A mother wrote an email message to me: My son is seventeen and in his second treatment facility – this time for ten to twelve months in a long-term facility. Skateboarding and trouble started at fourteen and we sent him to a wilderness program for four months. His sister is two years younger. She loves him, is loyal to him and she keeps his secret. I feel like a total failure as a mom and can’t believe our life has been taken over with addiction.

My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: Addiction takes the addict by the throat, but collateral damage is rampant especially with siblings. They are caught in a space of loving their brother and wanting to help, but not knowing what help looks like. They keep the secret of the addiction because they don’t want to betray their brother. They are confused, hurt and powerless and don’t know what to do. As my younger son said about his brother, “I don’t know how to help him. He’s like Superman with kryptonite around his neck.”

Today’s Promise: I’ll talk to my children about their brother and listen to their fears, but I can’t force them to expose what they know. I must support them and love them through to honesty.

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Cathy | Treatment Talk
13 years ago

We become so focused on our addicted child, which leaves the remaining sibling in a difficult situation. They see our suffering and are affected by the addiction as well. As we try and let go from the
addicted person’s problems, and with time, some of the hurt will heal. I agree completely that honesty is so important.