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 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 mood.

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
505.345.6100 ph
505.342.2454 fax
Behavioral Self-control Program for Windows


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