Dealing with an Addicted Sibling
“Sibling relationships – and 80 percent of Americans have at least one – outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, and resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust.” – Erica E. Goode
Sibling relationships are some of the deepest bonds within a family unit. When you watch your brother or sister deliberately harm themselves with drugs and alcohol repeatedly, it creates heartbreak, anger, and stress. It’s instinct to want to help, defend, and protect your sibling, but where do you draw the line when it comes to their addiction?
The sibling of an addict could feel the most conflicted out of the whole family, but their concerns are often overlooked due to the pain and drama that the addicted sibling causes for everyone else. Researchers have concluded that an addiction within a family is particularly traumatic on the brother or sister of the substance abuser.
When the person you’ve grown up with your entire life suddenly falls into the downward spiral of substance abuse, you may begin to feel a rollercoaster of emotions.
Common difficulties and frustrations of dealing with an addicted sibling include:
Nostalgia for the person they once were, before drugs or alcohol made them into a different person.
A general lack of trust that your sibling is doing what they say they are, and not believing them when they say they’re sober.
Anger toward their friends, or other family members who may be enabling their addiction.
Feeling love and hate at the same time. Loving an addict is extremely painful. You spend most days and many nights worrying about their safety and well-being, wondering what will come of them if they continue with their addiction.
Struggling between wanting to help them without financially, but not wanting to provide them with the money to purchase drugs or alcohol.
Constant panic that you will receive the dreaded phone call confirming your fears about your sibling’s addiction.
As the sibling of a person addicted to drugs or alcohol, what can you do to help?
The New Jersey drug rehab professionals at Treatment Alternatives recommend three methods for dealing with an addicted sibling:
Do not enable them. Make sure you aren’t making excuses for their behavior, lying to cover up for them, or giving them money to purchase their desired substance. An addict must take responsibility for their own behavior.
Provide support. You can support your sibling without providing money. Talk with them about their addiction, offer them a place to stay if they remain sober.
Find treatment for your sibling. Most addicts will not seek out the help they need, so they depend on family members to do it for them. At Treatment Alternatives, our rehab centers can help your brother or sister break their addiction in a healthy, safe, and comfortable environment.
Contact us today at 877-957-5113 for help.