Life is great when you’re a little kid. No worries about any of the “real world” issues. Your biggest concern is when you’re going to score that ice cream cone that you’ve been behaving all day for, and maybe the ability to gloat about it to your brother or sister because they were bold and didn’t get one. Time is simply a matter of how long you get to play with your favorite toy or what time you must go to bed. A fight with your sibling might last for five minutes before you’re laughing at something that seems to distract you from whatever you were mad at in the first place. Ahh.. to be a kid again, right? If only life were to remain that easy throughout the rest of your life, especially your teens when things start to get a bit out of control and confusing. Family can become a second thought, and the influences of others can quickly pull a teenager in the wrong direction. This can be a very painful process for the loved ones that are left sitting on the sidelines just hoping and praying that their teenaged loved one makes it home every night safe and sound.
Drugs and alcohol make their way into the lives of millions of teenagers every day. How? Well, it’s mostly a matter of influence. As a teenager, your priorities are often out of place and the people that you “look up” to can often be the wrong type of mentor in life. It’s easy for a young person to idolize someone that’s only a few years older than him or herself. When that someone, or the crowd they are hanging out with, suddenly offers them alcohol or drugs, they find themselves compelled to partake in the activities due to their fear of quickly becoming an outcast to those they worked so hard at connecting with. What starts out as a simple matter of poor decision making can undoubtedly lead to a dance with addiction. A nightmare for everyone.
So, how can you tell whether your brother or sister is on a path of destruction? An immediate sign to watch for is their behavior. You know that feeling you get when someone you spend a lot of time with is “off” and you feel compelled to ask them what’s wrong? Well, if your sibling is headed down the dead-end road that you’re hoping they’re not, it’s highly likely that you’ll want to ask them the “What’s wrong” question more often than usual. Why? Simply stated, their addiction is starting to take over their mind and body. Often their only priority will be getting to their next drink or high, and if you get in the way of that, you can almost guarantee that you’ll catch an attitude for doing so.
What do you do if you find yourself in this unfortunate position? First, you need to know that your brother or sister needs love, regardless of how nasty they might be. You may find yourself wanting to have fights with them, however, you need to be aware that these fights are not going to be like the childhood scuffles that only lasted 5 minutes. Fighting with someone that is addicted to drugs and alcohol can be very complicated, as they are disconnected from what was once very important to them. They are likely to show little emotion unless they think they have been the victim in a situation. They’ll say things that they would’ve never said before their addiction took over. They still need you.
Parents of addicts will sometimes do nothing to help and you may find yourself trying to get them to act, pleading to them that your brother or sister is ripping the family apart. They will often do this because they are relying on hope to fix the situation. The truth is, an addict is a prisoner and until they get help, hope is not the ideal strategy.
Love is so valuable to helping your brother or sister battle their drug or alcohol addiction. It’s the reminder to them that something beyond their disease exists in this world, and with the right steps, they can have it back in their lives like they once did years ago. Setting an example by maintaining a peaceful approach with your communication can provide them with a sense of comfort when entering rehab. If they can focus on their recovery and not be distracted by the negativity drawn from the path of destruction they left behind that they will inevitably want to avoid by turning to drinking or drugs to cope, they will have a much better chance at a successful recovery.
The first day you get to see your brother or sister after they complete their drug and or alcohol addiction treatment, you will probably have an overwhelming amount of emotion and the belief that they are all better. Do not expect this. Addiction recovery is a process, and not one that only lasts 28 days, it’s a lifelong commitment. They may show signs of the sibling that you remember and have been craving, but it’s important that you know they have been through a fairly substantial amount of mental strain and can be very susceptible to certain triggers that can cause relapse. Post treatment is a great opportunity for you to provide support by offering to attend a support group with them, or maybe family counseling is something that can offer your family professional guidance.
Drug addiction and alcoholism are something that most of us hope and pray we won’t have to deal with in our lives, especially with our loved ones, however; if you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation for which a loved one is a victim of substance abuse, keep a good head on your shoulders and know that there is always help available. Don’t ignore the signs, just like you wouldn’t a stop sign. There are experienced health and addiction professionals that can offer you advice and help you help your loved one.
Contact Clearbrook For Addiction Help
For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been offering effective and quality addiction treatment for those suffering from the disease. If you or a loved one is in need of help, please know that there is hope. Recovery is possible. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today and begin your road to recovery.