Sister In Recovery
Posted: August 31, 2017, 6:01 PM


Posts: 2
Joined: August 31, 2017



My younger sister has been a struggling addict for years, although I was the only one who seen it right from the beginning. From the lying to betrayal, my parents always thought of it as a "rough patch". When she went to treatment, the daily life became about her. I would tell stories to my parents, but if she called our conversation stopped because, and I quote, "She could die." As true as that statement may be, she was in a safer place in treatment than at home. I did not take this well because that is not an excuse to overlook one of your children (in my opinion). After her leaving treatment, she realized she needed to live in a sober house with people just like her. Which is very smart. My parents said she was to stay there for at least 6 months. Well obviously that didn't happen because 5 months later I find out from my grandparents that my sister has been living in an apartment for 2 months already. I sort of find this as going behind my back from my parents. I am a full-time student who studies 30+ hours a week, and when I find out she slacks with her recovery so my parents rent her an apartment, it doesn't sit well with me. She has yet to apologize to anyone. And I get it, she might not be at that step yet. But I still see her being enabled by my parents just like they used to when she was using. And whenever I try to bring it up, all they say is "what do you want." And honestly I don't want anything; I don't need anything. I just don't know a way to put it to them in a way that they can understand.I have tried talking to multiple counsellors but none of them have been the sibling of an addict. I have tried Al-Anon groups but they are full of spouses or parents of addicts. Any help getting a different perspective could help. Thanks.
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Posted: August 31, 2017, 9:51 PM


Posts: 733
Joined: October 5, 2015



Hi Sidney, I understand your feelings and I think you have every right to feel the way you do. Your a wonderful example of how anyone would want their daughter to turn out. I think your parents know it too and are more than proud of you, even if they don't show it. Right now and during your sisters drug years, it's her that commands all their attention. It's what addicts do. There's always drama around them and they drain our emotions dry. Your parents are feeding her all their attention in an effort to "save" her. It's what we do at the beginning, always looking to cure them. Your their strong child who they feel they don't have to worry about. "Thank God for Sidney"..Your their rock! The child that's got a good head on her shoulders etc. I think you feel taken for granted by your mom and dad and that you take a backseat to your sister. But your so wrong and if you only knew how much they value you for being the "light in their life" daughter!! The daughter they can rely on to hold the fort while they feel like their lives are crumbling trying to help your sister. You might very well be the strength that they hold onto to get themselves through to the next day. Your their "sugar and spice and everything nice" the one they can quietly depend on to be you. I'm sorry they don't tell you this but I'm sure it's how they think. Your the normal in their lives that they so need to have. As a mother of an addict we all tend to blame ourselves for our children turning to drugs. It's not our fault, I know! But we don't all have a Sidney to help us know for sure. Your mom and dad do! I hope in amongst this ranting you find some meaning to what I'm trying to say. I hope it helps you to realize how much they love and need you just the very special way you are. Take care Sidney. ((Hugs)) Mary 💜
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Posted: August 31, 2017, 9:58 PM


Posts: 2
Joined: August 31, 2017



Thank you so much for those words Mary! It is something that I needed to hear because, yes, I do feel like I'm overshadowed. It is nice to see how a mother would feel in this position because my own mother won't express how she feels. So thank you again for your kind words :)
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Posted: August 31, 2017, 10:12 PM


Posts: 733
Joined: October 5, 2015



Your welcome Sweetie, You hang in there one day she will tell you how wonderful you are. Sometimes it's harder to say these things than it is to write them. Maybe you should write her a little note saying how you feel. Us mothers sometimes don't see the obvious until it hits us right between the eyes. It might help open doors between you if you did. Having a child on drugs rips your heart right out and it's hard to think straight at times. She probably needs your understanding of how she feels as much as you need her. Show her this website. It will help her understand better. This website is a blessing to me and many on here. Don't be a stranger Sidney I'm here if you need to talk too. ((Hugs)). Mary 💜
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Posted: August 31, 2017, 10:26 PM


Posts: 1663
Joined: June 27, 2016



Hi - I dont have a lot of time to write, but want you to know you are not alone. I have 3 children. first two got into addiction. third one has not. myself, husband and daughter have weathered thru 6 years of addiction - first her older sister, then her older brother. there were some scary years. youngest was in 10th grade when it all started. we tried our best to not let our stress get in the way. sometimes we would tell her what was going on, sometimes we didnt. sometimes she would say she wants to know, doesnt want to be in the dark, sometimes I would fill her in, and then the complications of it all would get to her and she would then say she didnt want to talk about it. Even though most of the time we were paying attention to the one in crisis, we also tried to make life normal around the house. I made it a point to tell her 'sorry we are going thru this and sorry that it isnt fair' and told her to let us know if anything is bothering her. she used to get tired of hearing us vent about it. her sister has recovered and they have a good relationship but live across country from each other. her brother is still on the fence, but not terrible. so life is not about them any more. she focuses on her own life, as we all try to do.

suggest your parents go to NarAnon meeting to learn how to stop enabling.
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Posted: August 31, 2017, 11:44 PM


Posts: 185
Joined: November 2, 2016



Just had to chime in. When I was growing up, I had a sibling die. I felt the way you did, except that I felt my life was always overshadowed with the death of my sibling. Nothing that I did seemed to matter.

Because of this experience I tried really HARD to not do this to my other kids relative to my son's addiction!! I can tell you, especially in the beginning, it was very difficult. As a parent, your mind goes into overdrive trying to save them. Because I experienced something very similar to yourself, I caught myself and tried to make space for my other kids. Put the addiction on the back burner so to speak. It is hard, as a parent, to get the panic into perspective.

