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    Right here's the situation: my brother is nearly 8 years older than me (he is almost 27 and I am 19), we are not close at all and barely talk. He still lives at home with my parents - while at uni he developed a mental illness and took a long time to finish his course, then when he was done 2 or 3 years ago he moved back home and has been unemployed since. His illness is controlled by medication and I think he's better than he was. He's pretty much an alcoholic - drinks a lot on his own, uses up loads of money on alcohol, drinks everyday etc. He lives off benefits which is quite a lot of money (most of it goes on cigarettes and alcohol), but he doesn't appreciate it or use it wisely... there's a lot of debt he has that could have been paid off several times over by now yet it's still in the bank gaining interest and they're chasing him up about it.

    I just think his situation is quite sad and he's not making the most of his life. It's frustrating to live with someone like this and I hate coming home in the holidays from uni and seeing it, but he is very sensitive to criticism and anything I've said so far hasn't gone down well. I am trying to be understanding of his illness but it's got to the point where I think it's more him and the way he is used to living than the illness itself, which I think is beginning to be used as an excuse. Anyone have any ideas about what I can do to help him?
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    Nothing you can do sadly.
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    I think the most you can do around your brother is be your usual self - don't tiptoe around him because you think he'll get upset. He's put himself in this situation and it sounds like he's got plenty of family around him that have done their best to try and help him so far, especially if your parents have seen him dig himself a hole with his illness and now alcohol. If he sees you getting on with your life and getting somewhere it might motivate him into sorting his own life out. It's not going to happen overnight and he won't thank you for it, but if he won't respond to advice or criticism, it's time for a different approach. Good luck, don't let his situation affect your own life. Hope this helps.
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    The worst thing would be to be confrontational or accusatory. What he does with his money is his business (and your parents), and I wouldn't bring it up. But, if you feel he's getting settled into this life and is bored and depressed, which I know anyone would be having been unemployed for 3 years, maybe encouraging him to get out of the house would at least be a start and give him an extra dimension to his life? Are you home all summer? Could the two of you start going to the gym together, or an art class or volunteering? It's not going to change everything, but it might make you feel better to do something to help.
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    Perhaps he needs hobbies, keeping fit and volunteering. Is there anything he could use his degree for? Be there to support him. AA would be good- could he find solace in religion?
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    Have you talked to your parents about it?
 
 
 
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