Should she come home?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Leah1233, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Leah1233

    Leah1233 New Member

    My sister has a drug addiction.

    My sister and her children had been living with us (my parents,brother and me) for 10 years (was only meant to be temporary but turned into 10 years) before she left five months ago (without her children)

    What happened was she left her two children at her friends and never came back. This has happened a couple of times.

    Her children are living with us.

    She now wants to come home again.

    She is pregnant again now. So she will have three children.

    My mum and I are put in a very difficult situation. I feel very conflicted. I care about my sister, and feel the need to help her. But, I also feel pretty annoyed with her actions.

    I just don’t know what is the right thing to do.

    It makes the situation so much more difficult with children involved.

    She has never stolen from us. She is such a loving and caring person. However, her drug addiction has really changed her. She was doing really well until about a year ago then she relapsed pretty badly. Never did I think she would abandon her children. It just seems she is lost. It is like I have two versions of her in my head and I dont know what is the right one.

    I just don't how whether coming home will really help her or it would be better if she lived away from home. There seems to be a lot of things to consider.

    What would be the right thing to do?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Is she sober and in recovery and getting help for her addiction? If she is not then I definitely would not let her come home.I think it is worth helping someone when they are helping themselves, if they are still using drugs then helping them quickly turns into enabling.

    What do you think would be best for the kid? I think that is what I would use as my guiding principle. I think she has made some terrible choices which have had a direct impact on her kids... and I think at this point I would think about what is best for the kids.

    I dont know the answers to these questions.... but those are the questions I would ask myself.


    Sent from my iPad using ConductDisorders
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know you love your sister and want to help her, but you can't. Only she can help herself. In fact, all of us can only help one person...ourselves. She is not going to recover just because she is allowed to live eternally at home with her parents and sister, like a child. She is harming her own kids and really should not be risking having any more is so irresponsible of her to keep having them. Is she taking drugs while pregnant? Drinking? Are the children experiencing substance abuse related issues, like fetal alcohol syndrome or affects of ingesting, say, cocaine in utero?If they are, remember, SHE did this to them and her addiction and refusal to treat that addiction is the cause. The right version of your sister, in my opinion only, is that she was once a nice person and that drugs have made her irresponsible and unstable and that she is the only person on earth who has control over the illness of her addiction. I'm not sure sympathy works for addicts. I'm more apt to think they need tough love. Again, this opinion, of course, is mine and mine alone.

    In the end, the decision about whether or not to have her live back at home is in the hands of whomever owns the home. But whatever you decide to do, it won't help her. Only she can decide to stop using drugs and having unprotected sex while using them and also to grow up and act like a mature adult and mother.

    I wish you luck. I hope you can all find a solution you can live with that will also not enable your sister.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    You can't live with active drug addiction in your house. I know because I tried it. At the very least she will start stealing from you to fund her addiction. Money, electronics, son even stole a bicycle rack that goes on the back of the car to pawn.

    Not to mention the behavior and lifestyle and danger that comes with it all.

    She needs help. If she doesn't want help, that's a deal-breaker.

    I pray that you start learning about detachment with love, acceptance and focusing on yourself---the only thing you can control.

    I am so sorry that you are dealing with this, and especially with children in the mix.

    Drug addiction is a brutal, horrible, tragic disease, and if you aren't careful and work hard on yourself, you can be caught up in it too, as an enabler.

    I know because i have done that, and I am working very hard today to get my own life back. It's a long road but well worth it.

    Blessings for you all today.
  5. Leah1233

    Leah1233 New Member

    Thank-you everyone for responding. It really means a lot.
    She is not in detox. I'm not sure if she is trying to cut back. I haven't seen her in 5 months. I'm assuming she is cutting back because she wants to keep this baby.
    I don't understand why she has decided to have another child, when she has abandoned two other children. It just doesn't seem fair.
    I was thinking that we could help her apply for a house, and offer her support that way. It might help her get back on her feet. I was thinking that this might be enabling though?
  6. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Leah it is so hard to decide what to do or what not to do. What is enabling? What is helping? What is basic humanity? When there are little children involved I can only imagine how much harder it is.

    Here are some general principles that have helped me, for what they are worth:

    1. Wait. There is no emergency right now. Let time take its time. It is very hard to wait for those of us who see action-takers. We take action first because it makes US feel better. It is what we have always done when faced with a problem. It does not work with addiction.

    2. has our loved one asked us for help? If we have not been asked, there is no reason to rush in with our "good" solutions. Continue waiting.

    3. If we have been asked for help, ask ourselves this: are we considering doing something for someone that they should be doing for themselves? Taking on the adult responsibilities of another adult is a very temporary "fix." We cannot possibly take care of the responsibilities of another adult. But it is clear on this site that is what many many of us try to do. It happens slowly so we don't see it for what it is because we keep thinking "this" is the turning point. But the turning point never comes this way.

    4. Is the person taking good and necessary steps to change? Getting help. Coming clean. Being honest. Not just one time or one day or via a big speech. Consistently walking the talk for a while. Saying less and doing more. Looking you in the eye. Going to meetings. Taking responsibility with small things. Not being high. Telling you their plans. If not and you are going to "help" with rent, with money, with a phone, with a ride, you are not going to be helping. giving someone food when they are hungry is an exception in my mind but that is it.

    5. realizing that WE WILL KNOW when they are getting honest and trying to change. It will be in their voice in their fewer words in what they say and do and don't say and do. they may still relapse later because relapse is part of the disease but we will know if and when they start getting true about their disease and the steps they need to start taking.

