Living with your sibling when he or she suffering from addiction can be a very stressful situation for all of the people who are living in your house, particularly for you if you are a younger person. Growing up is difficult. Adding in the element of an addicted sibling can make it that much more so. You home life can feel unstable. It can feel like you are less important or like you are always coming in second. Your sibling could be violent toward you or have other problems beyond the addiction that are effecting your home life as well. But there is hope for you. There are some ways that you and your family can help to offset the negativity and the difficulty that you are experiencing and pave the way for a happier and healthier future for all of you.
#1 Get Educated
You are likely to feel anger and resentment toward your sibling. This is a very normal feeling. You may think that you do not care enough about his or her problem to learn about it and really understand it. But it is really only in educating yourself that you will be able to understand what is really happening in your home. Taking the time to read about his or her condition or to talk to some people who know more than you do about the subject can really help you to let go of your anger and your fear and start to see the bigger picture.
#2 Learn About Your Own Addiction Risks
It is possible that addiction has a hereditary element. It may be able to be passed down through families. Science has not been able to tell us just why and how this is yet, but children of addicts are more likely to be addicts themselves. There is no real way to tell if you have the potential to suffer from addiction, but, if there are addicts in your family, then you are at a higher risk. With most hereditary conditions, there is no choosing if you get it or if you do not. With addiction, you can make the choice not to experiment with drugs or alcohol which means that you will not suffer from addiction. That choice is yours to make.
#3 It’s Not Your Fault – Take Care of YOU
Dealing with a sibling who has an addiction problem and the potential of addiction running in your family can be time consuming and mentally taxing. One of the best things that you can do is make time for the things that you want and need to do in order to be able to be happy and have the future that you want. If it starts to seem like you are spending all of your time dealing with the addiction of your sibling, you may need to take a step back and remember that taking care of yourself is important too.
#4 Learn To Set Firm Boundaries
It is not unusual for siblings to trust each other and take each other into their confidences. But some secrets are dangerous. If you feel like you need to share something about your sibling with an adult, do it. You will need to push aside any worry that your sibling will get in trouble because getting him or her the help that is needed is more important. Other boundaries that may need to be set involve money and possessions. If your sibling has an addiction problem, he or she may ask you for money or for anything valuable that you have. Regardless of what he or she may tell you, this money or these valuables will likely be used to purchase more drugs or alcohol. Rather than giving him or her the money and making it easy for him or her to get drugs, let your sibling know that you are not interested in fueling the addiction. Then you should talk to an adult who you trust.
There are many different adults who you can talk to you when you are feeling lonely or neglected. If your parents are not available, you could talk to a teacher or a school counselor. You could talk to a pastor or another religious leader who you trust. You could talk to a scout leader, a police officer, or the trusted parent of a friend. You are not alone in this. There are many people who can help make your life a priority.