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Talking Points About Addiction

When one of your children has an addiction, talking to your other children about their treatment can feel challenging. However, it doesn't have to be. At our substance abuse treatment center, we're committed to providing treatment and support for the entire family. For information about talking to your children about their sibling's addiction, contact Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today at 662.373.2828.

Talking to Siblings About Addiction

Al-Anon is a twelve-step fellowship group created for friends and family members of alcoholics. This program embraces a philosophy of three C's when it comes to how they personally relate to another person's addiction. These three factors include the cause, cure and control of their loved one's addiction. I didn't cause it. I can't cure it. I can't control it. In addition to these three C's, the National Association for Children of Alcoholics introduces four more C's: care, communicating, choices, and celebrating. I can help take care of myself by communicating my feelings, making healthy choices, and celebrating me. An adolescent sibling who becomes addicted changes the home. Addiction in the home through a sibling or close loved one can be confusing to younger siblings or older siblings. Addiction is a disease that is experienced personally, through the adolescent or teen sibling who is addicted, and a disease that is experienced relationally through the rest of the family. Talking about addiction with family members needs to be a safe, open, and honest conversation that empowers siblings to take care of themselves. When a sibling goes to treatment, it can bring up many questions, insecurities, and fears about what addiction is and how a loved one in treatment is going to affect the home. There are a number of strategies we provide the siblings of those in our residential treatment program. 

Talk About Addiction as a Disease

Siblings might not be old enough to understand the complexity of brain chemistry and the specific mechanisms which lead to addiction in the brain. Therefore, it's important to remind your children that their sibling's addiction is a disease, not a moral problem.

Use Words that Kids Can Understand to Describe Addiction

Child psychologists suggest using words that describe the way addiction takes over the brain to emphasize that addiction is not the fault of the sibling, but something that has happened to them. Words like: stuck, hooked, and trapped, are effective in describing the experience of addiction.

Encourage Trust and Honesty

When addiction occurs in a beloved sibling, it can be scary. Other siblings might find drugs, might find their sibling using drugs, or find them intoxicated on drugs. Despite potential threats or bargains, siblings need to know it is safe as well as important to report activities that involve drugs and/or alcohol regarding their addicted sibling.

Remind Siblings That They Are Loved and So Is Their Sibling

Sending an addicted adolescent away to long-term residential care can send mixed signals. Let siblings know that going away to get help doesn't mean there isn't love or care at home. When a sibling is sick, they go to the doctor. An addicted sibling is very sick and necessitates a different kind of treatment from many different doctors.

Seek Support at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers comprehensive and customized treatment plans for every client at every level of care. We offer long-term residential treatment programs for adolescent males experiencing substance use disorders. We offer a range of treatment options, including:

  • Alcohol use treatment
  • Heroin use treatment
  • Opioid use treatment
  • Cocaine use treatment
  • Meth use treatment

Stonewater serves Mississippi and the southern region with innovative, quality treatment for all of our residents and their families. For information, call us today at 662.373.2828 or use our convenient online form.