Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
How to deal with a family member
About This Community:

This community is a place to share information and support with others who are trying to stop using drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco or other addictive substances. Discuss with others, the symptoms of addiction, addiction recovery, ways to quit like tapering and cold turkey, and withdrawal symptoms. If you are interested in general "chat", please visit our Addiction Social Community.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

How to deal with a family member

I expect my nephew is on drugs again but I can't be sure. Regardless of the reason for his actions I need a solution.

He is 43 years old and has never had an address of his own. He has been in and out of jail and currently lives with my 80 year old mother. I am single and live one state away.

He has been addicted to cocaine since he was in his early 20's and been through rehab enough times to teach the course. He is also a sneak and a very skillful lier. Over the years he has stolen checks from my mother and ruined her bank account. I foot her bills and see that she has a car to go to and from the store or doctor as needed. I am in a sense an enabler because I see that she has money and he ends up lying to her to get it. When night falls he always finds an excuse to go to the store (in her car that I am paying for) and sometimes does not return until the next day.

To get to my point - I want him separated from this family before the stress kills me or my mother. It rips me apart to know that she is there and has to deal with him. I can get away - she can't. The problem is that when he is there he takes care of minor repairs and things she could not do herself. She lives in the country so he does provide some protection when he is there. If he were to leave I am quite certain she could not remain there alone. She is still quite alert mentally but physically she does not get around very well and depends on him to go tot eh store and get the mail.

Even though she is mentally alert she is no match his lying ways. He is sneaky and can't be trusted one inch. He stole checks from my aunt while visiting her in a nursing home about six months ago when he was on his last coke binge.

He is unable to take care of himself and the only skill he has is his ability to cook, but unfortunately he is never able to hold down a job for more than a week. He and my mother live hear a small town and the bank and most restaurant owners know all about him - his reputation throughout the town is shot. He can't get or manage a bank account or pay a single bill. If he gets $20 in his pocket he is gone in a flash. Everything of value that he has owned has been hocked for nickels and dimes. I went back for a visit recently and he stole and hocked my camera the day after I arrived, supposedly to pay a pawn ticket. He lied about it at first but I got him to confess the next day.  

How can I boot him out legally? If I boot him out it would be the same as dumping a puppy on the road - he has no real friends and no place else to go. I agonize over that. As much as I want him out of her life I firmly believe it would kill him to put him on the street. I think he has a death wish anyway. His health is deteriorating due to his lifestyle and he doesn't seem to care at all.  

If I do get him out it would mean that mom would either have to move to a nursing home I would have to give up my life and move back. I'm 52 and I can put my life on hold and do this if necessary but it really burns me up to think I may have to do this simply because he cannot get and keep his life straight. I have already warned him that I would separate the drug from this family one way or another. He says he is clean, and a few months ago I had him do a home drug test on two occasions and he was clean. I don't know if he is on drugs or mentally screwed up.

Any suggestions? I'm at the end of my rope and I am tired of sleepless nights worrying about him leaving my mother alone in the house while he runs the streets. This looks like abuse of the elderly to me.

Related Discussions
13 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
406584_tn?1399591666
Hello and welcome to the forum.. I do not mean to sound harsh.. but it sounds as if you all are enablers.. It would be like dumping a puppy on the road.. He is a puppy that is a drug addict with all his needs being met and his thievery forgiven... It also sounds like you are angry that he is not healthy enough of mind to take care of your mom and this leaves it to you to make arrangements for her elderly years..  Only your brother can get clean.. If kicking him out for your mothers safety is your concern.. do not hesitate.. pretty hard for us to hit bottom when our needs are being met.. room/board ect.  I do understand your frustration and anger.. and I wish your family well.. lesa
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I couldn't agree with 10356 more. He has it good, why would he even think of stopping. Your poor mother:( I am very sorry your going through this, but you ARE enabling him and he will continue to bleed her dry. Easier said that done i know, but I would get him out of there and toss him to the street for safety of your mother.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I would think if he is getting into her finances and such, this would border on "elder abuse" . But it is a sticky situation, as they both rely on each other. Im guessing a good firm talking too just goes in one ear and out the other?
  Can your mother relocate and move in with you? You cant change him, he has to want help and change in his life.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
How do I go about kicking him out? Do I just tell him to leave and then call the cops if he tries to call my bluff? I do believe I could file charges for elderly abuse if necessary.

