General Question

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Need advice on my brothers new drug problem?

Asked by LKidKyle1985 (6535 points ) October 14th, 2009

So, I just found out today that my brother has been hitting the meth all summer. I am moving in with him tomorrow, I guess to help him straighten up. Though, I’ve never had this kind of responsibility on my plate. Does anyone have any advice on what is the best method of helping my brother kick the habbit, and things I should know about people addicted to meth?

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41 Answers

Darwin's avatar

You will not be able to get him to straighten up. He has to decide to do it himself, and may very well need an inpatient program to get him away from the meth physically.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Meth users get very antsy and unpredictable (see “tweaking”). Sometimes they can get aggressive.
If he’s an adult, you can’t make him get help. That’s the hard part. It’ll never take unless quitting is his choice.
Addictions tend to have a root in a past trauma of some sort or at least have some underlying issue which led them to abuse. That will have to be addressed at some point.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Well, he is going to go to some rehab thing as well. It isn’t me by myself. And he has decided to quit. That is how this all came out.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 He’ll need help from you and his family and friends. Meth has a high relapse rate.
Also, @RedPowerLady is about to have a good point regarding keeping an eye on your valuables.

RedPowerLady's avatar

My first thought is to be very careful with your money and any item that is sellable from small like CDs to big items like TVs. This is not a stereotype but a fact of meth addiction. Addicts steal from loved ones to support their habit. It is not them, it is the addiction. Also be careful about mood swings, especially if he is still using.

The best thing to do for this type of addiction is to put him in rehab. After graduating rehab. then encourage him to go to NA for a year or more. Many people cannot quit an addiction like meth without that level of help. It is quite serious. Also many need a hospital detox, you know someone with medical knowledge watching them.

One way you could help, assuming he is already detoxed, is to make sure he stays away from old friends and old hangout sights. It is nearly possible to quit this type of addiction otherwise.

People can quit drugs without deciding to, it is called mandated treatment. But mandated treatment has very shaky levels of success. And someone must issue the mandate. Even when someone has decided to quit, this type of addiction is a very serious type. I do not think you will be able to ‘just help him’. I think you should seek some professional help.

Also keep in mind that most drug users relapse at some point in their treatment. This means you should know the signs of drug use and withdrawal. Be able to identify them so you can give him help when you see them. Help being in the form of calling the authorities (if he is high) or taking him to the hospital (if he is detoxing). Or if he is in treatment calling the treatment center, or if he is in NA calling his sponsor.

Darwin's avatar

I would suggest that you start by getting and reading Why Don’t They JUST QUIT? by Joe Herzanek. I have found this to be supremely helpful.

Jeruba's avatar

All forms of treatment for addictions may look bad in terms of their percentages of success stories, but it is not the treatment program that has to succeed. It’s the user. And any one user can have a 100% success rate.

kibaxcheza's avatar

kick his ass. At first every day, then calm down to days he uses, or in lesser words every day. eventually he’ll decide he doesnt like getting his ass kicked, and he’ll decide that being high for 2 hours isnt worth the ass kicking, and he’ll kick the habit.
Thats when we did to my little brother.
P.s. don’t do heroine, that stuff will really mess you up for good…

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@redpowerlady, and at everyone, all very good advice but I don’t know if I can call the cops on him and have him be labeled as a drug addict for the rest of his life. I suppose if it got too out of hand I would have too.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I guess what I really mean is I don’t want him to have a criminal record unless I have to.

Darwin's avatar

While you want to protect him from himself, the first thing you will need to do is protect yourself from him. If he does become aggressive and might hurt you, then you may indeed have to call the cops. Otherwise, you might look for a support group for you, such as Al-Anon, so you have someone else to call instead of the cops.

I live with a bipolar and sometimes hallucinating and aggressive son, so I speak from experience.

DarkScribe's avatar

You are about to discover the truth in an old Biblical expression. “I am not my brother’s keeper.”

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 The criminal record thing may not be up to you entirely.
If he steals from someone or does something illegal while high, there’s little you can do about that. Treatment is meant to keep the cycle from getting to the point where legal action is unavoidable.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 Yes I understand that it would probably be your last resort. No one likes calling the cops on family and the idea of having a criminal record really does suck. Hopefully you will take the other tips into account so that it will not be your only option.

