. It may be next month or years from now but I doubt this will be it. I guess that's typically the way these things work. The truth is no family member lives closer than 600 miles from him. Our hope is that some AA member sponsors him and knows how to deal with the attitude of denial.

Sea Ray
11-21-2007, 10:18 AM
This is his first time. He's always been a heavy drinker. He's someone who will drink before dinner and then when most of us are thinking about heading to bed he opts to "go out", play pool, shoot darts, etc and drink.

Allow me to amend this statement. The truth is you don't know for sure with alcoholics because they're so good at hiding stuff. We did learn yesterday that this is not his first detox. He was admitted to the same hospital a year ago for a 3 day drying out unbeknownst to us.

He tried to leave yesterday but this time he has family and an orderly assigned to watch him so he cannot leave. When asked why he stopped eating last week he said " because it hurt to eat food." He's coming out of his stupor and we can ask questions. It's clear that he's still not admitting to a problem with alcohol nor will he attempt a lifestyle change at this point. Every day brings new revelations on the extent and timetable of his problem.

dfs
11-21-2007, 10:52 AM
It's clear that he's still not admitting to a problem with alcohol nor will he attempt a lifestyle change at this point.

You have my sympathies.

Sea Ray
11-21-2007, 11:51 AM
You have my sympathies.

I appreciate your thoughts. Actually we're doing fine. This is very self destructive behavior on his part. It's not our fault nor is this behavior hurting us. We live hundreds of miles away and we see him maybe one week a year. It's up to him to get better. He doesn't own a car right now so he's not drinking and driving. We (my wife and I) refuse to let his stupid decisions bring us down.

TeamCasey
11-23-2007, 09:06 AM
Sea Ray,

Just be prepared if your rock bottom isn't his rock bottom. You'd be amazed.

My brother's rock bottom isn't what I thought it would be. I beleive his rock bottom is death. I expect that to happen within a year.

He's had a ton of support, multiple rehab stints and finally we all realize there isn't much we can do. This is what he wants. Like you and your wife, I also will not let his decisions take over my life.

I hope your outcome is better than ours. If he's into the vodka ..... he's probably been damaging his liver for longer than you realize.

Sea Ray
11-23-2007, 11:33 AM
Sea Ray,

Just be prepared if your rock bottom isn't his rock bottom. You'd be amazed.




Thanks for relaying your experience. It helps.

That sounds very familiar to ours.

He's now released from his hospital rehab (4 days) and my bet is he'll be back to binging as soon as everyone leaves next week. He needs a lot more than to go to evening meetings to kick this thing.

I'll see him over Christmas. I'll be curious as to how that plays out. Will he be drinking then? If so how do we handle it? Do we scorn him or enable him? Neither sounds like a good option. Drinking is a big part of the holidays for my in laws in general. Will they cut that out on account of his issues. Stay tuned...

TeamCasey
11-23-2007, 12:14 PM
Yeah, my young cousins used to think my brother was funny on Thanksgivings. Life of the party. (Now they see how unfunny it it). My mom and I would spend the day in quiet anger and frustration. I stopped going home for holidays years ago. Not spending $1000 bucks on the trip for that nonsense.

Just one of those things that he took from me.

...... and I'm no angel. There's social drinking and there's a dark side.

OldRightHander
11-24-2007, 09:36 AM
I appreciate your thoughts. Actually we're doing fine. This is very self destructive behavior on his part. It's not our fault nor is this behavior hurting us. We live hundreds of miles away and we see him maybe one week a year. It's up to him to get better. He doesn't own a car right now so he's not drinking and driving. We (my wife and I) refuse to let his stupid decisions bring us down.

I like your attitude. That's kind of how I had to view things when my brother was on and off drugs for a period of years a while back. He's been clean now for a bit and we're all hoping it will last, but there was a while there where I just had to distance myself from everything and keep my own life in order.

Sea Ray
01-28-2008, 06:08 PM
Since I started this saga, I figure I owe it to those interested to give an update.

My brother in law had another problem a week ago. It was very similar to before. He was too drunk to make it to work, stopped eating and generally completely out of it. Again we put him in the hospital to dry out and go through detox. This isn't a fun scene to witness. On about day 3 the patient gets very agitated and sometimes violent. It gets so bad they have to strap in the legs and arms. They have to monitor high blood pressure and heart rates. In order to combat this they set up IVs with very high doses of Valium.

A week later he's still not out. He still doesn't accept the seriousness of his problem but they are hopeful that he'll get into a rehab program this week. Whether he takes it to heart, I don't know. He needs to get locked up in Betty Ford for a month but most ordinary people's insurance doesn't cover such a program. My wife's been watching over him leaving me to play Mr Mom, but oh well. I don't know if this episode will work out any better than the one in November but apparently that experience didn't teach him anything.

jimbo
01-28-2008, 07:03 PM
Sea Ray, I wonder if the fact that he is not married, lives alone, and has no kids plays into your brother-in-law's continuous cycle of self-destruction? His falling off the wagon just may be his way of getting attention.

I'm 40 myself and am not married and do not have kids. I know at times in my life currently the loneliness and the extreme quiet of an empty house can be very difficult the deal with. I'm a social drinker and have never dabbled in drugs, but I can see where it would be an easy trap to fall into as it can be an escape from the loneliness.

It sounds to me he needs to find something in his life that will motivate him enough to make him realize he is leading down a path that will eventually kill him. That "something" is different for every person, whether it would be finding a good woman, finding religion, or whatever. He has to want it though.

I sincerely hope he finds his way. Keep us updated.

Sea Ray
01-29-2008, 01:08 AM
Sea Ray, I wonder if the fact that he is not married, lives alone, and has no kids plays into your brother-in-law's continuous cycle of self-destruction? His falling off the wagon just may be his way of getting attention.

I'm 40 myself and am not married and do not have kids. I know at times in my life currently the loneliness and the extreme quiet of an empty house can be very difficult the deal with. I'm a social drinker and have never dabbled in drugs, but I can see where it would be an easy trap to fall into as it can be an escape from the loneliness.

It sounds to me he needs to find something in his life that will motivate him enough to make him realize he is leading down a path that will eventually kill him. That "something" is different for every person, whether it would be finding a good woman, finding religion, or whatever. He has to want it though.

I sincerely hope he finds his way. Keep us updated.

On the surface he seems to have plenty of friends and he always has a steady girlfriend but this one has had to endure a great deal. We've tried to convince her to move on but I think she has some codependency issues herself. But she's done a wonderful job getting him to the hospital both times and calling us as well. But you're right, I think something is severely missing from his life. Let's hope they sort that out in rehab.

Right now I'm suspicious of the decisions of the medical team at the hospital. I think they should have weaned him off of this Valium type drug they've given him and let him get on with his rehab (provided we can convince him to go). I don't think someone with addiction problems shoud be given a controlled substance for over a week. They still have not said how long they plan to keep him.

SunDeck
01-29-2008, 07:39 AM
Wow, Sea Ray- this must be tough to endure. Best wishes to you and to your brother in law, who I hope can turn things around.