Nephew and His Drug Addiction: Parents Enabling, How to Help?

Posted by Sal @sal, Nov 23, 2011

<p>My 22 year old nephew is a drug addict and no one in my family is talking about it. His parents know about it but are enabling him in some ways. They allow him to live in their home with an impressionable 14 year old sister and work in their business. I need help in how to help them. I love them so much and don't know what to do but can't sit by pretending that nothing is wrong. Any advise would be appreciated.</p>

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I am the mother of 3 grown sons. They were all raised in one house, with one mom and one dad…..taken to church every Sunday…..supported in their love of baseball (we spent 19 summers at the little league park)…..and still TWO out of the three sons became drug addicts. I spent years crying and praying for them. But nothing worked They lived with us, and stole us blind. We loved and worried about them so much….we couldn’t cast them out. (mistake….we should have). One of them finally couldn’t take knowing how much of life he was really missing and he went two times to drug treatments (not counting being locked up for a year in a state rehab) but he had to do it HIMSELF. No one can help them except THEMSELVES. My other son is nearly 40…..and he really doesn’t try to improve himself. It hurts so very much.
The only advise I can give you and your family is ……if he ever gets in trouble, or ends up in jail….DO NOT help him to get out. While he is there…..maybe he can think about what he is actually doing to his life. I found that it was the only thing that helped my sons. I’m sorry to tell you but……THEY HAVE TO WANT TO BE FREE FROM DRUGS….TO GET FREE!!

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this is hard but perhaps if you invite your niece to your place, without prying, you might find out how she is coping. then invite your brother/sister over and listen to them to see if they want to discuss it.

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Your 22 year old nephew has an illness. Drug abuse and dependency are serious and too many lives are cut short because of it. As a mother, I don’t know how I would handle such a challenge. As a person, I can say that education and support is key. The entire family can be helpful and the community has to have programming for all involved.
That being said, your nephew has to want to stop. There is something going on with him that perhaps he cannot express and so he self medicates. The truth is that people enjoy feeling different when what they feel when they are not using is pain, confusion, insecurity, failure etc. It’s hard for others, even if the intentions are good, to compete with an altered feeling.
There are some really good programs out there if someone wants to change but it sounds like your nephew is not even contemplating change at this point. You can visit websites like the US administration on Substance Abuse and Mental Health & NIDA~National Institute on Drug Abuse, and find good educational tools as well as a list of services in your area. Your niece can of course talk to you and/or perhaps join a support group. The parents may need a little tough love and honesty about how you view the issue.
Let them all know how much you care and hopefully they will be receptive if they are not in denial and you are sensitive in your approach.
Don’t give up on your nephew, he needs help and don’t display anger towards him because drug addiction, if he is at this stage, will require a medical intervention in order to minimize horrible and often dangerous withdrawal symptoms (depending on the substance bein used).
Take Care,

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Contact Common ground to see if an intervention may help

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I have a similar situation my oldest son "36" has an addiction problem but only myself and his "33" brother recognize it no one else what's to admit that it true. I personally have tried most everything I know except going to find out about the "Casey" law since an adult that's pretty much all I can do. It might be something you could check into and see if it could or would help with your situation. Good luck and my prayers are with you

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Hi @kaytay1120 and welcome to Connect. I see that you are new and have joined this group. Are you interested in engaging in this topic? Do you have a story to share? Are you actively seeking information about Casey Law? I do know the law is only applicable in Ohio and Kentucky at this time.

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My nephew is 25 years old, and his Mother, my sister has told me that she will do anything for her only child, whether it is right or wrong.
My nephew comes and goes as he wishes. He does not have a job and has only a high school education.
My nephew does no chores around the house, and he stays in his room all day.
I had advised my sister that I found a weight scale in her son's car when I was cleaning his car while they were on vacation.
I also found a cut stray with some black residue in my Mother's car when she loaned it to her Grandson, my nephew. My nephew was also involved in a car accident with her car, and he denied everything, until the person he hit filed a claim against my mother's car insurance.
My sister even suggested that my parents may have caused the accident since they are elderly, and may not have noticed that they damaged their own car.
My nephew totaled my sister's car, damaged my parents' car, and then my sister bought him a new car. My nephew then again got into an accident that caused major damage to his car. He claimed that a garbage forklift impaled the trunk of his car.
His Grandfather, my Father, and his Uncle, my brother both died of COVID-19 in January 2021, and my nephew never came home when we were all sick with COVID-19, and he did not even attend their funeral.
We all live in one (1) house that belongs to my sister, for the past 15 years, so my nephew grew up with me, my brother his uncle, his Grandfather and Grandmother.
My nephew and his family are currently on vacation for a relative's wedding.
Today, while gathering laundry, I found small packets of what appear to be mini weight scale (grams), designer drugs and pills and a crack pipe among his belongings.

