Looking for advice

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Belle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:17 pm

Looking for advice

Post by Belle » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:30 pm

Good evening everyone,

I have recently been added to the group and I’m hoping that being a member will help me find some strength to support my brother. He has been using illegal drugs for over ten years and has completely destroyed his life. This weekend, he called my partner and myself as he’d been on a four day binge of crack cocaine and whiskey, and was coughing up blood and feeling very unwell - he had taken out a social loan (I assume this is via the benefits system) to pay off his overdraft, but had spent the entire amount on his binge. He had absolutely no money left and his debts are spiralling out of control. He only has me for support, which is extremely draining on me, and on my relationship. He has no relationship with our father (unlike myself) and our mother is an abusive alcoholic who is in and out of prison.

I am genuinely at a loss about how to help him without enabling. I can’t fix his problems and I feel so useless about it, but no matter what I do nothing seems to help. I can’t trust him to live with me as if he gets his hands on drugs or alcohol he will stop at nothing until he gets more - I can’t trust him not to steal from me. I’m also worried that he is very unwell, he says his whole body hurts, he is very angry and frustrated. He lives in an area which is low-aspirational, and there are many others that live around him in the same situation. I live about an hour’s drive away, and would love to relocate him, but if I do that and things go wrong, he’s going to wreck my home life as well.

I know this is a big ask, but if anyone does have any advice, I’d appreciate it.

gloria1953
Posts: 694
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:47 am

Re: Looking for advice

Post by gloria1953 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:22 am

Dear Belle

I am so sorry that you are going through this. Seeing a loved one destroying themselves is a hell like no other.

The sad truth is that there is nothing that you can do - it is out of your hands. Any help you do give will only enable him. Any money you give him will not repay his debts or buy food - it will only buy more poison. You are right, you cannot trust him not to steal from you or wreck your life as he has wrecked his. Any 'help' you give him will actually prolong the situation. You cannot fix it or fix him. You did not create it, you cannot control it and you cannot cure it. Only he can.

Watching him destroy himself and not doing anything to enable him will be the hardest thing you will ever have to do. But do it you must until the penny drops for him. This is the sad truth. But it is not hopeless. People do come back but only if they make the realisation themselves.

When people told me this I could not accept it - I was going to be the one who could fix my son. Other people just hadn't tried hard enough I thought. I eventually realised that I had to let go and let my son find his Higher Power. I stopped praying that he would stop and started praying that he would find his Higher Power. In a funny way realising that it was out of my hands was liberating. It eventually did come right for my son because he made the decision to do it. It was a long hard road but at least he can take pride in knowing that he did it himself. All the enabling that we did previously - paying for his possessions to get out of hock only for them to go right back in, the constant monitoring, the money we gave him 'to pay off debts' did not do a thing. In fact, we actually harmed him and ourselves.

It will be one step at a time for you both.

Take care.

G

Belle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:17 pm

Re: Looking for advice

Post by Belle » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:08 am

Dear Gloria,

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It’s encouraging to hear that people do make positive changes and come through their addictions. I too have those feelings about being the one to fix him, and it’s mostly down to the guilt I feel that I have a good life (aside from dealing with the addictions of my immediate family) while he does not. I say the right things, state that he’s an adult and that he should make the right choices, but I still see a vulnerable little boy. The fact that he calls me for help is proof of my enabling I think - he is on the phone several times each day. Yesterday was awful as he threatened to take his life.

I unfortunately enabled him at the weekend. I took him cider, as he ‘needed’ a drink to calm down. He was shaking dreadfully and shouting and screaming for it. I’m careful with how much money I leave him, but I have genuinely no idea how much drugs cost.

Bette
Posts: 720
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:43 am
Location: UK

Re: Looking for advice

Post by Bette » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:54 pm

Hello Belle
I echo Gloria's thoughts 100%.

To step away from our addicts, refusing to be involved in the madness anymore, was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
But I have come through it, and so has my son in many ways.


I have heard a number of successfully recovering addicts say, without exception, that the best thing that their family did for them was to step out of the way. Words from the horses' mouths!


It takes time and practice to get to that place. Some manage it sooner than others. We all move at the pace that is right for us.
The marvellous thing about the FA fellowship is that we can learn new ways of coping and reacting to the situation.

Hearing a loved one threaten suicide is devastating. I know. My addict son has expressed this feeling to me more than once. However, in my case, it was another of his attempts to manipulate me into seeing him. It always ended with me "helping" (enabling) him to continue with his lifestyle by caving in and supplying money. His behaviour to get that money was abusive.
I chose, eventually, to stay at home through these awful episodes. I trusted that his Higher Power would look after him. I gave him loving but strong messages that he was clever enough and wise enough to find a way through the difficult times (even though he, and I, doubted it!) either by phone or text.

Again, speaking from my own personal experience, I chose, eventually, to inform the police of my concerns. It helped me to know that I had "done" something. When they arrived at his flat however, they were met with abuse and foul language. That response was repeated to me by phone and text. But, I have never had another episode like that thankfully.


That is my story. Others will have differences but we all share a common bond. Having an addict loved one can devastate and destroy our own health and well being, as well as that of the whole family if we let it. Is that a sensible thing to allow? Of course not! But we all understand how it can happen. Allowing it is part of the madness. FA suggests ways to change our attitudes and reactions.


