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Should I Cut My Drug Addicted Sister Out of My Life?

by Karen
(South Africa north west Rustenburg)

I am 29, my sister is 35, and she has been addicted to drugs for over 6 years now. She is now back with my mom - it has been going very well for 2 weeks until her boyfriend came yesterday.

I think she used alcohol last night and that makes her very angry and want to use again. She said very hurtful things to me last night and it also causes me and my husband to fight.

She has been using me all the time and she only knows and loves me when she can get something out off me. I need to know how should I handle this or should I just get her out of my life?

She does not want to be helped unless it is on her own terms. She does not care for her 4 yr old boy - my mom has been taking care of him since he was 3 months old.

I am tired of fighting and protecting - I need advise how to deal with her.


Hi Karen

When it comes to dealing with someone that suffers from an addiction and who's an important part of our lives - whether that be spouse, family member, or friend - it's important to establish clear boundaries around the kind of behaviour you'll tolerate and find acceptable.

Addicts will manipulate, lie and do whatever is necessary to protect their addiction - but at the same time you need to understand that is the 'addict part' of your sister and not necessarily the 'real' her.

That however doesn't mean you should simply accept or tolerate her behaviour. Make it clear that you love her - but that you are no longer prepared to tolerate and deal with her behaviours - and until she commits to a life of sobriety and cleans up her act, you don't want to have her part of your life.

Be clear, be firm and explain your reasoning, but leave it at that. Don't get into an argument. She'll try and twist things to make it about you and your fault - again understand that's just the addicted part of her acting out, so try not to take what she says or does personally.

Your sister needs to learn to become accountable for her behaviour - and that acting out and behaving the way she does when she's been using or drinking is no longer acceptable to you.

Let her know that as long as she's clean and working at her recovery, you'll be there for her, but until she gets to that point, you are no longer going to let her use you and be her 'punching bag.'

Good Luck

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Apr 21, 2011
Even if she's clean...
by: Anonymous

Honestly, I'm coming to the conclusion that it's not just the drugs, but the personality. My sister has been clean from crack for a few years, but she is so brain damaged from it and from being beaten up by drug dealers. Her reality is different from those around her. I am at ropes end. She continues to rewrite family history, tell lies, and manipulate people. My parents enable her and completely support her financially because there is no way she'll ever have a job due to her craziness and felony. She refuses any medical/social help. I have to have contact with her because I am raising her children. I would love to cut off contact from her, but cannot. She has ruined many people's lives and never apologizes because everything is always someone else's fault. She is already trying to get her foot in my door because my parents are not going to live forever. I am not either due to the stress she causes.

Apr 25, 2010
Do What Feels Right
by: C-P

If your sister is causing that much upset and unhappiness in your life - if you feel you need to break ties with her, then do so. But do explain why and that you simply can't face dealing with that side of her that comes out when she's been drinking or using - and that it would be a different story should she remain clean/sober. Your husband and happiness need to come first - and if due to her addiction she's jeopardizing that, then she needs to face the consequences of her actions by you no longer wanting her to be a part of your life. It's unfortunately the only way an addict eventually learns, is when the people that love them start saying enough and no longer tolerate their behaviour. It's not easy, but if your sister isn't ready to be helped, there isn't much else you can do for her.

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