Sunday, June 24, 2012


My sister is an alcoholic.  She will lose her home to foreclosure in the next month or two - and, lost in her illness, she has made no plans to move.  When I talked to her last week, she had no idea where she is going to go.  She had pancreatitis last fall; if she doesn't quit drinking, she will not live another five years.  And because she chooses not to help herself, there is nothing anyone else can do to help her.  I sit here tonight in tears.  I don't want to lose my beautiful little sister.

These words are incredibly difficult for me to write.  My family has a code of silence around alcohol - its use and abuse and how it has affected our lives.  We notice, we sometimes whisper about this person or another, but we don't talk about it.  We don't confront the person who is drinking too much; we ignore their alcoholic behavior.

Several years ago, this same sister got in an accident on her way to a family reunion.  She was driving another sister's truck, pulling a trailer; her three kids and the oldest girl's boyfriend were in the car.  She went off the side of the pavement, over-corrected, and ended up rolling the truck in the ditch.  Fortunately, everyone was buckled in and no one was seriously hurt, but the truck and trailer were destroyed.  Her blood alcohol level was .20.  At two o'clock in the afternoon.

Because alcohol was involved, we didn't talk about it at the reunion the next day.  I purposely brought it up to several of my cousins; they had no idea it had happened - and we didn't talk of it for long.  Just the facts, 'how awful', then on to other topics.

My sister sat across the way, not talking to anyone, drowning her sorrows in her cup of cheap wine.  To this day, I'm sorry I didn't have the courage my sister-in-law had; the courage to walk over there, take the cup from her hands, smell the alcohol in it, and dump it out.

My alcoholic friends - the ones on the wagon - tell me that no, there is absolutely nothing I can do to help her.  I can't MAKE her stop drinking.  I can't make her see the damage her drinking is doing to her life and to the lives of her children.  I can't throw money her direction and have it make any difference.  (these things have been tried, by others in my family.)  I have no illusions that breaking the code and writing this blog entry will change anything, either in her life or in my family's approach to alcohol.

But I'm breaking the silence anyways.

I can't help, but I can pray; I believe prayer has power. If you will, please join your prayers to mine.  Pray for Maria.  Ask God to find a way to get her onto another path, for the one she is on can lead only to destruction.


  1. Prayers for you and yours, Janice.

  2. Thanks for exposing this to the light Janice. Maria lived with us for many years growing up and always remember her being so fiesty, fun, and full of life. Sad to see something like alcohol steal that away from her. She will be in my prayers.

  3. Oh Janice. It does hurt so much to watch someone destroy themselves. I'd say it's a pretty sure bet that she is aware of the damage she's done and continues to inflict on those who love her but she's just not strong enough (yet) to do the hard work of getting sober and living life without self-medicating. Addiction is so deep and layered but prayer is more powerful. We shall bombard her (and all of you who love her) with our super-powers of prayer.