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05/28/2008 12:43 AM

Dealing with a Sibling Addict

Posts: 2

Hello Everyone,

I have an 18 year old sister who is a drug and alcohol addict. She was in Wilderness Therapy and and a Therapudic Boarding School for a year and a half. She also has had suicidal tendencies because she is ashamed of herself. Just recently, my parents discovered she has been using heroin for a few months and plan on sending her to a treatment center in Arizona.

She looks up to me very much, but as someone who has never really done or understood drugs, I am having a hard time dealing with this and understanding what she is going thru and how to help her. My initial reaction is anger/tough love, which I think might push the suicide button.




05/30/2008 04:34 PM
Posts: 1556
Senior Member

Is your sister voluntarily going to these treatment centers? If not she might not be ready to change. She's not an adult yet and dealing with her shame will be harder for her. Do you know what she is ashamed of? It comes from an event or type of upbringing, if she is supported in revealing why she feels this way it will help elieviate her internal pain.

Until she is ready tough love helps you more than it helps her. I think that anger doesn't help anybody.

Healing the Shame that Binds You is about shame and has reasons for drug addiction.


06/18/2008 12:05 PM
Posts: 54

Hi Davids!

My name is Amy and I am 24 years old. I am living with my husbans of 5 years who is a long term crystal meth addict.

I understand the turmoil it is like living with an addict. THe lies, the deceit, the broken hearts, tears, dissapointment. Please remember that beneath the addiction, their is a scared little child in that body, needing love.

We just have to figure out what kind of love to give them. Do not take care of not fix their not make life easy for them.. make it as uncomfortable for them as possible if they are going to continue to use. It is called tough love. If the addict does nto become uncomfortable, they wont stop using.'

In your comment you said that you guys are planning to be "SENDING" her to treatment. I am sorry but this is not going to work. It HAS to be your sisters choice to get clean. As much as you want it for her.. SHE has to be the one to make the arrangement and decisions (but your help is good)

Some books I have read that helped me are: Codependant No More (melodie Beatie), Sober For Good, So I Married an Alcoholic, Love First, a new approach to intervention for alcoholism and drug addiction. Sorry that I don't have all the authors na

Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with


07/18/2008 10:05 AM
PF123Posts: 7
New Member

Gosh lots of good advice. I know many therapist believe in the tough love theory, but lately... many are understanding the root cause of addiction is a desire to "self-medicate." You'll hear alot of about dual-diagnosis therapy. The addiction and the cause. We learned the addict is trying to numb their feelings so because they can't won't or don't know how to deal with their emotions and life. Many simple things which you and I would not find stressful, they find impossible to deal with. Stress is the no. 1 Trigger. Addicts already feel bad about themselves and are shameful, tough love sometimes just reinforces what they already feel, unloved.

I don't know if anyone can tell someone else how to deal with an addict, but I do know that if we must detach, we msut do it with care and love.

All my best.

07/18/2008 01:01 PM
Posts: 1556
Senior Member

Depends on what you think tough love is. It's not slam the person it's to force them to see the consequences of their choices and not allowing yourself to be dragged into it. Sometimes you have to let them go. True they have to learn to love themselves and they won't do that if you enable them.

My father was an alcoholic and I knew as a child that he had something that was making him feel bad about himself so that he drank to numb it. I tried with a boyfriend (drugs/bipolar) to love and support as that is what I thought my father needed. At first he gave up drugs, but when stress came he went right back and was ashamed of himself for it. You can't make someone like themself, all you can do is support them in their quest to become well.

One has to learn new coping skills not just quit.

Dual Diagosis from what I read is a medical/chemical disorder and a emotional one. Each has to be dealt with independently by a professional.


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