QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Alcohol, Nicotine, & Other Drug Use Department
Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking
behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.
I have a concern about my sister. She is a heavy drinker, with mood
disorders that are sometimes present even when she isn't drinking.
The problem is I want to have a close relationship with her and we do,
but she is so unhappy and stressed out all of the time, that I am beginning
not to want anything to do with her at all, which is painful to me. What
can I do to help my sister?
As you have a close relationship with her right now you can have an
influence on her sobriety. If you only want to be around her when
she's sober, tell her so in a positive, caring way. Spend time together
when she's sober and remove yourself when she's not. Her mood difficulties,
however, may be a trigger for heavy drinking and she's at risk for
returning to it until she learns some additional strategies for managing her
There is a wealth of information here at the zine she could use.
She might also benefit from a consultation and/or therapy from a
professional. Alanon is a 12-step program, like AA, and has free meetings
all over the world. Its focus is for friends and loved ones of alcoholics.
A colleague of mine, Robert J. "Bob" Meyers, is in the process of
publishing a book for concerned family members such as you but it's not in
print yet. Until then you might consider looking at a chapter of his (chapter
11) in a new book by William R. Miller and Nick Heather, Treating addictive
behaviors (second edition) by Plenum (1998).
Reid K. Hester, Ph.D.
Director, Research Division
Behavior Therapy Associates
3810 Osuna Rd NE Suite 1
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Behavioral Self-control Program for Windows