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Old 12-14-2008, 09:46 PM   #1
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I need help...I have no idea what to do

My brother is a drug user. He is 21 years old and two years ago almost went to prison for buying crack. The only reason he didn't go to prison is because he narked on the drug dealer and helped the cops arrest him. He put so much financial and emotional strain on my parents I can't help but not like him very much. I love him, always will, but I hate what he has done to our parents. Now, I just found out that he is abusing Oxycontin. My cousins have known for a few weeks and they think he is depressed. I have no clue how to handle this situation. It is right before Christmas, he ruined Christmas for my parents two years ago and I don't want that for them this year. What I think should happen to him is, he should go to prison. He has no idea what the real world is like, he is so caught up in himself he does not see how he is killing our parents. He will be the death of them. He needs a HUGE reality check. My cousin thinks he is depressed. He still lives at home, works for a no-where company and has never had a serious girlfriend. He is book smart, but absolutely does not try at anything. What should I do? He looks up to my cousin, so my cousin is going to try and keep him busy, and just be a friend to him. I live 4 hours away and wont be there until before Christmas. My cousin thinks it is going to be alright to wait until after Christmas. What do you all think?

 
Old 12-15-2008, 12:14 AM   #2
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

It's very easy for non-addicts to be very judgmental towards drug addicts because they have no idea what it's like. I can understand your anger and frustration, and maybe he doesn't understand what the "real world" (whatever that means) is like, but you can't understand what it feels like to be him either. He's not killing your parents, he's killing himself, and that's even sadder.

Have you tried to get him to seek help? Rehab? Counseling? Don't worry about handling this situation, if he can't control it, you certainly can't either. You see, I see things from your brother's perspective, and you are talking just like my brother/parents would. From this side, it feels very lonely and we feel guilty but we don't know any other way. I would never hurt my parents if I could help it, but I haven't been able to help hurting myself and others. It really hurts us when you get angry at us because we honestly can't see what we're doing to ourselves, although your anger is valid at the same time. It's all very confusing and very painful. I don't have any quick answers for you, just patience and tolerance.

 
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:26 AM   #3
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

I know this is not likely to be what you want to hear, but I do somewhat agree with the prior post, digmusic.

Addictions aren't easy, I know I'm a recovering meth addict. And to put it in perspective, I do know what the world's about; I'm a successful executive in a multi-billion dollar company; I have a masters degree, and I make well into a six figure salary. I'm not telling you this to brag, but to inforce the fact that addictions happen to a lot of people. People from all walks of life.

Hopefully you and your family can be there for him, but he'll have to get sober on his own. No amount of screaming, threatening, 'cutting him off' is going to do it. He's going to have to find his bottom with enough sanity to know where he is. Then he's going to have to work his way out.

That's the hardest part, where's bottom? I started using meth casually in my 30s, I was 47 when I hit bottom emotionally. Along the way I screwed up a lot of Christmasses; messed up a lot of dinner events; angered a lot of people. I contracted HIV and to make matters worst, Hep-C.

Friends ask me 'how'? I don't know. When I first started using meth; it was 'fun'; (I thought) it was harmless. When everyone around me stopped casually using, I substatued 'fun' for addiction. I was hooked. I talked to a couple friends and they kept saying, NO you can't be. I was! 5 years later, my health in ruins, I was able to find my sanity.

Hopefully this gives you a little more sensitivity for what your brother is dealing with. All the damage and sometimes you just don't know where you're at.

A couple simple suggestions,
Acknowledge your brother's drug use. Your talking around it, or denying it only makes matters worse. He thinks he's getting away with something, causing him to use more (high even in your presence) and getting deeper into the addiction. Acknowledging it might give him some sense to sober up in front of you. Nexted, if you can, admit your love to him, but don't enable him. Don't give him money, he'll only use it on drugs. Don't forget at Christmas it's so easy to give money. NO money! Finally, if you can, tell him you'll be there for him emotionally and mentally...but only sober. Then encourage him when he makes sobering decisions, such as staying away from drugging friends or staying away from 'trigger' points. 'Trigger' points being things such as drinking to intoxication, late nights clubbing at the 'Roxy', or going to parties where he knows others will use.

I've said enough. I know it's not easy and you can only do your best. Good Luck,
doingfine

Last edited by doingfine; 12-15-2008 at 01:38 AM.

 
Old 12-15-2008, 09:23 AM   #4
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

Hey there!

Well, I don't know if I can say anything more that the two before me... They both said some very true things.

First and foremost... I do feel for the situation you are in! It's a crappy one, there is no doubt about that. However, I think you are having a hard time seeing it from an addicts point of view and that makes sense too... How could you if you have never experienced it? It's only normal for you to have the feelings of anger and resentment because his actions are hurting your loved ones. I would be angry too...