Your parents adore you and I am sure are super proud. They probably are so desperate to save your sister, they are not totally aware of what they are doing. Your sister is manipulating them and they are enabling her.

I don't know your situation or your family, so don't want to give bad advice. But, I wonder if you wrote out how you feel? They need alanon to be able to detach. : (

Wishing you peace. Addiction is a very difficult challenge for the whole family!
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Posted: September 1, 2017, 10:32 AM


Posts: 4
Joined: July 21, 2017



Hi, I am in a similar situation: my older brother is addicted to heroin. He is in recovery at the moment and has been living with my folks for the past year. It is really hard for me to see them go through this, and to see how they cannot bring themselves to actually take the leap to kick him out of the house. They want to support his recovery, and I can really understand how they feel... but this enabling behaviour does not help, and my brother is all too happy to stay and have them house him and take care of him.

My work right now is to let them all-- my brother, and my parents-- go through their own stuff and not try to make decisions for them. I can tell them how I feel and what I would do, but I cannot force anyone to do anything. In terms of my brother, it's his recovery and his journey, and hard as it is for me to see him relapse, and see him manipulate my parents, I cannot get dragged down into that struggle.

You sound like a smart, highly functioning person: going to school, worrying about family, etc. Try to take care of yourself and be there for your sister and your parents as much as you can without trying to fight their battles for them or take on their problems. It is so so hard. This is still a constant struggle for me, but I am really trying to let go... with love.
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Posted: September 1, 2017, 7:40 PM


Posts: 1663
Joined: June 27, 2016



hi sidney. I re-read your post. I would like to add that each time our addicted child went into treatment, it was our Break from Chaos. Things around the house became normal and did not revolve around the addict. Our youngest was away at college last 3 years so it was good for her to be out of the house. she has good solid friends that she has had since elementary school and made more friends at college. currently, our son, who is recovering, but relapsing, does not live at home and does work full time, lives nearby. At this time when our youngest is home, she bounces around between bf house and friends, and part time jobs - she isnt home much... when she is all conversation revolves around her! she gets tired of that!

Recovery is a slow process. Like any addiction. and it is different for everyone's circumstances. It also takes months for them to think logical and get the habits out of their system - if ever.

my daughter quit quickly and joined the Army. she put herself in a place where she would be limited and her job depends on sobriety (she does drink alcohol, but not excessive). my son has been to two rehab and sober living in two years, one was a really good place and he would have done well if he stayed there for a long time. he only lasted 5 months. when he was there he was able to work and paid his own rent. this is the picture one wants to see. that they are working and paying their way and being independent. although my son is still not independent. its like a child in adult body.

I guess it is all about what we (parents) let them get away with. If we give them a dime they want a dollar the next day. If we give one time, they want it again, and again. Normal is when your child needs a coat and you buy it and they dont ask for another coat next week....

It is true, the tougher we are, the less they badger us. It is hard to stay firm. At times we have been firm for a few months, then the child shows progress and 'good behavior', we give in thinking just this once, a small reward.... then it all starts over again... two steps back! As much as I have been thru, and know what the right thing is, I still slip up and enable by letting him off the hook on car insurance.

Showing your parents this website is a good idea. they can see other's journeys and gain strength from that. This board has helped me thru crisis when I needed to vent or try to sort out what's going on. Going to NarAnon meetings helped me and my husband to talk about our 'problem of the week'. On the drive there we would discuss what we were going to talk about, and on the way back we would devise a plan or solution for that problem. we did this for a year. I was in awe of people whose kids were no longer addicted, yet they showed up every week just to help others. I also saw people who's addicted children were much older and I didnt want to be still sitting there 10 years from now.

sidney - back to you - it is hard for you to observe what is going on. The best thing for you is to focus on you. detach and be independent so you dont have to be involved in their 3 ring circus. try not to hold judgement over your parents. maybe they are still in a crisis and when things are better, they will be in a better place too.

It is hard for you to be the person who is doing everything right, but getting no respect or reward for it, and your parents resources are going for the child who is not doing things right, and it looks like your sister is getting rewarded for bad behavior!

I want you to know you are correct and right in your observations. You are not wrong. The problem is that we can lead the addict to water, but we cant make them drink. you have to come to terms with the fact that it is is not your monkey. it is theirs. you may express to your parents that you are sorry They are going thru this. it might open a different conversation.

back to parents - even though our children are doing okay for today, the problems still circle in our heads all day long. its hard to turn it off. we also get stuck in the rut of our actions. and it becomes mentally exhausting and time consuming. addiction takes us down a path that is hard to turn back from completely. It makes us want to stay inside and hide. not socialize w friends, or neighbors. it is hard to keep doing 'normal' stuff. your parents need to learn how to be unavailable for your sister - it goes against every grain of our parental being!

Good luck - I'm glad you reached out to us. let us know how things are going.

on line there is an organization called SmartRecovery.org. there's lots of information there for addicts and their families. show that to your parents, they might find more help and information there. maybe you can find an online group there that consists of siblings -

OR - just put it out of your head and let them deal with it! Dont let it drag you down. It is not your battle to fight! I'm sure you have better more enjoyable things to occupy your time!

If you are not living at college, see if you can... get a job at college or as an RA - pays for housing! or full time job at a college would pay for tuition...

sorry I wrote so much - hope I did not ramble too much.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on September 1, 2017, 8:09 PM
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