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My Sister, the Secret Addict

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Guest blogger Marley: Several months ago, I wrote a post about my sister, who had gone to jail for allowing her underage daughter to have a party in their home. A momlogic reader left a comment suggesting that my sister might have an addiction, because she had taken a sleeping pill and gone to bed while all these kids were drinking. At the time, I thought the idea ridiculous. I mean, I know my own sister -- or so I thought. She was no addict; she was just a mother who'd made a poor judgment call, I believed. How could anyone get from my story that she had a problem with pills?!

Young woman sleeping with wineglasses in front of her
Well, that reader turned out to be right: My sister is a pill addict and an alcoholic, and no one -- aside from her husband and three kids -- knew about it until recently. We're all blown away with the news, especially with the fact that her children now want nothing to do with her. Yes, in the process of destroying her life, my sister succeeded in disgusting and disappointing her children for so many years, they no longer want her in their lives -- as in, they deleted her number from their phones and refuse to be around her. And they're fine with this, because their lives are so much better without her in them. 

This is straight from the mouth of my niece (my sister's middle kid), who was visiting a few weeks ago. The family -- my other siblings and parents -- are flabbergasted. Looking back, the signs were there (the drunken speech at my wedding, the slurring at the family reunion, etc.). If only we had paid attention! My parents are worried sick, scared that they're going to lose my sister. Apparently it's that bad -- and has been for a decade. A decade! None of us could ever have imagined the stories that have come out. 

Yet our main question on hearing the news was, "Why did it take you so long to tell us?" My niece's answer was that her father is an intensely private person, and her mother forbade any of them to mention it to us. We were all very upset that we weren't told, because we feel we could have done something to help her (like an intervention or something). But my niece assured me that they had tried to get my sister help. They did do an intervention, and they were successful in getting her into rehab -- twice. But both times, she was high within hours of getting out. 

My sister has also been to jail twice (once for a drunk-driving charge, and once for the underage party). She's a pathological liar. She's spent thousands of dollars a year on prescription medication (she gets it by "shopping" doctors). Now she's living alone in a furnished apartment with no friends, no children and no husband. 

I feel sad for my sister -- and for my parents, who are freaking out. When we call her, she prefers to pretend that everything's fine and that it's her husband and kids who are nuts. She's in denial, still -- after ten years of drug and alcohol abuse! I'm just so turned off I don't even know what to do. How can someone do this to their family, their children, their husband? She's done so much damage, yet she still takes no responsibility. But I guess that's addiction for you. 

Can you imagine choosing pills and alcohol over your own children?

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris August 27, 2010, 4:32 AM

This is very sad and I’m sorry for both your family and her children. Addiction is very hard to overcome and I hope that your sister will one day realize that she is an addict and get the help that she needs. I know from experience how hard it is to grow up with a parent who is an alcoholic. It causes damages that NEVER goes away. I spent many years mad at my dad for the damages he caused our family. I truly hope for the best with her children. I hope that they can get therapy so they can resolve their many issues with her addictions.

mountainmommy August 27, 2010, 8:10 AM

Such a sad story, I hope that she finds recovery someday, sooner rather than later for her sake, and for her family. You ask why would someone CHOOSE drugs and alcohol over their own family. She has crossed over into a place where she truly has no choice. Her addiction is all-consuming. The only way I know how to break an addiction is to ask God for help, join a recovery group and admit your addiction. It doesnt sound like she’s there yet, but I will pray that she makes it.

Jess August 27, 2010, 11:51 AM

This is such a sad story. Unfortunately addiction is much more common than most people know. In fact, my mother, brother and sister all suffer from an addition to pain and nerve medication. My mom would slit my throat to get her pills if that’s what it took. Its very sad but very true. And I wouldn’t even want to imagine what brother and sister would do for theirs. The worst part of it is that none of them have jobs or any income, they have been homeless numerous times. The get thier pills from stealing from others or trading their food stamps. My brother and sister have managed to get in trouble with the law quit a few times but never seem to get locked up. Luckily, I do not live close to them and rarely have to talk to them but I am blown away by their choice to choose the addiction over their family. No number of interventions can help any of my family members. I find myself feeling very lonely even though I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children I still feel as though I don’t have a family. Please don’t feel as though you are lonely in your fight against addiction. Its happening to a lot of people around you too.

Robyn August 28, 2010, 2:52 PM

As the child of two addicts I can tell you that your story is not only all too familar but also heartbreaking to read. I’m so sorry her children had to live in that kind of hell. My mother ultimatly wound up killing herself through her addiction. Thankfully it seems like your family is rallying around the kids which is SO important. Our family chose to go into denial, even now that she is gone they still refer to her as this person who was saintly and only “sick”. No one says the truth. She was an addict and she ruined lives. I urge you to get your brother-in-law to put the kids in therapy to deal with the feelings they most likely have regarding thier mother.

Anonymous September 12, 2010, 7:12 PM

If she’s all alone now her additon could get even worse. Try to get her to go to Rehab.

Berenice October 12, 2010, 1:20 PM

So sad to read this, I am so sorry that your family is going through this, but your niece is right, there might have been nothing that you could have done, she is sick and that’s something really hard to fight.

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