What Should You Do When Your Sibling Is an Addict?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Having a sibling who’s an addict can be difficult. There are several ways to deal with this kind of situation, but one of the most helpful things you can do is to be accepting of the addiction as a disease that is treatable and to help your loved one by encouraging them to seek treatment.

Understand Addiction

The first thing that you can do to help yourself in this situation is to understand what addiction is. Addiction is a disease, and it can affect nearly anyone from any socioeconomic class or circumstance.

Take Inventory on Your Emotions

Before you can help anyone else, you need to help yourself. If you’re angry about your sibling taking drugs, you won’t be in the right mindset to help them. Instead, you’ll feel aggressive or accusatory, and that’s not going to be helpful when your loved one is already struggling.

You might be feeling resentment for your sibling taking up so much of your parents’ time or money, because you’ve been used for money or other purposes in the past, or because your sibling’s addiction is the main focus of your current family life. You may be angry that your sibling can’t just “get over it.”

Remember that it’s natural to feel this way, and it’s understandable that you may be increasingly angry the more addiction takes hold in your sibling’s life. The first step of dealing with your sibling is to experience these emotions, but then you must move past them into a state where your sibling knows what to expect from you.

Setting Boundaries

It’s important to set your own boundaries; your sibling is struggling with an illness. This will help them to not act in harmful or detrimental ways to you or your family. Set reasonable rules for interacting, so your sister or brother knows what he or she can do in your home. For instance, no smoking in the house or no drug use on the premises.

Preparing for the Full Length of Treatment

Drug addiction is a major health issue, and it will take time for your loved one to get through withdrawal and into recovery. For some, the battle isn’t as hard as for others, but you should prepare to encourage your loved one for many months or years to come. It’s normal for detoxification to take place within a few weeks or months, but recovery is a long process that can be ongoing for the rest of a person’s life. Remember this before you talk to your loved one about addiction, and you’ll be in a better position to make a difference.

siblings arguing

Talk to Your Sibling, but Don’t Judge

Talking to your loved one can be helpful. You’re the first person who’s going to notice a difference in how your relative acts. You might be the first person to know an addiction is a problem at all.

When you talk to your sibling about addiction, the most important thing is that the conversation stays calm. Yelling or getting angry won’t help your loved one reach out to you or open up about the situation. Neither will accusing them or berating the choices they’ve made in the past. What you should do when you talk is encourage your loved one to seek help; that help can assist them in getting back to a life they want to live and feel comfortable with; they will be able to interact with the family more appropriately and get back control of their body and mind.

Be Ready to Offer Help

Of course, when you’re going to offer to talk, you should already have a few ideas for your loved one’s treatment in mind. If your sibling decides to accept an offer of help and you have no information on a program or way to get the help they desperately want or need, then you will not be able to move forward in the situation.

Reach out to the local rehabilitation center or drug abuse counselors to talk about the options locally. There may be holistic, alternative, traditional or other kinds of therapies available to help your loved one overcome addiction. You may want to collect leaflets or have a website of information ready to show your sibling, so you can identify the kinds of care they can receive and how to get it quickly.

How Can You Get Help For Someone You Love?

When you’re ready to help your sibling get on the road to sobriety, you need to have the knowledge and support to do so. Our website has more information on addiction programs, so you can better educate yourself about the options. Visit firststepsrecovery.com online or call our helpful specialists at 1-844-489-0836 to find out more about the rehabilitation facilities located near you.

Meet Our Team
Meet Our Team

From our certified therapists and nurses to our emotional support animal "Cooper", our entire team is dedicated to the health and success of our clients throughout our program and beyond.

Help Is Available. Speak With Someone Today.

Our admission team is available to help 24/7.
Skip to content