September is National Recovery Month

When your Brother or Sister is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

Siblings Addiction There’s a million interpretations on what a relationship is. For many, relationships are built in the field. By this philosophy, the countless number of restless souls who collide out in the world and manage to stick together are those who are destined to be together.

For others, “blood is thicker than water.” By this belief, some of the most lasting relationships are determined from birth and forged in the fire of a family hearth. For those who believe in family as the prevailing relationship, the one that withstands through time and trials, it becomes a lifelong goal to ensure the safety of your brothers and sisters. Which is precisely why one of the most difficult trials such believers might face is watching their sibling become addicted to dangerous substance.

SEPARATE, SAVE, OR STRUGGLE” that’s the siblings of an addict debate. At what point do you confront an addicted sibling? At what point, do you put yourself into the fray in order to pull them out, and, tragically, at what point should you let go? Sometimes, sharing the burden with a professional in addiction is the right way to go.

Helping someone recover from addiction is much different from helping them out with their homework, or helping them change the oil in their car. The blatant difficulty of accepting it and treating it aside, addiction is a repetitive disease. It is a disease where oftentimes there are relapses or remissions. It is one that is emotionally destructive. It harms every single person it touches and withers the circles of friends and family around them. It is a disease of isolation, where those who suffer tend to break off relationships and hide in shame and guilt.

It’s important to understand that a sibling’s reaction may not be how they truly feel about the person suffering from addiction. Though the love between you and your brother or sister might be mutual and powerful, many people struggle to confront addiction, or deny it altogether. Some siblings may be eager to help, but struggle to find the words or methods that truly reach the addict. Some may even become depressed or frustrated. There will be fights. There will be words thrown about.

But at the end, everyone wants the addict to transcend their addiction. To overcome. To heal.

Healing is a social process, after all. Part of healing is to be accepted by those you love once more. Many times, the actions of an addict may seem unforgivable, or scarring, to those around them. Finding a way to restore what once was an important relationship is an important step in overcoming the addiction in a lasting, meaningful way. That can be just as difficult for the siblings of an addict as it is for the addict herself.

We offer programs that focus on healing as a family-oriented, social process. Recovery from addiction results from many steps within a multi-faceted approach to achieve a wholesome, healthy, and productive life for yourself and your family. If you or a loved one you know is suffering with an addiction, be it drugs or alcohol, but are ready and willing to transcend beyond into a lifetime of recovery, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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