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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 £££.


Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 09-May-13 15:30:14

Hi OP. it sounds to me like you have tried very hard to help BIL but that for whatever reason, he is not in the right place to fight his addiction right now.

If I were you, I would make a firm commitment to putting the needs of your family first for the next six months and let BIL's needs take a back seat. Tell him that you are prepared to assist him when he is ready, but you don't think that is the case now.

You have nothing to feel guilty about. As PPs have commented, you didn't cause this and you can't control it. You can support his recovery, but ultimately, he has to want to recover.

I think you and your DP need to take a step back and consider the advice you would give to a friend in a similar situation. Or try considering what you would think if this wasn't a relative. Be absolutely honest with yourself.

Your children deserve to be your number one priority and to be in a safe environment at all times. It doesn't sound as though BIL is able to be part of that right now.

You have not given up on BIL. You are being cruel to be kind - and ultimately you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

Good luck.

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 16:52:48

Thanks for your posts everyone smile

IfYouCanMoveItItsNotBroken Thu 09-May-13 17:57:01

Hi, I went through something similar with a friend. I hadn't seen her in years but when I returned to my home town after uni I knew she had been taking heroin and had her kid removed. She had just started methadone program and, although I didn't have money to support her, I did all I could. I ran her to drug appointments, I supervised her contact with her kid, she came round every night to stop her being bored using, I stuck my neck out for her and honestly it took all my energy. She eventually got her daughter back, although closely monitored, and she got involved with a man from her drug taking days. She made friends with junkies who moved to the town and eventually gave birth to an addicted baby. SW had concerns about the partner and friends but they apparently "loved" her kids so she took them there everyday. When they were arrested after a midnight raid it was me who got the frightened children in the middle of the night. Her 8 year old told me "they should have got a warrant for the shed, that's where the drugs are". At that point I realised her behaviour had destroyed her child's upbringing. Addicts are heartbreakingly selfish and won't be cured unless they really want to be, I cannot now recall a single time that she put her kids wants or needs before her own, and her eldest would come round to mine when she was out of it. They know certain behaviour isn't right, whether they show it or not.

I've cut all contact, her kids are safely away from her. It's truly upsetting but it was interrupting my family life, and I honestly gave my best. Until your brother in law sorts himself out, himself, because he wants to, then anything you do for him is a waste of money and energy. Any opportunity will be wasted. Any furniture in the flat will be sold. Let him know you will be there when he's better but in the meantime rest easy knowing you have done more than enough.

mamateur Thu 09-May-13 19:40:48

Hi ifyoucan what an awful thing to have to observe. BIL has 2 DC but thankfully their DM has kept them well away from it all. If you can't stay off it for your children then it's all pretty hopeless.

No news from BIL. I'm sure he knows he can't come back here.

DistanceCall Thu 09-May-13 20:47:43

You did the right thing paying for his rehab and offering him a place to live. He has thrown that back in your face and is taking drugs again.

If you let him live for free in your flat, NOW you will be enabling him.

I'm so sorry about this. It must be such a horrible situation for you and your family, particularly your husband. But your children and your own mental health should come first.

If he REALLY wants to change, there are ways to do so. But it sounds like he just doesn't want to.

mamateur Fri 10-May-13 08:36:40

He spoke to DH last night and they have agreed he can move into the flat if he gets to all his meetings, does the course and, clearly, doesn't take drugs. Our original intention was to give him a fresh start. I know that lots of you will say that's enabling but personally I don't agree. It would be enabling, to me, if he were living there taking drugs.

It doesn't make any difference to our family finances or affect the children so I suppose I will go ahead with it.

DistanceCall Fri 10-May-13 08:44:59

That's good, OP. Obviously cutting a brother off is a tremendously hard thing to have to do (particularly if your husband already lost a sister). I think your husband would feel horribly guilty if he didn't think he had done everything he could to help his brother. So this is good, if only for your husband's sake.

But, as you say, if he uses while he is in the flat, that's enabling.

I really hope everything goes well. Good luck.

mamateur Fri 10-May-13 08:57:03

I think it is very hard to give up drugs when you live in a tower block where drugs are commonplace and his dealers are contacting him constantly and all his friends are using. He has agreed to go to NA and the doctor and I have booked him some therapy. The drugs coincided with a traumatic event I think he would benefit from discussing.

Thanks for all your support. I have to say, it is very likely that when I report back it will be to say he has gone back to London but DH will know he did what he could.

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