How Can I help my older brother stop using Drugs?
My older brother never listens to anyone ever since he got into high school. Sometimes I find him doing things that Dad said we should never do. Two weeks ago I found some stuff in his bag and when I asked my friends they said its drugs. Seeing how he changed all over a sudden, I believe he’s using. I can’t tell Dad, he’ll get too hard on him, may even ground him from school for a long time. I don’t have many trusted friends my brother can listen to. I found this site, a friend told me I can get some advice. How can I help my brother.?
First, thank you for being so responsible and caring for your family and brother in particular. I pray that he can eventually change his life over back to normal. Such habits are common among teenagers and young adults due to the daily ever increasing stresses of life they are not always accustomed to. If they can eventually listen and stop this behavior, chances are high that they will be saved from any consequences that come by the use, otherwise, its also possible that if he continues using substances, his life – social, economic and health may quickly deteriorate, or even result into a very painful death.
Knowing how to help an addicted brother can be difficult without outside guidance. In most cases, addicts and alcoholics abuse the trust of their family and the people around them. They may say hurtful things, lie, or steal while they are in the midst of their addiction. Helping your brother seek treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction is a potentially life-saving act. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that one-third of addicts prematurely die due to their addiction to alcohol or drugs or a cause related to drug abuse. However, nearly one-third of addicts achieve permanent recovery without relapsing after their first treatment attempt.
To help you help your brother, you are going to be even more careful in avoiding certain things while you implement this strategy.
What to avoid:
DO NOT ENABLE YOUR BROTHER
Sometimes life rightfully hammers us back into the right shape, it may be painful but well deserving for a better living. Enabling your brother means trying to do things to shield him from things that would otherwise shape him back into the man he must become. If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then most likely, you’ve been enabling your brother:
- Have you ever called your brother’s school or place of employment in order to make excuses for his or her absence?
- Have you lied to anyone to cover up for him?
- Have you ever bailed him out of jail or paid for his legal fees?
- Have you allowed him to blame you for any of his or her behavior that resulted from drug or alcohol use?
- Have you avoided talking to him about his or her behavior because you feared the response?
- Have you ever given or loaned money to him to purchase possibly drugs?
- Have you ever completed an assignment or project that was supposed to be done by him that he failed to due to drugs?
Most people do these things and think that they are helping the person with addiction problems but in real sense, this is enabling them and letting them know – its OK to continue using drugs, we’ll be here to do your duties whenever you are down.
Once that’s done, then follow this strategy closely.
- Establish Trust: This is one of the hardest things to do. Older brothers or sisters normally become estranged from their young ones especially when they get into substance use habits. Try to build a level of trust with him by not calling him names, or yelling at him, try not to lecture him every now and then and learn to listen to him without judging.
- Understand his stress factors: Understand the exact areas of his life that may be sources of stress that could be the result of them seeking relief through drugs. Whether its a broken relationship with parents, girl friend, academic failure or sports failure, business or financial distress among others. In most cases lack of sufficient true love in a family can send off children to seek comfort elsewhere. When there’s no connection between them and their parents, and as unpredictable as youthful boyfriend-girlfriend relationships are, this could have sparked off a bad decision to start using substances. Know which ones are the root causes.
- Arrange an Intervention: An intervention is a professionally arranged meeting between the person with addiction problems and the people who truly love him. Your parents, friends and family, church clergy, and a professional interventionist or psycho-therapist. Run the meeting as best directed by a professional interventionist.
If your brother is a humble child who hasn’t wandered off too far, be assured, he’ll come around. If you are a religious person, pray for him. Prayer works much more than any strategies, so pray.
Thank you Fred for this advice. McCathy, you can’t love your brother more than his parents. You may not be able to shield him from your father’s wrath all the time and in another way your shielding may become disastrous for him in the end. I’d like to re-quote Fred “Sometimes life rightfully hammers us back into the right shape, it may be painful but well deserving for a better living” so reach out to your parents, they are smarter and more resourceful, and have faith in them that they will resolve this peacefully. We wish you the best of luck and keep us updated on the situation. I hope things get better soon with your brother.