Drained By Addiction And All That Comes With It
Posted: March 6, 2018, 11:46 AM

Posts: 2
Joined: March 6, 2018


I'm new here and have looked through some of the posts, so sorry if I'm repeating anything that has already been discussed! Any advice, support or signposting to other posts would be much appreciated.

I'm 31 and my brother is a few years younger than me. It's my mum, me and him in this little dynamic I guess you could say, along with some other people... For the past 2/3 years my mum's and my relationship with my brother has become increasingly strained and distant. To cut a v v long story short (as I'm sure is the case for most people on here), about 6 months or so ago, we completely lost him (i.e. he cut us off completely). He has a very young baby, who he left and he's now with another women who is 6 months pregnant. A couple of weeks ago he very dramatically re-entered our lives (that's when we found out about the new pregnancy) and we found out that he has mental health problems and is very heavily abusing cocaine. It's all blown up somewhat and I guess you can say he's figured that he's at rock bottom and needs help. Suffice to say, the police and MH services got involved, he's back living with my mum and the wheels are slowing turning in terms of him getting referred to services and getting the help he needs.

All sounds ok I suppose, but I'm completely exhausted by it all. I can't believe he's having another baby and I worry he's in a codependent relationship with this woman (apparently she *barely* uses cocaine and didn't know anything about what he was doing even though he apparently used up to six grams a day?!). We have gone to her so many times over the preceding months to get her to tell us what's going on and she refused to engage with us about the drugs, like she would literally just ignore our questions about that. I seriously feel he could've died at some time, and I cannot forgive her for her role in it, even though I know what's happened is my brother's responsibility. So that's all something I just cannot get my head around and I can't bring myself to engage with this new pregnancy and all that goes with it. It's all just too weird and intense! Obviously I don't have much of a choice with that one. My brother would be furious if I didn't want to be involved with it all.

Of course he's also got this other baby with another woman. It's all so chaotic. He can be very manic and completely self-absorbed. I cannot emphasise just how self-absorbed he can be. He's obsessed with his current partner and that's all that seems to matter to him. I know he knows deep down how hellish this has all been, but he does not behave as though anyone else even exists and he is clearly not ready or able to get his head around how hurtful he has been. The drugs have definitely affected his personality and mental health, but in reality, he has always been somewhat impulsive and antisocial in nature, so I don't know what kind of change is realistic.

I guess you could say I'm a bit the 'helper' in our family. I spend a great deal of time going up and down with people, listening to how they feel and going along with the whirlwind of it all. It means I'm now so drained by it all. My mum and I have a good relationship, and I love her very much but I don't feel there's anywhere particularly where I can turn to figure out how to get through this, I suppose you could call it, transition stage while my brother is engaging with the help he so desperately needs. My mum is literally obsessed with his current baby daughter. She won't stop going on about perfect and wonderful she is, and that's just another form of intensity really. I just wish everything could calm down and we could all relate to life in a more mellow, realistic way rather than everything just being this big deal all the time. My brother has been a bit of a let down to his daughter so far, as expected with drugs etc. He hasn't paid for her, taken any real responsibility for her care etc. but now he's just steamrollered back in, going on about how perfect she is, criticising everyone else's child as not as good as her and saying he'll never let a guy touch her. It's all completely farcical and I just cannot bring myself to engage with any of it, but obviously there's not much I can do if that's just how he's going to be for now.

Anyway, sorry for the long post - I literally just wish I could pack my bags and restart away from all this. It probably doesn't help that my Dad died from alcohol abuse ten years ago (probably explains quite a bit of how my brother is behaving). I have a partner myself who I live with. He listens to me sometimes, but I suppose this 'helper' role I tend to adopt means I rarely just get purely listened to without there being an expectation that I have to be patient, give people the benefit of the doubt, understand how other people are feeling etc. Often with my partner it ends in a row because if I say something is getting to me, then he says that it's all just hideous and then I feel alienated - as an example, Mother's Day in the UK is this weekend. Last year, as my brother wasn't on the scene, we went out with my mum and her partner and my partner's family. This year it's going to be both our families, my brother, his ex partner and their baby. It's going to be pandemonium and I'm tired already thinking about it. I tell my partner this and then he's like, oh god it's going to be awful, I'm not going, I'm too tired to deal with this. And then I'm like, hmm ok and now I have to convince him that it has to go ahead (it's all arranged etc.) but the only reason I bring it up is because I wanted to be supported for a bit. I know I do need to be patient, understanding etc. but sometimes I feel like I could crack up!

