Knowing how to help an addicted brother can be difficult without outside guidance. In most cases, addicts and alcoholics abuse the trust of their family and the people around them. They may say hurtful things, lie, or steal while they are in the midst of their addiction.
Helping your brother seek treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction is a potentially life-saving act. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that one-third of addicts prematurely die due to their addiction to alcohol or drugs or a cause related to drug abuse. However, nearly one-third of addicts achieve permanent recovery without relapsing after their first treatment attempt.
If your brother is not addicted to drugs but is an alcoholic, you may not recognize the importance of seeking treatment for him. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 24,518 alcohol-related deaths in 2009 in the United States. This figure excludes homicides and accidents. In 2009, over 15,000 people died due to alcohol-related liver disease in the United States.
One of the most difficult parts of helping your brother is establishing trust. Adult siblings can often become estranged when one of them is an addict. It is important to listen to your brother without assigning blame. You should also avoid the following:
- Yelling or name calling
- Engaging in the use of alcohol or drugs, even if you are not addicted
“It is important to listen to your brother without assigning blame.”-Projectknow.com
When communicating with an addict, it is important to be predictable and consistent in your addiction treatment of him. You should be as kind as possible, without helping your brother engage in more drug-seeking or addictive behavior. Showing your brother unconditional love can also help establish trust, but you should not be afraid to set clear boundaries as well.
Learn more about insurance companies and coverage levels for rehab treatments for drug or alcohol addiction.
Planning an Intervention
“The goal of the intervention is to persuade the addict to acknowledge that he has a problem and needs help.”-Projectknow.com
In some cases, holding an intervention can encourage your brother to get help. Narcotics Anonymous notes that the most important part of staging an intervention is choosing the people who attend. Family members who the addict respects should attend. Any person who might argue with your brother or antagonize him should not come.
The goal of the intervention is to persuade the addict to acknowledge that he has a problem and needs help. Once the addict has admitted the need for rehabilitation, there should be a plan in place to get him into treatment immediately.
Getting Involved in the Treatment Process
If your brother decides to seek treatment, you may be asked to be involved in the treatment process. No matter what your involvement, it’s important to respect your brother’s privacy. You should not inform members of your family, friends, or other loved ones that your brother is in treatment unless you have his permission. Also avoid asking about what your brother says in therapy. If your brother confides in you, it’s important that you keep his confidence.
In some cases, a rehabilitation center may encourage family members to become involved in the treatment process. If you are invited by your brother’s therapist to attend a session, remember to avoid trying to blame, humiliate, or otherwise criticism your brother. However, honesty is also important, so you should clearly state your feelings and how the addiction has affected your life.
Sometimes you may be told that your actions have contributed to your brother’s addiction. Try not to react defensively but listen with an open mind. You may also learn how to help an addicted brother by modifying some of your own actions based on a therapist’s feedback.
- Nearly one-third of all addicts achieve permanent recovery without relapse after their first treatment attempt.
- In 2009, over 15,000 people died due to alcohol-related liver disease.
- There were 24,518 alcohol-related deaths in 2009, but this statistic excludes deaths caused by homicide or an accident.