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Finding the bottom of the barrel

Posted by Echo on 15 September 2015.

My brother is an alcoholic. He has been a substance abuser most of his life. We have had long periods without contact with him and from time to time he dries out, but never for long, always when he feels better he starts drinking beer. He justifies this by saying it's better than spirits. However,he always finds himself drinking spirits once more. He drinks most of the day, joking about having a can by 10 am. This is part of the problem, he finds it amusing to tell people he's an alcoholic. He has a house but he lives at the family home. He tells people , who ask, that he had such  a great time getting wrecked and ending up with no money, no job, his house is a wreck, but it was worth it . He has  no ambition in life, except to live on very little so that he can buy tobacco and beer. I find that I have started drinking more now that he is living in the same house although i do not drink during the week, I have started drinking more at the weekend. Previously, my brother would avoid social situations, as he got totally out of control, now, however, he drinks but so far he has not become as out of control as he used to- however, I feel it is only a matter of time. Anyway, he is hard to talk with, conversations are erratic, usually he speaks too loudly and with excitability. also very intense and this is what i find stressful- in my face and insisting I look at something or do something, very insistent. My mother- I dont know how she manages him living here, but after reading so many stories, I realise that is her choice. She doesnt  discuss it with me but the few times we have talked, she thinks he can just stop. She gets angry with me for encouraging him to drink by having alcohol in the house and drinking. I suppose I could be teetotal but why should I stop drinking in my own home ? So is it my problem too, am i just not addressing my own issues with alcohol? should I have  a dry house? It doesn't stop my brother drinking. He says I'm an alcoholic as I drink to relax and drink frequently, but I have recently cut out the week day drinking, even the odd beer. I dont want to live with my brother for much longer but he is not showing any signs of going back to his own house. I know i need to move out, the whole family situation seems unhealthy to me.


Icarus Trust
26 Oct 2015

Hi Echo
This is a very hard situation that you are having to deal with. If you would find it helpful to talk with someone who would understand what you are going through please contact The Icarus Trust. We are a charity that supports friends and families of addicts. You could be put in touch with one of our trained experienced volunteers who might help you to make decisions about your next steps. You would also be able to find out what other support  there is for yourself, your mum and your brother.
You can contact us on or visit the website
Good luck with everything.

10 Jun 2016

Thank you for sharing your story.

It seems there are few services and research done considering the experience of family members, in particular siblings. That is why I am conducting a research project looking at the narratives of siblings, encouraging others like you to share their experiences. If you wish to participate and share your story or would like more information please contact me at Thank you.

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