Thank you all :)

Posted: March 6, 2018, 11:53 PM

Posts: 715
Joined: October 5, 2015

Hi Evie, I’m sorry your up to your neck in all this with your brother but you need to find an outlet for yourself like a group meeting for the families of addicts. I don’t know what they call them overseas. In the states they are called Al-anon or Narc-anon. In these meetings family members talk to each other and get advice from ones who have been where you are and it helps teach you how to deal with this better. How old are you and your brother? He isn’t your responsibility you know. You can’t let his life consume yours because you have your own life too. Worrying about everything like your doing will eventually make you ill if it hasn’t already. Let your mum deal with him and you take a backseat for awhile. Go to meetings, read on here and learn all you can about addiction. We can all shout and try to get our addicts to listen to reason all we want but they will do nothing until their good and ready themselves to do something to change their lives. All this trying to help him that your doing is just exhausting you and he’s not listening. Please read “The Serenity Prayer” it may help bring calm to you. I hope things get better for all your family. Take care. Mary.
Posted: March 7, 2018, 12:51 PM

Posts: 74
Joined: November 16, 2017

Evie, I read this:

"Anyway, sorry for the long post - I literally just wish I could pack my bags and restart away from all this. "

And, thought maybe you should! If not, at least emotionally move away. You deserve more and you deserve peace and respect. I would take some time for you. Still be there for your family and participate in family, but take a mental break from it. You are spot on in your assessment of this drama unfolding. I have no patience for that type of behavior either.

Keep posting and welcome!
Posted: March 7, 2018, 2:30 PM

Posts: 1059
Joined: June 27, 2016

Hi Evie - see a counsellor or go to any kind of support meetings you can find. this will give you the out let to talk and share and hear others stories and get some basic advice so you do not have to burden your partner and others with your chatter that probably sounds like a broken record even to you!! I had gotten to that point. I had to talk about it, but found I was always talking to the couple of people that I trusted and would listen. I really did not want my impression of me to everyone to be the addiction problems in the family that I was obsessed about. and when you are with others, you want to be present for the time you are spending together.

This message board is good to talk and vent and get some insight as to the enormity of the situation your family is dealing with. It is going to be very complicated. Keep your distance now before you get too close and cant get out of it.

try SmartRecovery.org -- browse the website -- CRAFT is the organization for family members. There is a UK website and there is a workbook for family to use. It would be a great starting point. I posted details in another post somewhere....


I posted more information at the post titled : Jet0912 - Suggestions - Ideas -- enter part of this heading in the Search Forums at the bottom of the page

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on March 7, 2018, 2:44 PM

Posted: March 7, 2018, 3:13 PM

Posts: 1059
Joined: June 27, 2016

other posts to read --- type Brother into the Search Forum , drop down Family/Partners forum.

look at ones by Stressed01 and BlossumPop3

I found those two, poke thru the rest.

LOL -- this will change your obsession with talking about it to an obsession with reading about it!

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on March 7, 2018, 3:14 PM
Posted: March 7, 2018, 3:26 PM

Posts: 1059
Joined: June 27, 2016

I just want to confirm - IT IS EXHAUSTING AND TIME CONSUMING ---

some information I gained over the past few years:

1. you did not cause this, you can not fix it, you can not control it....
2. you and your mum can only control yourselves. you are only responsible for YOUR actions. 3. therefore.... where your brother is concerned, send your thoughts thru a filter before you react.... ask yourself - Did I cause the situation in front of me? Did I participate in causing the drama or emergency in front of me now? If the answer is NO --- then it is not your job or responsibility to fix.

and so on... Was this caused by my bother? What should his reaction be? If a person were not under the influence of drugs what would their response or reaction be? What would the logical path be.... if he does not want to do that, it is not your problem.

Who ever is the weakest link in the family, he will attach to them for as long as he can push them. when you are dealing w a couple - it is twice as complicated. you will never know the truth of anything. his fault, her fault, on and on.....

you and your mom unite -- read, go to meetings, be support for each other. help your mom so she does not get in too deep. plan together... maybe meet one or two times a week at a meeting, or to talk about the issues of the week. especially if your mom starts giving him money --- or he or the gf's start asking for $$ for the baby's..... you mom has to have a plan to A. Do not give anything B. give a very small amount only once or say - I can only give this small amount once per month C. I will not give you cash. I can buy one item for the baby once per week/month D. whatever your mom's finances are, stress that she puts as much as she can into savings and vow not to touch that savings, and not to go into debt.....

some of us start giving a little thinking it is temporary, or one time... and then years later realize it never stopped and our savings is gone!!! (my husband and I spent a large amount on rehab and other expenses (car, insurance) a few years ago. It would have been a good nest egg... over the past year we have been able to save for retirement. I will not let our savings be touched again. It is too hard to regain the savings and we don't have a lot of work time left!)

this is going to go on for a long time....