About him hitting bottom or changing.... he has OD'd at least once and almost died, he has been in prison, had several close calls with death and he still ignores the sign to change. I'm not sure where bottom is unless it's six feet down.  
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Give him the old tough love boot. We had to do it to our 34 year old son. After fourteen years of the same behavior you talk about, we came to the point that in order to save his life and give him a chance at a healthy future we had no other choice. We told him to go to the mens mission in our town. It was hard because we are well known in this town due to my husbands medical profession.  Our son like your nephew has chosen this path and your mother deserves to live out the rest of her life in peace. Love her by protecting her and force him to have to grow up. If you continue to enable him and that is exactly what you are doing, you might as well put the gun in his hand and help him pull the trigger. He is not a puppy, he is a cool and calculating man that will lie and steal and manipulate anyone he can to live this totally selfish life he CHOOSES to live.
Feeling your pain, and praying you will have the courage to do it.
Blank
768236_tn?1234895685
I know you feel darned if you do and darned if you don't, but in reality you are enabling him as everyone here has said and you know.  My family told me for quite sometime I was enabling my 20-year-old son by giving him access to my bank account.  He was smoking pot.  On July 4, 2007 I found him dead on my couch. He had tried Oxycodone only one time and it didn't mix with the Xanax he had a prescription for.  I wish I would have listened to them and only given him cards to McDonalds and not access to cash. I work a lot and he was at home and I wanted him to have money for food, etc. never believing he would ever take something like this and die.  He was my everything. Your brother is older and obviously is very deep into the addiction.  I doubt that he is giving that much help to your Mother.  I would get him away from her before something happens.  I am so sorry you're going through this.  All you can do is attempt to get him help but in the end it's his choice to accept it.
Blank
186166_tn?1385262982
i'd be willing to bet that as soon as you kick him out...your mother will let him right back in within a week or two.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I can see wisdom and pain in your words, and I respectfully and sincerely appreciate your feedback and time. I agree that I have been enabling him, and my79 year old mom who sees him every day does not have the skills to deal with him one on one. She depends on him to fix things and run errands, and because his lies are extremely detailed and convincing, she has a hard time knowing when he is being straight or covering his tracks. Two nights in a row this week he went to the grocery store and did not return until after midnight, claiming both times he passed out and had to be checked out by the EMS before coming home.

He was supposed to see a doctor today. My mother gave him $100 and he left with her cell phone. He called in every 15 minutes up until about 2 hours ago and now the phone is turned off. She made some calls and found out he never showed up for the appt. so my guess is he is out in her car with her phone and my money getting drugs again. I left him a very blunt message telling him to pack his **** and get out now. I'm not sure where he will go. I do not understand addiction at this level so I have no idea how strong the hold can be, but my simple logic tells me that at some point he must have had a conscious thought about his plans and made another bad decision based on that thought.

I guess I can move back home. I got laid off in December after 11 years and have no income. I received a severance package that will carry me for a few months, but with his lying and stealing (mom now can't find her wedding rings she had tucked away) there is no indication that he is ready to accept responsibility for his actions and I know I can't do it for him. I have been looking for work so I could continue to assist her but it's tough out there. It's really time to cut the strings and let him go.

I don't mind doing this for my mother. She and my father helped me for years, and now that she is up there in years I want to do the same if I can.












Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I am so happy to hear you want to help her, it's just not fair to her and she truly may not be safe. Was he doing coke or smoking crack do you know? I saw cocaine/crack turn the nicest most decent people into low life, bottom feeding scum. I am a cocaine addict and I did some things I am not proud of, but I never put others in danger like this, nor did I steal, but i lied and manipulated to keep my addiction going, i couldnt' stop. Since he don't want help, let him rot. I hate to say that, but it is upsetting even as an addict to hear the pain and lies he has caused your mother and family, i caused some pain to mine also :( Good luck and keep us updated.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
P.S. I would like to retract my comment about let him rot lol, that was not very nice, but he is rotting away with this addiction.
Blank
662972_tn?1270169901
Hello I wish you the very best and hope that you are able to get this straightened out for you and your mother. He is totally using you and your mother. If I were you due to fact that you did loose your job I would move back w/your mother and kick his A@@ to curb that way you know that your mother is safe and well taken care of in her golden yrs. I'll say a pray for you and your mother. You need get rid of him asap!!!!!!! I sent you add friend like to hear how things turn out for the both of you and if u ever need chat just send me message!!!!!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I just lost a huge note that I wish you could read. I am in an elder care situation similar to yours in many ways. We dont have the insurance coverage to have the proper help, My father and I are trying to get things done ourselves. I was just about 4 months into cleaning up my own world class narcotic addiction when we started our journey, My father is 87 and extremely intelligent. But his physical problems are hampering his best efforts. He has had quadrouple by pass over twenty years ago and has had some problems since. I am in a stage four position of liver failure also and that makes it a litlle tougher. Evaluate your brother - - use a friend or another less affected family member to make an assessment. Your plans will be affected by his habits whether you wish or not - they already have, It sounds to like you have managed transference ,,,, the ability to switch a life altering challenge from the culprit to another set of situations / circumstance that can be just as serious, but that involves an entirely different set of skills to deal with.  Should your mother ever really need 24/7 it will be almost impossible to administer. I did it and it almost killed me. But I also promised my Mothet that i would do my best to keep her out of a nursing home...she was petrified of that - and so I did promise. And now, in practice, I find it quite challenging. In October she caught a Urinary Tract Infection and we almost lost her.......total incontinence ..... changed diapers about hourly and bedding every morning. And she was not ambulatory. We had wheel chair and bath transfer assist - - - it became very hard. But Mom's a fighter. It has taken awhile (I guess today is February...)  But for Valentines Day some relatives visited, we cooked steaks on the bar B and had a good time. Even though she only knew a few of us out of just family and extended family members. Maintaing a semblance of social order is necessary and most consider it too embarrasing or bothersome to work to provide for it.      I am sorry, but i am running out of steam ......you are welcome to PM me with anything you wish. Ask questions, just vent emotionally, or look for resources to help - - - your brother and his problems are different from Moms - but seem to be intertwined,  Nonthe less, they may be addressed and overcome satisfactorily - - - - - -

Sorry I cant keep going ,,,just very tired and only 14 days from my own hospital experience - - my son found me unconscious with no respiration or pulse.....later found there wasnt any O2 in the blood attempting to be circulated.  But things worked out - strong case of decent pnuemonia (pneumonia) - - - lungs full of fluid and they had to be hosed down and vacuumed before i was much good at all - - - - still kinda working at getting back to funtional shape ...........PM me anytime - you hit a soft spot with a parent in need .. eagle








Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Sorry if I hit a nerve that brought some emotions to surface. I hear you and I'll pray for your health and for your family. I know I'm not the only one with this problem and I hope my rant has not sounded selfish in any way.

I know a ton of people are going through this either with themselves or a family member. To say it's tough is an understatement, and you've had more of a load than anyone should have to carry. What you did for your mother was hard but it shows who you are inside. Not many people could or would do that.  

I have an odd feeling that my mother would not allow that to happen. She is a diabetic and I fear she may one day just stop taking her medication. She hasn't said it but I know she isn't happy being a prisoner in her own home and she has said many times that she doesn't want to be a burden on anyone. Will she feel that way if or when the time comes? I don't know but she is a very determined person.

