My 82 year old mobility challenged mom is still living in the house I grew up in, but has completely stopped taking care of it. It is no longer safe or sanitary for her to live in. I have no doubt she is deeply depressed, but she has refused counseling, cleaning help, or taking any other measures to make her situation better. She is still considered of sound mind despite her horrible decision making. I have even had social services pay her a visit to no avail. I manage all of her medicine and bills and am working on obtaining POA.

My 39 year old drug addicted brother further complicates things. He has been a drug addict, in and out of jail for over 20 years. My mother is the classic enabler. He has full access to her bank cards, checks etc., she even bought him a car. He let his "friends" into her home, they turned it upside down and stole many of her treasured possessions. Then he totaled the car she bought for him and was arrested with her debit card, heroin and cocaine in his possession. Her response? She paid for his defense attorney. She is as vulnerable to his lies as she has ever been, due to her declining health and memory. Never mind the fact that there is no chance of recovery for my brother as long as the two of them are living in such a codependent way.

The stress and guilt I feel is horrendous, and I feel physically ill every time I have to go to my mom's home for something. We used to be extremely close, but this has changed the dynamic of our relationship entirely. My every day is spent trying to minimize the impact of the chaos. At least when my brother is in jail I know one risk factor is lessened. He has just arrived home from jail and I am struggling with how to manage Christmas.

I have no other siblings, but I am blessed by a very supportive husband and network of friends, and I do see a counselor to help me cope.

Is anyone experiencing a similar situation? Any advice?

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Just need to say I am sorry for your predicament. My cousins were addicts. Two died from overdoses, one straightened out his life. I have friends with children that hit bottom and now are clean. But your brother has to want to be clean. So, you need to let him go.

Now Mom. Working to obtain a POA? Mom has to be able to assign you. You can't obtain it without her signature saying she wants you tohandle her affairs. Better get to a lawyer and with all that is going on, this would be the most legal binding. Then once you do that, get Mom evaluated. No one makes the decisions and lives like Mom does if in their right mind. If she is found incompetent, find a nice AL if she has the money. Get her out of that house away from brother. Clean up the house and sell it.
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Reply to JoAnn29


Try to locate an Al Anon meeting for family members of alcoholics and drug abusers.

My sibling was an alcoholic/cocaine abuser.

The meeting I found was just in the nick of time.
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Reply to lizzywho61

Your mom is also suffering from the disease of addiction. She may not be ingesting drugs but her addiction is your brother. She is as sick as he is. I would imagine that trying to minimize the impact of the chaos doesn't work very well. And you'll never be successful at minimizing the chaos. Not as long as there is an addict and an enabler around.

As Countrymouse suggested, there are family support groups for people who have family members who are addicts. A meeting like this might be able to help you be able to let go of your mom and her enabling and your brother and his addiction. These groups are springing up like mushrooms and I don't think you'd have a difficult time finding one.
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Reply to Eyerishlass

It strikes me that you're more likely to find people in similar situations in an addicts' families' support group: many of these families will have been struggling with the challenges for decades, and there must be many others whose senior members are now entering old age. Have you tried searching for support groups locally?
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Reply to Countrymouse

You state that she us considered to be of sound mind currently, but that her health and memory are declining, and that she is living now in unsanitary conditions as well - any chance she could be taken to her doctor for re-evaluation? Sounds like there might be some cognitive decline.

I would also get the authorities or APS involved if you feel like she is in a dangerous or unsafe living situation, such as the unsanitary environment, her untreated depression, and certainly if brother is using and/or dealing drugs in her home. The police or APS (or both) will come out to investigate.
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Reply to FrazzledMama

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