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BIL's addiction. Do we keep trying?

(95 Posts)

I have posted before about DH's brother who has been a heroin addict for 14 years. Recently he has shown a concerted desire to give it up and we have done a lot to support him. We took him to a rehab place abroad but he went straight back on it when he got back home. THat was about 6 months ago. He then decided he wanted to do a TEFL. He did a weekend introduction course which we paid for. He passed and managed to get on a proper, 1 month course. He got through the first 3 weeks but failed 1 module and has been kicked off. He is asking us to pay for another month and I'm not sure whether to do it. On one hand, he has come a long way, although I imagine he is still taking heroin in the morning before college. He says he revised the wrong module which is why he failed. He believes he can go abroad and teach with this qualification. I have taught TEFL before and think his anger issues will prevent him working in a school. I want him to go to the doctor and start rehab but he won't consider it or therapy or anything else. MIL is desperate. She has already lost her daughter and I can't bear for her to lose another child.

What does your DH think about this situation re his brother?.

This man can only ultimately help his own self and he at present does not want help from anybody. They are masters at saying one thing but meaning another and your kindness is not helping him at all. You are too close to the situation to be of any real help and I mean that in the kindest way.

You need to think of you and DH and withdraw completely from his brother and his life.

You've done more than enough for his brother and what you have tried to date has not worked out. Do not pay for any more courses for him, that enables him again. He had his chance with the course and he blew it.

Enabling him as you have done only gave you a false sense of control and has not helped either him or you. Its a common trap that many families who have addiction fall into.

It is not unkind to walk away from him, its not a failure on your part to do so. You have to protect yourselves ultimately.

Atila I believe you posted on my last thread and believe strongly that helping him in any way is enabling him. However, he has gained a lot from doing the TEFL although he has ultimately failed. He has done a lot to help himself and has not lied about his situation. I don't really believe we are enabling him although there are obviously many ways of looking at it.

Specific Actions To Stop Enabling Behaviour

•Do not lie for the addict.
•Do not make excuses for the addict.
•Do not loan them money.
•Do not be their alarm clock.
•Do not bail them out of jail.
•Do not pay their bills.
•Do not be afraid to file a police report for theft, violence, etc.
•Do not be afraid to obtain a restraining order if necessary.
•Do not clean up their messes or destruction.
•Do not remain in arguments.
•Do not make ultimatums if you are not 100% confident that you will stick with it.

So what does your DH and MIL think about their brother/son?. I know you are concerned for BIL but its not working.

You are not responsible for his addiction and it is not down to you to fix him.

You paid for his initial course sessions, that money is gone now. Why did you as a family decide to pay for his course?.

You want BIL also to go to rehab, he will not go simply because you want him to. He's already come out of one rehab place (probably due to arguing with the staff, he was also not ready to properly tackle his own demons) and went straight back on heroin when he came out. A 14 year addiction is not going to go away that easily.

You need to properly detach from this before you get further sucked into the maelstrom.

JustinBsMum Mon 16-Sep-13 17:08:49

If he isn't saving up his own money to pay for a TEFL you are enabling him. You are doing this for MIL but perhaps you are making the situation worse by giving her false hope.
Very sad but you are probably wasting your money. It's unlikely he will change like you think, but if it makes you and MIL feel better to try to help then you can do that.

Fairenuff Mon 16-Sep-13 17:10:53

It sounds like you already know what you want to do. You want to keep helping him and pay for another month.

What does your dh think?

BeCool Mon 16-Sep-13 17:11:29

He's not clean. He's not showing willing to get clean. I've known a few heroin addicts. IME (and they would tell you themselves) until they sort themselves out, you may as well just burn your cash.

Well, he is showing willing to be clean. He is off it for up to 3 days at a time. Overall though, he is not managing to give it up. This is because he won't go for medical help and without support it's unlikely.

I do not believe that it is impossible to help without enabling. If there is an opportunity we can give him then I don't see that this is enabling. We are not paying his bills, he is working part time and gets benefits.