My sister appears to believe that my nephew is an adult and is entitled to his privacy. She also gets very defensive and upset when I mention anything about her son's behavior and symptoms of drug addiction.
My sister would be very devastated to lose her only child. She may even commit suicide. She, too has had to suffer from pain, sorrow and sadness from losing her Brother and Father from COVID-19. She has also been drinking constantly (vodka and sake) to take away all of her stress and hopelessness.
Her son also suffers from depression, and may or may not currently be taking anti-depression medication. He is not violent, and as far as I know, he does not steal from any us.
My sister has tried occasionally to have family counseling, however the counseling has been far and in-between, inconsistent and by telehealth.
My nephew is now away from home for many weeks, and sometimes months. My sister gives him money when he is home, and then again he disappears for several weeks or months. She also buys him clothes, shoes and his favorite food when he returns home. She gets so excited when he is home, that it is like she is rewarding him for coming home.
I know that my nephew's brain has been affected by his drug addiction, and I believe he is dealing and selling drugs to support his addiction and get his next fix.
My Father took care of my nephew since my nephew was a baby, and he loved my nephew very much! My brother lived with my nephew for many years when my nephew was growing up, and he was very close to my nephew. For my nephew not to attend their funeral, or at least call, support or help us, check-up on us, or be there for us when we were all sick and suffering from COVID-19, was very hurtful. My nephew was the only family member not infected with the virus.
My mother is devastated from losing her husband and son from COVID-19, and her two (2) younger brothers, all within the past year in 2021. She loves her grandson very much, and this behavior is constantly breaking her heart!
I desperately would like to know what to do to help my nephew before his drug addition kills him, and destroys our family!

This behavior has been going on for over three (3) years. Please help us before it is too late!

Sincerely, Ricoventures

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@ricoventures

My nephew is 25 years old, and his Mother, my sister has told me that she will do anything for her only child, whether it is right or wrong.
My nephew comes and goes as he wishes. He does not have a job and has only a high school education.
My nephew does no chores around the house, and he stays in his room all day.
I had advised my sister that I found a weight scale in her son's car when I was cleaning his car while they were on vacation.
I also found a cut stray with some black residue in my Mother's car when she loaned it to her Grandson, my nephew. My nephew was also involved in a car accident with her car, and he denied everything, until the person he hit filed a claim against my mother's car insurance.
My sister even suggested that my parents may have caused the accident since they are elderly, and may not have noticed that they damaged their own car.
My nephew totaled my sister's car, damaged my parents' car, and then my sister bought him a new car. My nephew then again got into an accident that caused major damage to his car. He claimed that a garbage forklift impaled the trunk of his car.
His Grandfather, my Father, and his Uncle, my brother both died of COVID-19 in January 2021, and my nephew never came home when we were all sick with COVID-19, and he did not even attend their funeral.
We all live in one (1) house that belongs to my sister, for the past 15 years, so my nephew grew up with me, my brother his uncle, his Grandfather and Grandmother.
My nephew and his family are currently on vacation for a relative's wedding.
Today, while gathering laundry, I found small packets of what appear to be mini weight scale (grams), designer drugs and pills and a crack pipe among his belongings.

My sister appears to believe that my nephew is an adult and is entitled to his privacy. She also gets very defensive and upset when I mention anything about her son's behavior and symptoms of drug addiction.
My sister would be very devastated to lose her only child. She may even commit suicide. She, too has had to suffer from pain, sorrow and sadness from losing her Brother and Father from COVID-19. She has also been drinking constantly (vodka and sake) to take away all of her stress and hopelessness.
Her son also suffers from depression, and may or may not currently be taking anti-depression medication. He is not violent, and as far as I know, he does not steal from any us.
My sister has tried occasionally to have family counseling, however the counseling has been far and in-between, inconsistent and by telehealth.
My nephew is now away from home for many weeks, and sometimes months. My sister gives him money when he is home, and then again he disappears for several weeks or months. She also buys him clothes, shoes and his favorite food when he returns home. She gets so excited when he is home, that it is like she is rewarding him for coming home.
I know that my nephew's brain has been affected by his drug addiction, and I believe he is dealing and selling drugs to support his addiction and get his next fix.
My Father took care of my nephew since my nephew was a baby, and he loved my nephew very much! My brother lived with my nephew for many years when my nephew was growing up, and he was very close to my nephew. For my nephew not to attend their funeral, or at least call, support or help us, check-up on us, or be there for us when we were all sick and suffering from COVID-19, was very hurtful. My nephew was the only family member not infected with the virus.
My mother is devastated from losing her husband and son from COVID-19, and her two (2) younger brothers, all within the past year in 2021. She loves her grandson very much, and this behavior is constantly breaking her heart!
I desperately would like to know what to do to help my nephew before his drug addition kills him, and destroys our family!

