Siblings of Addicts: How to Support Struggling Brothers and Sisters

Start your road to recovery in a comfortable, serene, and compassionate space. Bright Futures Treatment Center offers you the opportunity to make a fresh start.

bbb logo
gold medal badge
florida department logo
ncadd logo
farr logo
organization member

Once you find out your sibling has addiction issues, it can be difficult to accept the fact their well-being has been crumbling before your eyes for quite some time. In situations like these, many end up in a sea of questions, wondering how they hadn’t seen this coming before. Unfortunately, addiction isn’t always that obvious. It involves an array of patterns and behaviors addicts resort to in order to hide the fact they have a problem. No matter how close you are with your sibling(s), it’s still possible not to notice the addiction taking over their lives until they can’t hide it anymore. However, when addressed properly, the addiction can be dealt with. This comprehensive guide is there to give you guidance on how to support struggling brothers and sisters throughout their recovery process.

Feel free to contact us if you’re looking specifically for one of the best addiction treatment Boynton Beach FL centers. We will guide you through our rehab programs, and admission process and give you all the answers you need.

Remain patient when facing your sibling with addiction problems

It’s difficult for family members to learn that their loved one has addiction problems. While it does affect the lives of the rest of the family, it’s the addict who feels it the worst. Therefore, it’s important to practice patience when addressing this issue. Your sibling needs you more than ever. Therefore, do your best not to panic, but rather shift your focus towards solutions.

curly woman hugging her sister
There are many underlying causes of addiction your sibling is dealing with.

Remind them that their lives matter

The intervention will be inevitable, therefore you should be prepared for a difficult conversation. That means it will be challenging to convince your siblings that it’s not too late to live a healthy and prosperous life. Don’t worry if it takes longer to remind them that their lives are actually precious. The majority of addicts feel heightened guilt and shame for having a problem in the first place, and for being discovered. Addicts often do their best to hide their addiction from family members and avoid becoming a burden. That’s why it’s important to let them know that seeking help is the best decision they could make.

However, be prepared for emotional outbursts, extreme reactions, and denial if the addiction issue is severe. At that stage, your siblings feel every pain possible tenfold and refuse to get help. It’s not easy to break through their solid belief that their life is over. So, make sure to have a group of close friends and family members ready for that kind of scenario.

Judging a struggling addict will only drive them further from recovery

Do your best to remind other family members to stay away from judgemental comments. This is the last your siblings need to hear. Judging them for their problem will only make them feel more miserable. The mental aspect of addiction is especially important, which is why feeding into their negative beliefs will keep them away from complete recovery. Your siblings must regain their self-worth back. Compassion is what your brother and/or sister need the most.

family members showing support
Showing compassion and taking steps toward recovery is the best way to support struggling brothers and sisters.

How to support your struggling siblings during their rehab journey

Many struggling addicts see rehab as a way of punishment. In addition, they might feel abandoned by their families. That being said, watch how you’ll present the benefits of entering the rehab. Therefore, watch your wording. Instead of “You must go to rehab…“, start with “I want you to get better, and rehab is where you can get proper help…“.

Remind your siblings that rehab is where they will be safe and taken care of. Promise you’ll visit them whenever it’s allowed. Also, let them know they’re never going to be abandoned, and besides doctors and therapists, you’ll support them every step of their recovery.

Educate yourself more on the matter

There are various underlying causes that result in various sorts of addictions. For example, if your sibling is known as an over-achiever at their school, it’s obvious that the abuse of prescription began as an all-night study session. Your sibling must have gotten the stimulants from someone who promised them remarkable results thanks to the enhanced alertness and focus the drug gives. The ongoing drug abuse results in deteriorated health, mental state, and emotional numbness. It’s common among those who abuse stimulants to resort to them each time they feel emotional discomfort as well. This example is just a drop in the sea of multiple of various causes of addiction to alcohol and different substances. Therefore, when educating on the topic, focus on the kind of addiction your sibling is dealing with.

As you’re researching the particular addiction disorder, learn about the adequate treatment as well. When it comes to the above-mentioned example, Adderall addiction rehab Boynton Beach treatment centers provide is the best solution.

Research rehab centers before you suggest them to your siblings

Nowadays there are plenty of modern rehab centers where patients have all their needs covered.  So, when looking for residential treatment center Florida,  make sure it has all it takes for a complete recovery.

psychology student writing ways to support struggling brothers and sisters
Find a rehab center where your sibling(s) will feel safe and get all the help they need.

How to find the right rehab center

First, identify the problem your siblings face. The type of rehab depends on the substance an individual is addicted to. If one of your siblings is struggling with meth, seek meth rehab Florida centers provide. If it’s alcohol, focus on alcohol rehab. This will make it easy for you to find adequate rehab centers where your loved one can get professional help.