We really don't have anyone close to the family that could make an unbiased decision or offer an opinion, well, other than the county Sheriff. He knows about the situation and is well aware of my nephew (same as a brother to me).    

Things have escalated over the past few days and I ended up calling the Sheriff for advice. Mom had $200 in her purse that came from me. She was hesitant to go outside with my nephew in the house but he was asleep, or so she thought, and later when he left to go to work she checked her purse and the money was gone -every dollar. He took her cell phone which I got for her in case of emergency and so she could leave the house if she wanted. He has taken it before because he said he wanted to have it in case she needed him ASAP.

An hour after he left she tried to reach him on the cell to ask about the money and it went right to voice mail, meaning it was off. She tired several times last night and I tried today. It was still off, and it had a full charge when it left so I'm not about to buy any "dead battery" lie. She called his job and they said he had not shown up. I called the Sheriff and he said what everyone else here has said, that we're really hurting him by enabling him. He said it was time for him to get out on his own and sink or swim and stop mooching off my mother.  

My nephew did not call or respond to the voice mail my mother left. That was yesterday. Today I had the phone turned off and tonight he returned while mom was taking a bath. He got something out of his room and left about 3 minutes later without saying a single word.

He is driving a borrowed car that belongs to his employer. They showed up not five minutes after he left looking for the car saying they had not heard from him in a couple of days.

I know it's probably dumb for me to think this way but I worry where he is staying or what shape he is in. He takes meds for his heart and BP but he doesn't take them as per the Rx. When he runs out he will go for days before telling anyone, and he says he does it because he feels like a leech and hates to ask for money for his meds. However, stealing it doesn't seem to bother him. In the past few months he has said he lied to get money from her to pay on pawn tickets. I bought that story the first time I hear it but told him I would no longer finance his pawn tickets.

Mom is questioning herself and wondering if she may have misplaced the money. She's concerned about wrongly accusing him of taking it. I know the feeling. I was there for two weeks earlier this month and kept hiding my own things so he wouldn't be tempted, and several times I forgot where I hid them. I don't think she forgot anything. He is extremely slick and probably faked sleep and waited for her to go outside. She had the money hidden under her pillow so it's not like it was out in the open where he would be tempted.

He's gone for now and the owner of the car may report it stolen. The owner did not say what he would do but expressed his concern about not knowing where the car is.

I asked my mother if she wanted me to return tomorrow and she said no. I have an appt with my doc for a checkup on 3/16 and plan to return then. If he ends up dead I suppose I will be back sooner.

I must confess that I do not understand what is wrong with his thinking. It seems he is getting worse. He used to be a pretty sharp guy but I know 14 year olds who are more mature than he is. He lies about the most insignificant things, and when pressed for details on more serious issues, like why he was out all night and never called, always has a wild story that sounds very plausible. He's either lying about the details or he has the absolute worst luck of any person I've ever known.

I'm feeling guilt for shutting off the phone but I honestly believe I need to get over that. Whether he is on drugs or using the money to feed the homeless, the fact is that he lies and steals and it's killing me to watch him drain the life from my mother. If he is not on drugs again I see no reason why he would take her money, turn the phone off and drop off the radar for 36 hours without calling in.

I'll stop now. I'm just rambling and seeking some reassurance I've done the right thing by not making another effort to reach out and save him, and I really shouldn't be doing that.

I wish the best for you Eagle. You sound well grounded and very in touch with the anguish this can bring to an entire family. I appreciate the reply and words of wisdom.


Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Addiction: Substance Abuse Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating: What Your Closet ...
Jul 09 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Addiction Answerers
352798_tn?1399301754
Blank
GoingToMakeIt
Near Seattle, WA
3197167_tn?1348972206
Blank
clean_in_ks
KS
3092482_tn?1383176848
Blank
weaver71
CA
4113881_tn?1401895587
Blank
ActingBrandNew
Torrance, CA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
gnarly_1
phoenix, AZ
6942344_tn?1405732905
Blank
Amandag78
Perth, Australia