We haven't decided what to do. I have to concede he did get quite far on the course, much further than we expected. That has shown a lot of effort on his part because it's not an easy course. The feedback from the college is that he was doing well, but failing a module means you're off.

If he were to pass the course, he could go abroad and get away from his estate. That is his stated aim.

By the way, I'm not emotionally invested in trying to save him. I loathe him. DH doesn't know what to do about him or any of his family.

Fairenuff Mon 16-Sep-13 17:45:51

So, what is the point of this thread then? What are you asking? Because posters are telling you to stop enabling helping him but you don't want to do that.

Well I suppose I post to verbalise things and discuss what others would do in the same situation. Previous threads have been enormously helpful and changed our course. I mean, why do we help anyone, those who overeat, or smoke or abuse alcohol or otherwise damage their health?

And if we are 'enabling' him, what does it matter? If he ends up with a tefl qualification and can get a job abroad, what does it matter if he messes up? It is movement and time away and perspective.

I'm undecided what to ask in return for another course payment, if we do it.

Fairenuff Mon 16-Sep-13 18:05:16

It's enabling because he has an addiction.

If you enable, you are helping that person to stay addicted.

Not enabling helps them to face their addiction and do something about it.

Why would you ask for something in return?

I would ask for something in return because that means they are obliged to move forwards in order to get what they want. It also means they are forced to do something they don't particularly want to do because it will help them. And then they will have had the help.

I have just been enabling the DC with their homework. Of course, it would be better if they studied more and needed less help. And I have had a G&T to enable me to cope with a fractious toddler and a hormonal teenager.

Seriously, I believe that having a qualification is a good thing and he has come very near. it gives him options. It is really hard to give up and he is trying. Why not support him? We cannot really make it worse as he is nearly dead anyway. If we were struggling for money it would be a bad allocation of funds but we are not at all.

maras2 Mon 16-Sep-13 19:04:07

Why the need for him to work abroad? Surely if his support is here then going overseas may not be condusive to staying clean.

scripsi Mon 16-Sep-13 19:14:44

Could you make seeking medical attention a condition of paying the course? It could become rather circular, as if he doesn't really intend to become clean (rather than using less frequently) then there is little motivation to pass the course and little motivation to move abroad. Having said that, even away from an estate in a beautiful part of the world he could find ways to use.

Isabeller Mon 16-Sep-13 19:20:50

One quite harsh way to look at it is that however much enabling anyone does an addict who has had enough will get and stay clean.

Someone with an addiction to enabling who hasn't had enough will keep doing it until they are sick and tired of being sick and tired (or dead).

I am probably an enabler in 'active addiction' BTW blush and just as powerless as the next person.

I hope some of your family find recovery x

He wants to get away from the drug-soaked environment where he lives and where all his friends and dealers live. Also, he is very intelligent but has never done anything. He wants to do something. He is surprisingly fit and strong and has no criminal record.

Of course wherever he is he will always be able to find drugs but the connections on his estate will make everything ten times harder.

There are many holes in the plan, and I am not in charge. Things would be very different if they were because I would have made him go via his GP to access the many many services for addicts his borough offers.

For me his biggest problem is his anger which is huge. I don't like him at all as a person. He is not allowed in our home as I won't have him around our children. He is like a feral beast, he frightens me. DP is torn between doing something if it might work and not throwing money away.

however much enabling anyone does an addict who has had enough will get and stay clean

^^I absolutely agree with this.

However, I think he has had enough and is trying to get clean. He tried really hard on the course and has been clean for days at a time. To some extent I see him like one of those lab rats that is conditioned to always getting his drugs from the same place. I think he will never succeed in that place. He might fail anywhere, but I don't see that I am doing him a disservice by supporting positive goals he sets himself (the course was his idea and he did all the research and applications, etc.). I'm not losing sleep over it though.

Loopytiles Mon 16-Sep-13 20:20:36

Paying for BIL to study for tefl isn't realistically going to give him job options: he is clearly unsuitable for teaching work due to his "anger issues" and addiction. So he'd either be rejected from jobs or (worse) get into trouble abroad.