I am glad that "doingfine" made the point to you about addictions not discriminating people for their class or creed... I may not be a CEO but I am a business woman and looking at me.. you would NEVER guess I am an addict.. Never in a million years. That is how I got away with it for so long to be honest... I think showing your support as long as he is sober was great advice too... We don't want to be addicts.. We feel tremendous guilt for what we have done. Believe me... so much guilt you may not be able to comprehend... He obviously does not have control of the situation which means you won't have a chance in trying to control it either... Dig was right there too...

I guess I don't know what else to say but I wish your brother luck and hopefully one day he will enjoy a sober life! Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers..

Oh.. one final thought... If you think he will be the death of your parents.. Obviously, they are letting him hurt them.. Maybe it's time to speak with them about applying some "tough" love to him because so far what they have tried does not seem to be working.. Maybe they are enabeling him by letting him live at home so he has money for drugs.. maybe it's time for him to do it on his own if he can't become sober.. Just a thought.. Keep us updated!
~Secrets

 
Old 12-15-2008, 07:53 PM   #5
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

I am sorry if I offended anyone here. I think that you would really have to know the situation to understand why I say he is being selfish and does not know what the "real world" is like. He has stolen pain medications from our father right after my dad had back surgery and he needed them (tell me how that is not selfish??). He lies to my parents like nothing else. He pawns anything he can find that will be worth any bit of money. He owes money loan places all over town. He is taking out loans to pay for other loans. You try and talk to him and relate to him about anything and if you disagree with him he bites your head off. Back, oh I am going to say 5 years ago, he got so out of control I thought he could have killed me. He tricked me into giving him a ride saying he had to return a movie to his friend. What he was doing was buying drugs. I was furious and told him so. He screamed obscenities at me so violently I saw murder in his eyes. He was 'this close' to prison and didn't have to go. He has no clue how to manage money or even how to relate to people. That is why I say he has no clue about the "real world". I understand that my parents are most likely enabling him, but they are most likely at a loss. My parents are older (my mom is almost 60 and my dad is almost 70). That is why he is killing them. They just don't have the life in them, I think, to face reality.
I am sorry if I offended anyone, but you guys don't get what it feels like to be on the other end (as I don't know about what you are dealing with). I am sure no one here wanted to hurt their loved ones, but to me it seems pretty obvious that when you abuse drugs you hurt not only yourselves, but your loved ones. To me when you disregard that fact, you are being selfish. That is how I feel and nothing will change my mind. We all go through the "don't do drugs" class and it was rocket science to me. Again, I do not want to offend anyone here and I HIGHLY respect those of you who were strong and overcame your drug use.
I think that every addict is different. One of you said to not ignore the drug use. My cousin mentioned how he knew what my brother was doing to my brother and my brother just denied it all. How does it help to bring it out in the open if he is just going to lie and lie? He is a REALLY good liar and a HUGE kiss *** and my parents fall for it everytime. Perhaps kicking him out would help, but no one could bear the thought of him sleeping in an alley. So, what can be done to help a highly opinionated liar who thinks what he does is correct?

 
Old 12-16-2008, 12:27 AM   #6
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

Hello Sg:

No one can possibly know the road that narcotics will have them travel.

In saying that, a person, once addicted, will become selfish because the inherant nature of this particular substance is designed to "eat away" at one's hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Those that were deemed as loved ones matter little due to the primary focus of drug seeking behavior. Irrational behavior is just one its sub-components.

It is unfortunate but those who are closest to the one addicted will be "affected by default" and will either enable the user or seperate themselves from this person(to varying degrees).

There are different "schools of thought" on how to deal with an addicted individual but they are all geared towards allowing the person to reach their "bottom."(that point of "revelation" that will be the turning point towards recovery and away from the misery of the particular substance).

No one should underestimate the powerful influence of substances of this nature; I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy.


Respectfully Phoenix
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Last edited by Phoenix; 12-16-2008 at 12:29 PM.

 
Old 12-16-2008, 01:50 AM   #7
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

Hi SillyGirl -

I do know what it is like on both sides of the addiction fence. I grew up with addicted parents, one who got sober and stayed sober and one who relapsed and relapsed and relapsed.

It is difficult to see someone's addiction affect the people that we love. I agree with Phoenix, selfishness becomes an adherent personality trait to the addict. Unfortunately, you can't help him unless he wants help. However, you can help yourself and your parents. Look into alanon or narcanon. These are meetings for family, friends or anyone who affected by another persons addictions.

