: Bereavement

Get support following a drug or alcohol related death

5 replies

How to deal with addiction stereotype within the family

My sister took drugs, mainly heroine, for over 20 years. Then six years ago she accidentally overdosed and passed away. Her children were taken into care and our family settled into a time of grieving; and also I must admit relief.

During her time she did things to our family that caused no end of upset, but at the end of the day she was still my sister, so I had to deal with a pull of emotions - hating the addict but loving my sister. In time, and with help, I've come to understand the lack of control a drug addict has over their own behaviour and have forgiven what has passed.

This has finally brought me peace and allowed me to move on with my life, without the constant anger and self-protection mechanisms that came to control my own personality.

Unfortunately my wife still believes a drug addict is in full control of their destiny and all my sister's actions, including her ultimate death, were her own fault and deserving of no sympathy. She drags up all the bad things my sister did during her life and insists I stop feeling sorry for her. This is now causing old wounds to be reopened for me and is increasing tension within my own family.

Does anyone have any advice I can offer my wife so she understands the pain her views are having on me?

replying to dazebot

Hi have been in here reading all day. Addiction is an illness. Many people will never understand. I may seem biased here but sometimes I do not understand why. I have two sons with addictions and I would certainly be devastated if anything happens to them. But I would not be blaming them it is the addiction the illness that takes them away. Yes they are selfish in their own way because whatever pain they are going through they have the addiction to compensate. Us being the family or friends are the ones who have to suffer because we have that emotional bond. I say hurtful things to my sons because I am at my wits end. Seeing them destroy themselves and I am helpless. But they are not to blame it’s the illness and there are so many small minded people out there who have not experience addiction or mental health that will never empathise. Am sorry if I am going on but reading and replying is actually taking my mind off the torture I am going through and is the reason I signed up to this site. Desperate is not the word but believe me, the addict is also suffering just they can numb it. We can’t!

replying to dazebot

Hi Dazebot, I am so sorry for your loss. I am the mother of an addict and my husband ( not his father) is of the same view as your wife and it is incredibly difficult and hurtful to hear his views sometimes, so I completely understand. My son's behaviour and actions have been appalling but it is clearly an illness and no right minded person would behave in that way. Do you think your wife would read a book or even an article on the subject of addiction, it may help a little. It helped me as I too feel so angry with him on a regular basis! I noticed too that there have been some recent studies that indicate that their is an actual physical difference in addicts brains....

replying to dazebot

Hi Dazebot,

I am so sorry to read your post and to know how this has affected you and the rest of your family. It is good that you have been able to find some peace but I'm sorry that this is not true of your wife.

If you think it would be helpful maybe you and, if she would like to, your wife could contact The Icarus Trust. We are a charity that supports the people around those with addictive behaviours.

We have trained and experienced counsellors who may be able to help support your wife make some sense of what has happened with your sister and find a way ahead.

You can contact us on help@icarustrust.org or visit the website www.icarustrust.org

I hope that this is helpful. All the best to you.

replying to dazebot

Can somebody help me I’ve been addicted to dope for six years now smoking it every day I was raped at the age of 14 and then met a older guy at fifteen who mentally abused me and was very paranoid himself as he smoked too after three long years I managed to have the strength to leave after things got out of hand for the last year I’ve been using cocaine at least every weekend I also fell pregnant a couple months ago but decided in the best interest of me and the baby that the best fission was to terminate as I cannot yet fully look after myself let alone a innocent child and to be honest a couple days a week aswell I decided on Monday enough was enough and I was going to take control again it’s now Thursday and if I’m honest I’m struggling I’m sweating my moods are all over the place and i just need some advice on how to fight this craving please anyone help ?

replying to dazebot

I could be wrong. But it’s possible the answer may come from viewing things from a different angle.

Ask yourself why your wife is still angry.

My husbands sister was a drug user and alcoholic. She now only drinks as far as I know. As the wife I have in the past been resentful that he seems to forget all the things his sister has done, including putting the health of our children at risk. I just want him to still remember as I do , because I feel he is handing her the “ get out of jail free card !” She was a terrible mother and the lasting effects of that will live on long after she’s gone. I feel I try so hard to be the best mom the best wife and all I crave is love and respect in return. Maybe your wife sees you giving love and sympathy to someone who she feels has caused pain, undermines people who are able to give unselfishly. I make the point ABLE, as addicts are not able their focus sadly drags them somewhere else.

What helps me is when he acknowleges what she has put her family through.That her weaknesses aren’t a excuse they are just a fact. That he is thankful neither he or myself will ever walk that path.Then I feel as if he’s is not forgetting , only forgiving.

Maybe just maybe, she wants you to forgive but not forget. Explain to her that forgiving your sister is for you, so your soul can heal. Forgiving doesn’t wipe the slate clean of old events it clears a path for the future. Your future. It’s the only thing your sister can now give you ...peace.

That is what the sister beneath the addition would want for you. Your as human as she was. You can be angry, sad, resentful all without guilt. Dwell on the good memories even if they are sparse. When your sad remember life is a journey, a path with many corners that will hold both sadness and happiness. Just keep on putting one foot in front of each other and your happy corners will come !

Please remember if I am completely off base with the above it is sent with the best intentions and good wishes. Take care, stay strong.

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