This started as a comment on Goldenbeers very moving post about alcoholism but got too long so I've turned it into a post! I'm so sorry about your cousin GB.
My dad became an alcoholic very late in life, late 70's he was, after my mother died. He was always a very mild mannered quiet man and all that changed. The things he did while drunk would probably be unforgiveable in most people's books.
We went through the "intervention" process but it didn't work. (Involves a kinda counselling where the family detail all the problems and after weeks confront the alcoholic and present them with an ultimatum). At his age he had nothing to lose by keeping drinking, no job, he didn't drive, no spouse to walk out on him etc. etc. We tried lots of places for help, treatment centres etc. all unsuitable for a man his age.
I know someone who works in an off licence says old people are in in their droves during the day buying drink. There's no help for old people with alcoholism as most treatment centres involve "work". And AA don't offer help unless the person is admitting to their problem. I was always expecting to find him dead at the end of the stairs. In the end he ended up in a home, where he lives now. But his mind has gone and it's a shame he's there because he was an extremely healthy, fit person otherwise who walked miles every day to keep fit. At least where he is now, he is safe and clean and very well looked after.
I don't drink myself. Maybe I'm afraid I'd have those tendencies. As the builders I used to work with loved to say: Kickly horse, kicky foal.....