How to Talk to a Sibling About Their Addiction
It can be heartbreaking to watch someone you grew up with becoming a drug addict. Maybe it is your older brother who you look up to and strive to become. Perhaps, your younger sister who has the potential to take on the world. Dealing with a drug addict sibling can wear and eventually tear down even the most robust family unit. Younger siblings of addicts can be the most affected by this because there is a feeling of neglect. After all, the parents may forego their other children’s needs while trying to make the addict better.
The biggest challenge of the situation is confronting and addressing the addiction. The delicate situation can unpredictable, but with a little love and compassion, you might be able to reach your sibling. When you fear the worst for a sibling that is addicted, recognize the signs, stage an intervention, and get them to treatment as soon as possible. The healing can start today for your brother and sister, and it begins with one phone call! Call 385-327-7418, and start the road to recovery today!
We realize dealing with a sibling with an addiction can be difficult. We put together resources to help you determine your best course of action down below:
Recognizing Addiction in Your Sibling
When a person is deep in addiction’s trenches, they become a shell of their former self. A person’s downfall to addiction can start with a simple experiment and morph into fatal complications. Mainly, if you live with your sibling or see them regularly, it might be hard to notice the signs. However, with time, their actions and appearance can display the signs quite noticeably. No matter how close the relationship is, the issues will eventually come to light. Problems at home become a common occurrence. Here are some of the signs you might notice if you are dealing with a drug addict sibling:
- Problems at work or school
- Money problems
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- Arrests and prison time
- Serious health problems and death
The best way to handle this situation boils down to one thing, confrontation. Confronting your sibling can be scary, but it is the only way to bring the addiction to light and get the help they truly need. Since facing your sibling can be fragile, the approach needs to be with care and understanding. Attacking a sibling will only deter them and make their problems worse. Professional intervention is the most effective way of getting a loved one to come to terms with their addiction and get help.
Approach with Care
The sticky situation of having a drug addict sister or brother is getting them to acknowledge that there is a problem. Most addicts will fight and try to hide their problems. Denial is one of the main components of addiction. The addict does not see the damage they are creating in their environment. The oldest sibling may cause the most damage. Younger siblings may incur permanent damage from their sibling’s addiction and become addicts later in their lives. Approaching a sibling can stir tricky waters. When talking to a sibling about their addiction, you should do so without attacking them. Attacking them can often lead to things backfiring.
Here are some tips on how to deal with a sibling who abuses drugs:
- Listen, be a sponge, talk less.
- Show kindness
- Set boundaries
- Let it be on their terms.
- Show unconditional love
- Be patient with the process of the changes.
- Assist in the solution
When confrontation does not work, you may consider staging an intervention. Most families elect to have a mediator or outsider to make the intervention successful. Intervention is one of the best ways to approach a sibling about their addiction. Professional interventions have a 90% success rate in getting a person to seek treatment.
Time to Intervene
When staging an intervention, it is imperative to have an interventionist to help control the intervention. You should also include the addict’s family and friends to show your sibling’s addiction’s gravity. An interventionist’s presence is a way to avoid any complications when addressing the situation to the addict. Family members and friends are often too close to the issue to make sure their loved gets into treatment and stay there till they are clean and sober.
Family and friends of the addict need to make a collaborative decision on how to proceed if the addict does not agree to treatment. When an addict does not want to get help and continues their ways, consequences get the addict to think about things.
Eventually, most individuals seek treatment about a week after the intervention takes place. When your sibling refuses treatment, you should not give up on them, but you should give them space and distance yourself from the situation. In particular, younger ones need to create the most distance as that situation can be traumatic for them. The most desired outcome for a sibling is to check into treatment and complete it.
Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings are good programs for an individual to join. These programs include people with the same issues and can help your sibling find resources to deal with their triggers. More so, with 12 step programs, there is a support system with accountability. These programs can all help fill the voids that a drug or alcohol previously did. When the right plan and support are in place, a sibling can be back to their old self and better than ever!
Helping Your Sibling into Treatment
Upon completing a successful intervention, your sibling will be ready to fight addiction and get their life back in order. The strongest of families will unite to support their loved one every step of the way. As a sibling, your brother or sister may need you the most. When dealing with a drug addict sibling, you may have the most influence in helping them fight every day. Your letter or speech at the intervention may have contributed to assisting them in pursuing treatment. Siblings typically have stronger bonds because they spent a lot of time together and grew up together. There are many ways you can help a sibling get the help they need. Love, compassion, and understanding are vital in this situation.
Here are some helpful tips in getting your sibling into treatment:
- Find treatment services and information.
- Help them find housing.
- Help them avoid places and people that might tempt them to retake drugs.
- Talk with them about their feelings
- Be understanding if they relapse
When you are in their corner, you are helping them find the strength to end their addiction. Also, it is imperative to make sure you set boundaries, do not enable them. Your sibling will not only want to get better for themselves but everyone around them as well. Getting a loved one into treatment will save relationships and make them stronger and potentially save their life.
A Better Tomorrow for Your Sibling
Once you talk to your sibling about their addiction, it can be a weight off your shoulders. The talk may have been something you have built up the strength to do. While confrontations, in general, can be intimidating, they are essential in getting the message across.
You do not have to help your sibling alone. There are resources and support available to beat addiction. When the time comes to address the situation, keep in mind that your sibling should talk. Let your sibling get everything off of their chest. Be careful not to judge. Show love and compassion. The more love and understanding you offer, the more likely your sibling will be open to getting help. Interventions are a sure-fire way of getting your sibling to acknowledge that they have a problem and get the help they need.
You need to bring the problem to light before it is too late. A sibling’s addiction might lead to more issues down the road, including legal and financial issues, imprisonment, and ultimately death. Not to mention the impact addiction may have on other siblings, especially the younger ones.
When dealing with a drug addict sibling, it is pivotal to be strong-minded for them and the rest of your family. Once in treatment, they can draw the strength they need and beat their addiction.
We provide treatment resources for drug and alcohol addiction in Salt Lake City, UT, area. The treatment programs allow addicts to realize their addiction’s gravity and get the help they so desperately need. Treatment offers a chance for a better tomorrow. When you call (385) 327-7418, you are making the first step towards that. The road to a clean and sober life for your sibling can start today!
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