Addicts Only Using On Weekends?
Posted: May 25, 2018, 11:21 PM

Posts: 4
Joined: May 25, 2018

Can someone be an addict if he does not use drugs every single day or doesn't consistently use the same drugs? My stepbrother has been a substance abuser for over 30 years. He has used a variety of drugs including marijuana, crack, meth, ecstasy, and prescription drugs like Xanax. He also drinks and smokes cigarettes daily. But it's his drug use that has destroyed his life. He’s in jail right now asking for money for private rehab to get out of jail. This is money my father really can’t afford to give him. What I’m trying to figure out is if my stepbrother can even be considered an addict if his drug use is primarily on the weekends. He can go weeks or even months without using drugs but when stressed or partying, makes a bad decision and next thing we know, he’s arrested for shoplifting and has a crack pipe. He was on parole for the last 6 months after spending a year in jail for a variety of minor crimes. He’s passed several random drug tests on parole, but after a drug test, he and his girlfriend went out partying and ended up arrested for stealing stuff from parked cars to buy more drugs. Complicating this is that they had their kids with them, so the kids are in foster care.

Every time this happens, my stepbrother makes a lot of promises to stop the drug use, claims he has an addiction, etc. His last time in rehab was 10 years ago, he then promised he would stop hanging out with people who use, but it turns out his current girlfriend has a long history of drug use. He can say the right things when he wants money but we know privately he’s told people he rails against drug prohibition and is part of an online group supporting pot legalization.

His mother got tough with him about 8 years ago, kicked him out and refused to help. She thought he would reach rock bottom, instead he kept free falling. He was homeless, he got in all sorts of trouble with the law, he had his parental rights terminated for his oldest son. She didn’t see him for 2 years and only found him when he was in the hospital for some infection and a social worker was trying to help him. He loves finding new people to tell his sob story and convince he’s a victim. He loves playing the victim. He’s used losing custody of his son against his mother and blames her for it. Now she basically supports him but he’s not allowed to live with them. He has no education or work history, he has considerable health issues from 30+ years of drug use, smoking and drinking. It’s just a train wreck. It’s tempting to think rehab will help but I fear my father is just throwing his money away sending my stepbrother to rehab.

What can be done for drug users like my stepbrother. Would rehab really help for anything other than getting him out of jail?
Posted: May 26, 2018, 12:06 AM

Posts: 1368
Joined: June 27, 2016

Greymoon - Can he be a weekend addict? yes, but it is still an addiction. It is also possible he hides it well and is still using when you think he isn't. and alcohol is part of the addiction, so if he is drinking during the week, he is using.

Regarding his want of private rehab and your dad putting up the money... he can go to local county/state run detox and rehab using his own insurance or Medicaid. If it is court mandated it will not cost your dad - I don't know for sure, but I think court mandated rehab would be at a local hospital. He has used for 30 years ? he must be about 40 yrs old? old enough to have stopped this on his own. old enough to be responsible for his own rehab costs. old enough that your dad should not be paying for it. your stepbrother can succeed whether at a private rehab or hospital. and if he does not succeed, you dad will not have wasted money. considering the situation w girlfriend, he will probably relapse.

another thought, if your dad gives him money for rehab, it is something that will become an issue financially and it will tie your dad to your brother's care. it will keep your dad in the drama. once he gives, your stepbrother will want more and more. he will need stuff while at rehab, and after rehab and so on. your dad should not set himself up for that.

I know we parents think we will give one last time and all will be better, unfortunately I am finding out that is not a true statement, it is hope... we keep giving but not much changes until the addict changes himself.

Your dad should not give your stepbrother money.

in the last 5 years my son went to rehab with insurance, then a year later went with us paying for it for a few months. now a few years later has checked himself into local hospital using his own insurance - the low budget state insurance. we are not paying again.

It is probably better for the addict to pay with their own means instead of owing a family member. It should give the addict a feeling of responsibility and independence. maybe it will stick better when they are responsible.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on May 26, 2018, 5:20 PM
Posted: May 29, 2018, 11:09 PM

Posts: 229
Joined: November 16, 2017

"Your dad should not give your stepbrother money."

I agree with everything NY said, X2.

Please keep sharing and reaching out. Like you said, addiction causes many train wrecks. It is hard to watch. This is a place of support.
Posted: May 30, 2018, 12:59 AM

Posts: 4
Joined: May 25, 2018

My stepbrother is 46, he's been using harder drugs beyond pot and alcohol since he was 16. He may have been drinking since 13 or earlier. He barely graduated high school and was kicked out of the military for pot use before he was in long enough to be dishonorably discharged. Since then, it's been minor crimes and drug abuse. Never anything serious and it really doesn't escalate. He's not ODing or getting into major trouble, it's stupid stuff. Most of what he does sounds like something a teenager would do- only he's in his 40s.

