How do I help my brother?

Old 01-17-2012, 11:18 PM
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How do I help my brother?

For the past 2-3 years my older brother has been addicted to opiates (mainly oxycontin and perks). He is 24 years old and has been living in the basement of my house ever since he graduated college. (He has not been able to keep a job)
Watching him continue in a downward spiral is so painful and all I want to do is find a way to help him. He continues to convince my parents to give him money by saying he owes money to people who will kill him if he doesn't pay them. He has also gone so far as to say they would kill us and we are in danger. If they tell him they won't give him money (usually he asks for $500-$700) he threatens to go out and rob people or kill himself or someone else. He has tried rehab twice and relapsed both times.
I believe he uses the money my parents give him to buy drugs. Is it possible to spend that much money daily or weekly for oxycontin? He does not usually sleep and eats very unhealthy. He has put on quite a bit of weight and his complexion is pretty bad. How do you help someone like him? How do I convince my parents to stop giving him money? I am only 21 years old and I feel hopeless, any advice will be appreciated greatly. I live at college, but my parents and my sister constantly have to deal with this at home.

I'm desperate to help him.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:15 AM
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Hummingbird2, my heart goes out to you like you can't imagine!!!!! My younger brother is an addict, age 22. I am almost 25. My brothers choice of drug has always been speed, but the past year this has turned into a heroin and pill addiction as well. He had a year sober until this last summer and things got really really bad, we almost lost him. He is also HIV positive (diagnosed in 2010) and the end of this year was diagnosed HEP C positive as well.

From what it sounds like, you, your parents, and sister have been enabling his addiction. You all need to be on board the same boat if you even have a chance of pushing him toward help. The things I am going to say are going to sound very harsh, and they are. But the reality is the more you choose to give him money, let him live in your homes, and whatever else contributes to his use, is only helping to kill him. Do not let him threaten any of you by telling you that people will come to find you guys and kill you. If you really do feel threatened by that then you should contact local authorities to help guide you in the right direction to help in your safety.

1. DO NOT GIVE HIM ANY MONEY WHAT SO EVER!!! I will tell you now that it is not only very possible for him to be spending that kind of money on oxy, but do not discount the fact that he may be using other drugs as well! Oxy may be his DOC (drug of choice) but addicts will often use many other types of drugs in conjunction with the DOC.

2. Tell him unless he gets treatment, that he can no longer live in your homes. You are only putting yourselves in danger. Also, by giving him a place to stay, he has no reason to want to get sober since he knows you will continually let him in.

3. Do not let his threats get to you. If he chooses to go rob or kill people then guess what...THOSE ARE HIS CHOICES. Addicts are SOOOOO good at manipulating others, especially family. That is a bunch of bull ****. My brother went to jail 2x and was hospitalized 4 times this last year. 3 times in 5150 and once for an overdose. Did it suck watching him go through it? HELL YES IT DID! But guess what, we all have our choices in life and your brother is not exempt from making his own. You and your family have the choice to let him continue to walk all over you.

4. GET TO AL ANON or some sort of counseling.

At this point your brother seems to be pretty rock bottom. So was my brother, and he has been there more than once. Trust me, as hard as it is cutting the addict off from any help aside from helping them get into treatment and with their recovery is the best thing you can do to help. Think of it this way, every time you guys give him money what is he going to do with it? BUY DRUGS. How would you feel if the money he used to go buy some oxy will be the time he uses and overdoses? Every time you give money, or a place to live, you contribute to his use, and eventually his death.

Its a harsh reality to face, and one that I have had to accept with not just my little brother but my father as well. My dad lost his battle with addiction in 2008. The sad reality is that most likely I won't be loosing my brother to HIV or HEP C...I will be loosing him to drugs. Each moment that they have been sober is a blessing! I chose not to contribute towards my brothers disease or my dads while he was alive. Im glad you have found this forum. It has saved me in the last few days. My husband is an alcoholic and I am finally making decisions to better my life. What he chooses to do is his choice, just like your brother has his choices to make. I am so so so sorry that you are going through this pain. It is imperative you create a support system, get to al anon, and get your family on board as well. If even one of you isn't on the same page his chance of getting sober won't be good. Watching my mom do the things like I mentioned above was so hard, but so necessary. My brother was off and running for a bit and it was scary preparing for the worst, but today he is sober! He wouldn't be had we kept enabling his drug use.

