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  1. #1
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Default A Real Question (re:Addiction & Family Dynamics)

    So, in the spirit of encouraging fresh perspective on a difficult issue for me, I'd like to share a personal story.

    My problem deals with my younger brother, Adam. He's 24, lives on his own and struggles with alcoholism. He's been in and out of rehab for most of his adult life (at least 7 different clinics, by my best count), is currently unemployed and is unwilling to seek further treatment for his disorder. What's more, his employment options remain consistently limited, as he does not have a college degree (he's made the attempt several times, only to have his addiction destroy his ability to consistently commit to an academic schedule). As a result of this pattern, he finds himself perpetually in debt, unable to establish himself romantically and often at heated odds with the rest of my family.

    My response to his behavior has been, as you might imagine, varied over the years. For a time, I was financially supporting him (while he was in college, and again when he tried to regain an occupational foothold after his latest rehab effort), only to realize he was using my support to buy alcohol. I've tried hardlining him into a corner where I withhold emotional support/physical contact. I've tried enacting support systems with my family/his friends to make him realize better his opportunities at a better life. Everything always returns to him rubberbanding into his addictive ways.

    I'm stuck.

    My primary goal in publishing this is to get outside critique, in an effort to reevaluate my role in his life.

    Presently, I've worked myself into a logical corner where I have a hard time justifying intervention due to his chronic disinterest in receiving help, alongside my sense of personal responsibility to do everything I can to help him overcome a problem that might be beyond his capacity to handle.

    Any and all thoughts are welcome. This is a real issue for me, and I'm interested to hear outside analysis.

  2. #2
    Member Nickels's Avatar
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    Have you typed him, that might help deal with some of the problems, or at least let you approach them correctly.

  3. #3
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Good point, Nickels.

    I hesitate, as I don't want to change my impression of his problem with Type.

    INFP is probably my best guess.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Blueberry LaLa's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have tried pretty much everything. How frustrating, and he's so young!

    Have you ever gone to a counselor or therapist? They might be able to give you some perspective and help you come to terms with how to deal with the situation. A lot of them are trained to help with addiction issues, and I'm sure they could give you insight.

  5. #5
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberry LaLa View Post
    It sounds like you have tried pretty much everything. How frustrating, and he's so young!

    Have you ever gone to a counselor or therapist? They might be able to give you some perspective and help you come to terms with how to deal with the situation. A lot of them are trained to help with addiction issues, and I'm sure they could give you insight.
    Yes -- my aunt is a psychiatrist and she's had him in front of many different types of therapists, ranging from psychoanalysts to behavioral specialists. For a time, he was on prescription meds, but was too inconsistent in his dosage for them to be effective.

  6. #6
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Ouch, I'm sorry.

    I have enough awareness of such things to know the relational web is immensely tangled and complex, and any specific advice I might offer will probably leave something unaddressed.

    I do think one guiding principle here is that, although he's your brother, you are not responsible to "fix him." Sometimes loving someone means suffering their loss while they work through (or do not work through) issues like this. This probably means engaging him as you can, without becoming part of the tangled web or dragged into it.

    I wouldn't lie and pretend the problem does not exist, it should be dealt with openly and without a lot of rancor -- matter-of-factly, when it's relevant to the discussion at hand. (For example, my sister told my dad without condemnation that they would still visit but never stay over night, due to his drinking.) It's not a fight for you to get him to change, you simply relay what your choices are as information.

    Also, if you feel that he has one day come to you for real help and is committed to change, then don't hold an unforgiving spirit -- do what you feel is worthwhile to be supportive of him as your brother.

    Basically the goal for you I think is to remove the responsibility you might feel for fixing him. Your goal is to just be his brother.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #7
    Junior Member Blueberry LaLa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Yes -- my aunt is a psychiatrist and she's had him in front of many different types of therapists, ranging from psychoanalysts to behavioral specialists. For a time, he was on prescription meds, but was too inconsistent in his dosage for them to be effective.
    I meant YOU. Have you gone to a therapist. So you can stop beating yourself up for his failures.

  8. #8

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    Geezuz brother, you have my concern and sympathies is what. Along with a heapin' helpin' of understanding. (Alcoholism is more tradition in my family than disease, so I feel your grief on this.)

    Truth is, the truth is what you think it is --hard. And there's not a whole lot we can offer you other than our support. Because you'll never stop trying to help your brother until you believe that there's more harm than good in it --all 'round.

    Is that what you're trying to determine at this point? If there's anything left to explore you haven't thought of? 'Cause it seems to me you've tried a lot.

    Much love.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  9. #9
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I do think one guiding principle here is that, although he's your brother, you are not responsible to "fix him." Sometimes loving someone means suffering their loss while they work through (or do not work through) issues like this.

    I wouldn't lie and pretend the problem does not exist, it should be dealt with openly and without a lot of rancor -- matter-of-factly, when it's relevant to the discussion at hand.

    Basically the goal for you I think is to remove the responsibility you might feel for fixing him. Your goal is to just be his brother.
    This is a really good point.

    I've traditionally approached the issue with the (false?) conclusion that there is a way to thoughtfully "correct" his behavior to better align with what I would consider a healthy, happy lifestyle, free from the destructive tendencies he so often has when he drinks.

    The reality is that things like addiction rarely offer a linear equation to solve.

    I'm having a hard time following through with this. Although I certainly agree with the fundamental wisdom of this approach, I feel like I'm just choosing the path of least resistance to serve my psychological bottom line.

  10. #10
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Truth is, the truth is what you think it is --hard. And there's not a whole lot we can offer you other than our support. Because you'll never stop trying to help your brother until you believe that there's more harm than good in it --all 'round.

    .
    Oh, no I know.

    I'm not even really looking for a sympathetic response. Honest diagnosis of my logical approach is primarily what I'm hoping to accomplish by publishing this.

    I want to see if additional countermeasures exist, beyond the scope of what I've tried thus far.

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