To share or not to share

I need to tap the collective wisdom. My sister has come a long way in her detachment from her addict son. My nephew (age 28) relocated near me for a fresh start, secured a job and shares an apartment with my son. He did well for only a few months. He's been chugging along, working and using for about a year. Since this is the same ol' same ol', I chose not to share the info that I get from my son with her. There just doesn't seem to be any point to drawing her back in. His drug of choice has always been coke or crack depending on the availability of funds. I just found out that he is heavy into a heroin addiction, lost his job for stealing (they aren't pressing charges...ugh) and my son is putting him out.

Should I tell her what's going on? I have this horrific fear that he will OD, and I'll have known about the heroin. At the same time there is nothing to be gained from worrying her as there is nothing to be done by her to change the situation. Your thoughts...

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Welcome Alongfortheride,

If it were me I would tell my sister. I don't think you need to go into all the details unless she asks for specifics, but I would at least tell her that he lost his job and your son is putting him out.
I'm guessing that she will find out anyway from her son as I'm going on the assumption that they still have some kind of communication.
Coming from you may help soften the blow instead of a panicked phone call from her son. If she finds out from you, she will have some time to sit with the information and prepare herself.

I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation. Just another example of how our Difficult Child touch so many lives and not always in a good way.

I hope it goes well for you.


Well-Known Member
Should I tell her what's going on? I have this horrific fear that he will OD, and I'll have known about the heroin.
I would tell her, alongfortheride.

I would want to protect my relationship with my sister. She will find out. Better to hear it from you first. Whatever it will be.

Your sister needs to be prepared emotionally for what will surely come her way.

It will also be a way for you to support her... in whatever way you may want...without her having to tell you.

I am glad that your son is putting his cousin out. Better for your nephew, too, I think.

Feeling Sad

Well-Known Member
I agree with the should tell her. If she finds out later that you knew, she would be very angry. Be brief and matter if fact without any judgment. She has a right to know. If something bad happens to him...she could blame you because you did not warn her. Also, her son's privacy who is being self-destructive does not supersede your trust with your sister. You could say that you inadvertently found out.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I agree with everyone too alongfortheride, for all the reasons stated.
You telling her will soften the blow. You can be a support for her.
Your son is doing the right thing by putting him out. What a heartbreak for all of you.
You may want to invite your sister to come here with us.
Remember, with addiction relapse is part of recovery for most people....
I'm so sorry.


Well-Known Member
I would tell her also. In situations like these I think what would I want if i were in her shoes and I would want to be told. I knew someone whose son died of a heroin overdose...and he was really upset because there were friends of their son who knew he had relapsed back into heroin and did not let the parents know. Even if there is nothing she can do, she needs to feel she has done what she can... she doesnt have that chance if she doesnt know.


Well-Known Member
I agree.

I couldn't not tell her.
It won't be easy, but it's easier than living with the stress and worry of not telling her and you may save his life in the long run.
Thank you ladies. I agree. I only hesitate because her road to detachment has been such a long and difficult one. She has reached a level of peace only by disconnecting. I know I would want to know if it were my son. I HATE THIS.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Just know that when you tell her we are all there with you, holding you up and supporting you.


Well-Known Member
If, when you tell your sister, she says she wishes you hadn't told her, then you will know not to do so again. You will have her permission.


Well-Known Member
I agree about telling her. YOu can keep it short and informational and not dwell...follow her lead.

She is lucky to have such a wise sister as yourself.



Well-Known Member
It sounds like you are close with your sister. Could you broach the subject by saying something like: "It's been x amount of time since you have heard from your son. Would you be interested in hearing how he is doing, whether it be good or bad?" If she says, yes, fine, tell her. If she says no, say OK, but should you change your mind, let me know, if she says only good stuff does she want to hear, say the same and if she says, yes, I want to know, tell her.

Good luck with whatever you do.


one day at a time
I concur in telling her. You can keep it short, simple and save all of the gory details unless she pushes. Tell her quietly and calmly and empathetically.

Bless you and your son for sticking your necks out for her and for him.

I have a sister and my son wanted to go where they live once and start again. I told them not to make that possible. My son would have done the same things there that he did here. I didn't want to put them through that. Geographic cures don't work.

In any event, I am hoping she can hang onto the recovery she has gained. It's so devastating when they crater again and again.

Hang in there.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Geographic cures don't work.
Love the way you phrased this!! This is so my son, always thinking if he can just move to "wherever" that all his problems will disappear. Every town he has lived in, he ends up saying "this place sucks, all the people are so stupid"
I guess that's why now he is just wondering through the southwest.
Well, it's done. She appreciated the info although I could tell how much it hurt her to hear. We did d make arrangements for me to go down to visit with her next weekend. It will give her the opportunity to digest for a week and I'll see how her detachment is really working next week. Thank you all for your wisdom.