SET UP BOUNDARIES with your mom --- so you both have a plan outlined as to what you will accept and what you will not.

DO NOT feel guilty --- he does not care what harm he does to everyone... you do not have to care more than he does....

hope this helps!! let us know how you and your mom are doing!

PS --- sorry my posts are so long and wordy !!!

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on March 8, 2018, 9:30 PM
Posted: March 12, 2018, 10:28 AM

Posts: 2
Joined: March 6, 2018

Thank you all so much, these are such kind, thoughtful and helpful replies. Sorry I didn't reply sooner!

I think all of your advice is so helpful... I'm going to keep looking round at the forums and try to find some options for help for myself too.

I'm definitely taking the approach of emotionally 'checking out' for a while. I'll totally be there for my family, but I'm going to try and not get too wrapped up in things. As has been said, I'm not responsible for this mess and I'm definitely not responsible for solving it.

My brother seems to be getting on some kind of even keel - for the time being. He went to his first group therapy session last week and my mum said he enjoyed that. It only lasts for six weeks though, so not sure what'll come after that. He's apparently going to go to NA tomorrow. My mum said he was planning to contact me and let me know because the meeting is close by to where I live, but I haven't heard from him yet. I'm not going to push it, he knows where I am and I'm definitely not going to have a relationship with him with my mum being the conduit. If he needs me, he can let me know.

I did see him yesterday for the Mother's Day meal. That was fine in the end. He drank a fair bit and my mum paid for his meal, but I guess that'll be the way for the time being. I'm getting married in 2019 and his daughter is probably going to be flower girl. He keeps going on about how much I need to spend on her dress. Yesterday he even started asking in front of everyone how much I spent on my dress and said how I had to spend the same or more on her's - absolute madness and so inappropriate! It's laughable really, but very odd and just goes to show what a different planet people can be on sometimes.

Anyway - thanks all, it's been great to get some things off my chest here. I'm going to look around the forums, hear other people's stories and suggestions. It's nice to know we're not alone!
Posted: March 15, 2018, 11:59 AM

Posts: 15
Joined: January 15, 2018


I too am 31 and my older brother is an addict. Things have gotten pretty bad to the point where now we all know what's been going on (drug use, homelessness, etc.) I'm such a worrier that this was literally making me physically sick a few months ago. I was so stressed out it was very unhealthy and I have a baby and a toddler that I need to be 100% for. What helped me was cutting him out. I still text to see how he's doing (I barely get a response) but the detachment from the everyday checking in and worrying has really helped me get a hold of my own life.

I no longer worry about this everyday - in fact I can think about it without it bothering me anymore. I know now that this is his choice and I really have zero control of this situation. I gave him numbers to call when he wants help and I'm always here to give those numbers again if he needs them, but that's it. No money! Do I still feel bad that he's living the way he is, absolutely; but it's not my problem to deal with, it's his.

You have to realize that he will change when he wants to. Be there for support when he decides he wants professional help, but that you really cannot be wrapped up in the day to day drama of his choices. Maybe limit a time that you won't talk with him - like say after 5:00pm you need the nights for yourself. And I totally get the spouse thing - my husband will listen to me, but it doens't affect him the same b/c it's not his brother. He would think I was ridiculous for all the worry, but in the end it was really because he was upset that my brother was making me so upset - he didn't like seeing me that way.

So just try to carve out some me time. Engage with your brother like you normally would and do not do any extras for him just because of his situation - he got himself there, he can get himself out - you can just be there to point him in the right direction and listen when you can if you can do so without it upsetting/firing you up (if that happens I would just say oh so and so is calling I have to go and hang up.) In time it does get better, even if nothing really changes on his end you will be stronger and find a way to cope that benefits you. I'm here to chat if you want!
Posted: March 16, 2018, 12:47 PM

Posts: 90
Joined: August 29, 2015

"What helped me was cutting him out. The detachment from the everyday checking in and worrying has really helped me get a hold of my own life."

I did this with my son Stressed1

It's VERY sad when things reach this point, but after having talked to several people I know that are in recovery, they said when their families detached from them it was the best thing that ever happened to them.

It forced them to experience the cold hard realities that came with their addictions.

It also allowed me to have my own life back.

The thing about it is that I've totally detached...to remain in touch allows his life to creep back into yours. Besides, I do believe there's also a thing called emotional enabling...you know, allowing someone to cry on your shoulder kinda thing?

He needs to feel everything before he can hit bottom.

It might or might not happen, but if you've done everything possible already...it's totally on him now.
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