    6. Until we see evidence of the above, what do we do? How do we stand it---watching someone we love and innocent children, self destruct or be in harms way? We get help too. We start the hard work of change on US. Because many of us have spent a lifetime trying to help, fix, manage and control. We start with realizing we can't save the world. Heck we can't save even one other person. All we can do is possibly save ourselves and that is a full time job. We use tools we are given every single day to work on changing ourselves and we stick to the work even as we make mistakes, enable again, and learn from it. When we are more focused on someone else's life---anybody's life---than our own, that is not selfishness (as we were taught( that is enabling.

    There is much much more to this hard work...learning to rely on our higher power, learning to respect the choices of other adults even if those choices are self destruction, learning HOW to mind our own business, learning how to do all of this with gentleness and compassion and much more.

    While we are working on ourselves and learning little by little how much we have to learn and doing all we can to learn it---we start to understand exactly that this is what our loved one is going to have to do...and just how hard it is.

    And every day---every hour---we work hard to do this: stay out of the way.

    Our loved ones are not going to reclaim their lives---if they ever do---by anything---anything---we do. That is a fact. A fact.

    So we are powerless but we are not helpless. We get the help we need (that is not being helpless---getting help) and we focus on our own lives, still loving that person as much as we ever have.

    This is the hardest thing I have ever, ever tried to do in my life---all of this. I say none of it lightly but with tenderness and compassion for you as you struggle with your next action---or not---with your beloved sister.

    Blessings and prayers for you and for her today.

    Sent from my iPhone using ConductDisorders
  7. Leah1233

    Leah1233 New Member

    I really appreciate your response childofmine, I have been looking over it whenever I am feeling unsure.
    As much as I want to make her better, I can't. We have tried and it is so tiring. I cant do it again. I feel like I have failed her in a way. giving up. I keep telling myself that She is an adult though, she should be making her own choices and fixing her mistakes.
    Its all very conflicting.

    Things are been a lot better lately the children are beginning to adjust living with us and are happy and healthy. They are good company.

    I am a little annoyed at my mothers GP who pretty much told my mother that she was doing everything wrong and should be allowing my sister to come back home or at the very least that we should look after her unborn child. After all this my poor mother was pretty upset, she really cares about my sister and wants nothing more for her to be free of addiction. My mother cannot care for another child. I cannot care for another child. I want to look after the two children she already has but I cant look after another. She feels very torn in this situation and I'm so annoyed at her GP for lecturing her on a situation he knows hardly anything about. Or am I wrong to think that this was unprofessional of her GP?

    He said he is going to send her to a professional so he can help her make a decision. Which i do think that it would be good for my mother to talk about things but i do not like the reason why he is sending her there.

    I am just so annoyed because it is not easy making a decision like this of course we care about her and love her but after a while there is nothing more you can do. Sometimes helping just enables. His lecture has just resurfaced a lot of conflicting thoughts.

    It is not like we havent tired to help her. We have been trying to help her for 9 years and we just go around in circles. My sister sees how much mum cares about her and she takes advantage of this.

    it is really annoying because my mother has more herself lately, but since this GP visit he has upset her. After a couple of hours she will be okay but If she has to go to him again I think next time I will go with her as support.

    Sorry for the rant, I just needed to write it down.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Most doctors have no experience or training with addiction. Same for many therapists. I have told my own GYN and Internal medication Docs about my own experience with my son and ex-husband. They didn't even know what Al-Anon is. It is unbelievable really but there you have it. So they will give very bad advice about how to handle this because quite frankly, if you haven't had any experience and started the hard work, it is inconceivable that you would not allow your own pregnant sister to live with you. On this board, we get it. We have done the hard work and there are so many experts now that support what we have learned.

    He just doesn't know, Leah. You can counteract that with your mom by starting to go to Al-Anon or Nar-Anon---both of you---buying and reading the literature, reading Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beattie, Clean by David Sheff, his son's books---Nic Sheff (recovering meth addict) and others. Your mom will have to learn new information if she wants to find peace. It's a time commitment and a lot of work, but it is well worth it. It is the pathway to peace and serenity for you both, regardless of what your beloved sister decides to do.

    Of course you have. You have moved heaven and earth. And it is exhausting. And it doesn't work. There is a brochure in Al-Anon called "The Merry Go Round of Denial." It is the best brochure and when you read it, most people say, oh my gosh, this is exactly what has been happening and how I have been feeling. It describes the circular dance that never stops.

    No you can't. That is the first step, Leah, being so sick and tired yourself of being sick and tired that you are ready to do the hard work of change. This is huge for you. Keep moving forward on this path.

    No you have not. She has failed herself. She has a disease that is characterized by denial. It is characterized by these traits and others: cunning, baffling, manipulative. It is characterized by relapse. It will be something she will have to fight every day of the rest of her life if and when she decides. It will be really really hard.

    This is not HER. This is the disease, that is controlling her. It it is like it has become her.

    And I don't believe you have given up.

    What you have done is Stopped. You have stopped enabling. Giving up and stopping enabling are two very different things, Leah.

    You haven't given up hope that she can and will change, by the grace of God and by her own decision and then, by her own hard, hard work.

    Until then, you are standing by, loving her, waiting in the wings. Waiting for her to do the hard work of change. You will have to see it to believe it, and that will take a while. That is as it should be. And then, one day, when she is firmly on the path, you can maybe---just maybe---stick your tiny toe in the water to help her again. Or, you can stand by and applaud as SHE does the work she needs to do to be a complete, functioning, mature adult who is standing on her own two feet.

    And then you can really have a relationship.

    Until then, Leah, work on yourself. You will find THAT is a full time job and pays immense rewards. Keep posting. We are here for you.

    Hugs to you today.