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:
- 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.
- 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!