My husband and I own our home(well the bank does)and we pay our bills on time with a few bucks to spare at the end of every month so we are somewhat comfortable which to me is huge because I grew up in a pretty unstable home.The issue is that my brother is homeless because of a drug problem so I feel like I can not be happy with my life because I feel like other people in the family think I am rich or something and I should help him,I know what he would he would do with money if I gave it to him and that I should not do that I just can’t help feeling guilty that I have this stability and he doesn’t.Living with me is not an option because I don’t have a spare bedroom and because I don’t want drugs in my house so what do I do??When I look at him I still see my baby brother and it kills me to not come to his rescue.Sorry this is so long and thanks for taking the time to read it.
Please don’t think I’m being cruel or heartless, but YOU can not come to his rescue. HE has to come to his own rescue. Until he is ready to change, he will continue down the path he has chosen. He has to hit a point (some call it “rock bottom”) that makes him take a look at himself and realize how much damage and hurt he has done not just personally, but to those that know and love him. Until he’s willing to accept the consequences of his actions and work to change them, there is nothing anyone can do. It has to be his decision. You can put a person into Rehab a million times, but if they don’t want to change, the minute they get out they’ll go back to their old ways.
I know and understand how badly it makes you feel to think you are “turning your back” on your baby brother. I think all of us have known someone - a family member, a friend, a classmate - who have struggled with addiction. We all remember the person they were before all the trouble started, and despite the trouble we still love and care for them. But, there comes a point when we have to let them go their own way and hope and pray they come to see how destructive their life is, and get the help they need. Let him know you’ll be there for him when he gets his act together, but right now, with his drug addiction, you can’t be a willing participant in it.
I know you are right and I have been doing OK until last weekend when he threatened suicide on my birthday that threw me for a loop and I have been questioning myself ever since,the real problem though is that my parents continue to make excuses for him I think because they are both alcoholics they all live in denial together.
miccisue is 100% right. The only way your brother will change is if he wants to change. Though it’s easier said than done, you must realize it’s in no way your fault, and, you should not be the one feeling guilty.
If he’s threatening suicide, see about having him admitted to a hospital. Also, if he’s threatening suicide, he’s likely depressed and may need medication (if he’s not already on it), and/or therapy. However, your parents are truly the ones responsible for him if he cannot be responsible for himself.
I don’t know your family situation, but, is it possible to have a sit down with your parents and address your concerns?
I know exactly how you feel. We dealed with the same thing in my family (meth) for 10 years. You can only do so much, and the rest is up to them to want to change the way they are living. DO NOT give him money. You can help him find resources to help him with his drug addiction, and housing, and be there for him but not in a monetary way. Try not to feel guilty, it is his choice to live the way he is and it is also HIS choice to fix it. The ONLY way things will change is if he decided he’s tired of living the life he’s living and starts to make changes to fix it. You can’t do it for him.
You and your husband worked to get to the stability you enjoy and should not jeopardize it to “save” your brother. Let him know you love him and if he wants to straighten out his life, you are there to listen and help if you can. He must help himself, you can’t do it for him. You’re in my prayers.
My sister and I have tried to talk to my parents and it is useless they see what they want to see and that is it,which I think is the reason my brother is the way he is today because they have always been this way,he started having problems in school in the third grade and it was obvious he needed some help but they did not seek it out because I think they were afraid to hear that they were responsible for it,I love my parents I just wish they would see what is going on here and get help for themselves as well .
I agree with the others. Please don’t feel guilty. You can show him you love him and help him in other ways, not with money or by taking him in as those things rarely help in a case like this. Maybe knit him something, cook him a meal, keep in touch on the phone or whatever. Just let him know you care and won’t stop loving him. Hugs to you.
I agree with everyone else who’s commented so far. You aren’t responsible for your brother’s choices and you don’t want to support his problems by giving him money. You worked hard for your stability and you don’t want to jeopardize that.
I was thinking that if it makes you feel better you could give him a small gc to a fast food place, but be careful even doing that.
Yeah I have tried that but he will just trade it for cash,I think it is an epidemic where I come from because my 10 yo sons father is doing the same thing so I am not allowing him to spend time with my son for that reason,it sucks because I feel like my family is suffereing so much for choices that other people are making.
I have some friends who are dealing with this same thing. They have found Al-Anon meetings really helpful. Maybe there is a meeting in your area?
We will be praying for you and your family
Honestly, if your parents have always looked the other way because they’re afraid they could be to blame, your brother is probably lashing out and doing whatever he can for their attention. Unfortunately, their “turning the other cheek” has backfired. If his problems arose as early as 3rd grade, and he didn’t get the help he needed, he probably feels as if it doesn’t really matter what he does. Kids need guidance, direction, and if he didn’t get it then, and, he still isn’t getting it, he might be at the point where he really just doesn’t care anymore.
Don’t give him your money but give him your compassion. Can you talk with him? Let him know you’re concerned and that he’s apparently bottled up a lot of emotion that he needs to release and anytime he feels like letting go to call you. Maybe if you can get him to open up and see that there is someone in this world who truly cares about him, he’ll come around. I don’t know if that is possible at this point, and, if it is, it still may take a long time for there to be any improvement.
