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How Do I Write a Contract Agreement For My Brother in Recovery from Heroin Addiction?

by Teri
(Jamul, CA)

My 28 year old brother who is now my "responsibility", since the death of our parents has been clean from his heroin addiction for 3 years and has been able to hold down a good paying job with benefits, but still has an addicts attitude that I should take care of him for the rest of his life.

Unfortunately, I have a different outlook on it. I've bought him a really nice park model home to live in and given him free rent on my property. The only thing I've asked him to pay for is his utilities, which total approximately $100 a month. I also pay for his cell phone and have paid his car insurance and repairs for the past 3 years.

I really just want him to finally grow up and take care of himself. I have a husband, 2 sons (ages 8 and 10) and a baby on the way. I spend more money taking care of him than on my own children. I can't continue to do this. To make a long story longer, I've been told to write up a contract and make him sign it and if he fails to uphold his side of the deal, then cut him off.

The problem is, I can't find a contract template to go off of. Can anyone please help or tell me where to get help. I'm at the end of my rope and need to make a change for the betterment of all of us, even though he won't think so for some time to come. Thank you in advance for your help with my "issue". Answer

Hi Teri

There is no formal template you need to follow. Simply type up a document, saying these are the 'terms' to your agreement, i.e. your brother paying utilities etc. (list them all clearly) - and the consequences for not meeting those terms, i.e. he's out on his own.

The thing is, your brother has obviously now come to expect you keep him in a certain lifestyle, and hasn't had to fully grow up and learn to take care of himself, despite him coming clean from his heroin addiction.

So that's a form of enablement and your brother needs to learn there is no such thing as a 'free lunch.' Adulthood carries certain responsibilities and the primary one is being able to look after and take care of oneself, i.e. growing up.

It's great that you've helped your brother as much as you have, but he needs to start learning to do that for himself. So the contract you put in place doesn't have to be perfectly worded or be written in legalise - it's simply an agreement and understanding between the two of you of what your expectations are and what will happen if those aren't met.

That's way your brother can't then turn around and say you're being unfair, unreasonable or he didn't know - because it's in writing and you've both signed it. It's about setting and managing expectations - and it forces your brother to start taking responsibility for his life, and not being able to live with a certain sense of entitlement, which is a trait many addicts have.

Best of Luck

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Thank you!
by: Teri

Thank you to Best of Luck for the support and advice!
I have really been trying to not let him make me feel guilty. It's uplifting to have someone back me up and remind me that it's not okay or healthy for either one of us to continue with this way of living! I'll post the results as they come about! I have taken a first step by removing myself from responsibility for his cell phone bill and he now has 30 days to change the billing into his name, or the service will be discontinued, thereby, losing his phone number.
Thanks again for your input!!!!!!!!

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