My sister has been a user of heroin and meth and parents enable it, what can I do?



She has been in trouble getting DUIs and when they put her in jail my family runs to be by her side and she gets no jail time, just a slap on the wrist.

My parents keep giving her money to buy her dope. Which is just crazy.

I told them both to quit enabling her, quit giving her money, quit doing anything for her. She sits around and demands money, she has them feeling sorry for her and don’t want to see her withdraw. Ok, then she is not going to get to the point to get help as long as its being supplied to her makes me so mad that we are still going through this.

All the money spent on her dope could have bought the whole family a new car. My parents need to be talked to about enabling her. It needs to stop.

She has destroyed our entire family with her drug use. Something needs to be done… enough is enough. Dad even gives her money to buy nerve pills.
We need to be on the Dr. Phil show for real.
Worried in Kentucky.


WOW I can really relate here. My parents supported my brothers substance use habit for so long (about 20 years) and following a lot of hard but meaningful conversations with them, I understood that they were doing this for two reasons:

  1. Fear of what would happen to him (if he didn’t have their support to fall back on, if he was out on the streets, if he became homeless, and fear he wouldn’t survive). The fear led them to believe they were keeping him safe, while (unknowingly) simultaneously supporting his negative behaviors.
  2. They simply weren’t given the proper education on addiction and how to be a supportive family member, so they never had the tools, information, or resources to know how to manage the situation.

Understanding the fears and reasons driving their behaviors helped me to not be so angry at them, and allowed me to communicate my concerns in a constructive way, versus a family feud. I wonder if your parents would be open to joining you here on this community site to read about other parent experiences, as well as become a bit more educated on how to be supportive parents and encourage positive change versus supporting negative maladaptive using behaviors.

Change is possible but takes patience and time. There is hope for them to learn better ways to parent your sister, just as there is evidence to be optimistic about your sister getting better, so I think the next step for you is deciding whether or not you want to be a change agent in the family. You could also just send them the link to this site, or buy them a book that explains addiction, provides useful real life skills and activities, and highlights the CRAFT approach. This is one of my favorites: Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change

I’d love to hear back about your thoughts, experience in trying this, or hesitations. Wishing you all the best, your family is lucky to have you!


I’ve seen heroin / opiate use go on and on because of a loved one’s fear / unwillingness to go through withdrawal. Maybe some of our community has ideas that can help - I thought this thread might be a start: specifically around suboxone and how that can help with the cravings and the fear of detoxing.

Sounds like getting on the same page with your parents would be really helpful. And maybe you could use some outside / expert support to do so?

Sending love.


Are your parents ready to get help for their financial troubles as a result of your sister? Do they believe they have a problem? It’s hard to help someone who doesn’t see their own behavior contributing to a problem. You can try to be a compassionate reflection of reality for them. It doesn’t help a loved one find recovery by ruining your own life and wrecking your finances (not by paying for inpatient treatment but just throwing money down the addiction hole).

It is possible to show compassion without giving money to feed the addiction. Sounds like your parents would benefit a lot by talking with a support group or experienced counselor.

My son has been on suboxone for a while and it’s stabilized his life. However, meth is a different beast.


Hi Sherry, As a recovery coach and someone who works in the field Id suggest a few things, One is try to find support family meetings near you , also there are some great books out there to help you and your family get a better understanding about addiction. Melodie Beaty, Co dependent no more is a great place to start . You should also look into a interventionist, if possible as they can provide some great insight and guidance for all in the family. If she is looking for treatment thats a big step as well. Everyone needs to stop giving her money, and means for her to support her disease . Good luck, click my profile image to message me directly if you’d like to correspond (or email: Krisma3535@gmail). Good Luck!! Stay strong.


Go to NA website (narcotics anonymous) they may have tools there. For example signs of addiction… to break the denial. print this out. Leave it somewhere the addict can see.

For family members there are also resources to add onto their knowledge and help them as well. Print this out or send it over to them via email. They may not act or change their mind immediately… takes a while to change mindset, habits. Plant the seeds then let go. Take care of yourself. If its bugging you a lot i say move out and just focus on building yourself up. That may inspire change.


Do they want to talk to me? I 100% would have died if my parents kept supporting me financially. I was a heroin addict for almost 10 years. My brother and sister felt the same way you do. My parents worked hard and their money was going to my drug habit and legal fees. For years my addiction put a strain on my parents marriage. Mom wanted me out of the house and wanted to stop giving me money, but I was. Daddy’s little girl so unfortunately I could manipulate him into giving me anything. (Its difficult to say that today, but that’s how strong this disease is. No matter how much I loved my parents, it was not enough to stop) Something changed at the end of my addiction, my father put his foot down. He said “I can’t help you kill yourself. I will not give you money or a place to stay, but if you want help I will always be here.” At that point I was so far gone I couldn’t get a job and I was not willing to become a theif… I actually wanted to get clean and in reality I had no other choice. My parents money was the way I was able to get drugs, eat, sometimes shower and now that was all gone. There is a chance an addict will continue to use but at the very least your parents will know they are not the reason for it. If that still doesn’t work it may be time to let go. Its devastating and they will need a lot of therapy but it’s better than being the reason their daughter OD’d.
I pray everything works out for you. Remember even though it’s frustrating your parents think they are helping your sister, they are doing the best they can with the information they have, let’s get them better information.


@kl1m thanks so much for sharing - wondering - have you ever tried this printout method?
Interesting idea :slight_smile: love to hear more!