I will keep you and your family and your brother in my prayers <3
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:34 AM
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Welcome to SR, When you read the stickies and other posts around here you will learn what you and your family are doing is just promoting his disease and doing the exact opposite of what you need to.
How do you help someone like him? ..... Seek help for yourself! go to Nar-anon. You can only control you. You can't cure his disease he must do it, and he will only do it when the family quits buying his drugs. ** parents giving money, giving a place to live for free.}

I know this sounds harsh but If you continue to enable him to continue he is either going to end up in jail or dead. It takes making him live the consequences of his own choices for them to realize that it is not the right choices. He is an adult and needs to provide everything for himself.

Keep reading and posting. Please seek NAr-anon, your family also.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:49 AM
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Addiction is progressive. $500-700 week becomes a drop in the bucket. Drugs are rewiring your brother's brain to protect and sustain the addiction beast, at any cost.

Given his needs for housing and money are being met by his family, he has not had the opportunity to experience the consequences of his addiction, thus no reason to remotely consider alternatives.

The family did not cause this.
The family cannot control this.
The family cannot cure this.

The family has an opportunity to give this young man a gift, the gift of dignity to run his life as he sees fit and experience the full consequences of his choices. While experiencing consequences may or may not compel him to consider changing his life, until he does experiene consequences, there is no hope for recovery.

All property, funds, valuables and information needs to be secured because desparation for drugs will cause him to lie, cheat and steal, especially from those least likely to call the Police or press charges.

Tis better to put the next $500-700 towards an interventionist who can educate this family about their contribuatory role in all this and help them to stop the insanity.

I am not an advocate for using leverage to compel addicts into rehab. ( been there/done that) Treatment and rehab are not magic cures. At best, they can teach a highly motivated addict the tools of recovery. It's up to the addict to use those tools or not. Does not sound like he is ready. That's his choice.

Keep in mind he is not using dope at you or the family. It's not personal. It just feels that way, right now. We do not have the power to fix other people.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:53 AM
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How do you help your brother? You help yourself first. It's just like the flight attendants on airplanes say......if those little masks fall down, put yours on first.

The addicts best tool to maintain his/her hostages (that's you, your parents and other family members) is fear. Just like a terrorist. Fear is their tool to get the hostages to do what they want them to do.

He continues to convince my parents to give him money by saying he owes money to people who will kill him if he doesn't pay them. He has also gone so far as to say they would kill us and we are in danger. If they tell him they won't give him money (usually he asks for $500-$700) he threatens to go out and rob people or kill himself or someone else.
You provided a perfect example of how the terrorist manipulates the hostages. In the case of an addict, they use our love as the catalyst to envoke that fear. My AS does this regularly. My XAH used the same tactics. Why do they do it? Because it works.

As soon as it is made clear that the fear tactics are no longer going to work and firm boundaries are in place (that's the part where the hostages begin helping themselves first), the terrorist has lost his most effective weapons. He/she may "up" the ante in order to gain control again. That is how addiction works.

This is why it is important to recognize and identify what we are feeling when dealing with the addict. If we are feeling FEAR, PITY, ANGER, SHAME or GUILT, that's our cue that the addict's tactics are at work.

Right now you are not in the middle of the chaos (thats a good thing--distance allows perspective) but it is very painful to know that others you love are in the middle of the battlefield.

Back to your original can you help your brother? Get help for yourself. Where is that help available? It is available for free in the rooms of Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. If nothing else, the literature available from those resources will help you understand the dynamics of addiction and the family.

You, your family, and your dear brother will be in my prayers.

gentle hugs
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:34 AM
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Thank you for all the replies, they are already very helpful. I am showing my family everything you guys have said and I have found a Nar-Anon meeting right near where I live and I will try to get myself to go, I'm just a little nervous about it, but I know I won't regret it. I can't thank you enough for your advice and support!
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:57 PM
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Hummingbird- You have received some good advice here. I have a 24 yr old daughter who is an addict, and 21 yr old son who is away at college. The hardest thing we ever had to do was make our daughter move out over a year ago. I credit my son with having the clarity to know that we needed to stop enabling his sister and the maturity to tell us so. It was a relief knowing that he wasn't going to condemn us if we made his sister leave. He still loves his sis, but for now, he just prays for her and supports us in our recovery from the craziness that addiction brought into our lives. I will pray for your family. Stay strong.
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