This behavior has been going on for over three (3) years. Please help us before it is too late!

Sincerely, Ricoventures

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@ricoventures, I can tell this situation and all its complexities is tearing you apart, and your family too. Have you ever thought of seeking the help of a social worker or counsellor to help give you tips on how to manage the relationships in the household?

That probably sounds like a ludicrous idea since it is obvious that other members seem more in need of therapy than yourself. I'm not suggesting your need therapy. But I know when a close family member of mine was struggling, I needed to get advice from someone to help me manage the relationship. We can't change other people, we can only change how we react, respond, and help them.

There's a lot going on in your family. Might it be helpful for you to talk with someone?

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@ricoventures

My nephew is 25 years old, and his Mother, my sister has told me that she will do anything for her only child, whether it is right or wrong.
My nephew comes and goes as he wishes. He does not have a job and has only a high school education.
My nephew does no chores around the house, and he stays in his room all day.
I had advised my sister that I found a weight scale in her son's car when I was cleaning his car while they were on vacation.
I also found a cut stray with some black residue in my Mother's car when she loaned it to her Grandson, my nephew. My nephew was also involved in a car accident with her car, and he denied everything, until the person he hit filed a claim against my mother's car insurance.
My sister even suggested that my parents may have caused the accident since they are elderly, and may not have noticed that they damaged their own car.
My nephew totaled my sister's car, damaged my parents' car, and then my sister bought him a new car. My nephew then again got into an accident that caused major damage to his car. He claimed that a garbage forklift impaled the trunk of his car.
His Grandfather, my Father, and his Uncle, my brother both died of COVID-19 in January 2021, and my nephew never came home when we were all sick with COVID-19, and he did not even attend their funeral.
We all live in one (1) house that belongs to my sister, for the past 15 years, so my nephew grew up with me, my brother his uncle, his Grandfather and Grandmother.
My nephew and his family are currently on vacation for a relative's wedding.
Today, while gathering laundry, I found small packets of what appear to be mini weight scale (grams), designer drugs and pills and a crack pipe among his belongings.

My sister appears to believe that my nephew is an adult and is entitled to his privacy. She also gets very defensive and upset when I mention anything about her son's behavior and symptoms of drug addiction.
My sister would be very devastated to lose her only child. She may even commit suicide. She, too has had to suffer from pain, sorrow and sadness from losing her Brother and Father from COVID-19. She has also been drinking constantly (vodka and sake) to take away all of her stress and hopelessness.
Her son also suffers from depression, and may or may not currently be taking anti-depression medication. He is not violent, and as far as I know, he does not steal from any us.
My sister has tried occasionally to have family counseling, however the counseling has been far and in-between, inconsistent and by telehealth.
My nephew is now away from home for many weeks, and sometimes months. My sister gives him money when he is home, and then again he disappears for several weeks or months. She also buys him clothes, shoes and his favorite food when he returns home. She gets so excited when he is home, that it is like she is rewarding him for coming home.
I know that my nephew's brain has been affected by his drug addiction, and I believe he is dealing and selling drugs to support his addiction and get his next fix.
My Father took care of my nephew since my nephew was a baby, and he loved my nephew very much! My brother lived with my nephew for many years when my nephew was growing up, and he was very close to my nephew. For my nephew not to attend their funeral, or at least call, support or help us, check-up on us, or be there for us when we were all sick and suffering from COVID-19, was very hurtful. My nephew was the only family member not infected with the virus.
My mother is devastated from losing her husband and son from COVID-19, and her two (2) younger brothers, all within the past year in 2021. She loves her grandson very much, and this behavior is constantly breaking her heart!
I desperately would like to know what to do to help my nephew before his drug addition kills him, and destroys our family!

This behavior has been going on for over three (3) years. Please help us before it is too late!

Sincerely, Ricoventures

Jump to this post

Firstly, my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry for your losses. Those losses alone are enough for you to deal with. I have two friends whose sons died from fentanyl overdoses. I "lost" two friends because neither has ever recovered. When I say lost, I mean their grief is so overwhelming, one deceased child was an only child who died at age 26, that they will never be happy again.
One friend had spent in excess of $300,00 over a 10-year period putting her son in the best treatment centers for his drug addiction. She sold her home to get more money for him. She is now raising her grandson and can never retire from her job. She never gave up on her son, but he was never interested in stopping using drugs, even though he knew someday he would overdose for good. He was never going to quit. I talked to him once and told him he was destroying his mother, father, and his baby son's life and he did not care. His addiction and his drugs were the most important thing to him.

