kanedoc

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my brother-in-law (21 y/o) is a recovering alcoholic. (his dad was also an alcoholic) he and my sister have a month old kid.

he has been sober for 1.5 years, but recently, after the baby was born, he has been drinking some again (i presume to relieve stress of increased responsibility).

my question: what is the best advice that i can give them (medically)? (i think he is already on an anti-depressent)

i'm entering med-school in august and i think alcoholism is a an important medical issue. while identification may be hard, the hardest part seems to be long-term treatment. what are the best practices out there?
 

Mr. Rosewater

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you can't give him medical advice, just try to get him to AA. I have family members in the program and it seems to work well for pple who want to be clean.
 

beanbean

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Be there to support your sister and try to attend Al-Anon meetings to learn more about alcoholism and how it effects families and loved ones. Al-Anon web site

If you have a good relationship with your brother-in-law, talk to him. Tell him you are concerned and you are there for him if he wants to get help. Alcoholism is a disease of denial and your words of concern may be met with anger and scorn, but speaking out is important. Silence is often interpreted as approval in the alcoholics mind.

Alcoholism is a life long disease. Even though a person may stop drinking the disease is still present and will pick up right where it left off if drinking resumes. Part of the AA philosphy is that "while you are living life, your disease is always doing push-ups" i.e. getting stronger and will be ready to destroy you if you take that first drink again. There is a big difference between being sober and being dry. If an alcoholic merely stops drinking and doesn't learn to cope with life without alcohol they are more likely to relapse than someone who learns to live a sober life.

Don't let the circumstances of a new baby be the excuse why your brother-in-law started drinking again. He made the choice to drink and the responsibility lies with him.

I think it is great that you have an interest in alcoholism as a disease. No matter what field of medicine you choose; you will see the effects of substance abuse in your patients. It is a very frustrating disease to try to treat...AA describes it as cunning and baffling.

There are many treatments available to alcoholics, but AA has the best record of success. It is simple and straight-forward and the only requirement is the desire to stop drinking.

There are open AA meetings which non-alcoholics are welcome to attend (closed meetings are for alcoholics only). Call the number for AA in your phone book and ask for a meeting schedule if you are interested in attending one. It is a great experience.

I know what it is like to live with an alcoholic in your family. PM me if you have any questions or just want to talk.
 
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Kalel

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Yup, I agree. Addiction is not an appropriate medical problem to be addressed by physicians in the family, leave his treatment plan to his physician and whatever addictions counselors he may be seeing. Just try to be supportive as his brother, don't try to be his physician.
 

kanedoc

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Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

I think that my brother-in-law has been attending AA meetings. Now that I have read more about AA, I would like to attend a few meetings myself.

beanbean you are right, I have an interest in alcoholism from both (future) professional and personal viewpoints. I can see were addiction and substance abuse could be issues in patient care. Kalel, I agree with you as well, there are many professionals to help medically, but I am to be a brother.
 
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