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My Drug Addict Brother; Black Sheep of the Family

24 July, 2023
Q As-Salam Alaikum. I have four brothers and I am the only sister. I was closer to my elder brother until one day my parents had to send him to the UK for engineering, although it was quite difficult for a middle-class family to afford such a high fee for his studies At that time, my father was working in Saudi Arabia, but after one year he had to come back because his health declined. My mother had to sell all of our property, including 3 houses, to send money to my elder brother, which provoked a bad reaction from the rest of us. But we had to bear it because our parents had high expectations from him. Meanwhile, my father’s health deteriorated day by day and suddenly he passed away. My brother never called him though he knew our dad was seriously ill. One of his friends visited us from the UK and informed us that our brother had indulged in all sorts of haram activities. He told us that he lived with a non-Muslim girl, used drugs, and alcohol. We asked him to come back, but he always made excuses. When he finally came back, my mother was checking his luggage in which she found vulgar pictures of him and papers which suggested that he had done zina and done other haram stuff as well. When she investigated from him, he denied but later admitted his sin. I checked his mobile and found that he still keeps in touch with that girl. He didn’t even bring his degree for which my parents were paying him all these years. My father always wished to see his success and he passed away with this hope in his heart. If he had been alive, his hopes and dreams would have shattered just like ours. I hate to see my brother around. In fact, I don’t even think he feels guilty about it or if he even cares. I have recently got engaged, but my mother cannot even manage expanses required for my wedding because she sold my part of jewelers for his education. I feel bad for her because she’s even diabetic and had to go through so many terrible things all at once. I pray five times daily, yet I don’t feel at peace. I hate my life because of my brother. I always looked up to him for his intelligence and kindness, but he’s not like who he used to be. I wish my father had pious and successful children because he worked hard for all of us, but he left disappointed with his elder son. Please tell me what to do. Every time I see his face, I cannot help but give bad duas to him from the bottom of my heart though I don’t want.


In this counseling answer:

“Learning about drug addiction and the loved one that is addicted will help you to love the soul that is dissociated and trapped because of the addiction while hating the illness of addiction.

It takes awhile for all of this to sink it. It may even take a life time, but every day we get better and better.

Take things one day at a time. Please, do take care of you and focus on creating a healthy future for yourself.”

Wa ‘Alaykum Salam,

I fully understand your heart break, frustration, anger, confusion and the myriad of emotions, thoughts, and feelings that must be running through you.

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This is a difficult way to learn about what is temporal and what is eternal.

Yet, this is how your life unfolded to bring you here.

Over time, what I am saying will make sense to you.

You are likely on a spiritual path with a heart that yearns for union with Allah (SWT).

These conditions that you have been experiencing are here in your life to teach you something and to develop you.

This may seem hard to believe right now.

First, I want to say that I truly empathize with your family.

Your brother fits the profile of a drug addict.

People who are actively using drugs heavily confuse their family members.

Mothers and fathers remember the person who they are while being confronted with the way they are behaving.

People who use drugs heavily have complete behavioral and personality changes.

These changes confound and confuse family and friends to the point where parents and other members of the family will likely not be able to believe what is happening before them.

They only want to resurrect their loved one so passionately and so deeply.

Yet, they feel helpless to do anything, so they do everything they can, even if what they are doing is not effective.

You watched your parents do this. They likely felt like they had to see everything to save his life.

They may have known he was going down the road of self-destruction. They did not know what to do.

They were not educated about drug addiction so that they would know what is helpful and what is not. This obviously is not their fault.

Being his sister, you are feeling this also. You may be so angry, hurt, and devastated by the horrible things he has done leaving you with nothing.

Yet, you are also mourning the death of the brother that you knew. You may very well want him back.

It is a complicated grief to have when the person you love is separate from himself.

Here is what you need to know about drug addiction.

It changes the personality of the persons using the drugs.

A family can sometimes help if they are getting support from outside sources and have a strong network of people who are aware of the nature of addiction.

I am focusing on the drug addiction instead of the other haram behaviors because when people use the drugs, they engage in behaviors that they would not engage in if they were not entrenched in the addiction and the addictive lifestyle.

So, the key is to learn about the drug addiction and the addictive lifestyle.

Without that understanding and the continued education, it is difficult to help.

So, what about you? You must take care of yourself.

Your feelings of hate and anger toward your brother will decrease intensity over time as you learn more about drug addiction.

You need to connect with people and support groups who are dealing with addicted loved ones and who, like yourself, have experienced severe loss and destruction as a result of a drug addicted loved one’s behaviors.

You cannot cure him or change him. You cannot recover what has been lost.

You cannot change the events that led to this very moment as you read this.

The only thing you can change is your response to this situation so that your own personal life conditions can improve.

You cannot help anyone at all unless you are in a strong position to help anyway.

So, your focus must be on taking care of yourself and planning for your own future.

You are not being selfish by focusing on making yourself healthy and strong.

By doing this, you are shifting your focus away from the past which you are angry about onto your own future which you have some influence over.

Do what you can to avoid being around your brother if he is not in recovery (meaning actively abstaining from using drugs).

You might be able to talk to your mother once you become more informed, depending on the dynamics of your family.

But proceed with caution so that you do not get caught up in a family drama that will take your focus and energy away from your building a successful life for yourself.

You can let your brother know that when he is ready to change, he will have your support; if you know that you have support to give.

Try to spend a lot of time with your network and support group of female friends and focus on your future marriage.

See if you can talk with your future husband and tell him your situation about money for your wedding.

And/or get a job and see if you can make enough money to pay for your wedding.

Do not dwell on the fact that your brother put you in this situation.

If you do get a job, then look at this as an adventure so that you can learn something new about the world.

When you are married, you will begin a new life with your husband.

By working on yourself and working on healing and seeing the world in a positive manner, you can increase the probability that you will have a beautiful life, regardless of what life throws in your path.

As we move toward maturity and increase in our spiritual perspective, we come to realize that everything is temporary in this temporal world and that we are truly building our “home” in Paradise.

So, what attention is good attention as related to our brother?

You would benefit your family by learning about drug addiction and approaches to use with a loved one who is addicted to drugs.

You can find out if there are any treatment facilities or programs that you can direct your brother too.

If he goes back to the UK, there will be plenty of programs for him to call if he decides that he is tired of hurting himself and those he loves.

Learning about drug addiction and the loved one that is addicted will help you to love the soul that is dissociated and trapped because of the addiction while hating the illness of addiction.

It takes awhile for all of this to sink it. It may even take a life time, but every day we get better and better.

Take things one day at a time. Please, do take care of you and focus on creating a healthy future for yourself.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.