Substance abuse and Addiction issues really burn me up:

I have serious issues with people who suffer from drug and alcohol-substance abuse addictions. Not all of them, not even most of them, but the ones who refused to admit they have a problem or seek treatment -get help -or admit responsibility for their own actions.

I actually wrote a social worker I know a long email concerning this. I was surprised at how much I had to say & how very angry I still am.

In my own past, with my own family there were issues of this nature-but nothing so out of control of which I deal with in my married family.  This is a small portion-i started by talking about my own brother who occasionally smokes pot or drinks alcohol. Many other members of my extended family have also done this. Recreational use does not concern me as much:

About my own brother: He also likes to party-he is a recreational drug user mostly just pot and booze. I don’t judge, but I think it impairs his motivation and maturity level quite a bit…I worry for him. My best friend is also a recreational party-girl. I don’t know, I come from a family background with tons of substance abuse/addiction issues. But some of my relatives either drink or smoke pot or both .I’ve done those things in the past-really far back before being diagnose bipolar-but only tried weed like 10 times or less in my whole life. It never had much great effect on me.-probably because i do have bipolar. After being diagnosed, the years prior to being with hubby I did drink on a regular basis-but in my family everybody did-it was normal.
After my last bad mania in 2007, i stopped drinking completely.So i guess this summer will be 6 years sober.I used to go to AA and Alan-non. For a while, I believed I was an alcoholic- my mother was one-my grandfathers both were-other relatives too…but i got to a point where i realized i was not really addicted, but mostly self-medicating-when manic and completely off meds-I am way more likely to drink in order to lower my “high” of “mania.”-to even out. anyways, it is almost a non-issue for me these days, friends and family who do those things do not do them around me.
However my husband’s old brother, has a huge substance addiction problem- he is addicted to prescription pain pills and god knows what else. Over the past 13 years since I met him he only has gotten worse, he has stolen money from their parents-back when his Dad was still alive-and after their Dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer this idiot stole pain-medications from his own dying father.Since his father’s passing 6 years ago-he has stolen from my husband, from me, from his own mom. He has been in jail numerous times. Although that has not happened for 3 or 4 yrs now, I keep waiting for the other show to drop.
My mother in law enables his addiction by giving him pain pills of her own or giving him money to “fix” stuff around our house. He has no steady job-he tries to run his own company-which is just him and his wife-as a heating/cooling person or self-proclaimed handy-man.The irony there is he is a jack of all trades-master of none.When he comes by to “fix” things-he usually breaks them worse or botches it or does not even do the work at all. its a joke. It’s really tough for me to handle sometimes, especially since this brother and his “wife”-(still not sure if the marriage was legal.) come over everyday. And every time they are over, he steals shit from our house.
Hubby knows how angry it makes me. it makes him mad too.It is sad because he is the eldest brother 44 yrs old.Hubby is youngest of 4-his middle brother and older sister are both very cool people. I did tell my husband that i wish I could just feel empathy for them,his older bro-and wife- our own life is so much better and happier.
They live in his wife’s parents basement. His wife is supposed to be bipolar too. Her parents are alcoholics. I have a sense that part of the reason, they are always over-is maybe her parents do not want them sitting in their basement all day? She-the wife-is younger than me!! She’s only 33 or something-but due to all the drugs or a hard life-she looks near 60 yrs old. I don’t know. I do not like dealing with them. I feel trapped with they are over…like i cannot leave our upstairs bedroom because who knows if they would find a reason to claim to come up here and steal something from Hubby or Me. His idiot brother once even stole a blank check from my hubby, back when he lived with us!!-he used to live in our basement till he married this 2nd new “wife”.He made the check out to himself for $100. My hubby managed to get it cleared up with the bank without getting his brother thrown in jail…but geez…I really wish this person would get out of our lives-but he is not going to be while my mother in law is still alive and still enabling his drug issues.
I’m not sure why i went on that tangent.I’m used to persons being recreational users-my mom was an alcoholic but she was “a functional alcoholic.” she drank everyday, hard stuff, scotch-whiskey on the rocks 3 or 4 drinks per night. But she never drove drunk and she worked most everyday of her life, She was a U.S.postal carrier.
