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My Brother's Drug Habit and Addiction is Destroying Him and our Family. Do I Go Over My Parents Heads?

by Ralph

My Brother (18) has been smoking pot for 3 years now, and progressively he has gone from not caring about his future to violence in the home. There are times when I'll come home from class and he has made holes in the walls, beat our youngest brother or stolen money to buy more pot.

Recently he has gotten to the point where he will take our youngest brother (11 years old) with him and make him smoke pot or drink. He will treat my parents like garbage, manipulate them, and destroy the house worse than before.

I recently sat down with my parents and told them that they needed to take action. I told them they needed to either remove him from the household so he can't hurt the family anymore or try and seek professional help. I also told them that if I didn't see them work out a plan to get my brother help or remove him that I would call the police and social services the next time I had concrete proof of what he is doing.

My question is simple and yet complicated, should I follow through and involve the police? I only see my parents enabling him, blaming each other, and hoping that giving him bribes will put a stop to this problem.

I'm afraid to destroy my family over this, but at the same time I feel like if I just sit here doing nothing he'll not only destroy our family but our lives as individuals.


Hi Ralph

I think your idea is on the right track because by not doing anything as a family, you're simply enabling your brother's behavior in that he isn't having to experience any consequences for his destructive and harmful actions.

Whether or not
to involve the police as a starting point is difficult to comment on because I'm not there and can't see how bad things really are. They may arrest him if evidence warrants it, but are likely to let him out again within a day or two. And then what?

I would be more inclined to start with performing a family intervention with the help of an intervention specialist. The idea behind an intervention is to insist that your brother gets professional help and goes for treatment, or else there will be severe consequences, e.g. he will be kicked out of the house and no longer given any money. It needs to be properly planned, but if done properly can be a very effective method to get someone the help they need.

What happens then though is entirely up to him - because unless someone is ready to change, no one can really help them. So I think you're definitely right in thinking it's time to start adopting a more tough love approach and creating clear boundaries as to what you as a family will/will not allow - and then look at getting a professional in to help you perform the intervention.

Explain to your parents that doing nothing will just make things worse, and then suggest this plan of action to them, because the whole family needs to buy into it if its going to be effective.

Use this as a starting point and then see what happens from there. Understand though that we are ultimately powerless to control someone else's addiction, and until your brother is ready to change, no one can help him, in which case setting him free becomes the only real option left to you.

Good Luck and let us know how you get on

Comments for My Brother's Drug Habit and Addiction is Destroying Him and our Family. Do I Go Over My Parents Heads?

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Mar 18, 2010
You Need Family Buy In
by: C-P

Going over your parents heads is at best only going to be a short-term solution because your brother will quickly exploit and manipulate them to avoid there being any serious repercussions if you did go to the police.

Your parents need to understand why they're enabling him and why that's bad for your brother. So maybe you should arrange for you and your parents to go and see a counselor at a treatment center to have it explained to them, and then also get advice on how to plan the intervention on your brother.

They need to get it and buy into whatever approach you adopt because unless your brother sees a common united front, he'll quickly find the weak link and blow a hole into your strategy. Because that's what addicts do, they manipulate to get their way.

So first get your family onside and then go from there ...

Good Luck

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