These meeting will help educate you on addiction and give you the tools you need to recover and deal with the fallout, whether the addict recovers or not. It really sounds like your parents could use this education. Most addicts are consumate liars, theives and as you put it, huge kiss***es when it suits their purpose. All of the things you described about your brother are extremely common to addicts of every walk of life.

If you can convince your parents to attends some of these meetings, they may be able to institute some tough love towards your brother. And remember if they kick him out and he sleeps in an alley, well that is his choice. We are not responsible for being addicts, it is a medical condition, HOWEVER, we are responsible for our actions and our own recovery. That is what your brother is severly lacking, the need to take responsibility for his actions because your parents don't require him to.

I am sorry that I don't have a magic cure for you. I know that as a recovering addict, it breaks my heart to know that damage and pain I inflicted on my family while I was actively using. It is one of the things that keeps my sober today. I have a fantastic relationship with my family these days and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Take care and I will keep your family in my prayers. Good luck.

Liz

Last edited by Lotty667; 12-16-2008 at 01:52 AM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 12-16-2008, 06:29 PM   #8
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

Thank you. I appreciate your responses, kind thoughts and suggestions. They will help greatly. My parents do not know about his current drug use. They think he is over the "drug thing". I just found out around Thanksgiving time that he is abusing pain killers. I am not sure how to tell my parents. Should they know? I think that if they find out they will breakdown, he has already done so much to them.

 
Old 12-16-2008, 07:32 PM   #9
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

I think that you must tell them. They need all the information available in order to make proper decisions. I know that it is hard and that you don't want to cause them any further pain, but you may have no choice.

As his addiction progresses, and it will progress, he may begin stealing and doing who knows what. They need to be aware of what he's really doing so that they can protect themselves.

I hope that you can find a way to tell them and help them get the help that they need. Unfortunately addiction is a family disease. The good news is that you and your parents can begin recovery, even if your brother chooses not to do so.

Again, you and your whole family are in my prayers.

Take care,

Liz

 
Old 12-16-2008, 07:39 PM   #10
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sillygrl View Post
I am sorry if I offended anyone here. I think that you would really have to know the situation to understand why I say he is being selfish and does not know what the "real world" is like. He has stolen pain medications from our father right after my dad had back surgery and he needed them (tell me how that is not selfish??). He lies to my parents like nothing else. He pawns anything he can find that will be worth any bit of money. He owes money loan places all over town. He is taking out loans to pay for other loans. You try and talk to him and relate to him about anything and if you disagree with him he bites your head off. Back, oh I am going to say 5 years ago, he got so out of control I thought he could have killed me. He tricked me into giving him a ride saying he had to return a movie to his friend. What he was doing was buying drugs. I was furious and told him so. He screamed obscenities at me so violently I saw murder in his eyes. He was 'this close' to prison and didn't have to go. He has no clue how to manage money or even how to relate to people. That is why I say he has no clue about the "real world". I understand that my parents are most likely enabling him, but they are most likely at a loss. My parents are older (my mom is almost 60 and my dad is almost 70). That is why he is killing them. They just don't have the life in them, I think, to face reality.
I am sorry if I offended anyone, but you guys don't get what it feels like to be on the other end (as I don't know about what you are dealing with). I am sure no one here wanted to hurt their loved ones, but to me it seems pretty obvious that when you abuse drugs you hurt not only yourselves, but your loved ones. To me when you disregard that fact, you are being selfish. That is how I feel and nothing will change my mind. We all go through the "don't do drugs" class and it was rocket science to me. Again, I do not want to offend anyone here and I HIGHLY respect those of you who were strong and overcame your drug use.
I think that every addict is different. One of you said to not ignore the drug use. My cousin mentioned how he knew what my brother was doing to my brother and my brother just denied it all. How does it help to bring it out in the open if he is just going to lie and lie? He is a REALLY good liar and a HUGE kiss *** and my parents fall for it everytime. Perhaps kicking him out would help, but no one could bear the thought of him sleeping in an alley. So, what can be done to help a highly opinionated liar who thinks what he does is correct?

Please, I hope you didn't mean this reply to me. No, not at all offended here. I clearly understand how you feel. I just want you to know, it's not easy on the addicts side. We get there and so many times don't know how. What starts out as 'fun' gets replaced with an addiction. It's truly so hard to know when that happens. Maybe it was the first time a party friend told me they thought I might have a problem -- I worked the rest of the night trying to convince them otherwise. We were smoking meth, discussing it. We were high and we were convinced. Not sure what he was convinced of, but he stopped coming around.

An addict needs to have enough sanity left in them to know the bottom when they get there. They have to get there on their own. That's truly what has to happen.

As for your parents, they love your brother. They should know. They might harbor some resentment if something should happen to him, and you didn't let them you know.