Here’s what also to pay attention to when looking for a good rehab center:

  • Medical detox – Some rehab centers include it, and some don’t However, it’s best if your loved ones can have a medical detox in the same facility they will enter a rehab program. Explain to your siblings that medical detox means the withdrawal will be more bearable.
  • Variety of rehab programs – Focus on the rehab center that provides oxycodone rehab, cocaine rehab, and other types of rehab programs. When a facility treats different addiction problems, it’s often a sign they involve a team of addiction recovery experts.
  • Environment – The less distraction, the smoother the recovery will be. Therefore, check out rehab centers located in nature.
  • The ratings – The opinion of previous patients and their families will tell you more about the rehab center that interests you.
  • Medical staff and a team of psychotherapists – In addition to medical treatment, psychotherapy is extremely important. Check the doctors who would take care of your siblings, and look into their credentials and experience.

Inquire about residential stay at any particular treatment center that interests you

If your brother or sister has prolonged issues with substances or alcohol, chances are they’ll need to enter an inpatient treatment program. That means they’ll have to live at the facility for up to a couple of months. So, make sure to find a residential drug treatment Florida locals highly recommend.

Addictions are treated alongside mental health issues

If your sibling is struggling with co-occurring mental health struggles (bipolar disorder, eating disorder, major depressive disorder, etc.), rest assured it won’t prevent them from entering rehab. Modern rehab facilities include dual diagnosis treatment that tackles addiction and psychological issues simultaneously. Here’s what it entails:

  • Proper pharmacotherapy that doesn’t tamper with addiction recovery.
  • Special therapy sessions.
  • 12-step meetings.
  • Family sessions serve as an educative aspect of the treatment. You and the rest of your family members will learn more about the mental health and addiction struggles your sibling is going through.
psychologist explaining how to support struggling brothers and sisters
Dual diagnosis treatment includes family members in the process.

Make a list of several treatment centers and check them with your siblings

Sit together with your siblings and check out the rehab centers you’ve found. Check the environment, residential area, additional activities on offer, etc. Guide them through each stage of their recovery and explain patiently what awaits them. Keep in mind they might feel nervous about the upcoming rehab. It’s unknown territory for any person with an addiction problem, plus they don’t feel so assured their recovery can be possible. When your loved one hears the positive aspects of a rehab center and a rehab program from you, they’ll feel less agitated about living there for the next period.

Familiarize yourself with insurance options and other payment methods

Insurance coverage is your best solution, however, you must check with a rehab center whether they accept it. Also, make sure your sibling qualifies for any particular insurance plan you’re considering.


Tricare is an insurance program that covers drug and alcohol rehab for veterans, service members, as well as their families. If your sibling qualifies for it, ask at any rehab center from your list does Tricare cover alcohol rehab, as well as drug rehab.


If you wonder does Aetna cover drug rehab, make sure to verify it at multiple rehab facilities. Narrow down your choice of rehab centers that accept Aetna insurance plans, compare them, then choose the most suitable one.


One of the questions many rehab centers get is: Does Cigna cover drug rehab and who qualifies for it? While Cigna is a widely accepted insurance plan, it’s better to confirm this with a rehab center you choose.


These are the questions to ask a treatment center before you choose the Aflac insurance plan:

The thing about insurance coverage is that many get easily lost in paperwork. This is why it’s good to ask your chosen rehab center to give you the guidance you need and make the application process easy for you.


Don’t forget to ask at the rehab center does Humana cover alcohol rehab as well. It’s another common insurance solution that makes funding a rehab possible.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

This is another popular insurance option. But, is drug rehab covered under FMLA at the center where your sibling is entering a program? Make sure to check it beforehand.

contract signing
Insurance coverage can ease the financial burden of rehab.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Although it’s one of the most sought-after insurance solutions, the question you should ask is –  Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover alcohol rehab (or drug rehab) at your chosen center? When it comes to insurance options, don’t take anything for granted.

Crowdfunding platforms

It has become normal to raise funds for any kind of personal cause (rebuilding a house, medical expenses for demanding surgeries, rehab, etc.). There are several verified crowdfunding platforms you can use for raising non-returnable funds.

Personal finances

If you decide to support struggling brothers and sisters straight from your wallet, make sure you have enough funds. Learn about the average costs of rehab and then decide if you can afford it. Remember there are other ways, as mentioned above, that can ease the financial burden of a rehab.

How to support your siblings once they begin a recovery process

After they complete a medical detox, an addict enters an extensive recovery process. This is where they begin to face all kinds of emotional challenges they’ve numbed out with substances or alcohol. Therefore, be the one who will encourage them to speak about what they feel. Their emotional health, alongside proper treatments, is crucial for their recovery.

Write to them as often as you can

If the rehab center doesn’t allow phones, get creative with old-school letters. Keep your sibling updated about what’s going on, however, don’t make it too serious. You probably have a specific way of communicating and joking with your sibling. So, make the letter sound like you’re speaking to them live.