BTW if he does come home high the best thing to do besides call someone who is an expert (treatment center, sponsor, cops) is to let him be. You don’t want to aggravate someone while they are high and their mood can switch very quickly. You also want to let them “come down” naturally unless medical care is necessary. Don’t put yourself in harms way.

Also you should learn the signs of an overdose so you can spot just in case it happens and I really hope it does not.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Oh and one more tip. Sorry for the double-post.

If you have never been around someone who does a hard drug like meth then you want to prepare yourself mentally. It can be very difficult to see someone in this situation.

You also want to set up some extra time for yourself to wind down. Like some time to take bubble baths or play basketball or anything unrelated to your brother or his addiction. You absolutely need to put this into your schedule and if needed force yourself to do something relaxing at least 3 times a week. This is a very emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining process.

filmfann's avatar

Sorry. I went thru this with my daughter. Hope you like rollercoasters.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Oh crap here is another tip. Perhaps you can take a local class on Meth addiction?

Local counseling sites might have classes on recovery.

At my University they had what was called: Substance Abuse Prevention Program which had all types of classes. I minored in this actually.

Jeruba's avatar

Keep ‘em coming, @RPL. You sound like you know what you’re talking about.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jeruba Thank you. If I think of more I’ll certainly post. When I was typing I had so much information rushing through my head, I think I got out some of the important stuff. This is really such a difficult addiction to deal with and it is hard to get that across using online communication.

Jeruba's avatar

I think you would probably also agree that @LKidKyle1985 should not take on responsibility for his brother’s success or failure and should not blame himself if this doesn’t work—?

sjmc1989's avatar

I have dated a couple of guys with an addiction to meth. It is in my opinion the worst drug out there. You will not be able to help him kick it he has to reach his rock bottom and decide for himself to stop the addiction. You need to remember that you can not enable him to continue down the path that he is heading at this time. Enabling is the worst thing you can do you might view it as helping him but I assure you it will only make it worse.

Some things you should know about people that is using meth is that they can/are extremely irritable when they are coming down off of the drug which goes for most drugs, he will probably stay up for days on end, he will become paranoid easily, he won’t have an appetite for days if he is using regularly, there can be hallucinations and if these are not controled it can turn in to a complete freak out, they can have symptoms that are very similar to a heart attack, they feel as though they can’t breath and this leads to more freaking out episodes and of course the danger of having an addict which also includes all the people he buys from and uses with in your home.

You are not responsible for him! He is responsible for him! Just remember don’t enable and don’t try to fix someone who is broken that is for the professionals.

sjmc1989's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 ^and I am really sorry if I sounded harsh^. I know how hard this is on you believe me. I constantly want to pick up the pieces and fix others but you just can’t do it with this situation. I truly hope that he does get help and that this living arrangement is safe for the both of you and I wish you the best for this difficult situation.

augustlan's avatar

I just wanted to say I’m sorry you’re facing this, and I admire you for wanting to help. Don’t forget… while you’re supporting him, we’ll be here to support you.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@Jeruba I know it isn’t necessarily my burden to bare, but I don’t want him to bare it alone. Also, I realize his success is in his own hands but I hope that by me being there, he will have someone who can help set him back on track if he falls off and just to give him company when hes alone.
@sjmc1989 No worries, I think what you said is fair and thats what im looking for. So I appreciate it.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jeruba Absolutely. In fact rarely can help in this form make a huge difference although support is almost always necessary. So he should be very happy that he is providing much needed support. But at the same time realize he is not responsible by any means for his brother’s success or failure.

Good point!!

@LKidKyle1985 It is one thing to realize that it is not your responsibility it is an entirely different thing in the middle of the battle. You can get so wore down after trying so darn hard sometimes your thinking and emotions get all muddled up. It’s nice to have some affirmation at these points.