I would suggest getting to your nearest FA meeting, or Al Anon as alcohol is an issue in your scenario. That is the help available for you. There is also help out there for our addicts. It is free, and widespread all over the UK. AA or NA, or another 12 step program, is all our addicts need. Also, every NHS area will have a Drugs and Alcohol Unit. But what is crucial is that the addict HAS to want it for themselves. And the only way they can get to that stage of REALLY wanting change is to feel the pain of their poor choices. Facing the consequences, feeling that pain, is crucial. By enabling my son for years, I was preventing him from facing his consequences. I was a barrier to his recovery. I have to live with the fact that for 10 years, my behaviour denied my son the opportunity to find recovery. Thank goodness I then found FA!


I hope you find the strength and support you need here Belle. This forum is great for use between meetings, as well as getting some of the FA literature from the shop section of the main FA website (link at the top of this page).Some that I would suggest are
TODAY A BETTER WAY
TOUGH LOVE
12 STEPS

There are many more too! Have a look at the basic readings on this forum, under the Board Index. They are the basic structure of how FA works.
Keep coming back here Belle. There are many of us here who truly understand. We have been there, done it and got the T shirt!


Sending you a Virtual Hug

Wlitf (With Love In The Fellowship)
Bette

Belle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:17 pm

Re: Looking for advice

Post by Belle » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:24 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, and for your kind words, Bette. It truly helps to know I’m not alone in this, and that others have survived it and come out of the other side - it gives me hope for my brother.

I don’t think he is quite ready to face his demons yet; he’s still very much convinced that people have to help him, and by helping I mean supplying money, or alcohol, or both. He generally survives on alcohol, but goes on drug binges when he has the money available to do so. I’m currently working up the courage to step away, and to explain to him why I have to do it. I’m not sure how he will take it - he will most likely blame me for abandoning him in the first instance. I am, however, increasingly concerned that I’ll be taking care of him for the rest of his life if I don’t stop enabling him.

I haven’t heard from him since the suicide threat, but he’s clever and he will be expecting me to go over there in a panic, so that he can get me to give him money, or buy him alcohol. I expect to hear from him later, when he realises it’s too late for me to make the journey.

Bette
Posts: 720
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:43 am
Location: UK

Re: Looking for advice

Post by Bette » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:03 pm

Hello Belle
We all make this journey in our own time and in our own way!
Little steps forward when we feel ready to do so is generally how this program works.
In my case, it has been two steps forward and one back on a number of occasions! But it is progress. That's what we aim for, not perfection!

I really would recommend getting to a meeting Belle. It is by far the best form of help for us. If you ring the FA helpline on 0207 498 4680 any day between 1-4 or 6-9pm the volunteer answering the call will be able to give you the local contact number of a member who attends your nearest meeting. Al Anon have even more meetings. They are online and have a helpline number too.


Thinking of you Belle.

Wlitf
Bette

Joyce2018
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:46 pm

Re: Looking for advice

Post by Joyce2018 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:19 am

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Last edited by Joyce2018 on Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Belle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:17 pm

Re: Looking for advice

Post by Belle » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:47 am

Dear Joyce,

Thank you for sharing your story - it must be incredibly hard to tell your son that you can’t help him when you know he will get hurt. I should perhaps take comfort that my brother doesn’t (to my knowledge) owe money to any disreputable lenders who will hurt him.

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. I’m sure that this is a time when you could have really used your son’s support.

gloria1953
Posts: 694
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:47 am

Re: Looking for advice

Post by gloria1953 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:12 pm

Dear Belle

Never believe a story about owing money to a dealer - they are almost always bull. Dealers generally do not allow addicts to run up tabs as they know just how untrustworthy they are. It is an age old ploy to extract money from their loved ones. You would be surprised to know that levels they stoop to in order to get their hands on drugs and alcohol.

Be prepared once you do refuse your brother for him to hound you incessantly until he thinks you will give in. Addicts are like whiney, snivelling brats and there is no lie too big or guilt trip too big that they will lay on you to get what they want. If it sounds as if I dislike addicts you are right, I do. They cause themselves and their loved ones untold misery and they don't give a monkey's.

When we give in to them we only get in the way of their recovery. I stopped enabling when I realised that it might be the tenner I gave him that would pay for a fatal overdose. I did not want that on my conscience. We may have no control over them but we do have control on what we do.

One step at a time for then AND us.

G

Belle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:17 pm

Re: Looking for advice

Post by Belle » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:17 pm

I spoke to him this evening and we talked about his addiction. He’s not ready to quit yet, that much is clear. I explained that he would have a long uphill battle, and it might be easier to have just one more drink, or one more binge on crack, but ultimately his life will remain the same unless he’s willing to fight for it.

I also told him that I was thinking of attending a meeting. I hoped he’d be upset that I had gotten to the stage where I needed support, but he just seemed to think I was making it about myself and that my difficulties are insignificant when compared to his. He actually seemed quite amused by the idea. I am, however, unfazed by this. I understand that addiction makes him selfish, and he doesn’t see outside of his own self pity.

Thank you to everyone who has replied to me - I feel more empowered to stop doing things for him as a result of your comments.

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