I believe that my stepmother is convinced that the state rehab facilities aren't helping him and he needs to go back to a dual diagnosis rehab facility and be treated for a mental illness on top of drug addiction. 10 years ago, my dad paid a fortune for him to go to a dual diagnosis place, it was the first time he was diagnosed with a mental illness and this was supposed to be the time he was really going to get his life together. Only after he got out and his legal troubles were over, he refused to follow up with psychiatric medications/treatment and got arrested for a DUI, had drug paraphernalia on him, etc. He went back to jail and his mother refused to bail him out and washed her hands of the situation. He was supposed to hit rock bottom but he kept free falling, in part because he preferred being homeless and doing what he wanted to being hounded about getting a job or any of the responsibilities of adulthood. I believe what my stepbrother really wants to do is go back to being 16 years old where he can party and do what he wants with a mom who cooks, cleans and gives him money. The problem is after he nearly died being homeless and his mother didn't know where he was, etc, I think she really would prefer to go back to that arrangement than have him living on the street, especially now with the two kids in foster care.

My dad's 72 and keeps getting sucked into this drama. His wife has no money for her son's rehab, it's all my dad's retirement money. He's at risk of out living his retirement savings but his wife keeps saying what's the point of having the money and her son dying. I feel bad for her but her son just doesn't seem to have any morals. He does what he wants and justifies it as an illness or addiction. He steals from everyone. A lot of what he's arrested for are things like trespassing at colleges or construction sites, looking for things to steal. We tell him to stop hanging out with drug users, dating women with drug problems, etc but he has zero in common with normal adults. He doesn't work. He'd rather live in his car than get a minimum wage job and he's not qualified for anything more than that. I just don't know what to do, it's like my stepbrother is an emotional vampire sucking the whole family dry.

This post has been edited by GreyMoon on May 30, 2018, 1:07 AM
Posted: June 10, 2018, 5:47 PM

Posts: 4
Joined: May 25, 2018

Well, my stepbrother is on his way to an expensive dual-diagnosis private drug rehab clinic. His lawyer negotiated a deal with the prosecutor based on the information my stepbrother told him that his family would pay for any rehab to get him out of trouble so when faced with no rehab and 6+ months in jail vs go to rehab and get a get out of jail free card, my stepmother buckled and my dad paid for rehab for the sake of his marriage. His mom says it's so he can keep custody of the kids but that's no guarantee.

The thing is with my stepbrother that no one will even talk about his drinking or pot use. His drinking is constant and may be the real issue. The only thing the family will say is that he needs to stop doing the drugs that get him into so much trouble. I really question if he really is a drug addict. Sure, he really likes doing a variety of drugs but it's never consistent. No one can say he has a physical dependency on any drugs that he has to keep doing in in order not to go into withdrawal, aside from alcohol which is never discussed. But when in trouble, he uses the 'addition is a disease' excuse that he has a drug addiction and all of his transgressions aren't his fault. I guess I can't get over all of the really awful stuff he's done. He's never committed really bad crimes but he's been a petty thief for most of his adult life. He thinks nothing about going to college campuses and stealing kids' stuff or stealing tools off a workman's truck. He's been stealing even when he's been clean according to random drug tests mandated by his parole. I guess it's a moot point if he is actually a drug addict, he's going into drug addict treatment.

This post has been edited by GreyMoon on June 10, 2018, 5:48 PM
Posted: June 20, 2018, 1:13 AM

Posts: 229
Joined: November 16, 2017


Sorry to hear this on so many levels. This has to be beyond frustrating for you. You are totally correct that they should not be investing so much money into this to avoid the jail.

I have no answers, of course. Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you, and can relate to your feelings about this situation. Has he been arrested for the stealing? That is pretty serious stuff, breaking into cars.
Posted: June 24, 2018, 2:49 PM

Posts: 4
Joined: May 25, 2018

My stepbrother has been arrested for stealing and minor property crimes so many times we've lost count. The typical thing is that he gets arrested for stealing and drug paraphernalia, spends a few days in jail before being paroled, then before his case is decided, he's re-arrested for new crimes, spends a few months in jail and the whole case is pled out for time served. Typically he's re-arrested later for failure to pay court costs until my stepmother pays them. My stepbrother has learned he won't get into much trouble for most property crime or the other stupid stuff he does like trespass or live illegally in vacant houses. When he first started getting arrested 25 years ago or so, it was a big deal. Now, unless he's facing serious felony time, no one bats an eye because we know he won't serve much time. He got into serious state penitentiary time maybe 20 years ago when he was caused a traffic accident high on meth while driving a tow truck and leaving the scene. He had drugs on him when he was arrested. After that, he was pretty much unemployable.

