Losing my younger brother tragically

Hello I lost my younger brother on Boxing Day 2022, he has suffered with alcoholism and kept it very hidden, I didn’t realise how low he was and our last conversation, he had got a new job and seeming much happier. We had our usual long facetime laughing away and then he went off air. Ten days later after frantic calls to police ambulance, friends to break in to his flat, he was found and it was too late. I wish I had done things differently to help. I live overseas and we talked and messaged daily but this time, I didn’t fly home to get to him and it was too late.
Every day is filled with guilt, utter sadness at losing him. He was a remarkable, brilliant man but didn’t get proper help for his issues. I wonder if anyone has experienced loss through addiction. My heart is broken forever

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Hello @BermudaBreeze,

I’m part of the Online Community team and I can see that you are new to the community - I’d like to thank you for bravely starting this thread and sharing how you are feeling. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. Most community members have sadly experienced the death of a loved one and so will understand some of what you are going through.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to share a few Sue Ryder resources with you that might be helpful.

I really hope you find the community helpful and a good source of support and I also hope you feel you can access more support should you need it.

Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.

Take care,
Alex

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Thank you Alex, I really appreciate your kind words and support

Hi @BermudaBreeze
Sorry for your sad loss, you are not alone, sadly my dad has always been a problem drinker, I grew up with it, & the upset, arguments & trauma it has caused, & continues to cause. I think sometimes it helps to look up information which can help give a clearer understanding of the condition, on www.alcoholrehabguide.org
it says, “The world health organisation estimates that alcohol kills 3 million people throughout the world every year. So alcohol is the cause of 5.3% of all human deaths annually”, most common causes being alcohol poisoning, cancer, car accidents, heart failure, liver damage, & violence.
I know knowing statistics isn’t going to change anything, & it won’t bring your brother back, I guess I’m just trying to say, your not alone, sadly alcoholism is a big problem, & I can say from experience of my dad, that you can never force an addict of any kind to accept help if they’re not willing to accept it, it has to be their choice, in this sense, there is nothing you could of done, so please don’t berate yourself with the "I should have…"s & the “what ifs”, they do you no good. Sadly most problem drinkers are good at hiding it from most people, partly because most people don’t realise what they’re looking at & dismiss things easily, even when they do see them drunk, they just presume they’ve had too much to drink & dismiss it as a one off, or they just like to party more than others, they never consider that it’s a symptom of a bigger problem, so be kind to yourself, you obviously cared for him very much, & that’s all you can do. Sending hugs of support.

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Thank you so much for your reply. It seems like I only understand this disease now and its way too late. To me it is the worst kind of disease as it tricks the mind. My brother was the most intelligent, funny and adored by so many lovely friends and he acknowledged his problems but could drink a few beers, have no problems continue working was never, ever messy or falling over etc or even seeming drunk but occasionally it would take him. It happened about ten years ago and then twice in the last four years, the last binge killed him. This has always been so confusing for us as he was never really appearing drunk. I am so sorry for father’s issues and the affect it has had on you and your family. It really can tear families apart. My brother was so loved, difficult at times which now I know he probably couldn’t help but we were so close. I feel so lost and lonely without him. Your kind words are so appreciated.

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I have just recently joined as I lost my sister through alcohol. She didn’t hide the fact she drank a lot until we spoke to her about it. She promised she’d stopped but obviously hadn’t as she ended up having a varicose bleed in the throat and passing away. She was good at hiding it but did end up in Hospital few times with jaundice but still said she wasn’t drinking. Like yourself by this point it was too late to intervene and I still have guilt I didn’t do more. My sympathy’s to you and your family

I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t think anyone really understands unless they have seen a family member go through this awful disease. To watch someone gets worse and worse but they push you away because the drug and addiction is so powerful. I will never forgive myself for not seeing through it. It is like I was in denial too.

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I think part of the problem is that drinking is seen as a social norm, so people don’t really think about where the line should be drawn between “having a drink socially”, & “addiction”, we all grow up with what is “normal” to us. I have to admit, when I was younger, growing up with my dad drinking, mom & dad arguing, I thought all families were like that, it was only when it was pointed out to me by other people’s reactions to things that I realised, not everyone grows up with an alcoholic parent, :pensive:. Because of my experiences, I get scared around people when they drink, it’s like a default mode, it puts me on my guard because I know what can happen, this is something which is usually a problem around Christmas especially, the last couple of Christmas’s I have spent with my boyfriend & his family at his sister’s house, they’ve always been very warm & welcoming, I’ve never had a bad word from them, even when they drink at Christmas, but I’ve sadly mastered what I call “the swan technique”, on the surface I smile, & look perfectly calm, but inside, I’m on edge, panicking like hell, (like a swan paddling beneath the surface,) at Christmas they drink like most people do at Christmas, (I won’t touch alcohol, the demon drink,) my mother-in-law gets a bit loud when she drinks, but that’s all, no shouting, no aggressive arguments like my parents used to have. The first time I had Christmas with them, that’s when it hit me, this is how normal families are at Christmas, it made me want to cry, sooooo many years we’d spend tiptoeing around my dad’s drinking, mom looking for the bottles to pore them out, (which is something you should never do,) mom & dad arguing, dad sometimes storming out, sometimes he would fall asleep drunk on the loo, (less said the better,) sometimes mom would try to do fun things for us at Christmas & he would always Wreck-it. I remember one year, my sister had cooked a special dinner on Christmas eve, dad got drunk & was practically falling asleep in it, didn’t eat any of it, :pensive: the time & work she’d put into it, & he wrecked it :rage:.
Unfortunately a sad fact with addicts, they’re delusional, they usually refuse to see it’s a problem till it’s too late, you can’t fix them, you can’t change them, & it’s not your fault, please stop blaming yourself for their choices.

Thank you for wise words. We too grew up with an alcoholic father and my brother was 7 years younger than me so had to deal with that fallout when I had already left home. I always felt like I had abandomed him and we had such a close relationship but through his youth, he dealt with the worst of it I think and mayne thats where his addiction stemmed from. I remember the arguments, they never stopped. Until I was older and threatened him with the police if he so much as raised his voice whenever I came home. Its such a horrid mess but I walked away and realised it wasn’t normal but my brother was stuck in it and has now paid the ultimate price. Your words mean so much to me to try and make sense of this. Thank you

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@BermudaBreeze
I see why you’re carrying this terrible burden, my heart goes out to you. :pensive: Sending hugs of support :teddy_bear: