General Question

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

My stepbrother just told me he takes cocaine occasionally at parties. See details for ?

Asked by SeekerSeekiing (957points) September 15th, 2008

He said he was telling me as a way of ‘accountability,’ that he wants to slow it down. He said what happens is he has a couple glasses of wine at dinner, ends up going to a party. There is Coke there. He takes it, stays up all night, has unsafe sex, and ends up sleeping all day…

During this time he had also told me how badly in debt he was and if I could ‘help’ him out…I said I wasn’t in the business of ‘helping out,’ but I’d think about a loan—asked him to send me his total indebtedness. He can stop anytime he wants…says he.

I told him it sounds like ‘addict talk’ to me [my mother was a heroin user]. he asked me to please separate my experience from his and be open.

One is it addiction?
Two, if I should want to loan him money, I’m thinking making NO DRUGS a condition, along with pee tests, if I ask.

What do you think??? sorry it’s long…

Then I asked him if he could not do cocaine for 5 months. He looked funny, then said, ‘yeah, he could…but he doesn’t want to.”

He says he’s NOT addicted. That ‘maybe’ it’s a lifestyle addiction.

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28 Answers

waterbearer's avatar

It’s an addiction. I’ve had friends in this situation,,,,casual users, turned into a lifestyle, got into debt, ruined their life, and then cleaned up TOTALLY giving up the drugs. IF you were to loan money to him, I’d suggest making it conditional that he gets some therapy or goes to rehab. At least a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. I don’t think you SHOULD separate your experience with your mother from him, I think it gives you a little insight into “addict talk” as you stated, and you know what to expect (or NOT to expect). Good luck!

Bri_L's avatar

I think if you take cocaine once your addicted. My opinion. That is how stupid it is.

Two, he is completely totally lying. About everything he “could do”.

Three, if you want to help him, get him off the cocaine.

Your money will only go to the more cocaine. That would be how he got into debt.

cak's avatar

It’s an addiction. If is walks and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

Loaning him money is not going to work, not if he doesn’t get that he’s in danger. He may or may not use the money the right way and you taking his finances and paying them for him, only enables him.

He needs to get help – before you loan him money, tell him he needs to start going to meetings and I’m not just talking one meeting. He also needs to be checked for STDs and HIV. There are clinics where he can go do this free or low price. If you decide to help him, only with the basics. Power, water, food – but it’s a loan – SIGN (BOTH!) and notarize it!! You will need it…because as you know, you can’t trust him.

My sister (bipolar and alcoholic) promised me over and over, to the tune of over $10,000. No more. She’s doing better and even sent the first check and yes, it cleared to start paying us back. I am holding her accountable for this money. It is important that she is responsible for her actions. I know, she has 2 diseases; however, that doesn’t mean she gets a free pass on responsibility.

Waterbearer is right, do not separate this experience from your experience with your mother. You, unfortunately, know how this goes. Be smart about his and protect yourself in the process!

Jax's avatar

I experienced the same with alcohol addicts. To put it simply, it’s like burning a pile of money. Before you loan anything you should think about one thing. Can I afford to loose all this money?
It’s harsh to put it this way but when in doubt, especially with drug related problems. You can be almost certain it would be hard to get the loaned amount back in the end.

He might not qualify for an addict just yet. But as experience learns, when surrounded by it, using it occasionally. It just needs a little nudge from occasional to regular use. First there are just more parties, then even a small town festival calls for some stimulants.

To be honest there is an positive try to get his life back on track. Most people in these situations would lie their asses off just to cover their behavior. Let alone share insight in their debts. But to be realistic, I’d suggest to find him some professional help. Any other means will most likely help him along for a little while. But when the bonds of trust are broken, you can both end up feeling hurt.

Poser's avatar

One of the definitions of an addiction, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “An illness in which a person seeks and consumes a substance, such as alcohol, tobacco or a drug, despite the fact that it causes harm.” I tend to like that definition more than most others, though I typically don’t like thinking of addiction as a disease or illness because I feel like that enables people to forgo taking personal responsibility for their choices. That’s simply my opinion, however.

But, by the Mayo Clinic’s definition, your stepbrother does, in fact, have an addiction. Also note that he told you because he wants to “slow it down.” I’ve never felt the need to be accountable to someone about my drinking at parties, nor have I felt the need to “slow it down.” But I’m not addicted to alcohol. It sounds like your stepbrother does have an addiction.

