Consider Staging An Intervention
If youve put an end to enabling behaviors, set healthy boundaries with your sibling, and tried confronting him or her personally about getting help, but you still havent been successful, you may try staging an intervention. An intervention is a process where you and your siblings loved ones get together to confront your sibling and try to convince them to go to rehab.
Interventions are a great way to make a person understand just how harmful their behaviors have been. They can help open your siblings eyes to the reality of their addiction and make them willing to accept help. The ultimate goal of an intervention is to get your sibling to agree to go to an addiction treatment program.
Drug and alcohol interventions are most effective when facilitated by an addiction specialist. Consider speaking with a substance abuse treatment provider before staging an intervention on your own.
How Addiction Affects Siblings
Siblings of addicts often experience a range of emotions, including anger, frustration, sadness, and shame. They may feel like they are walking on eggshells around their addicted brother or sister. They may also feel isolated and alone as they deal with this issue.
At times, the siblings of drug addicts have to take on a lot of responsibility for their families. They may become responsible for taking care of their siblings or parents, making sure the bills are paid, or dealing with the legal issues associated with addiction. This can be a lot for anyone to handle, especially people who are dealing with a sibling who is suffering from substance use disorder .
You Dont Know How To Act
When figuring out how to deal with an alcoholic brother or drug addict sister, siblings of addicts often go one of three directions. First, they may become the family clown making light of the situation. Secondly, they become perfectionists in pursuit of blocking out the shame and pain of substance use. Lastly, in an effort to either receive attention from their parents or take the attention off their siblings, siblings of addicts can also take a negative path.
Its essential to know as siblings of addicts that you are not alone and the feelings you experience are normal when struggling with how to deal with a drug addict sister or alcoholic brother. While it wont be easy, there are coping strategies to help support your sibling and yourself healthily.
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They Choose Drugs Or Booze Over You
Instead of meeting up with you on a Saturday afternoon for coffee, your brother decides to cuddle up to a bottle of vodka. This isnt the first time hes done something like this and although you feel frustrated, more than anything you feel duped, again.
After six hope-filled months of sobriety, you find out that your sister didnt make it to dinner because shes using again. And no matter how hard you try to figure it out, you just cant understand why she insists on continuing to choose drugs over your relationship.
But through the years, I found some relief when I realized that his choices werent a reflection of how little he cared for me but more about how little he cared for and respected himself.
You Miss The Person Who Was
Although my brother is still alive, I mourn the person he was before drugs and alcohol swallowed up and spit out his life.
In my mind he will always be my big brother. The guy with a great sense of humor. The guy who could walk into any room and make friends instantly. And the guy who made the best cinnamon toast Ive ever tasted.
Will I ever get my big brother back? I dont know and thats the part that scares me the most. I can always hope though that one day he will decide to make new and healthier choices. Although, as long as he is clean and sober, Id be willing to accept however he showed up in my life.
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Educate Yourself About The Disease Of Addiction
If you truly want to understand your sibling and be helpfulboth in addiction and in recoveryits vital that you educate yourself on the disease of addiction. There is a huge stigma that surrounds addiction. Many people believe addiction is a choice rather than a disease. However, researchers and medical professionals alike have recognized addiction as a chronic, progressive, and relapsing disease.
Individuals who suffer from addiction are often unable to control the frequency and extent of their drug use. Their brain may convince them they arent going to get high one morning, but then they find themselves using drugs just hours later, wondering what happened to their promise of sobriety. Substance abuse also changes the way people think, feel, and behave, and these changes can affect your sibling substantially.
Consider reading about the disease model of addiction, attending an Al-Anon meeting, or speaking with an addiction specialist to better understand what your sibling is going through.
How To Help Someone Understand They Need Help
Friends and family members may feel that they constantly express concerns about a loved ones substance use but never see any changes. You may have reached this point after weeks or months of giving lectures, making threats, ignoring behaviors, accepting promises of change, giving second chances, or imposing consequences.
Experts recommend developing and repeating a consistent, positive message: We care about you and we want you to get help. Define substance use as a problem for you and others who care about the person. Avoid blaming, arguing, and reproaching, and expect denial, distortion, avoidance, rationalization, and intellectualization of the problem.
Perhaps a friend, another family member, doctor, clergy, boss, co-worker, or other significant person in their life might be able to have an effective discussion. Or maybe the person with the substance use disorder would respond to activities you can do together, such as reviewing brochures or videos, meeting with a professional, or going to a self-help SMART Recovery or Twelve Step meeting.