Also please note that one does not have to hit rock bottom to change their addictive habits. That is a common myth. Although I’m not saying it is easy either way.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Yeah the thing is, he is the one who went to my parents and confessed all of this. that was just tonight. Also he has already decided to start with some rehab program. So, he has made the choice that he doesn’t want to end up where this drug problem is going to take him. So, it wasn’t like I heard about his problem and was like, I am moving in. He did all this and then asked if I wanted to move in with him ( I was looking for a room mate anyways).

Also, @sjmc1989 you are right about not enabling him. I will be very careful not to do that.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@LKidKyle1985 That is fantastic he is taking the first steps. Really fantastic. It does not mean however that it will be easy. And it does not mean he will not relapse because most meth addicts do relapse even when it was their decision, even with rehab. Just keep this in mind. Perhaps revisit the thread if things start running rocky. I, of course, hope for the best and that you will have no need to revisit the thread. But please keep in mind this is a very serious addiction and a very very serious recovery process.

Facade's avatar

@DarkScribe At least give the whole story if you are going to quote the Bible.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

How heartbreaking. I’ve seen enough addicts and intervention shows to be sick to my stomach over the amount of love that’s tried, destroyed and rarely salvaged. Good luck, I don’t hear many success stories with meth addicts.

mcbealer's avatar

I would like to recommend 2 books which may prove useful as you navigate your brother’s recovery.

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction written by David Sheff

and

Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines written by his son, Nic Sheff.

They were both interviewed on NPR Fresh Air with Terry Gross, very very informative.
If I find the link to the podcast I will post it below.

Wishing you all the best on this… your brother is very fortunate he has family like you!

wildpotato's avatar

@sjmc1989 Lurve. You put that much better than I could have. Agreed, it is the worst drug there is.

The things sjmc mentioned are the things to keep in mind. Meth addicts, and more generally hard drug addicts, are not all thieving, violent pricks. But the behaviors sjmc lists are a good description of what speed users experience when the speed runs out.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@LKidKyle1985, keep in mind that your brother is a drug addict, on the road to becoming a recovering drug addict. He will never be “not a drug addict.”

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@PandoraBoxx yeah I know, I am not trying to pretend it will go away one day, just like an alcoholic will always be an alcoholic, but as far as the law, I don’t want to see him become another lost cause rotting in a prison.

CMaz's avatar

He should be moving in with you.
Getting him away from the environment he is currently in.

dpworkin's avatar

I would choose not to accept this particular Mission Impossible assignment. In my opinion the result will not be your brother’s rehabilitation, but, rather, estrangement between the two of you.

I would not enable his self-destruction in any way, and that includes putting a roof over his head, or contributing to the grocery expenses. He needs to decide to enter rehab for his own reasons and because of his own needs.

Addiction is strongly ego-syntonic until things have gone drastically wrong – at that point the dystonia can motivate some people to get help. There is nothing you can to change or accelerate this progress.

I am speaking as an addict who has not used drugs or alcohol for nearly 40 years.

trailsillustrated's avatar

don’t move in with him. meth people live in a very strange, scary, wierd world- usually they don’t get help till something legal happens. dont move with him, don’t don’t dont.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I appreciate all the advice and I know I’m walking into a situation that has a high probability of failure, but I have this feeling in my gut that if I do what I plan on doing, his chances of success can only increase, not get worse. And if I didn’t I think I would always wonder what the outcome would have been if I did. Sure it is a terrible burden on me, but I am just a college student with a part time job with no one else dependent on me, What do I have to lose except a brother.
Don’t worry, there is an exit strategy and I’m certainly not going to be trapped if things get out of hand.

dpworkin's avatar

I wish you well.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ChazMaz
I was thinking the exact same thing.

@LKidKyle1985 I don’t think most of us are saying ‘don’t do it’. I think the message is more ‘take this seriously’ and ‘don’t expect your presence to be the deciding factor in your brother’s success or failure’. The support and love you have for your brother will be helpful no matter the outcome. Props to you for that. And props to you for trying.

Jeruba's avatar

@LKidKyle1985, I greatly respect what you are undertaking to do. You are approaching a mighty challenge with love, courage, and intelligence. For your own sake, you don’t want to look back at some future time and know that you hadn’t given it your best shot. I have a visceral understanding of that feeling. Please come back to this thread at intervals and let us know how it’s going.

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