Parents, please help me!!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by bigbiitz, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. bigbiitz

    bigbiitz New Member

    Hi, I am posting to this forum because I have no idea what to do. My brother is 36 and uses crack. He has been using since he was at least 16. My family had problems as most do, including an ugly divorce in which my father left us for another family. My brother has been using for all this time, but has managed to get a decent career for himself as a computer guy. His pattern is this: Get a job making $50-60k a year, get his first paycheck, go blow the whole check on crack, lose his job and apartment, and go to crash with my mother while he feels bad for himself and looks for a new job. He has been doing this for years, and my mother allows him to do so.

    He has done it again, except he chose a bad time cause the economy stinks right now. He has been living for my mother for at least 6 months, and in this time has stolen over $15,000 dollars from her by opening up credit cards and forging checks. We (my other brother and sister) have begged her to kick him out, go to the police, etc. She won't do anything. She won't even hide her cards, car keys, bank stuff, nothing.

    I need for a parent to explain my mother's behavior to me. She is an enabler, and I just do not understand it. At all. It boggles my mind. She sees he is stealing her money to go get high, and she is doing nothing. Why? I don't have children so I don't understand the whole "I gave birth to him, I'm responsible, etc." Please, please, please someone explain how and why a parent can enable a child for so long. I can see at first, you're shocked, sad, embarrassed, guilty, but after a while, you have to make a hard decision, right?! I don't know what to do. Just any parent, explain to me what is going through your head when you know your kid is using. Please. I just don't know what to do.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    It's sad that your mother can't see clearly what your brother is doing. I have had experience as a wife of an addict (whose mother in law enabled my husband for years) and as a mother to an addict. I think it is often harder for older mothers who don't know what to do. If your brother is 36, the patterns are set. Could you get your mom to go to counseling or a meeting like Narcanon or Alanon? Is there a pastor or a close family friend (not family because then it gets complicated) who can sit and talk to her. I think as a parent we tend to accept the worst in our children because we have hope that if we love them enough, it will make it all better. A drug addict does not respond to that however. Your brother is sick. He needs treatment or he is going to die. Maybe if someone explains that to your mother she will understand it.
  3. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    not much to add to what everywoman just posted, but I think parental guilt has a lot to with it ("I raised him so if he's a damaged it's my fault and I have to fix it" - kind of like, you broke it, you own it). I also thought if I loved my two older kids enough they would see the light, and get better on their own. I have come to learn that it doesn't work that way.

    I am sorry for the angst and anxiety this is causing in your family. Organizations like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon are supposed to be very good at helping the parents of addicts stop enabling.

    Does your mother have a clergy-person she respects who might speak to her? Does she have an attorney? I don't know how old she is, but when an older parent is being financially victimized by a relative sometimes your city department of aging (or any nonprofit agency that helps senior citizens) might have an advocate who can help your mom protect at least some of her assets so your brother doesn't bleed her dry.

    This is so awful. Bottom line, you're mom has to agree to stop helping him, but if an outside person speaks to her it might get her attention the way you and your siblings aren't able to.

    Good luck to you.
  4. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member


    Hi and welcome. I can definitely relate to the scenario, as my mom and older difficult child brother have been playing that game for years. Three years ago, we moved my mom into a senior independent apartment, and my brother has still not forgiven my younger brother and I for selling mom's house (a/k/a his safe, free haven). Mom ended up breaking her hip and after rehab hospital, had to be moved to the assisted living building. Brother still hangs out there all day long - with nowhere else to go. He has one of mom's credit cards which he uses at will and she loans him money constantly.

    It's a losing battle for my younger brother and I. We have been round and round with my mom over it, but she somehow seems to think that she can fix my older brother - even after all these years. It's not going to happen.

    What has happened is that she's pushed my younger brother and I away, as we can't stand by and watch her allow it. She doesn't understand why we feel she's choosing him over us, but that's how it feels.

    I wish I could give you more encouragement that things will change, but in my own situation, I've had to make peace with the fact that it won't.

    Because of my difficult child brother, I was perhaps tougher on my own son when he began drugging. The drugs were my line in the sand, and at age 14, we signed him in against his will to a 5 month Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stay, and again, when he was 17 and the drugging started and escalated, he ended up at a 10 month Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I just knew that I couldn't and wouldn't allow him to live in my house and become my older brother and me become my mom.

    All I can suggest is that you try to talk to your mom and let her know your feelings, and leave the ball in her court. Encourage her to attend Alanon meetings, so she can talk with others who live with an addict/alcoholic. She needs to learn that enabling him is not helping him.

    If she's not agreeable to going, get her a book on the subject and leave it with her. Then you have to make peace with it, and realize things are not going to change.

    Sending hugs. I know how hard this is to watch.