Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Close family wants to confront alcoholic brother

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: We have a very large and extraordinarily close family.

We are pretty sure that one of the brothers is an alcoholic. We've seen him get in horrific arguments, start fights and belittle his companions when drunk.

When he's had too much to drink (usually at night), he likes to write long nasty emails to various people that he feels have wronged him.

For several years, we've been trying to reach a collective extended family decision on what to do with our (deceased) parents' home.

This summer, on the night of the family vote, our brother wrote one of the nastiest emails that we've ever seen. We assume he was drunk when he wrote it. He singled out each family member, and outlined why he thinks each one of us is a worthless human being. He used the worst language you can imagine. He said, "I am going to make your lives miserable, and I will enjoy doing it."

We have tended to look the other way about his drinking. This time, we told him flat-out that his language was unacceptable and told him that he might need help with his anger and alcohol issues.

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He has not spoken to any of us since that day. His family has "made other plans" for all family events.

We would like to return to a harmonious family, but most of us want nothing to do with him unless he apologizes.

We miss his wife and children, who are being walled off from us. We have invited him to all the family gatherings -- no reply, no communication.

Some family members are happy never to see him again. It's quite awkward.


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