What to speak about when visiting siblings in a rehab center

Visits at a rehab center will be limited. Therefore, use that time to speak about the progress your brother or sister is making. Let them open up about their recovery journey. Make sure to let them know how strong they are and how far they’ve come. When they hear something like that from their loved ones, individuals struggling with addiction feel more motivated to keep going.

a friend showing support
Show your brother or sister that you’re proud of their progress.

The post-rehab period is crucial

The first days of an addiction-free life are crucial for the following reasons:

  • Recovering individual is coming back to regular life after months of isolation.
  • It’s impossible to avoid external influences that may trigger their relapse.
  • Some recovering individuals often renew contact with people whom they did drugs with.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chances of relapse in the first days of sobriety are very high. That’s why an emphasis must be put on an aftercare program. Aftercare is the last stage of recovery during which a patient has to apply tools and skills they got during rehab. They also have to remain independent when it comes to abstinence, and combat cravings whenever they show up. However, it’s sometimes easier there than in practice. That’s why therapy sessions included in the Aftercare program are there to help a patient stay on the right path.

Is there a possibility for your sibling to relapse?

Recovery is a lifelong process, which is why you must be prepared for all kinds of scenarios. Whether your sibling is going to relapse or not depends on multiple factors affecting your sibling. It’s good to be prepared for such a possibility, and thus have a plan B ready. Before your sibling enters rehab, contact the treatment center and ask them about relapse prevention programs.

a therapist and a patient
Relapse is likely to happen in the first month of sobriety.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself too

Your siblings are the ones struggling with addiction, however, it’s you who it will reflect on as well. Supporting someone’s recovery is emotionally, mentally, and financially draining. These things are more often than not inevitable when it comes to severe addiction cases. The entire process may sometimes make you feel hopeless and exhausted. Even when you know your siblings are safe in a rehab center, you won’t help but think about whether they’ll stay sober or relapse. That’s why, no matter how much you care for your siblings, you must take care of yourself as well. You won’t be able to help anyone if you don’t keep yourself going.

Include other family members in the process

Supporting someone through addiction is easier when you’re not alone. Therefore, make sure to include the closest family members early on and delegate responsibilities. Research insurance solutions together, and come up with a mutual recovery fund for your loved one. Also, show support for each other as well.

Therapy will help you go through this challenging period

People who are supporting their loved ones through the recovery process often resort to therapy. If you feel the need to do the same, don’t hesitate and look for a licensed, and experienced therapist. You’re human and also affected by the state your sibling is in. You also need support and additional advice that will help you handle your brother or sister’s addiction journey a lot easier. Moreover, you are also a person with responsibilities, wishes, plans, etc. Your daily duties will intertwine with the care for your loved one. Maybe you’ll have to cancel your planned weekend getaway due to financial reasons. Don’t feel guilty if you catch yourself having moments of frustration. It’s completely ok to feel this way.

therapist explaining to a patient how to support struggling brothers and sisters
You won’t be able to support struggling brothers and sisters the right way if you don’t take care of your well-being as well.

Hold your sibling(s) accountable

You can only support your sibling(s) on their recovery journey to some extent. Just because you’re a family member, doesn’t mean you are obligated to deplete all your resources. Therefore, make sure to draw the line on time:

  • Let your sibling know you’re able (and willing) to financially support their rehab, but not their entire life after it.
  • They’re allowed to stay at your home until they find a job.

Overcoming addiction also means accepting responsibility for past mistakes. When recovering addict doesn’t learn from their past mistakes, they are likely to fall into the same old addictive patterns once more. Caring for someone is more than material and emotional support. Feel free to remind your brother or sister about the part of recovery that depends exclusively on them – responsibility. Rehab is just one of the components of a lifelong recovery journey. What happens after your sibling is discharged from the treatment center determines their future life. However, make sure to let them know about this in a respectful manner.

Emphasize the importance of a continuous aftercare

Rehab programs at some of the best treatment centers implement different behavioral therapies during which a patient develops self-awareness and learns how to deal with triggers. That being said, chances are that your recovering sibling(s) also learned a lot from therapy sessions. Nevertheless, it’s good to remind them about the responsibility of their lives. The rehab might be almost over, however, the aftercare is necessary for a smooth transition into a fully independent, addiction-free life. Aftercare is an important phase for a recovering addict, therefore it’s important to keep up with therapy sessions, and tasks given by a therapist.

support word written with chalk on a black board
Support struggling brothers and sisters every step of their journey.

Final word

When you support struggling brothers and sisters on their recovery journey, rest assured it gives them hope and motivation to keep going. The duration of their recovery depends on a myriad of circumstances, personality, how your loved one handles their life after rehab, etc. However, be prepared that recovery may last much longer, even a lifetime. Even when living a sober life, former addicts can struggle with cravings, difficulties due to familiar triggers, and other issues. So, take the time to acknowledge how far they’ve come and encourage healthy lifestyles and choices. Recovering addicts with honest support from loved ones have better chances to remain sober permanently.



Latest Posts

Contact Us