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Can I give up on DH's brother now?

(33 Posts)
mamateur Thu 09-May-13 13:21:41

So we have been trying to help DH's brother. He has been a heroin addict for 14 years. We got him into rehab, he came out declaring himself cured although he still takes it. He was with us for a week or so, turns up with a pill to take the edge of the withdrawal and then sweats buckets all over our house (2 children here) before disappearing back to London. He bit himself and bled everywhere (he has hep). He is supposed to be moving into a flat we have bought as a btl but he arrived last night, very sweaty, had dinner, we watched a film then half way through he said sorry, I can't do this. Got the train back to London then called us to say he is coming back today to start again. I'm so sick of this. We are paying for everything, organising a course, losing the income from the flat which is quite a lot of money and he has done nothing, nothing to show any commitment to recovery.

DH has already lost a sister, I can't bear his mother to lose him too. I don't want DH to look back and think he could have done more but this is so pointless.

He is so aggressive and defensive when he is here, I try to explain to him how far he has to go, what it will take but he just rubbishes everything I say, he knows best, he just needs x, y and £££.


AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 13:30:11

You fell into the enabler trap.

Unless your DHs brother wants to help his own self there is nothing you can do to help him. He does not want your help and enabling him as you have done has not worked. It won't work either.

I would not let him in your house in any event particularly as you have children.

givemeaclue Thu 09-May-13 13:32:17

Stop helping him.

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 13:33:57

He came to us to ask for help. He said he was ready. When I say it's not right he gets angry, do I not see how much he has changed? The profound impact of rehab, the drugs are behind him.

We never really believed him, but gave it a shot. DH said to me this morning let's just give up. I hate him being round the children.

I need to get his key off him, he just walked in last night.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 13:34:12

The 3cs also apply here:-
You did not cause it
You cannot control it
You cannot cure it

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 13:34:44

We have never given him money btw. Just offered to pay for rehab, flat, etc.

lightrain Thu 09-May-13 13:37:51

I remember you posting about the rehab before (in Thailand was it?). It sounds like you have done absolutely everything you can to help him. Time to stop, and focus on your family unit and making sure your children aren't exposed to this any more.

givemeaclue Thu 09-May-13 13:38:16

You financially support him.


AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 13:38:30

"Just offered to pay for rehab, flat etc"

Why?. No, that was absolutely not the way to go either.

Who gave this man a key in the first place?. He must without question return the key.

You and your H do need to look at your own roles in this situation because what you have done has not helped but perhaps has even prolonged all the agonies for all concerned.

AMumInScotland Thu 09-May-13 13:44:49

It sounds like you've done all you can. Time to say "enough's enough" specially since your DH seems to have reached that point - it would be trickier if he still felt you both ought to be doing more, but it sounds like he has accepted that your help is not changing the situation.

Get the key off him, and/or change the locks. Let out your flat. Take care of yourselves and your children.

DontmindifIdo Thu 09-May-13 13:45:10

OK, your responsibility is not towards your BIL, it's towards your DCs. It's not acceptable for them to be dealing with this.

Stop trying to fix him - you can't do it. He has to be the one to do it. You need to put your money, time and energy into your DCs. Honestly, hand on heart can you say they haven't been negatively effected at all by this?

Step back and let BIL live the life he wants, you've tried.

Inertia Thu 09-May-13 13:48:27

Put your DC first. Your BIL doesn't want your help to get better, he wants you to continue to enable the life he has.

BIL has to take responsibility for his own life.

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 13:50:49

Atilla, we have not enabled him. We have refused to enable him for years, but agreed to pay for rehab and to help him get out of the place where he lives, to retrain. Supporting is not always prolonging. Obviously, we know it's not an ongoing plan.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 13:51:46

We have refused to enable him for years, but agreed to pay for rehab and to help him get out of the place where he lives, to retrain

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 13:52:54

Yes, I can honestly say heart on heart my DC have not been negatively affected by this.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 13:54:24

"We have refused to enable him for years, but agreed to pay for rehab and to help him get out of the place where he lives, to retrain"

Unfortunately you have indeed enabled him by a) agreeing to pay for rehab and b) to help him get out of the place where he lives. Why did you offer presumably at the expense also of your own family finances?.

Where do you yourself draw the line?. Codependency here also plays a part in such dysfunctional relationships.

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 13:55:10

Attila, so you think there is no point whatsoever in helping an addict family member who comes to you for help? You can't force an addict into rehab, but rehab has helped many an addict to recover. We offered to help him in this way, so I'm not quite sure why you feel there is no separation between enabling and assisting in recovery.

Obviously he has now burnt his boats. But for a month or two, we tried.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 13:56:52

Most individuals who provide addiction support have a hard time differentiating between what it means to “enable” or “support” their loved one. It’s a fine line, and one that’s difficult to plainly decipher in the midst of such an emotional situation.

You’re enabling an addict when you’re:
•Doing something for an addict that they should be doing themselves.
•Helping an addict avoid the consequences of unacceptable behavior.
•Continuing to provide for an addict during a relapse.
•Paying bills, filling out job applications, making excuses.

You’re supporting an addict when you’re:
•Doing something for an addict that they are not capable of doing for themselves
•Allowing them to resume taking responsibility for their own lives.
•Only in a part of their lives when they’re in recovery and living responsibly.
•Encouraging them to pay their bills, apply for jobs, and take ownership

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 13:57:02

Er...I don't really see why paying for rehab is enabling him. Of course, if we continue to pay for rehab when he shows no commitment, then we are clearly in enabling territory.

I don't want a war of words on this. We tried and it failed, as it was probably always going to. I wanted to be sure that DH didn't look back and think he did nothing.

The money isn't really a problem for us.

WouldBeHarrietVane Thu 09-May-13 13:57:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 14:02:33

"so you think there is no point whatsoever in helping an addict family member who comes to you for help?"

In this instance no. This man came out of a rehab facility cured but is still taking drugs.

"You can't force an addict into rehab, but rehab has helped many an addict to recover"

Indeed re the first part of your comments but many addicts recover because they as the addict actually recognise they have a problem, take responsibility for it and actively make a real long term commitment to themselves to continue the recovery process. No amount of helping out on the part of well meaning relatives makes that process happen any faster and infact doing so could make things worse.

hettie Thu 09-May-13 14:03:41

well... I would ask yourself why he is coming to you for help.... there are rehab places available in the UK that you don't have to pay for..... but the staff there will make an assessment of his commitment to change before allowing him a place.... He sounds like he is very much in the first stage of change to me (pre-contemplation). Rehab does help addicts to recover, but they have to want to.......I'm afraid you may have to accept that he has to help himself and there is nothing you can do...You are not 'giving up' on him you are accepting that nothing you can do will change his situation, you can still hope that he'll change and not give up and hold that position.....

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-May-13 14:04:45


You have indeed tried and you have gone above and beyond here but your kindnesses and help have been thrown back in your face by a person who never wanted support or help in the first place. The emotional cost has been very high.

Draw a line here for your sake.

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 14:10:59

"the emotional cost has been very high"

How have you evaluated this?

TalkUsernameYoudLike Thu 09-May-13 15:08:53

He bit himself and bled everywhere?! So not only does he not give a damn about yours and your H's health, he is putting your children at risk.

You both have done all you can.. and definitely a lot more than most other people would.

If you stop helping him out, don't feel guilty because you as a family have done more than enough.

It's tragic that your H's brother is an addict, but he has to want to change, not just want to accept the continuous help.

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