Sister's addiction

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sister's addiction
6
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 1:24pm
Hello. I'm new to this board. I am having a serious issue w/my sister, Laura. I am 27 and she is 32. Our parents have been divorced for about 12 years now. We have no other siblings. She is married w/an 8 year old boy and 4 year old girl. The 8 year old is by another man. I have always been close to our mother, even before the divorce. My sister has not, but those are her issues, most of them I'm unaware of but understand that we had a hard time growing up. I thought our lives were going pretty well until in dec. of 2001 when her husband told us that she has an addiction to vicodin. This was tearing them apart, putting them in financial deprivation and he didn't know what to do. To make a long story a little shorter, my sister has gone up and down over the past year or so, in and out(mostly out) of treatment, etc. The latest thing was her husband sent me an email in January basically saying Laura has not stopped using drugs. He went on to blame my mother even going as far as saying she's a drug addict, blaming my dad, and that my mom was not welcome into their house until Laura started getting better. This was such a shock to us. They are basically turning away from Laura's problems and focusing on my mother, blaming her, my dad, and I feel like my husband & me as well.

I haven't seen my nephew and niece since Christmas and the only communication w/my sister the last few months has been thru email. I haven't heard from her since last Friday, 3/28. She is apparently going to outpatient treatment right now, and I understand that w/therapy she may need to cut her family off for a while in order to deal w/what she's going thru. But I can't deny that it hurts me that I can't see her children, I love them and only want the best for them and her. I want her to know I love her too, but I am so angry w/her right now! When I asked why my husband and I couldn't just come get the kids and spend a day w/them, she basically said she and her husband want to talk to us about what's going on before we see them. Since I've always been close to mom and she's probably jealous of that, I feel like she is transfering her issues w/mom to me. But I am not my mom! Her issues w/mom have nothing to do w/me. I just want to see those kids and be in their lives. I love them so much and don't want to miss out on seeing them grow. I want to know if any of you can understand where I am coming from? And also, any thoughts on her actions she's taking against me and the famliy? Am I being selfish? I could go on and on but I will stop now! =) Thanks for reading.

jen

 baby

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 9:24pm
Hi Jen - and welcome to the board! My heart goes out to you and your family, and I know this has got to be very painful for all of you. There are many supportive people in here, and you might check out this board: http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-bhdrugaddict - for more support and advice.

My father was addicted to hydrocodone (generic name for vicodin), which he took for pain in his legs from frostbite injuries during WWII. I don't know much about what the effects were, but I know he weaned himself off of it and tried to rely on tylenol and ibuprofen instead to battle the pain. What he didn't know, until it was too late, is that long-term use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen can cause kidney damage (3 tabs a day X 6 years is enough to cause complete kidney failure). He took 6-8 tabs a day for over 20 years, and he died as a result of THAT, not because of the hydrocodone.

I did a tiny bit of research on the internet about hydrocodone and what an eye-opener that was! There are websites out there devoted to the so-called 'benefits' of recreational use of this narcotic. You should do a search and read up - might help you get a better view of what your sister is going through.

Sounds to me like she and her DH are in denial about her addiction, and it's easier to blame others for the problem than to put responsibility where it truly belongs. Hopefully, if she continues therapy, she will work through this. Meanwhile, you might try sending cards and letters to the children and your sister to let them know you love them - no matter what. How about inviting the kids to a picnic (or day at the zoo, or whatever) and your sister and DH - anywhere that is neutral territory - would they be more willing to do something like that? Maybe they would be more comfortable letting you spend time with the kids if they were present, too. At least until they work through this. I dunno - just an idea.

I guess if it were me in your shoes, I'd just try to be as supportive as possible and work hard on let your sister know you care and love her no matter what.

Best of luck to you and your sister, and God's grace.

Msfit

                  &nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 9:12am
Hi sorry I don't know anything about vicodin and not an expert on addictions, but watching some people I know addicted to different things.I wouldn't take it to personnally. They tend to turn on the people that care the most about them. I know you want to help but there is nothing you can do unless she lets you and that probally isn't gone to happen.This is one she has to work through herself with experts that know how to handle it.