He's been doing the same things for so long that it's gotten to the point no one cares. His mother keeps saying things like "at least he's alive" when confronted about her enabling. He's been doing this same things for 30 years. I think people have given up he's going to stop. I just don't think he should get custody back of his kids. All of this rehab stuff now is just because child welfare got involved in this last arrest.

This post has been edited by GreyMoon on June 24, 2018, 2:52 PM
Posted: June 25, 2018, 8:01 PM

Posts: 1368
Joined: June 27, 2016

sounds like your step mother has given up and wants to put another band-aid on her son. It is understandable - many of us (parents) do that, and many of us stop doing it. and many of us don't stop doing it. It is true that we don't know when "this' time will be the time that works.

the only thing you can do is talk to your dad about protecting himself. Mainly financially. Sounds like it is hard for him to say no to his wife. Also understandable, but not in his best interest. situations wear us down and at some point we either give in or give up.

see if you can talk to your dad about securing an amount of his assets in a way that you and he feel will protect him from loosing his savings. it could be as simple as putting an amount in an account with just your and his name. Just removing it from his immediate access and putting a label on it, will help both of you feel like he is taking care of himself/future.

my husband and I have a long term savings with a financial investor. we can withdrawal if we need to but because it is not in our regular checking or savings account, we mentally do not think of it as $$ that we can spend.

It is a tricky conversation to have. plan it out. that you are worried about his financial future. you are not trying to take anything away. you want to make sure he has assets that will last for another 10 years or more. start gently with a conversation - not a banking plan - and see how he reacts. Check out the Susie orman website to get ideas of small changes that can be made.

one time a friend of mine talked to his parents who are in their late 80's about their financial situation. knowing it would become harder for them to handle their own affairs. his parents were open and practical in every way. He did not think the conversation would be a problem. When he mentioned it - they went ballistic! completely opposite of what he thought would happen. LOL

your dad might be too young to have this conversation, but try poking at it when you are both relaxed and hanging out together. probably not an over-the-phone-conversation.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on June 25, 2018, 8:09 PM
Posted: June 25, 2018, 8:22 PM

Posts: 1368
Joined: June 27, 2016

see if you can get your dad and stepmom to go to Naranon meetings. get a list - maybe at a local rehab or hospital. or try the organization online. sometimes the meetings are hard to find. some are good and some are not good. maybe you test out a meeting before sending them in. find some support and then pull your dad in. The reason I say this is because they will hear other people's stories, be able to share without being judged. and hopefully start thinking in a way that protects themselves.....

your stepmom says " what good is the $$ if her son is dying"...… well - it is your dad's retirement savings - he has at least 10 years to be able to enjoy it.... to go on trips, see things, do things....

why does he have to sit around and not enjoy himself while his saving is being wasted. Your dad need to filter thru a ME First funnel.

your step brother's life is his choice and his path to walk on. if he has not shown interest in being well, and working, etc in this many years, I doubt things are going to change.

I guess he could change - if he spends enough time doing the right thing, seeing the right doctors, following up and going to meetings and therapist and out patient local rehab or recovery center...…

but he does need a job in order to be independent..... how do they support the household now? just curious, you don't have to answer.

as for you and the rest of the family. stop getting sucked in. I know it is all a dance you are used to. Break the cycle. what ever the rut is that you are used to - Change it up! stop getting sucked in. get your dad to break out of the cycle - maybe find something to do together that gets him away from the drama.

maybe others will follow your lead.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on June 25, 2018, 8:26 PM
Posted: June 27, 2018, 9:06 AM

Posts: 2243
Joined: March 23, 2006

God it makes me so sad to read this, I'm sorry your father felt pressured in this way to waste his money. Of course there is always a chance your stepbrother will make a major change to his life in this rehab but its just as likely that he won't.

I work at a rehab so I see this stuff every day. And by the way the cost of the rehab has nothing whatsoever to do with someone's ability to recover. Some types of programs might work better for some people than others but price no way.

Our rehab is old, not-for-profit, we are a charity and most of our clients on gov benefits, we charge on a sliding scale. The building is old, it is run down, cold in winter and hot in summer, there's no pools, no gyms no special meditation rooms. There's lots of structure and lots of hard work and lots of tough love. Many don't make it, some succeed and change their lives, some come back over and over...there's no quick fix and there's no easy answer.

BTW addiction IS a disease, but recovery is a choice...

9 years sober

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27

May the Force be with you.

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should just get used to the idea....Robert Heinlein.

You can spend the next 24 hours reaching your true potential or sliding down into your own particular hell. the choice is always yours.
Posted: June 28, 2018, 7:52 AM

Posts: 1368
Joined: June 27, 2016

indgi - your right about treatment. my son went to two rehabs out of state a few years ago. this time he went to local hospital and local recovery center. he said this helped him better than the two in the past. maybe he was ready to hear/change it this time.
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