Is this enabling?

Is this enabling? 2014-06-12T00:35:07+00:00
  • Author
  • mousemouse
    Post count: 8
    #1346 |

    Thanks for this forum.

    I am having a hard time deciding what to do.

    My brother is a musician.  He’s been struggling with serious drug problem for at least two years now.
    He’s lost so much (recently evicted and living in his car), I feel like he will surely seek help soon (he talks about it a lot but doesn’t seem to ever DO anything).

    He lives in another state so I don’t have a many opportunities for positive reinforcement (beyond phone calls) or for allowing negative consequences.  Seems like he has plenty of those, though.

    When he was evicted he put his grand piano (a Steinway, purchased when he was doing well; his only possession of any real value) into a storage unit.

    Now he doesn’t have the money to pay the monthly bill.  It’s not a huge amount of money and I know he would have it if here weren’t buying drugs.

    It seems like paying this bill is not allowing for negative consequences, but I’m having a very hard time saying “no” when he asks me if I will pay the monthly bill.  The thought of him losing that piano is so hard ….. I think it would send him spiraling faster and in the wrong direction.

    Any thoughts?

  • jfoote
    Post count: 1

    Hi Mouse – First, your brother is very lucky to have such a thoughtful sibling and supporter…even if he is not thinking about these things , you are! CRAFT ideas and strategies are always a little harder to do and less effective from afar with less contact, because that’s sort of the nature of reinforcement strategies..the more they happen the more impact they have. From afar however, it seems like there are positive incentives that matter here…one of them might well be just having contact with you…you might well be an enjoyable and uplifting support for periodic conversations, and you could start with having those be only under the condition of sobriety during the conversation. Second, in terms of the piano itself, you could also draw up a timeline with him saying you are happy to pay the storage for a period of time, but that continuing to do so will depend on him making some concrete moves to get help/make changes. That way you can be supportive and give him something to aim for. And again, thanks for being such a support in his hour of need.

  • mousemouse
    Post count: 8

    jfoote, thank you!

    I appreciate your insights and suggestions.

    I think you are right about our conversations being a positive for him.

    We’ve always had a close connection and I miss being able to talk with him like we used to.

    I’m a little unclear on how to be sure that we talk only on the condition that he’s sober.  I am pretty sure that he is always under the influence (he’s physically dependent on heroin).

    I like the idea of a timeline for the storage unit (for the piano), thank you for that suggestion. I think he’s at a point now (homeless) where he is starting to really feel the negative consequences of his problems in a very big way.  The timeline is a good way to add to that and I am hopeful that it will move him closer to a tipping point.  Thank you!




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