There is a free program for people dealing with someone's drug or alcohol addiction. It is called Alanon. It is a free support group for persons like you to learn about the addictions and learn how to take care of themselves when dealing with someone who abuses alcohol and/or drugs. If you cannot move out of your situation, I strongly advise this very successful program that has been in existence since 1939. Alanon groups are located in all communities. Either google it to call your local Alanon and/or free Narcotics Anonymous organizations. The only person you can help is yourself. Often times when family members see someone helping themselves, they get on-board and seek the proper help for themselves. Good luck and you are in my prayers.

REPLY
@ricoventures

My nephew is 25 years old, and his Mother, my sister has told me that she will do anything for her only child, whether it is right or wrong.
My nephew comes and goes as he wishes. He does not have a job and has only a high school education.
My nephew does no chores around the house, and he stays in his room all day.
I had advised my sister that I found a weight scale in her son's car when I was cleaning his car while they were on vacation.
I also found a cut stray with some black residue in my Mother's car when she loaned it to her Grandson, my nephew. My nephew was also involved in a car accident with her car, and he denied everything, until the person he hit filed a claim against my mother's car insurance.
My sister even suggested that my parents may have caused the accident since they are elderly, and may not have noticed that they damaged their own car.
My nephew totaled my sister's car, damaged my parents' car, and then my sister bought him a new car. My nephew then again got into an accident that caused major damage to his car. He claimed that a garbage forklift impaled the trunk of his car.
His Grandfather, my Father, and his Uncle, my brother both died of COVID-19 in January 2021, and my nephew never came home when we were all sick with COVID-19, and he did not even attend their funeral.
We all live in one (1) house that belongs to my sister, for the past 15 years, so my nephew grew up with me, my brother his uncle, his Grandfather and Grandmother.
My nephew and his family are currently on vacation for a relative's wedding.
Today, while gathering laundry, I found small packets of what appear to be mini weight scale (grams), designer drugs and pills and a crack pipe among his belongings.

My sister appears to believe that my nephew is an adult and is entitled to his privacy. She also gets very defensive and upset when I mention anything about her son's behavior and symptoms of drug addiction.
My sister would be very devastated to lose her only child. She may even commit suicide. She, too has had to suffer from pain, sorrow and sadness from losing her Brother and Father from COVID-19. She has also been drinking constantly (vodka and sake) to take away all of her stress and hopelessness.
Her son also suffers from depression, and may or may not currently be taking anti-depression medication. He is not violent, and as far as I know, he does not steal from any us.
My sister has tried occasionally to have family counseling, however the counseling has been far and in-between, inconsistent and by telehealth.
My nephew is now away from home for many weeks, and sometimes months. My sister gives him money when he is home, and then again he disappears for several weeks or months. She also buys him clothes, shoes and his favorite food when he returns home. She gets so excited when he is home, that it is like she is rewarding him for coming home.
I know that my nephew's brain has been affected by his drug addiction, and I believe he is dealing and selling drugs to support his addiction and get his next fix.
My Father took care of my nephew since my nephew was a baby, and he loved my nephew very much! My brother lived with my nephew for many years when my nephew was growing up, and he was very close to my nephew. For my nephew not to attend their funeral, or at least call, support or help us, check-up on us, or be there for us when we were all sick and suffering from COVID-19, was very hurtful. My nephew was the only family member not infected with the virus.
My mother is devastated from losing her husband and son from COVID-19, and her two (2) younger brothers, all within the past year in 2021. She loves her grandson very much, and this behavior is constantly breaking her heart!
I desperately would like to know what to do to help my nephew before his drug addition kills him, and destroys our family!

This behavior has been going on for over three (3) years. Please help us before it is too late!

Sincerely, Ricoventures

Jump to this post

Hello, @ricoventures,

I join @colleenyoung and @lindasmith1222 in responding to your very difficult situation. It undoubtedly is heartbreaking to see your family members not dealing with your nephew's addiction.

I agree with what Colleen and Linda have said already, that the most important thing that you can do right now is to take care of yourself. It is important to realize that the only person you can change is the person that you see in the mirror, and of course, that is you.

As Linda suggested, Al-Anon is a great group for people who have family members who are involved in addictive behaviors. Al-Anon groups value confidentiality and support for each other. Here is a website where you can learn more about Al-Anon, https://al-anon.org/

As you can see there is a box at the top of the web page that says "Meetings." When you click on that you can put in your city/state and find a listing of meetings nearby. These can be attended in-person and virtually, by phone or computer, as well. So if transportation or mobility is a problem for you or other concerned family members you can attend without leaving your house.

While your attendance at an Al-Anon meeting will not fix the problems your family is experiencing, it will help to give you some peace of mind as you talk with others who also have loved ones living in the cycle of addiction.

Does this sound like something you might want to try?

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