One of the most difficult things someone has to go through is watching a loved one self-destruct because of a drug or alcohol addiction. Sometimes siblings, who have grown up with a person and seen the changes occur, have some of the best insights into the situation. If you have a sibling who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, you might be the one that can talk to them and convince them to go to treatment. You have the advantage of knowing the person well, knowing who they used to be, and knowing what they wanted to someday do with their life. You also have the advantage of not being their parent or spouse so you aren’t in a power struggle with them like these other relatives might get stuck in. An honest communication between the two of you might help them see their need for treatment.
- Help them see their strengths. You grew up with this person and you know who they used to be. Tell your sibling who you remember them to be (all their positive aspects) before the addiction took hold. Remind your brother or sister about the good times, about the way things used to be, and about who they used to be. Remind them of all their positive characteristics and attributes that used to be such a big part of their life, and encourage them to do something to bring out those characteristics again.
- Remind them of their goals. Sometimes siblings know best what the other one’s hopes and goals once were. Tell your loved one about the goals they set for themselves and what they hoped for in their future before addiction hit. Your loved one’s addiction doesn’t mean these goals are gone for good, but in order to achieve them, they must break free from the addiction and take back control of their life.
- Assess the situation honestly. Be honest with your sibling and tell them how their addiction is taking over their life. Tell your sibling about how you see their world falling apart due to the addiction, the pain they are in, what they are missing, and the goals that aren’t happening. You know the things that were once important to your sibling, and if these are being destroyed because of the addiction, tell them so. Make sure you are communicating in a loving way, but be open with your brother or sister about the toll there addiction is taking on their relationships, trust, finances, material possessions, and connection with God.
- Encourage them. Be encouraging in your talk with your sibling. Tell your brother or sister they can accomplish their goals and there is hope, but it isn’t going to happen while giving in to their addiction. Let them know their life can have purpose again, that they can do so much more with their life, and that you believe in them. But nothing good will come of their addiction if they continue in it. Be clear the peace and fulfillment they are searching for is still possible but doesn’t come from any chemical.
- Motivate them. You’ve seen your sibling at their worst, but you’ve also seen them at their best. Tell them the times you saw them overcome obstacles and adversity in the past and the skills they used to overcome them. Tell them they can overcome addiction the same way they overcame past obstacles. Remind them of the strengths that helped them through, and encourage your sibling to draw from these strengths and past experiences to tackle this obstacle as well.
- Love them. Finally, offer to be the person who helps your sibling start this journey to recovery. Let your loved one know they are not being a good decision maker right now and they can trust someone who loves them to make the treatment decision for them. You have such a long history with your sibling, and you have their best interests in mind. Let them know you are doing this because you care, and you want to help them through this difficult time. Above all, let your sibling know you love them and will always care about them.
Siblings have a bond that is different from all other relationships. If you have a sibling that is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, talk to that person. Be the one they can count on to provide support and encouragement during recovery.
Lighthouse Network is here to help as well. We can provide you or your loved one with resources that can help them in recovery. Contact one of our Lighthouse Network care guides today at 844-Life-Change (543-3242) to learn about treatment options.