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Understand Your Risks For Addiction
Did you know that some diseases tend to run in families? There is a classification of diseases called the leukodystrophies, for instance, that occur because of the genetic combination of either one or both parents. There are other conditions that occur because of combinations of genes too, such as Down syndrome. A person who is born with either of these conditions has no choice in the matter. Some diseases and disorders are heredity. A person may not be born with cancer, but their odds of getting it someday go up if someone else in their family has developed it before. The American Cancer Fund has stated that 5 to 10 percent of cancers run in families.
Drug and alcohol addiction is also hereditary, although the scientists arent completely sure yet why this is true. The good news is that heredity is not the only factor in drug abuse. Unlike conditions such as Down syndrome, where a child has no choice in the matter, a child at risk for addiction can make informed, important decisions to protect himself or herself from the disease.
Help For Siblings Of Addicts At Kingsway Recovery
Being the sibling of an addict can be difficult and confusing. You may feel like you are walking on eggshells, not knowing what mood your sibling will be in from one day to the next. You may also feel a range of emotions, including anger, frustration, sadness, and betrayal. Its important to remember that you are not alone and that help is available.
Here at Kingsway Recovery, we offer addiction resources and comprehensive addiction treatment for those who are ready to end the hold that drugs have on their life. If you or your sibling requires addiction treatment, contact us today. We can help with every step of the way. From intervention to choosing an addiction treatment program for your sibling, we are here to help.
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Drug Rehab And Alcohol Rehab At Northpoint Washington: We Can Help
It can be so heartbreaking to know that your sibling is an addict. From the moment you first discover it, you feel as though you need to do something. Unfortunately, talking with your addicted brother or sister usually doesn’t work very well. Sometimes it does, but when it doesn’t, you need another option.
At Northpoint Washington, we frequently work with a lot of families. These are families who are concerned about their loved ones’ addictions. Quite often, they’ve tried for years to help their loved ones see the need for addiction treatment. With our help, so many more of them have made the decision to get addiction help.
We want to offer that same opportunity to you. We offer drug and alcohol rehab to those who need it. We also provide intervention services to help your sibling see a need for alcohol and drug treatment. This is a situation that most families find they can’t handle on their own. Our expertise helps, and we’re happy to provide your family with our assistance.
Living In A Household With A Brother Or Sister Who Is Suffering From Addiction Can Be A Stressful Experience For Anyone Particularly Another Young Person
In addition to the normal, sometimes confusing aspects of growing up, the siblings of addicted teens may face an unstable environment that is not of their own making. It is easy to understand that these children might sometimes feel less important or even disregarded in their own homes. Drug abuse and addiction among teens can lead to violence in the home and sexual behavior that can lead to teen pregnancy which can then affect the living conditions and family dynamic for siblings.
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How Siblings Are Different As Addiction Support
Addiction is a disease and a particularly pervasive one that has a strong defense mechanism. Diseases know when youre trying to kill them, and they do everything in their power to keep themselves going. Addiction is no different. Addictions defense mechanism is denial. Thats why more often than not, addicted people dont actually identify as addicted. In fact, they tend to assume they dont have a problem at all. Thats because their brain has been altered to the point that their addicted state feels like their normal state. They feel like themselves when theyre high, and they feel like somethings missing when theyre not. Thats the trap the feeling that everything is okay as long as they keep their supply going. Thats a trap people have a hard time pulling out of themselves. They need someone they trust to help them see what they cant see for themselves. Thats where a good sibling comes into play.
Its Rarely Easy To Deal With A Loved Ones Addiction Learn About Ways You Can Help Your Sibling Avoid Enabling Behaviors And Improve Your Relationship
In a family with healthy relationship dynamics, the bond between siblings can be incredibly strong. You love your sibling and depend on them as a friend, a confidant and a person who understands your life perhaps better than anyone else because of your shared experiences.
When addiction impacts your brother or sister, however, the relationship can become confusing and painful. Learning how to deal with an addicted sibling is one of the hardest puzzles out there, especially when its someone you looked up to or idolized at one point.
Every member of the family is impacted by the ripple effect that addiction creates, but siblings often feel the pain in different ways, and they may be more reluctant to open up to others about what theyre experiencing.
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How Can You Help A Loved One Get The Help They Need
Mention the word treatment in relation to substance use and many people think of long-term residential facilities or detox. In fact, treatment includes both of these options and a variety of others.