So it's "make work" for him and a waste of money. Has your H sought professional help in dealing with this situation, for himself?

Loopytiles Mon 16-Sep-13 20:21:31

His goals are not positive if they are unrealistic and he can't see them through.

Fairenuff Mon 16-Sep-13 20:29:56

I would ask for something in return because that means they are obliged to move forwards in order to get what they want. It also means they are forced to do something they don't particularly want to do because it will help them. And then they will have had the help.

But you've tried that already and it didn't work

We took him to a rehab place abroad but he went straight back on it when he got back home

As BeCool said, you might as well have burned your cash.

He got through the first 3 weeks but failed 1 module and has been kicked off

You are trying to bargain with an addict. He will say/do anything to feed that addiction.

I think his goals can be described as positive even if he does not see them through. He is at least mixing with normal human beings all day. I would put his chances at around 50/50 if he repeats the course so it's obviously not a great investment.

AnyFucker Mon 16-Sep-13 20:34:35

Sorry love, I know you don't want to hear it, but you really should listen to Attila

Bearing in mind you can't stand this bloke, is it your husband that is pushing to keep bailing him out and you are looking to justify it here so you can feel better about being railroaded ?

Apologies if I am wrong. Frankly though, you should have knocked this on the head a long time ago. This man will never hold down a teaching job, even if he manages to finsih the course. Not while you and H enable him

the best chance of success for this addict is to walk away and let him hit rock bottom, seriously

btw, how did your MIL lose her dd ?

something2say Mon 16-Sep-13 20:40:20

Having worked with heroin users, I conclude that only those who are ready will change.

Your brother in law is partly ready and you commend him for this, and rightly so. Tell him you believe he can do it and so on.

But I agree with the others. If you continually bail him out, he won't learn. The difficulty is that if you stop, he will do what he wants and things may get worse until he realises he is on his own, with only professional support and believe me they won't pay for him.

The other issue is that the dice he is rolling are very dangerous and he risks overdosing all the time. The stakes are therefore high. But you can't stop this. There is nothing you can do make this better without his involvement and while eh thinks you will do for him, he won't learn his own coping skills.

Also could he be looking to do a tefl course to go somewhere where smack is cheaper??

The thing users always say is that the issue is outside of themselves. Your brother in law is saying that, if only he could get away from the estate, he would stop using. This is wrong. Temptation will always be around, it is him that has to learn how to deal with it, not for it to go away.

That is the biggest tell tale sign to me that your b I l is not serious about stopping. He has not accepted that he is the problem yet.

Fairenuff Mon 16-Sep-13 20:40:23

I have just been enabling the DC with their homework. Of course, it would be better if they studied more and needed less help. And I have had a G&T to enable me to cope with a fractious toddler and a hormonal teenager

Are your children addicted to homework? Are you addicted to alcohol?

I really don't think you understand what enabling means. Look again at the list Attila posted above.

I think he has had enough and is trying to get clean

Really? So what is he doing then. Because earlier you posted this: I want him to go to the doctor and start rehab but he won't consider it or therapy or anything else

Of course he is not going to get a job working with children. You won't even let him near yours, how do you expect a professional institution to take him on.

And yes, he would find drugs abroad. Very quickly.

If he gets clean, and it's a big if, he would need ongoing professional help and he won't get that abroad unless he could pay for it privately.

It's a pie in the sky idea imo.

Was this the BIL that went to the rehab in Thailand that I and lots of other people on the thread told you was dangerous and probably useless?

My friend who is in very healthy recovery from a really nasty crystal meth and cocaine addiction, which nearly killed him, calls this kind of thing "stealing rock bottom". If you make the addicts life easier, or you help, or you pay from things they want, or pretend everything will be OK, without dealing with the addiction first, you are making their rock bottom harder to hit.

Your BIL is angry and addicted. I cannot imagine a worse combination for a teacher. Having an addiction is dangerous, it is much more dangerous in terms of legal woes in other countries. What if he gets his TEFL, finds of job somewhere and gets arrested?

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