The Guilt is Eating Me Up

by Broken Heart

My youngest sister died on Feb. 3, 2013 from alcoholism. While she was in the hospital surrounded by family and friends, her husband died alone in their home also a victim of alcoholism.
Guilt is my biggest enemy right now. I attended the four-day family program at **zelden while my sister was in treatment at that facility. They taught me to “detach with love” which I put into practice. Now that my sister is gone, and I had detached from her for the last year, I decided it shouldn’t be called “detaching” with love, but “deserting” with love. I totally loved my sister, and feel like I deserted her in her greatest time of need. She heavily relied on me and our friendship for her entire life, and I turned my back on her. I think the “detach with love” philosophy is totally selfish and never considers or addresses how to deal with the death of the alcoholic. I hurt her by detaching, and I know this deepened her lifetime of depression and drove her deeper into the bottle – her friend that would never turn her back on her. Yes, I felt better not having to deal with her multiple drunken phone calls every day at all hours, but what did I do to HER?
**zelden preaches about not “enabling” the alcoholic. Well, my entire family talked about how my Mom enabled my sister. Maybe so, but you know what – right now my Mom is not suffering this intense guilt and self-disgust for turning her back on someone in need like I am. I don’t know how I can continue to live with myself. I feel like such a bad person.
Had my sister’s illness been cancer, would I have turned my back on her and worried about only myself? NO. Why then did I feel (and why does **zelden preach) to “detach”? Alcoholism is a disease, too. My sister needed me; she needed my support, and I turned my back on her to protect myself. How selfish is that?
My life is absolute hell right now. I think about her constantly; wake up in the middle of the night sobbing and analyzing what I did to her; wake up in the morning crying; go to bed at night crying. I don’t know how to get past this, and feel that the advice I got at **zelden was wrong. What do I do now that it’s too late?

Comments for The Guilt is Eating Me Up

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Oct 30, 2014
We chose our paths.
by: Anonymous

I think your sister would have self destructed with or without your presence. My mother is an alcoholic and I have detached from her...and I am healthier and happier for it. When I do speak to her, it ruins my day, I feel guilty and negative about life in general. It is a choice to deny the many avenues of help and to hurt oneself with lifestyle choices. Alcoholism is not the same as cancer. If you put a person in prison and remove the alcohol, there is no longer a disease. It is an addiction and habit that starts in the brain, where the habits eventually become wired into a perceived need. I could drink, I could murder someone, I could give up on life, I could cheat on my hard and emotional times, but I don't. I do the more difficult thing often times, because it is the right thing to do. A lot of guidance for our life choices can be helped by reading the bible. It is actually quite simple, starting with the ten commandments. Life isn't without it's challenges.... but we were given free will. We chose our paths.

Sep 22, 2013
alcoholic sister
by: liz

I too have a sister who had been alcoholic for about fifteen years her house went on fire ten years ago and her friends and and partner all drink too I feel very guilty about not helping her enough in the early years and I could have her more she has two grown up daughters she has no contact with now except by text I feel so bad because I was scared to help her get out of the dump she was living in incase there was another fire I'm so depressed and have lost all joy of life so much had happened to her in abusive relationships throughout the years I have failed her and feel so guilty

Mar 21, 2013
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you, Doreen. You're so insightful. I appreciate everything you shared with me. I've read before about this anguish being the work of the devil. Was comforted when you reinforced that.

Mar 18, 2013
The guilt is Eating Me Up
by: Doreen U.K.

Dear Broken Heart. I don't know anything about Zelden. Don't allow yourself to be brainwashed by a philosophy of detachment. What you need to do to free yourself of this guilt is to CHANGE YOUR FOCUS. Find one thing you did for your sister that benefited her life and build on this. You will start to feel better. You need to RENEW YOUR THINKING.
My mother was an alcoholic. I know what it is like to live with this disease. It affects the whole family and it can be a very difficult environment to be in. I can tell you it is not easy to be in this place. I had to stay away from my mother at times and it hurt me to do this. But I did have a responsibility to myself and my children. THIS IS NOT BEING SELFISH. It is being SENSIBLE. WE have boundaries and these boundaries are there to protect us. It would be foolish to go into an environment that is destructive. We can do only so much to help a person but we are not responsible for the Choices that person made. Of course you will feel unhappy that your sister has died and you may have been able to help her some of the time. But at what cost to yourself. Being in an alcoholic environment nearly killed me. I had to get out. This is not being SELFISH. Please look at this in a Positive way. I wish I could have done more for my mother. But I became emotionally damaged being her caretaker for so long. I had to spend years in counselling. I see this problem from both sides. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP. Go into counselling. This will help you. You need to FREE YOURSELF of your GUILT. It will destroy you. In the world Satan will assault us day and night with guilt and discouragement. It is God who will Release you and deliver you from GUILT that is killing you inside. PRAYER will also help you find your way back from this tragedy. Satan's job is to assault us day and night with self loathing and make us feel utter disgust for ourselves. DON'T LET HIM DESTROY YOU. FIND GOD. Go to God and Plead for his help. I did this. I know what you are going through I have been in the same place. Thank God He saved me from where you are right now. I shall Pray for you to find Peace and Comfort from your Pain and suffering. I feel the depth of your pain and you need to LET GO OF YOUR GUILT. You can do with with the help of God or a Pastor in a Church. Please get outside support and help. You cannot handle this problem by yourself. May God protect and comfort you.

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