Stephanie’s brother has a serious meth issue. Her parents didn’t even know where he was, then when they found out he was in jail, they told him, “If you don’t stop, we’re disowning you.” Stephanie’s carrying the weight of all this and needs help.
How to Help My Brother?
If you’ve ever had an addict in your family or been one yourself, you know the intensity that comes along with addiction. The highs and lows not just when you’re the addict but being the person trying to help them. You want to rescue them, but you can’t. You want to save them from their drug of choice, but they don’t listen. Our guest on today’s podcast is Stephanie. Her brother is a meth addict, and he’s landed in jail. Stephanie’s managed to talk him out of suicide, but she’s deeply concerned he’ll hurt himself. Stay tuned for Stephanie’s story and the peer-to-peer advice she receives.
Stephanie: My brother is two years younger than I am. He's 22 and he has a serious meth issue. Mom and dad don't know about it, and I'm the only one that does.
Dawson: He’s in jail and they don’t know?
Stephanie: Yeah, because he apparently didn't tell them what was going on. And so, they don't know where he is. They have no idea.
Dawson: But you do?
Stephanie: Yeah. They've asked me about it, and I know where he is, but they don't.
Dawson: When they asked you about it, what did you tell them? Did you lie or what?
Stephanie: Well, I told them the truth and they were shocked beyond words. They wound up going down there and they pretty much said if you don't stop, we’re disowning you.
Dawson: There's some tough love, right there.
Stephanie: Well, I'm about the only one he'll talk to. And they pretty much said that you're the one that did this. You have two kids and a girlfriend/woman that wants to divorce you over it.
He is broken beyond… it’s a mess. Mom and dad won't talk to him. Mom and dad won't go to court for him. Mom and dad won't pay it. Mom and dad won't pay bills. Mom and dad won't do anything. And pretty much mom and dads pretty much said, “Ok, this is your baby, you deal with it.”
Dawson: Whoa, how do you feel about that?
Stephanie: I don't like it because I feel like that's mean of them. But at the same time, I feel like he deserves a little bit of that because this really was his issue. He's the one that really did this. But at the same time, I don't like it because they raised him. I feel like this is not a good idea, but at the same time, he deserves what he gets. But yet nobody else will talk to him and he's constantly pleading for me to come down there and I'm like, I can't, because it doesn't matter if I talk to them or not, they're not going to listen to me, and they don't believe you. So, what are we supposed to do?
Dawson: He wants you to come down for what purpose? Just to talk with him because he's lonely or to try to come up with a plan to move your parents to help him get out of this jam, both?
Stephanie: Both, and he also wants me to come down there to try to talk to them, the judge, and the jail people to see if I can get him out. He’s supposed to get out in April, but they keep pushing it back. He's now into June when he's supposed to get out.
And he feels like nobody loves him. He feels like his life's over and he's seriously contemplated suicide several times and I've been able to bring him out of it. And I'm like, you've got two kids. You can't do this to them. You can't do this to me because I'm going to be left without a brother and your kids are left without a dad. So, don't do this!
Dawson: Ok. So, this is a peer-to-peer call. I feel led to turn this out to the many people who are listening tonight for the sole purpose of praying or giving godly advice. Let's get down to what we're going to ask them, alright. We're going to say, here's our story, we need your advice. Stephanie feels helpless and knows there's nothing she can do. How can she handle this? How can she help her younger brother? That's the question, right? How can you handle this? How can you handle it? At the same time, how can you help your younger brother?
Stephanie: I'm scared that he's going to kill himself because he feels like he's never going to get out of jail. And I'm just like, if you do that, you leave me in a lurch because I don't really need kids. I don't even have a boyfriend in my life right now. My boyfriend broke up with me six years ago. I haven't talked to him since. So, I feel that if he killed himself, then I have the responsibility as his sister, to take on his kids. I'm not ready for that responsibility, yet my mom and dad won't do it.
Dawson: Well, they may not do it right now. Maybe God will change their mind.
Stephanie: I don’t know, I feel like we’re in a mess.
Dawson: I'm going to get you some help.
Peer to Peer Advice For Stephanie:
How can Stephanie help her brother? He’s talking about dying by suicide because he can’t handle it anymore. Do you have wisdom or encouragement for Stephanie and her brother? Please comment below!
You Can’t Pay For You Brother’s Choices - Kathy
The first initial thought I got was when you were talking about your parents' initial reaction to finding out about everything - that they threatened to disown him. This broke my heart. My whole life I've been surrounded by addiction, and I understand the pain that loved ones go through when the people that they love are suffering from addictions and those kinds of struggles. But the last thing they need is for people to disown them and to withdraw away from them because the only thing they need, other than help in that time, is to know that they're still loved. And to know that they still have someone who cares about them, who wants to be there for them. Whether it's urging your parents to see that or praying about it or both, that's something that he really needs. And if his parents can't be there for him, it's great that you're still letting them know that you love him and you do care about him, and you do want him to get help.
Secondly, I noticed there's obviously a lot of pressure on you or you're feeling a lot of pressure that his whole future and reality and health are on your shoulders, but that's not fair at all. It’s putting guilt on you, that you don't deserve because you didn't do anything. You care about him and that's great, but what he's doing, you shouldn't be paying for it. You shouldn't be paying for the choices that he made. And someone who's struggling with addiction, they're sick. They're mentally unhealthy. They're emotionally unhealthy; and hurt people, hurt people. But I think the line you just need to draw is you can let him know how much you love him and do what you can for what he can't do for himself right now.
