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.

Question

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?

Answer

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).

11/18/98

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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