Though I cannot fully understand your situation as I have not been faced with a similar one, I know how much I love my family and how devastating it would be to me if a member of my family were in the same spot so I can sympathize with you.
I hope, in time, things improve for you all.
My uncle abused alcohol, but it was the same thing for my mom…she worried about him, and wanted to have him around, but not with two kids (me and my sister)
I remember we came home once when I was about 5, and he was asleep on our doorstep.
It is sad…but yes…with all good intentions, he never kicked the habit. He died young (31) from a concusion resulting from being hit by a car…
It is sad…and my grandma was always there giving him the things he needed. He got clean a few times, but it just never turned around for him…
It was his path to pave…
My younger brother got into heroin and crack. My parents tried everything–rehab, tough love, the works. Unfortunately my father believed every sob story my brother told him. My brother ended up in and out of jail for two years. My “very well off” uncle (his godfather) paid for a very good rehab. My brother still didn’t get clean. Now my brother is serving a four year sentence in prison. I am now on speaking terms with him and according to him, we couldn’t have done anything.
As for the threatening of suicide, call the police. I’m not sure if this is for all places, but in MI they had to put my brother in a mental ward for for a certain number of hours. After that, he walked out. If your brother is serious about suicide (usually a call for help) then he might stay.
This is going to sound horrible, but DO NOT LET HIM IN YOUR HOUSE!! Drug addicts lie to get what they want. They steal. I am now in debt because my brother stole so much. My brother even broke into our house to steal small appliances, cds, and dvds to pawn.
I am so sorry that you have to go through this. Al-anon or Nar-anon may offer the support you need. Check here. (i hope i did that right)
It is deffinatly worth looking for some sort of support group. Not for your brother but for you. I know some places like AA and drug anon offer support for families and loved ones and there are some special groups set up just for that purpose. They are wonderful in not only looking at ways you can help your brother but in giving you the emotional support that you need in order to deal with watching a loved one in that position and the asociated emotions.
I used to see counseler form a substance abuse support group about the problems i had had with my grandmother how is an alcoholic and has addictions to prescription drugs. They helped me deal with it and eventually to break all ties with her, because in the long run that wa the best thing. I still occasionally feel guilty but it was good to have the support and understanding from somebody outside of the family.
Don’t give him money. you know that. be kind and loving to him, but stay strong and don’t give in to his demands or needs as in the long run, as you know, it causes more harm than good.
You got to the sitaution you are in through hard work and things like not being a drug addict. That is somthing to be proud of and not to feel ashamed of.
Oh, Blueeyes, I know exactly how you are feeling. We have the same issues with my SIL, she is in her mid-40’s and a drug addict. Honestly, I hate to say it, but I’m surprised she is still alive. My MIL & FIL keep taking her back in, she steals from them, they kick her out, she sobs, they take her back, it’s a viscious circle. My MIL is a gambling adict, so they both have that addiction thing and feed off & support each other’s addictions.
MIL & FIL are also raising her 3 yr old son, who was born with drug addictions and is behind social and developmentally. No one in the family wants to admit it, but he is.
It’s very painful to watch for HD and his other siblings.
I’m SO sorry you’re going through this, and I do know how you feel because my mother is an addict, and I worked with them for years as a nurse. It’s hard, but what everyone is writing is correct, don’t let him in your house,and don’t believe a word he says.
Al-anon is great, as is Celebrate Recovery (church based). Love him, listen to him, give him a $10.00 food card to a place that doesn’t sell alchohol, but first and foremost, take care of your family and protect them.
Oh yes, don’t let the rest of your family guilt trip you. If you’ve been blessed by the family you married into, and the hard work that you and your husband have done, they should be happy for you.
It is terribly hard not to want to help someone downtrodden and worse when it is family, but the truth is, like others who have posted, he must pick himself up. The more you enable him by giving him money or other things he needs to provide for himself, the less he will do for himself. If you want to do things for him that will not have an impact on his sobriety/ rehabilitation, buy him some new clothing, jeans, shirts, long johns, things to keep him warm. Knit him scarves, gloves, hats, etc. Make him up kits of hygiene products like soap, shaving stuff, etc. Even baking him cookies and such.
I have a situation much like this in my own family and the person in question is living at home recovering from a drug problem, 30 years old, and keeps losing the perfectly good jobs he has for stupid reasons. His mother sticks her head in the sand about him and his dad stays at work so he doesn’t have to deal with him. You do your brother no favors by giving in to him or giving him everything. As I said above, help him out, but in a way that it will in no way impact him becoming a responsible adult.
I’ll have to agree with everyone else and encourage you to just have “tough love” for him. He is homeless only because he has created his own financial problem. You should not feel guilty at all.
My brother was in the same rut for many years, getting bailed out of jail, stealing or bumming to get drugs, rifling through anyone’s medicine cabinet. He’s okay now, with the exception of the damage caused by the drug usage. He did have to hit rock bottom and we all had to stop helping him with money. After rehabilitation, he went back to school, got an an associate’s degree and became a drug counselor himself. He still has extreme problems with socializing… but after 25-30 years of the self abuse, that’s to be expected. So, keep telling him you love and care for him, have him over to eat, share good things with him but keep pushing him to get professional help. My heart goes out to you and you are not alone in this situation.