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?