Treatment addresses the individuals physical, psychological, emotional, and social conditions. Sustained reduction in alcohol or other drug use and sustained increases in personal health and social function are the primary goals.
The type of treatment is based on the severity of the problem. For risky people with an active addiction, treatment can be as simple as a screening and a brief intervention. For people exhibiting signs of dependence or addiction, a screening will probably lead to a referral for more intense level of care.
All treatment starts with a screening, which is a series of questions about the amount and frequency of alcohol or other drug use and the consequences it may be causing. Screening can be done by many types of professionals, including a physician in a hospital or an office, a nurse, a clinical social worker, or a licensed substance abuse counselor.
To help someone you know who you think may have a substance use problem, you first need to get them screened. Your best bet is to talk to your own physician or employee assistance professional about referring you to someone who can help, such as a licensed substance abuse counselor or family therapist.
To find a treatment program, visit SAMHSAs Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.
Do Not Ignore The Problem
Growing up, you never imagine you will be learning how to deal with an alcoholic brother. For this reason, it can be hard to accept. It can be easy, though, to ignore the signs, make excuses for your sibling, and downplay the severity of the addiction. Remember, substance use disorder is a progressive disorder that will only worsen if ignored.
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What About Boundaries
We often hear talk about the importance of setting and maintaining boundaries, but Ms Jurcik says we tend to misinterpret what they are.
“They’re not about manipulation or control,” she explains.
“They’re about saying, ‘This is how I can support you in your recovery, but it’s also how I can keep myself safe,’ because you can only choose how you respond, as well as the behaviours you’re willing to accept.”
Take this for an example: you decide you’re not OK with your sibling being on any substances when they come to your home and so you tell them this.
“That boundary then needs to be followed through with an action and a consequence,” Ms Jurcik explains.
“So you could say, ‘If you come to my house intoxicated, I’ll be turning you away’.”
When communicating these needs, Ms Ross says you should aim to be “warm, but firm”.
“Learn to be assertive around physical separation and stepping away if required and that’s not just about physical safety, but also about emotional safety and conversation fatigue.”
What Not To Do
One of the most important things of what not to do is contribute to the addiction or bad behavior in any way whatsoever. If you reward bad behavior, guess what you are going to get? More bad behavior. You dont pay for fines, legal fees, car repair, bills or anything, much less give them room and board. If you are going to clean up their messes they are going to keep making them.
Often hear Oh, I dont know how bad it is well, how bad do you want it to get? Why wait till it gets bad? There are only three ways this ends, death, jail or they get into treatment and change their ways. Dont fool yourself. There is not a fourth option. My mantra is Its never too soon do an intervention, its always too late.
I practice what I preach too. I have been in the shoes of your loved one as an addict, and a parent of troubled teenage boy. We intervened on him early on and were able to get him turned around in time for him to enjoy his high school years playing football and enjoying life. The thing is we didnt have any evidence of him using drugs either, it was the behavior alone that caused us to move sooner than later. I knew how this was going to go and was unwilling to spend the next decade hoping he would grow out of it. We saved ourselves a ton of heartache and grief and more than likely his life. He turns 30 this year and sells life insurance in Miami and just got married.
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How Do You Deal With Someone Who Is Under The Influence Of Drugs
Try to remain calm, and speak in a calm, clear, and slow voice to the person. Try to avoid emotional or hostile language, which may make the person more aggressive. Say the person’s name, and tell them that you’re there to help. For example, I can see how upset and angry you are right now, …. see more
Why Do Siblings Abuse Drugs Or Alcohol
Though researchers arent entirely certain that there is one cause for addiction, there are a variety of risk factors that may place your sibling at risk for substance abuse issues. Biological factors and environmental cues are some of the most commonly identified risk factors in the development of addiction.5
If your brother or sister is dealing with a considerable amount of stress, whether due to work issues or family problems, they may use drugs or alcohol to cope with this stress.5
Similarly, if your sibling struggles with a co-occurring mental health condition , they may attempt to cope with uncomfortable feelings or symptoms by using substances.5
Genetics and family history can also contribute to the development of addiction. This risk can be increased if your sibling grew up in a household where drug use was normalized, or where they experienced chronic stress or trauma.6 If addiction to drugs or alcohol runs in your family, your brother or sister may be at risk for the development of addiction.
Even if your sibling has struggled with substance abuse for many years, it is important to remember that addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that people can and do recover from with appropriate treatment and care.
Ways to Get in Contact With Us
If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine a path to treatment.
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