Friday, April 13, 2007

Not enough words to describe

Today I am writing a very difficult post about my family and me. Some of you are directly familiar with this story because you know me. Others of you may be familiar with this due to your own family issues. Either way, I wish this wasn't why I needed to write today.

I am afraid, down to my soul, that I will never see my youngest sister alive again.

My sister is an alcoholic, probably abuses other substances, and most likely has a borderline personality disorder. Given these parameters, it is highly unlikely that she will ever be able to receive effective treatment. Also, given her history, including current, the outlook is equally dim. Last night or this morning, she was picked up for DUI. She has moved back in with her abusive ex, vowing to make it work this time, but before the week was out, she waited until he was out of the house and the kids were alseep and she took off in the car for God only knows where. Only this time, she got picked up for DUI, meaning THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME SHE'S DONE THIS; this is just the first time she's been arrested for this and thrown in jail. I believe she's had other kinds of charges in the past (drunk & disorderly conduct? who knows?), because I know she was taken in handcuffs from a bar fight to the psych ward of the hospital in that town. I suspect that means arrested, but, since I've never had encounters of that sort with the law myself, and especially not in her state, I couldn't tell you if that's right or not.

I guess this post is really about me, and how do I handle the depth of sadness that I feel while still maintaining my boundaries AND trying to help get answers to complicated questions as it seems as though our family is going to have to do a full blown intervention on this very sick woman.

I've settled down a bit since I first learned of Melissa's latest news from my Mom this morning. I was actually calling Mom to tell her I have pneumonia and a sinus infection. I was even on my way to physical therapy at the time -- I have fibromyalgia and am having a particularly annoying pain in my left arm that we are trying to figure out whether an MRI of the shoulder is in order now. Anyway, I was truly surprised, and then surprised at my own surprise, when I learned of what my sister did. Mom, I'm proud to say, was fairly close to emotionless when she gave me the details. She said that Melissa had commented before that she'd never had to pay the consequences of anything she ever did in her life, and Mom said she herself now realized she'd always been the one to save her, or to have me to go save her. That was a pretty big admission, and a pretty difficult awareness to have about oneself.

I've left messages with three friends in various positions of clinical therapeutics and social work to try to find a place that would admit my sister long term with Illinois Medicaid. I also need to find out what the laws are in Illinois regarding child custody in a situation like this -- they have joint custody but she is the resident parent. Then, if that information can be gotten, we have to have a family trip to Illinois to confront her and her ex, whether he likes it or not. She is going to die if something doesn't help her, and we are convinced that the only thing that will help is long term therapy. Naturally HE doesn't want her in a facility -- who would take care of the kids and take his abuse on a daily basis? My parents have offered to take the kids *TEMPORARILY* while my sister gets help, but he won't hear of it. He said he couldn't stand for them to be so far away. What he really means is that he would have nothing over Melissa without those kids. If it weren't for the kids, she wouldn't "need" him. He doesn't want the kids --- he wants HER.

I am very blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive husband as my Arnie. Bless his heart, he loves my family, but he's ALL about me. He lets me know in word and deed that he'd move heaven and earth to change this situation if he could, but his support alone is the greatest gift he could give me. Add to that the support and love of my friends and church community (many of whom are receiving this as an email instead of just a blogpost), and I am overflowing with joy in that area. It's very hard to be both physically ill and emotionally stressed, because you can't be around people when you'd most like to have them around you. (I hope that made sense -- I'm under the influence of cough syrup, but NOT driving.)

Any wisdom or information or even spells would be welcome at this point, along with good thoughts and prayers. My brother and other sister all spoke to each other today, and they share my sadness as well as supporting me, as I do them. Folks, in case you don't know it, alcoholism is a family disease, and it's progressive. It never gets cured, though it can be treated. Treatment of body and soul is my sister's only hope here, and therefore the hope of my entire family.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know it was a bummer, and just realized it's Friday the 13th. How very apropos.


Anonymous said...


My heart, prayers, love and support is with you and and your family.

Mama Squirrel said...

we love you, Suzie! Let us know if there's anything at all that we can do for you.

bobbarama said...

Hey, Suzie. I'll be thinking good things for you and your youngest sister and the rest of your family.

Lots of hugs.

Kelpie said...

Sending hugs and love, Suz. You and your family (and of course especially your sister and her children) will be in my thoughts and prayers. And God bless Arnie for his support.

Genevieve said...

So sorry to hear this about your sister after hearing a bit about her history over the last year or so. Honestly, you really can't do anything for her. She has to do it herself. I know it's heartbreaking to see your efforts to help fail time after time. I know a bit about alcoholism and I understand your heartbreak. I will certainly remember you and Arnie, your sister and your family in prayer. I worry about the kids and I know you do too. It has to be crazy for them.

Elvis Drinkmo said...

I hope everything works out for your family, Suzanne. I'm not very good at coming up with the right words for these situations, but I know how difficult it can be to watch a family member and friend suffer like that.

Best wishes and love from up here in West Virginia.