But whether he does or not is, in my opinion, irrelevant. If the issue is loaning him money, then you have to set the terms. If you want to make sure that the money isn’t going to Cocaine, write out a contract stipulating the exact terms. Urinalyses, random checks, rehab—whatever it would take for you to be satisfied that he wasn’t spending your money on drugs. If it were me, I’d ask to see his entire financial picture, and offer to pay his bills directly, rather than giving him cash. He can’t cash a check written to the phone or electric company.

The reason money and family/friends often don’t mix is because emotion and money rarely mix, and it’s exceedingly difficult to separate family from emotions. But if you’re going to help him, that’s what you have to do. Explain your requirements for helping him out, and then stick to them. Don’t let him try to guilt you into doing something that might negatively impact your life and family. Remember, you didn’t get him into this mess, he did. Addicts rarely have a firm grasp on what’s best for themselves. If they did, they wouldn’t be addicts.

syz's avatar

Wow. Sounds like seriously bad news to me.

If you decide to give him money, consider it a gift, because you’re unlikely to get it back. If you truly want to make a point, you could make the loan conditional on his entering an addiction program. Addicts are very good at lying, though – perhaps you could make it conditional on his completing a program.

cecildooderbop's avatar

You know if he has no money he’s going to take the money you give him and just buy more drugs. you need to try and get him away from coke. does he work?

wundayatta's avatar

Don’t lend the money. As several people have said, if you do, it is the same as a gift. To get a loan, he has to get off the drugs first, and better yet, establish a decent employment record.

I think it is a good thing that he is trying to make himself accountable. I think it will be tricky to not loan the money, because he’ll say that you don’t trust him, and don’t really care for him, and just want him to end up on the street. He may even use it as an excuse to get high even more.

The other thing that concerns me is what is driving him to get high. What’s he medicating for? Is he depressed? Has he been abused? PTSD? Bipolar? The possibilities are endless. He needs to learn other ways to cope with what makes him feel bad about himself, other than getting high.

I don’t know which comes first: the getting clean, and then addressing the problems, or if you can do both at the same time.

I don’t know how close you are to your stepbrother. I don’t know if he has other blood siblings. I don’t know if he’s asked others to help him out, and is just going through his relations to find the people who will “help” (it’s not really help if it keeps him high, and keeps him from dealing with the real issues). This may be something where you can work together, so everyone is on the same page with respect to him. It’s probably an area where education is important: finding out about addiction, and what motivates folks to get high over and over and over.

Good luck, and good luck to your stepbrother!

loser's avatar

I’m afraid your suspicions are right. He is an addict. That stuff is very easy to get hooked on. Loaning him money will just buy him some more coke. He can make you promises all day about what he’s going to do with it but the need for coke will win. I’m sorry, this is a horrible thing to find out.

XrayGirl's avatar

please do not give or loan him ANY money….cocaine is HIGHLY addictive , and there needs to be some professional intervention here…we can pm if you want.

((((((seeker seeking))))))))) from XRay Girl. ;)

gailcalled's avatar

If you want to help him financially, you can buy his food, pay his rent,etc for a while. but do not let him get his hands on any cash. If he is tapped out financially, he may be more willing to get professional help. We had a coke addict in my step- family and his brothers and father (out of neglect and guilt) enabled him until things got too desperate to hide.

He is probably incapable of not doing drugs for 24 hours. Take him on a camping trip and see what happens.(Search his backpack and pockets first.)

augustlan's avatar

I’m with gailcalled. If you want to help him out financially, pay his bills, don’t pay him.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

As harsh as this may sound, do not trust him. You’re very right in identifying his justifications and attempts at reassurance as addict talk, because that’s exactly what they are. Don’t make the same mistake I did; I have a very close friend who started using cocaine but claimed to quit when all of her friends started giving her shit for it. I was an idiot and believed her until I found a pouch full of razor blades and straws in her room not more then a couple of weeks ago. Like gailcalled said if you decide to help pay everything for him and never, never, never give him cash or access to any of your finances.

Nimis's avatar

Poser: By the Mayo clinic’s definition, that would make even first time users addicts?
Though whether or not he’s an addict or not is kind of moot. Because even if he’s not, he’s well on his way to becoming one.

Also, I would have to disagree with those who say consider it (giving him a loan) a gift. It is not a gift, it is enabling. Even if you are okay with not getting it back, DO NOT GIVE HIM MONEY. In the long run, you are not doing him a favor.

Paying for his bills is an option. But if you do, do it yourself. Send the money directly to the landlord. Drop off the groceries. Otherwise, it’s more than likely he’ll just get strung out and crash on a friends couch (and bum a meal here or there).

