When is enough enough?

by The word
(VA)

My brother has been struggling with drugs for 20+ years. He was clean once for almost a year. He has been in jail 3 times and is currently in jail. He has not wanted any treatment since 2008. My mom has always enabled him. I love him but I'm just fed up at this point and really don't want to talk to him or about him until he is ready to get clean. Is this wrong?

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Nov 16, 2013
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To 'When is enough enough?
by: Angie Carter

Thanks for posting your situation. I have one that is somewhat similar and I have felt the same way on occasion (he is alcoholic).
I have found that what works best for me is not to severe the relationship, because it is important for me to try and be the best sister I can be, but it is VERY difficult to that when your sibling has addiction.
At one point I tried not contacting him for almost a whole year just to see if he would contact me. He did not. I was very hurt by this, but I had to ask myself this question, did I believe that meant he didn't love me? The answer was no, because I know he does. But addicts are handicapped. Yes, indeed. They do not respond nor behave in the manner that would be considered normal and appropriate.
I know this to be true, because I am also an alcoholic. I have 19 years sober now, but I can assure you at one time I was extremely self centered, opinionated, irresponsbile, hurtful, and egotistical. Those behaviors typically come with addiction, but behaviors can change and recovery can make that happen. It did for me.
That being said, I have learned to have very firm and consistant boundaries with the addicts in my family. I do not enable, nor do things for them that cause me to cross my own values or interfere with the goals I have in my own life.
The hardest part was dealing with my own feelings whenever I would say no, or put a boundary down. I have learned that I can't change other people, they are on their own journey, and I am on mine. But I do not have to put up with unacceptable behavior and it is up to me to set the boundary. The boundary is for me, not them.
People have free will and may choose to live their life how they wish. They can be addicts, or enablers or choose to get into recovery. Blessings to you and your journey! Angie Carter

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