The relationship between siblings is typically a strong and special bond. There is a level of empathy and care when it comes to siblings and their livelihoods. More than just a close friend, siblings understand you more than anyone else and have a strong connection with your experiences and feelings. With all this in mind, siblings of addicts may have a tough time understanding and helping a loved one in need.
Dealing with an alcoholic sibling can be stressful and problematic. Addiction can completely change a person’s thought processes and behaviors, especially with those close to them. Seeing this dramatic shift in personality and behavior is not only painful but confusing as well. Oftentimes, it can be hard to deal with the unpredictable and unusual behavior of a sibling.
In many cases, there is a rippling effect that affects everyone when dealing with an alcoholic sibling. Seeing someone you idolize and care for fall into a cycle of addiction can be troubling. Fortunately, it is not too late to help them towards recovery without enabling or ignoring the problem at hand. There is no shame in reaching out for professional help, as our wonderful center at Free by the Sea. No matter how bad things may seem, there is always hope on the horizon.
Many different feelings and problems may arise for siblings of addicts. There are several different situations and scenarios that can create problematic and concerned feelings within the family. Some of the common reactions and effects on the loved one of an addict include the following:
It is not uncommon to feel some of these feelings and emotions when it comes to being siblings of addicts. It can be easy to feel concerned and hopeless when you see a loved one become something they are not. Feeling betrayed, frustrated, and angry are all normal reactions to have a sibling addict. Fortunately, there are different things you can do to constructively help a loved one in need.
There are things you can do to help a sibling who is struggling with addiction. While it may be a stressful and tense topic, it’s important, to be honest, and constructive with them and yourself. It’s also important to avoid behaviors that may enable a loved one to continue using. Enabling an addict means you don’t enforce any consequences for their actions. These behaviors tend to make a person continue their drug use due to the lack of consequences and boundaries.
Enabling behaviors include:
While a person may not mean to enable their sibling or son/daughter, they can end up doing so unintentionally. We want the best for our loved ones but it’s crucial, to be honest, and open about the problem at hand (without being confrontational).
One of the ways you can help is to avoid blaming, lecturing, demeaning, or talking down to a sibling with addiction. This ends up pushing them away even further and doesn’t help the situation. You should also refrain from using drugs or substances around your sibling. Those who look up to their siblings may use substances for acceptance or approval. This can cause a number of issues that will only make the situation worse for everyone. Consider these pointers as a sibling of an addict:
In cases where a sibling or a loved one is struggling with addiction, intervention is often used as a way to get them towards treatment. The intervention involves speaking openly and honestly with the addict in hopes that they will seek out help. Interventions are usually conducted when a family feels they are falling down a slippery slope. Setting up an intervention (alone or with the help of a professional interventionist) can be extremely helpful.
It’s important to not be confrontational or demanding during the interventions. Additionally, you should not have too many people at the intervention, only you and a few close family members (and the interventionist if available). During the intervention, make sure to set boundaries, make goals, and commit to aiding them during treatment and recovery. At the end of the day, the goal is to help a person get the professional help they need. Drug addiction can become problematic and even dangerous the longer it is left untreated.
Drug addiction can completely tear a family apart and can cause rippling effects for everyone involved. This is why getting professional help is necessary for recovery and long-term sobriety. At Free by the Sea, we offer many different kinds of addiction treatment. We want to make sure your family goes back to a functional and happy state before addiction entered the picture.
Each case of addiction is different and no two cases will ever look the same. At Free by the Sea, we offer personalized and quality treatment with you in mind. Here are just a few of our comprehensive and quality options for you or a loved one struggling with substance abuse or addiction:
Dealing with an alcoholic sibling or a sibling with an addiction can be stressful and painful at times. Luckily, you don’t have to go through this alone. Free by the Sea offers specialized treatment for you or a sibling in need. It’s important to be able to get comprehensive treatment no matter what you and your family may be going through. Know that it is not too late to reach out for help.
Here at Free by the Sea, we are committed to serving individuals and families who are suffering from the impact of substance abuse. We’ll work to help you or your family member overcome addiction for good. Contact us today to learn more about all our resources and addiction treatment options.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.