Poser's avatar

@Nimis—I guess it would depend on your definition of illness. But, again, I don’t like the standard of defining addiction as a disease. Not to minimize the struggle of alcoholics and addicts (and the pain and discomfort of physiological dependencies), but ultimately quitting is a choice.

cwilbur's avatar

You haven’t answered the critical question: what is he doing to help himself out?

If he has a reasonable plan to get out of debt, and is putting it into action, and needs you to pay his rent or buy his groceries while he gets back on track, well, that’s the sort of help that family members give each other.

But if he has no plan to get out of debt, and is just trying to delay the inevitable, don’t lend him a penny.

(Seconded, all the advice above about how you shouldn’t give him money directly, because it will probably just go up his nose.)

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

Thanks all….update…talked to him today…he said he isn’t sleeping well. I said that’s one of the drawbacks to Coke…He said he’d only done ‘bumps,’ maybe only 5% of time done lines…

I don’t care. It’s sure NOT helping him; and pretty safe bet its hurting him.

I absolutely will not give him money. I may pay his mortgage for a month, with the understanding that A. He’ll pay me back [yes, I know he probably won’t. But I want it in writing he will] B. To sign over his house to me. If he misses another payment. I’ll sell it and get what money, if any I can.

Reason, he does it??? He likes it
He’s with a new hollywood kind of crowd——so they play this way…
He likes being on the edge. He says creative folks ARE risk takers, and push the edge. I say, yes they are, but it’s a calculated risk. What he’s doing, isn’t that.

He says he’ll get another job—do whatever it takes. I may write one check to mortgage company for one month [he’s almost 2 behing] and tell him to work 2 jobs if he has to—to do the rest.

He has no other relatives… And with my mother, I KNOW where the end of the his road goes….

bodyhead's avatar

If you’re spending money you don’t have on drugs, you’re doing them too often. Tell him to live within his means. Don’t lend him the money and if he is addicted, let him hit rock bottom before you step in to bail him out. If you help him while he’s on the way down, he’ll drag you down with him.

Cocaine is expensive. Tell him to get another job if he wants to party all the time.

Lines 5% of the time? Come on. He’s lying or he’s taking some big ass bumps. When we know we have a problem, we always try to downplay it in our explanation of it to others.

Bri_L's avatar

“He says creative folks ARE risk takers, and push the edge.” hehe. I have seen some creative stuff done by people on coke. You would have to be on coke for it to be enjoyed.

Usually they have to surround themselves with enough baby sitters to push it through so it survives and flourishes. i.e. movies, music and such. Or be in the right time, and the 60’s and 70’s wont be around for a while.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

I hate the creativity excuse. That’s basically what my friend told me, that it was “the artist’s lifestyle.” It’s such bullshit.

gailcalled's avatar

My youngest step pried $10,000 out of his father for “buying and rehabbing an old bldg.” There never seemed to be any progress made…all the money vanished mysteriously, up his nose. By the time the family-of-origin intervened, the boy also owed $20,000 to a dealer (and his best friend had been fatally shot).

Bri_L's avatar

@ MrMeltedCrayon – Amen Brother

Bri_L's avatar

@ Gailcalled – you have known a lot of interest in your life. I would buy your book if you wrote it. Sincerely.

gailcalled's avatar

Bri_L. If one lives long enough….and I have basically written a lot of it here. Plus I am the laziest slug extant.

scamp's avatar

I agree with gailcalled. If you want to help, pay the bills, but don’t give him any cash. I’m sorry this has invaded your family.

wundayatta's avatar

Creativity? Living on the edge? I think the only creativity going on is involved in coming up with reasons to keep people enabling him.

Maybe he has fun. My understanding is that back when coke was in vogue, there was also a lot of unprotected sex involved. That may be what “partying” means.

I still think that this kind of desperation is about something much deeper. I think people get involved in this because they hope to find a true sense of connection. The sex is part of that search. The fun, the games; all of it is about breaking down barriers between people.

The problem is that it doesn’t work. Even if you do make a fleeting connection, it’s not complete. It doesn’t last. And because you didn’t work hard for it, but just drugged your way to it, it doesn’t really feel right. True spirituality and connection involves a lot of work. I would argue that true creativity is the same. True creativity is a lasting thing, not a flash in the pan. It lasts because it teaches us important lessons. It lasts because it shows us ourselves more clearly than we’ve ever seen ourselves before. It lasts because it is utterly honest.

I just don’t think that’s possible to achieve on drugs. Anything else is just a kind of commercialism, usually with no soul. Sorry if I’ve taken this off topic.

jca's avatar

i think if you help him in any way you are indirectly funding his cocaine habit.

jca's avatar

also, if you help him, that’s enabling him to buy more cocaine.

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