Re: Brother in a Downward Spiral, Don't Know What to Do...
I happened by this message board on my way to another one, and saw your post. Last year we discovered my brother had addiction problems (drugs/gambling) and spent most of the year trying to help him. I hate to say that it probably didn't do much good.
In that time, however, I spoke to many addiction counselors/social workers, and learned a lot. I am still far from being an expert. However, I can share some of the things I learned. First, be careful with the word "intervention." In addiction counseling circles, this can have a specific meaning. If you want to talk with your brother with your nieces, and express your concerns, that is a good thing to do. However, and intervention is usually a carefully planned confrontation. It usually involves anyone affected by the addiction, and should be held under the guidance of an addiction counselor. A word of warning here: an intervention usually involves stating ultimatums, which should not be take lightly.
If you or your nieces are having a tough time, I recommend contacting an addiction counselor yourselves. I found such people were very knowledgeable and helpful (though sometimes brutally honest), and gave some good practical suggestions. Many times they themselves had family that were addicts. If you don't know where to find such people, you can start by trying your health insurance. Mine had a program called the EAP, employee assistance plan; I suspect most have something similar. Or you can try some of your local drug treatment centers. You may also consider attending one of the support groups.
You are right that it is up to the addict to change. Unfortunately, you can't control this. So the next best thing is to try to help yourselves.