As far as the kids it's a shame they are stuck in the middle, but as long as they are getting decent care I think you should back off while your sister is trying to get over her addiction. I know that's easier said then done but it's possible that you could be contributing to her problem in some simple way that you don't realize.Not because your mean or out to get her but because she may take what you say and do completely out of context.I would see what she has to say and would think about it before you get to upset with her.For the kids sake I wouldn't pressure her to allow you to see them, but let her know you'd be more then happy to see them, and invite them over sometimes but don't get upset or argue if she just says no.Her problems didn't start over night and it's gone to take alot of time for her to work things out. Hopefully it wont be long before she's ready for you to see the kids but if she thinks you look down on her or are a threat to her realtionship with the kids she's not gone to allow it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 12:47pm
Thanks guys for your insight. I know what you mean about her taking what I say way out of context. My counseler says that I have to remember that she has been under the influence of drugs and sees things way different than I do. She is not in a functional frame of mind, but she is getting treatment, I just hope she stays w/it. I've decided to stop emailing her about my feelings about all this. It doesn't help & usually we end up saying things that hurt or we take the wrong way. I hate communicating thru email anyway, especially about serious stuff like this. I just want to see those kids! I will take your advice and try to stay out of it, but let her know I'm here if she needs me and that I am eager to see the kids. That's really all I can do at this point. She also is having issues w/my mom. I have always been closer to my mom than her and so she automatically assumes I take my mom's side. Well what she doesn't understand is that I'm not taking sides, I can love mom and care about her at the same time. I guess this is something that will take time for her to come to an understanding. I haven't heard from her in almost 2 weeks. You think if I emailed her a nice email, just letting her know I am still here for her and want to work something out w/seeing the kids would be beneficial?

Thanks.

Jen

 baby

Avatar for cl_starrzz_n_moonzz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:51pm
Hello Jen. I am glad you found us!! Please feel free to post as much as your time allows. We are always here.

I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. I know a drug addiction can rip a family apart. You say she is addicted to vicodin? What type of injury did she have to start this, if any? I know you are hurting and not seeing your nephew and neice must be tearing you in two. Maybe she is blaming your mom for something she thinks she did to her? I know a lot of addicts put the blame on others to justify their use of the drug. I know my sister blamed my mom and my mom just tried to keep her off drugs and on the right track. So m y mom got all the blame. She also took it out on me saying I was the "perfect" child the one who couldn't do any wrong in moms eyes. So yes I know it is hard and I would say it does get better but it will probably get worse before better. I know it took my sister a few years to kick what she was addicted to, but she went to harder(??) thngs before she saw the light and kicked the habit. Just stand back and try to understand that she probably doesn't want to hurt you or your mom. We are here for ya. I think I would write her an email telling her how much you support, love and pray for her and her recovery. Just try not to let it get to you too much. As for your BIL not letting you see the kids and being angry with you all. I would think he loves your sister very much and right now with her laying the blame at your mom I am sure he feels anger for what she is going through. I he believes her( which he may or may not do he hasn't been there her whole life) he may feel scared that something will happen and his kids will be in danger. Maybe you could ask if you all could meet in a neutral area where the kids could play and you all could talk. Just know that the talking stage is slow and a lot of hurtful things can be said. I know my sister threw some good ones at me but I held my ground and kept loving her.

We are here if you need us. I know it helps to let it out and get other opinions too. I will keep your sister in my thoughts and pray for the best. Until then~~Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 6:16pm
Thanks Michelle for your insight. I too am the "perfect" child, and I think that is where alot of her hostility toward me right now is coming from, but she is just now dealing w/those feelings. I guess when anyone goes into therapy you start dealing w/stuff that happened in the past, and even though she can't change the past and we had no control over it, it still must aggravate her to where she doesn't want anything to do w/me right now. I am going to print your your post and re-read when I start to get upset over this! I really appreciate everyone's advice and suggestions. This is a great board! =)

Jenny

 baby

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 6:28pm
Sorry, I meant to answer your question about what her injury was. Apparently she was having very bad migraines, this started I believe after she got married, which was in 1998. So she was taking prescribed vicodin for that. I don't know if she told the doctors anything else, but she would tell us it was for migraines. Looking back, I see how she would conveniently show up whenever my mom or me had had dental work or something that required pain pills. First she would ask to borrow some, and since I didn't need that many I would give some to her or my mom would, we didn't know she was addicted! We thought we were helping her! Then she would start coming by and steal some from us, mostly my mom since she was the one that has had many health problems that required pain pills. I was clueless and it never entered my mind that sharing our prescription drugs was harmful. We've always taken each others drugs, whether left over antibiotics, advil, or pain pills. Alot of people do that, but I will no more, believe me my mom and I have learned our lesson! But that was it, just the migraines. She fell and slipped a disc when she was younger, but at that time she could barely take drugs, they made her feel awful. But I guess as she got older, she formed a tolerancy, and then filled a void w/in her w/the drugs and the secrets and lies are also part of the addiction. I think sometimes being secretive and having something to hide from people is more powerful than the drug itself.

 baby