Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Addiction and Substance Abuse

So frustrating

12/16/2003

Question:

What can you tell me about methamphetimine addiction? My brother was /is addicted. Spent 5 years in prison came out clean for 2 years, had a relapse says he`s clean now, I have serious doubts about the truth in that, has quit going to church and AA, which he was very active in both before. I still go to Alanon. Should I continue to talk to him even when I feel he`s lying. I know he loves us. It just makes me sick that we all including him are gonna have to go through all the crap again if he doesn`t get it together soon!!!He has children. One is tolerating this scummy dopey woman he is with, and his daughter, 12, won`t talk to him when she`s around. She did live with her dad and feels betrayed because she thinks this woman caused the relapse- he met her at AA.I decided after several talks to just be civil only to leave him alone and not speak to her. However, my poor dad begged me to keep talking to him. The girl is staying with him on my dad`s property. Dad let him know he didn`t want her there, said she needed to go to her family and get help and my brother needed to be with his family and get help.My brother says he can help her and continues to let her stay. It makes everything including holidays very awkward!

Answer:

I can definitely hear your frustration. I do not think there is anything "special" about amphetamine addiction that is relevant to your brother`s issues. Whether he was/is addicted to alcohol or heroin or cocaine or amphetamines, the behavior issues are going to be very similar...The disease of addiction leads to multiple life problems, regardless of the actual substance used. If anything, I can say that amphetamine is very similar to other stimulants, such as cocaine, which means that it is a highly addictive substance. The other thing, is that it is difficult to stay clean from stimulants unless one is working a program (such as AA) that helps a person to deal with triggers to relapse. Currently there is no good "medication" to treat amphetamine cravings (whereas there are medicines to help with alcohol or heroin cravings).

As for the issue of "continuing to talk to him", this is a very personal decision. Continue to seek the advice of your peers in Al-anon. When and if you do talk to your brother, share your concern that you believe he has relapsed; regardless of what he says, his behavior is "giving him away."

Finally, remember that sometimes tough consequences are a "blessing in disguise". If your father has the power to remove your brother (or at least his girlfriend) from his property, he should seriously consider doing so. This will let your brother know that the family is not going to tolerate his behavior anymore. Again, this is a very personal and painful decision to make, but consider the alternative of your brother continuing to use until jail (or something worse) happens.

For more information:

Go to the Addiction and Substance Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Christina M Delos Reyes, MD Christina M Delos Reyes, MD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University