I know way too much first hand about the family dynamics in a substance abuse family, there is an enabler, an addict, a savior, and usually a scapegoat. In my family, I got to be the scapegoat-it kinda sucked. Frequently, there is denial about addiction throughout the whole family system. Without an intervention-and someone to convince the other people in the whole co-dependent mess-that the addiction is real AND causing huge problems-nothing changes…in my current married family, i am powerless over my brother in law, his dumb wife and my slightly crazy, enabling mother in law.
Luckily the rest of Hubby’s family is pretty wonderful. Just as lucky, He my hubby- is not too big on drinking, gosh maybe 2-3 beers per year? And he has never done drugs in his life. He does not want to either.So that’s totally ok with me.We are in a tight spot-sometimes because Hubby and I are the primary care-takers of his 62 yrs old mom, she’s got type 2 diabetes, low thyroid, hypertension, kidney problems, and has a history of 4 heart attacks. One was mild, 3 were severe so then she had to have triple bypass surgery. They also thinks shes got gout, because she has extreme swelling in the leg they took a vein out of to do her bypass. So we try our best to take care of her.
If we ever say barely a negative word about this older brother-she goes off like a fire-cracker. She throws temper tantrums, saying she wants to kill herself, none understands how she feels and she’s gonna move out on us.  It’s all very borderline-personality-disorder.In fact it would not surprise me if the older brother is also borderline.He was diagnosed bipolar 2 but that was several years ago at the height of his addiction to GHB. So who knows?
All of these issues cause me  quite a bit of drama, anger,resentment and pain. Not too mention guilt-i actually feel guilty for hating my brother in law, but I can not stop being angry-he pushes way too may of my buttons. I also feel guilty because sometimes i just wish my mother in law would move out or drop dead-i really do care for her-but she stresses me out so much. Everyday, everything is pure stupid drama with her, she gets off on mind games. She is also a pathological-or maybe just addicted to : Lying. She is constantly making stuff up, changing the facts, she lies constantly. It is kinda twisted.
So getting a job, would be very awesome on so many levels-especially to get out of this house for a bit. His mom is here all day everyday in between multiple dr visits and his oldest bro and wife come over almost every day-if not every i would say 5 days out of 7. They stay anywhere from 20 min to 4 or 5 hours.
I wish I could stop resenting them and let past grudges go…but its very tough at this point.It sure as heck, does not help my own mood-disorder much. I long for the day when it is finally just me and Husband. He and I rarely fight, are generally very happy together and enjoy each others company very much.
It disturbs me as a trained art therapist, how very little empathy I have towards this person. I should pity him, to be so strung out and such-maybe I would if he ever admitted he’s got a drug problem. Or even if he ever apologized, for his past misdeeds. Instead-he feels entitled, to do as he pleases, never caring about the feelings or property of others. He broke a lamp of mine two weeks ago-just because he needed spare “parts” for a so-called “job”. Not only did he ask nobody’s permission, he said nothing at all. we discovered it after the fact.
It just makes me really really angry. I studied about Family Art Therapy and Family systems. We covered addictions. I even took a course entitled Drugs and behaviors in society. Many years I would attend 12 step meetings on and off-the people i met there-i respect way more than my brother in law-at least they admit they have an addiction or problem. He takes no responsibility for himself, his actions or illness. He is just going to keep going, to get “high” on as many prescription drugs as possible-he doctor shops-we believe he even buys them off the street when he runs out-because he takes way more then prescribed.
This man is not going to stop until he kills himself. He has 3 children from his first marriage-they are my nieces and a nephew. His eldest daughter has married and now he has a 3 yr old granddaughter. I care about these people. And it will hurt them if and when he ever OD’s but nobody will be surprised. This has been going on so long, the only person who also refuses to see his issues-is his mom who enables him.
There is nothing I can do to stop/alter or control this person.It’s out of our hands. We suspect that the wife does drugs too.
I really try to understand-but it baffles me , how much the addiction has ruined his entire personality. I met him right at the start of the issue, I tried to get him to join NA. He refused. He thought he knew better. He has been a tornado headed for destruction ever since-everything in his path-total chaos.
I do not feel like a bad person or even highly judgmental.However this current state of affairs really burns me up. It brings out my inner bitch demon and i do not like it. People always compare substance abuse and addiction to being an illness. For some that may in fact be true. But for others I believe that there is a level of personal choice involved. I guess that is what pisses me  off the most.How selfish, greedy and narcissistic it all seems…..just for a “high” or “buzz” or “escape.” I do not understand why your life could be so terrible you must be ‘high’ at all times….i just do not get it.