It is coming up on 2 months since I last wrote about my alcoholic brother, Horatio. He has had some great success at abstinence along with some unfortunate bouts of relapse. Every relapse is just as hard, if not harder than the last on him.
When Horatio and I sat down and talked 2 months ago, together we decided on two large areas. The first being that he will give me 30 consecutive days of abstinence. We discussed that this is a mountain of a task and that I would not expect him to be able to accomplish this without relapsing at least a handful of times. I emphasized that I did not care if he relapsed, only that he was honest with me when he did so that we could start over from day 1 again. He has still not given me 30 consecutive days, but I look forward to when I can congratulate him on a job well done.
The second order that we agreed on was that he would put all areas of his life aside until he was sober for at least 30 days. This meant that he could not look for a job, he could not look for a girlfriend, and he could not work on other areas of his life that were not directly related to remaining sober. If he wanted to exercise or go to AA meetings or relax with family and friends, then that was perfectly acceptable, so long as it was sober activities. Unfortunately, he has not succeeded in this area either. He had been actively looking for a job and was hired 10 days ago.
This concerns me for many reasons. The primary reason is that Horatio does not have good coping skills. This is what leads him to pick up the bottle in the first place. An individual with poor coping skills will have a much greater likelihood of succumbing to relapse. He has already disclosed to me that over the very first weekend after his first 3 days of work that he had a relapse. Fortunately he was able to sober up before Monday morning and still has the job as far as I know. I assume that it is only a matter of time before they find out his dirty habit.
In our most recent discussion I reiterated that I was uncomfortable with him having a job when he still has not given me 30 days of abstinence. Rather than hassling him about this, we discussed ways to help him cope with stress and made sure that he knew I would always pick up the phone if he was thinking about having a drink. I hope that he has the strength to do so.