And you shouldn't talk around it or ignore it -- trust me that's enabling. People use to talk around me, and so I was convinced I was getting away with it. It made me use more and become bolder about it. I went to more functions high. More events totally tweaked and flying. Then it was too late. By the time friends started to engage me on the issue, I was addicted and cared less about them. More about the drug, and my needs. I wasn't fooling them, they just didn't tell me until they didn't want me around anymore. Let your brother know you know what's going on. And let those around him know. At least if he disappoints them on commitments, they may not like it, but they'll know why.

Set the limit of only interacting when he is sober. Trying to deal with someone who is high only leads to frustration and annoyance. Don't do it.

One more thing, set your own limits; you're entitled to them. You can't make him right. He has to do that himself. When he's sober support him emotionally, but know when you've had enough and need your wind. As you are right now....you will see episodes of clean brother and episodes of using brother. I did it till I hit my bottom and knew I was done. Very common for addicts to do for a number of years because they try to self medicate. They need help, but they have to be receptive to it.

You have to know your limits, because it can get tough on a care giver. Have your limiits.

Good Luck,
doingfine

Last edited by doingfine; 12-17-2008 at 04:17 AM. Reason: clarified a point...sounded odd

 
Old 12-16-2008, 10:28 PM   #11
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

I will tell my parents, but I will wait until after the holidays. I do not want another holiday ruined for them. I will sit down and tell them what I know. I have no idea how they will react. The only thing I am worried about right now is the fact that my cousin thinks my brother is depressed. I do not want my brother to be another Heath Ledger tragedy. What if he o.d.'s?

 
Old 12-17-2008, 07:49 AM   #12
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

Its true that you feel alone in this but this is when families need each other the most. Any info you have for them is important. I agree that there is help for both sides whether you feel you enable him or not if you keep it to yourself its hurting you to with inner termoil. Im going through the same basic thing with my boyfriend. His family essentually turned thier back and he lived on the street for 8 years till we met. He is trying now outpatient councling and he has relapses but each day is a new one. He had to hit the bottom before clawing his way back. I know its hard but hang in there. Tabby

 
Old 12-17-2008, 07:58 AM   #13
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

Hey SG:

I wanted to check in with you and let you know that I was in no way offended by you! I completely understand how you could feel the way you do. For me, no one in my life knew I had a pil problem and I got enough sense to CHANGE the situation before it caused problems in my life.. (besides the fact I know struggle with staying clean) I realized my family was WAY more important than the pills and that I learned on here reading what some people's "use" had done to their family and friends and most importantly to themself! We are all the same but yet are different so I can only agree with the advice of others on this board. An addict has to be ready to quit.. you can't make them or force them.. It would never work. However, the people around him can stop enabling him!

I feel so bad for your situation.. I feel terrible for your parents and I hope that you all have the strength to cope with this and are strong enough to make the stand you HAVE to make. Otherwise this will continue to tear you all apart and you do not deserve that!

As for the fear of your brother OD'ing.. I have no idea what to tell you there.. Being we have no idea what he is all on and how much of it he is taking... I have no idea. You can hope and pray he does not go down that road. I hope your holiday season is better than you expect and you and your whole family will be in my thoughts and prayers!
~Secrets

 
Old 12-17-2008, 10:27 AM   #14
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

I am glad I did not offend anyone, that makes me feel better! I also think that this message board is a wonderful place for people to go and I think it is great that those of you who were users have a safe and supportive place to talk and share your story.
I believe he is on Oxycontin?? I have to ask my cousin again. The fact that he is depressed worries me. I understand now that he has to hit rock bottom and decide on his own to get clean, but I worry about him dying in the process!

 
Old 12-17-2008, 12:24 PM   #15
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Re: I need help...I have no idea what to do

If it wasn't for this board.. I think it would have been much harder to become sober... Just because it is such a lonely feeling.. I mean.. a lot of us... a majority of us addicted to pills did not intend for this to occur.. We took the meds as directed for REAL pain.. and then.. something changed and we couldn't stop.. It's MIND BLOWING to me still.. I just can't believe ME of all people let this happen.. However, It is now under control.. I don't know why I felt like i needed to tell you that.. I just for some reason did..

I hope for your brother.. he can see the error of his ways and get the help he so greatly needs... I really do!

As for you.. HANG IN THERE... Stick around here all you want! I think we help each other out greatly.. I like to hear about how being an addict CAN hurt others besides myself because it helps me stay sober knowing that I didn't hurt my family or friends when I was using but if I slip up that could be a different story and I am NOT willing to risk that.. So thank you for sharing and being honest!
~Secrets

 
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