Brother not my child


New Member
Hello Everyone,
My 60 year old brother is an alcoholic. He has been for treatment many times. He comes out and is like another person for awhile. He has been thrown out of every place he lives because of things he does when under the influence. My older brother has taken him in and will never again have him live with him. He has lived with me many times in between the times he has been trying to find another place to live. His options are over, he has nowhere to live but with me. He doesn't have enough income to get his own place. He has a disability income due to a back issue. So with the promise of staying sober my older brother paid for a room and bathroom for him to be built in my basement. Guess what? He is still drinking!
He doesn't drive, so when I'm working he walks to the liquor store. My son-in-law saw him. I never said a word to him about being seen until a few weeks later when he came upstairs and I knew he had been drinking. He's mean and nasty when he drinks. I confronted him and he lied right to my face as he's done many times. I went downstairs and found the beer hidden in a closet. Brought it upstairs and put it in front of him. He got mad and said he can have a few beers what's the problem? I told him to get out if he wants to keep drinking or start going to AA meetings. He refuses, says he can stop on his own, doesn't need to go. He is working on finding a place. He has told me that may times. Same thing happens, I am at my wits end with him.


Well-Known Member
Hi. I am sorry you felt a need to post here. I feel your pain and am sad for your hurting heart. We are dealing with adult kids but I will send you prayers and tell you what I think.

I hope you are going to Al Anon. If not, that is my first suggestion. I feel the program really helps the enablers, maybe moreso than the addicts. We need to learn to let go and take care of ourselves first. in my opinion that's what would be best for you and your brother. Yes, best for him too.b

At age 60 he has probably been drinking a mind boggling amount of years. Decades. Yet he is still alive and his liver isn't shot. in my opinion he is old enough to take care of his own problems. At his age he may not quit until death.

Meanwhile you are not a kid anymore and have healthy loved ones. You do not need to take care of a man who is 60 and still drinks. There are rooms and low income places he can live on Disability. If not, there are homeless shelters and social workers can help him out and do more than you can. Because you can't do anything. He is not going to obey what you want him to do nor listen to your house rules even though you were beyond gracious to take him in.

Using addicts do not change. They do not feel gratitude. They are not kind. They don't help themselves on our timetables and I really wonder if your brother will ever get help. He is running out of time for a sober life at all. You don't have to go down the rabbit hole with him. You can still enjoy your golden years. Without him to babysit for.

I think your brother was smart. It's about time.

Of course this is up to you. It's just my ideas.

I am sorry that your brother decided to stay actively drinking and to take his family with him. But it's up to you if you play his game or not. You can not fix him. Nobody has been able to all this time. I suspect you have all suffered a lot all your lives over this brother. But you can decide to stop now. Or not.

I have a daughter who is addicted. She is 33. We finally stopped helping her. It was and is hard, but I can finally breathe. Yes, I feel guilty, but my husband and I have done more than try to save her. Now she has to save herself. Her sister is now caring for her child. It is a sad thing to watch a loved one who is addicted.

I send you more prayers and gentle hugs. This is hard.


Well-Known Member
How many years/decades has he been drinking heavily? He may not be long for this world. He has resigned himself to this life. It wouldn't be safe for him to detox except in a hospital.


Well-Known Member
Hi Barbara,
As a recovering alcoholic who has been sober in AA for 28 years, I can tell you that I know you are hurting, and that your brother's drinking has deeply affected you.

I can also tell you that your brother is not bad. He is sick. Alcohol is not his problem. It is his solution. His problem is his relationship to himself and how he feels about himself. His problem is the disease of alcoholism that plays out through cognitive distortions (Google them). He drinks because that is what alcoholics do. If he knew how to stop, he would. He knows it's killing him.

Because you are approaching this with a logical mind, confronting him with the bottles and with the fact that he is drinking seems reasonable to you. But to the alcoholic, it is not. He doesn't think the way "normal folks" do . He is employing a coping skills called denial because he is terrified what he will feel if he does not drink. There is nothing you can say to him he has not told himself. He is deeply steeped in shame about his coping mechanism drinking. He has most likely experienced trauma in his life, and his limbic system has kicked in to deal with the trauma in (unhealthy) ways .

Having explained all that for your better understanding of the situation, this situation ultimately is about you: to get the focus off your brother and onto yourself. It doesn't sound like it, but that is actually all you can do for him and the best you can do for him. You can learn how in Al-Anon meetings like Busy mentioned in her post to you .I want to strongly recommend Al-Anon to you . When you take care of yourself, the alcoholic has a chance to start taking care of himself.

To that end, the remedy for his shame is compassion. The remedy for his situation is encouragement and understanding. Don't catch him in his alcoholism anymore. Just let it be, and treat him like you would any healthy adult: expect him to be responsible for himself. Don't do anything for him he can do for himself or should be able to do for himself as an adult.

The only person who might get through to him is another alcoholic but only if and when he is ready. So the next time he feels low and perhaps brings up to you that he feels bad about drinking or facing the consequences of his drinking, that would be a moment to bring up AA - maybe hand him the local help line number for your area. Tell him that you can't help him but that these people might and give him the number. AA will know how to handle it when he calls . He knows about AA, the seed has been planted. Only mention it to him once when he is down and out, and then let it settle within him. Have no expectations that he call. Just take care of you. Pray for him.