Addiction to Alcohol/ALCOHOL & MY SISTER


Hello Charlie,
         My sister is 45 I am 46 we are 11 months apart we look totally different and our personalities are very different, so growing up there was no real competition. She is a full blown alcoholic, lost her children when they were young, blaming her ex husband.....bla ..bla ..bla .. My parents and I suffer more guilt than anything! She rings on random days..txt messages like she is scared,or dying...we respond but it is all just acting.What happens if she really does do the un mention
nable.We dread the day she does do it.what do I say or do? please help.Michelle

Dear Michelle,

I'm sorry for your troubles. They are real and I know they are difficult. Thank you for reaching out for help.

Alcoholism is a family disease. The nondrinkers in the family become confounded, angry, and feel utterly hopeless. They start and continue making decisions based on the drinking alcoholic's behavior. In your case you're scared to death that you may lose your sister as she continues to threaten suicide and as she emotionally manipulates you and your family.

Suicide threats must be taken seriously. I lost a brother this way twenty years ago. In my drinking days, I could threaten suicide with the best of them back in the old days.

But there is good news and you don't have to suffer. There are some concrete steps you can take to make the situation better.

When suicide threats are made by one person on a daily basis, they lose value. It's like Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling. Here are two things you may do:

One, gather your family (or you may do this by yourself) and tell your sister, "WE KNOW YOU MIGHT COMMIT SUICIDE, BUT WE ALSO KNOW IT WON'T BE OUR FAULT."

Two, I don't know how it is in Australia, but in some of the states here, when one threatens suicide, she may be detained on a psychiatric hold. contact your local police department and/or your local public mental health authority.

Now, about you. I suggest contacting your local Al-Anon Family Groups. Members of this fellowship have experiences like you have had, they understand the pain you're going through, and they have a solution to offer. (The link is at the bottom of this note to you.)

Please let me know if I may be of more help. You may contact me here or on Facebook.

I care, and I love you Michelle.


Charlie Haviland  

Addiction to Alcohol

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Charlie Haviland


I am a recovered alcoholic. My experience in the the addiction recovery process is personal and professional. I am better suited to address questions about alcoholism.


I have been a member of a twelve step fellowship since 1984. I have facilitated a fourteen week, twelve step workshop at Henry Ford Hospital, West Bloomfield, Michigan

I am on the auxiliary staff of the Stepping Stones Foundation- the Historic Home of Bill & Lois Wilson, in Bedford Hills, NY

New York Times, Newsweek, Wired Magazine, Grapevine, Huffington Post, The Detroit News, Detroit Free-Press, Denver Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, Denver Lo-Do News, The Oakland Press, Detroit Metro Times, Denver Westword

Michigan certification: FOADP (Fundamentals of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems)

©2017 All rights reserved.