How do I talk to my alcoholic sister?
November 25, 2006 9:47 AM Subscribe
How do I talk to my alcoholic sister about her problem?
I am home for the holidays staying with my 44-year-old sister and her husband and am shocked at her condition. Her husband had a stroke five years ago and is physically healthy but somewhat childlike (no short term memory) and very dependent on her. They don't have kids.
Anyway, I live on the other side of the country and get home ever other year. Two summers ago I noticed that she was drinking a lot but chalked it up to the party atmosphere around the reunion of our families.
This time it is achingly clear that she is an alcoholic and that it is coming to a crisis stage. She gets drunk to passing out every night, slurring her speech for several hours near the end. She seems to polish off about a bottle-and-a-half of wine each night. She is on some kind of probation at work for screwing up and not being then when she should. (She has a very important job at a legal firm.) In the morning she has that sour body odor that one associates with alcoholics. Her face is puffy and worn-looking. She has wrestled with depression her whole life and takes some kind of anti-depressant. She is in a bad place and going in the wrong direction.
I can't say nothing, but I have to be careful that it doesn’t backfire. She has always acted like we are in some kind of life competition and tends to resent my modest success. I don't want to just piss her off. How do I tell her that I am concerned and that she should seek help?