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My 65-Year-Old Brother Uses Drugs and Alcohol Daily


Published May 25, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

  • ID 6435233 © Dennis Cox | Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

I have a brother who is approaching 65 who uses drugs and alcohol daily. I don't know if he's ever had a job for any length of time. He still asks my mother and sister for money. It's hard for me to spend time around him. I feel self-righteous, and I'm judging him when I have no right to. How do I get over this? Do I fake it 'til I make it? Do I tell him I love him when I feel so angry and I don't know if I do?

Slacker's Sibling (female, 69)

Dear Slacker's Sibling,

Not wanting to hang out with your brother is a bummer, but such is life. You should realize that if he's been using drugs and alcohol daily for many years, it's quite possible he may not be around much longer. I've known people a heck of a lot younger than him who have keeled over from indulging too much, too long.

You should have a talk with him and tell him exactly how you feel. He might be drunk and high and nothing might sink in, but do it anyway, even if only for yourself. You don't want to regret not saying anything after he's gone. Let him know that you want to love him because he's your brother, but his behavior has been making it difficult.

Your mom and sister are adults. As long as they aren't in financial trouble because of your brother, what they do with their money is their business. Perhaps the three of you could talk to him together and offer to find him the recovery help he needs.

I'm a relentless optimist, and I like to believe that people of any age can change their ways. However, I do realize that's often just not the case. If he doesn't take your advice, at least you will have tried.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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