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Failed Intervention: What Happens When Only Some of the Family Stick to Their Terms?

by Andi

I have a 41 year old drug addicted brother who chose not to go into treatment 2 years ago. I have stuck to what I said and refuse to help or associate with him. I feel this is the right thing for me and my family and the only way he will hit bottom.

My parents have cut off any financial help, but are still caught up in his drama via phone calls etc. My Mom worries he will commit suicide if she cuts all ties. My parents feel he is sick and I should try to have a relationship of some type with him or I will feel terrible if he dies.

I am now wondering if my decision to separate from his dysfunctional life is going to do any good if my parents do not. He seems to now fixate (with them) on my unfair treatment and portrayal of him. He seems to be bi-polar as well as addicted to pot. He has used other drugs and alcohol, too.

I don't know details anymore and don't really think they matter. Can anyone provide some insight into this? Thank you.


Hi Andi

Because the rest of your family haven't stuck to the terms set out at the intervention you had for your brother ... all it does is keep him stuck in his cycle of addiction and all the drama that comes with it.

No one can make another person commit suicide. People commit suicide out of choice. And all your Mother does by allowing your brother to play victim - is assist him in not having to take responsibility for his life, which involves getting proper help for his addiction and whatever other problems he may have.

So if you feel you don't want to have anything to do with your brother while he continues his life of addiction and all the insanity that comes with it, then you don't need to feel bad. Don't let other people manipulate you emotionally to feel otherwise.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with your parents having contact with your brother, but as soon as that contact turns into enabling, then all they're doing ultimately is causing him further harm that good. It can be a fine line, but letting someone play those emotional mind games (which most addicts are extremely good at) - then it is definitely enabling.

You have made your choice, as you have every right to do. As your brother chooses to continue to live a life of addiction, as is his right to do. Best you detach from the situation as far as possible and if need be put some boundaries in place with your parents - making it clear you've made your choice and they need to respect it.

If your brother wants to have a relationship with you, he knows where he stands and what is required. He has to get clean and turn his life around. Your terms are not unreasonable. Hope that helps. Good luck with everything.

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Jan 09, 2011
Done what you can
by: Anonymous

You've done your part, and if the rest of your family don't want to do theirs, there is not much more you can do so you have nothing to feel bad or guilty about. If your brother doesn't want to do anything about his addiction, then so bet it, but likewise you have ever right to choose not to be part of the insanity that accompanies such a life.

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