When I think about addiction and what that does to someone, and the consequences they have to go through. And then I think about God and how he treats us when we make mistakes. And when we fall short and when we sin, if he still loves us, but he does not remove the earthly consequences from our actions. He lets us go through that. He gives us grace in our relationship and he still doesn't allow the relationship to break, but he doesn't remove our consequences for us. We committed a sin or we, you know, we made this choice, we pay the earthly consequences for it. And I think there is a line, you know, between you and your parents and how you operate with them and making a point to not let it break the relationship, but don't cross that line where you’re paying for the things he needs to pay for, and where you're dealing with the consequences that should be his consequences.
You Can Not Be Your Brother’s Enabler – Bobby Joe
Hey Stephanie, my brother is an addict. Matter of fact, he's in prison right now. First off, you need to love him where he's at. That's the very first thing, but the second thing is you cannot be his enabler. You can't do that… I was. And until your brother is tired of being sick and tired, this is the life he chooses. Now the most powerful thing we can do is hit our knees and pray for him, and that's all of us that are listening.
Your mom and dad - they're hurt. And right now, they're dealing with it the best way they know how. Now not knowing if your brother stole from them or this is brand new or anything, my brother did…so, there's a lot of hurt involved, Stephanie, because we want the best for our children.
enable him, just love him. That's all I have to say.
Al-Anon Is a Great Resource - Angel
Hi, Stephanie. There are a lot of groups out there, like Al-Anon that you could bring some strength from and grow from and learn how to deal with his addiction, to get a better understanding of what he's going through. And that way you're not bearing everything on your shoulders. Al-Anon is a great, great group. I believe that while he's in jail, he can seek out counseling… just to be able to talk about what he's going through.
You Can’t Be Everyone’s Hero - Christina
Hello. I just want to say, Stephanie, I'm going through a little bit of the same thing you're going through. I have tried to take notes through the calls, and I'll try to be quick. I think Kathy was very wise when she said that you can't pay for his mistakes.
I also think that it was very wise to say that we need to understand what they're going through. At the same time, there is so much more involved. And if you have children especially, and you have your own life, that is so much more important right now. You cannot be everybody's hero as much as you would like to be. All you can do is love them. But at the end of the day, all you can do when you lay your head on your pillow is to know that no matter what happens, you will always be there. And don't ever stop being there for your brother… ever! That's all I wanted to say.
God’s Bigger Than All of This
Stephanie: Wow, that’s amazing!
Dawson: You can’t be everybody’s hero. That was strong, wasn’t it?
Stephanie: Ah, yeah. Honestly, she was right, but the thing is, I'm not trying to enable him. I don't want to enable him because I know if he gets out, there's a possibility of it. But at the same time, I think that he's learned his lesson. But the thing is my parents don't seem to think so. And my parents don't want anything to do with him. And now I'm left trying to deal with it all. And then it's like, what on earth is this? I mean, don't you love your son?
Dawson: Well, God's bigger than your parents. God's bigger than you or me. God can handle this. He knows how to talk with your parents.
What Does it Mean When We Say God’s Bigger Than All of This?
When we say God’s bigger than any of this…what does that mean exactly?
Many times, we try to carry the burdens of life ourselves, like you, Stephanie are trying to carry the burden of your brother’s addiction and him being in prison, and carrying the burden of your parents not knowing what to do and not helping.
God, in His word, says we can cast all of our cares and worries on Him, and He will care for us.
We don’t have to figure it all out ourselves, when we have God in our life. Fear and worry will only seek to discourage you and drain your emotions. I believe that’s part of what’s happened to your brother, Stephanie, and he’s detoxing – but he is worrying and stressed out and that’s draining him to the point where he doesn’t feel he can handle it.
Philippians 4:6 & 7 tell us, “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ.”
We have other options than being worried and wrapped up in discouragement. We can go to God in prayer, and He’s a big God who can handle anything we throw his way. God’s big and he can see the big picture. Allow Him access to work in your life. Give your cares and worries to Him and trust Him. He loves you and your brother and wants the best for you both.
Thank you, Stephanie, for joining us for this episode of The Dawson McAllister Podcast. And a huge shoutout to our amazing peer-to-peer callers: Kathy, Bobby Joe, Angel and Christina. You all laid out the wisdom. Woot!
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Dawson McAllister Podcast. I hope it leaves you a little wiser than you were before. I’ll leave you with this incredible scripture, Ephesians 3:20, “Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.”
Other Related Podcast Episodes on Substance Abuse:
- How to Cope and Stay Clean After Prison – EP 36
- Should I Stay and Support My Drug-Addicted Fiancé? – EP 54
Resources for Substance Abuse:
- Someone I Love Has an Addiction: Can I Help?
- How to Help Someone Who Is Overdosing
- Recover from Addiction
- The First Steps to Addiction Recovery
- Healthy Self-Care for People in Addiction Recovery
- Learn More About God
Need to talk to someone? Chat with a Hope Coach at TheHopeLine.
This is the Dawson McAllister Podcast, and until next time…Remember you are loved, you are valuable, and God has an amazing plan for your life. – Rachel