Need some serious advice.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    What would you do if you had an older brother that isn't doing well in college and doesn't seem to care, lives at home, smokes weed and drinks 3-4 times a day, and your parents seem to be completely ignorant of what he is doing... not to mention you find some girl's wallet with money, ID, and credit cards in his backpack with a bunch of cash, booze, and weed in it as well?

    I don't mind the drinking or smoking part, since it's his body he can do whatever, but the fact that he doesn't do well in school, doesn't give a ****, and might be stealing from other people has made me extremely uncomfortable.

    I was not snooping. I had a friend over and we were looking for a video game controller and the wire was hanging out of the backpack. He wouldn't believe it if I confronted him about it, however.

    I ask here because there are a lot of intelligent, knowledgable people here with unbiased opinions.
  2. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Just be blunt with him and call him out on it, if your parents won't do it who else will. He is at a point where if nobody stops him he will keep doing it.
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I'd tattle.

    He's not going to listen to his teenage brother's advice, so you may as well let your parents handle it.
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I have a friend in similar situation. His older brother has been smoking and dealing for quite sometime. As far as he has told, there isn't much you can do. If he is an adult (over 18), then your parents don't have much to say. He can move out immediately if he wants to and would probably find a place to stay at some crackhead.

    You can try telling your parents and let them talk to him. At first, I would concentrate on the stealing part and not be too fussed about the smoking/drinking. However, the original problem is most likely the smoking and drinking. That's not cheap fun so that might have lead to stealing. Professional help is never a bad option but your brother must agree that he wants to stop, otherwise it's useless.

    I think that at some point, your parents need to let go of him. If he continues this kind of lifestyle (especially the stealing thing), eventually giving him up to the police might be the only option. That sounds like a cruel thing to do but then again, is there someone else who can stop him? Also, it's better to get busted on something small because at some point, that small has grown and grown and you may be looking at serious prison time (e.g. a robbery, dealing of drugs etc).

    The most important thing is for him to understand that he needs to change. There won't be a change unless he wants to, no matter what you or anyone else does.
  5. soco macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    Yardley, PA
    My opinion on this will likely be unpopular, but I'd do the following, in order.

    First, try opening him up. This is different than you opening up to him, and very different than confronting him. I can't think of any situation like this that has gone anywhere with confrontation. If anything, you want to give the middle-point of indifference and direct attack. There's a sweet center to the balance here, and it's important to understand the other person. It's one of those put-yourself-in-their-shoes situations.

    If you open up to him with the love that's clearly in your heart, but be completely honest in doing so, it could work wonders. You need to let him know that not only is he hurting himself, but he's hurting others as well. Be clear that this hurt is both emotional and physical (I'm keeping in mind the stolen property here.) and let him know you're sincerely worried about his well-being. The best part is, if it doesn't work, damage likely hasn't been done. He'll probably blow you off or get offended, but it'll be easy to move on from and go to the next tactic.

    Second, you can circumvent him and try helping through gathering support from family and friends. Sometimes we need backup in these situations. See if you can determine who would be on your side with this, especially being open about this with your parents, and see if a good old fashioned intervention is in order. A non-confrontational one!

    Third, and I don't recommend this myself but have a cousin who this worked for with his sister, you could try the old 'liquor down the drain' method. Just take his booze and drugs and dispose of them continuously until he catches on that someone doesn't like what he's doing and he runs out of money to keep resupplying himself, at which point he may open up to stopping his behavior. Again, I really don't like this kind of thing. It's way too passive-aggressive and given the stolen property you found in his bag, this method may just lead to him stealing again and possibly hurting someone. I wouldn't want that on my conscience.

    Last resort? Turn him in. This is surely tough love, but he's breaking multiple laws in all this. Contact the police about the stolen property, anonymously, and let karma get the better of him. He won't serve nasty time, but he'll get a nice state-funded wake up call. If nothing else works, that should.

    Please don't take any of this as anything even close to professional advice. Before anything I'm babbling about, I'd speak to a professional counselor about it. There are resources out there. Read about them first.

    You have to keep love ahead of anything here. It's the most important fuel for what needs to be done. Programs that are available to him are his best shot before tough love. Don't forget that he's sick. It's not the flu, but it's an addiction issue. If you don't understand that kind of issue, look into it and gain his perspective so you know who you're really talking to.

    Check this out too.
  6. Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2009
    West Koast
    Step 1: Lock up all my valuable crap.
    Step 2: Figure out how soon I can legally move out and away from him.
    Step 3: Encourage him to move out and in with a (probably like-minded) friend.
    Step 4: Have a "Come to Jesus" meeting with him.
    Step 5: Tell the parents.
    Step 6: Tell the authorities.

    It certainly sounds like your brother is a doper. Dopers without money are synonymous with thieves. He will start out by stealing from occasional opportunities, then move on to family and friends. It is not a question of "If" as they say, but of "When." Dopers are liars and deniers. They will steal from your Mom's purse, they will steal from you, they will steal from their friends, and they will burglarize houses.

    Very little this side of a miracle will change them. Some have had luck with expensive lock-down rehab facilities in Utah (by expensive I mean $12,000/month for a 1 or 1.5 year stay). You will NOT be able to change him.

    Just like there are colleges all over the place and only an individual by themselves can make themselves go and stay with it, only a doper can make themselves stop. It's like quitting smoking or drinking. They have to want to stop. And they have to want to stop badly enough to discipline themselves through the process.

    For your sake, may I suggest you get in touch with a group like Al-Anon, which has programs specifically designed to support the family members of substance addicts. I wish you all the luck, I hope things work out for you, your brother, and your other immediate family members.
  7. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Sit down with him and have a drink and talk. From what I read, he seems pretty isolated from you. I'm not saying get drunk, or even get high, but just drinking with him and talk. See what's going through his head, he might open up to you. If he does, you can work on that slight bond to see if he'd be willing to sort his act out.

    Trouble with stoners, is they forget what life is like outside their lifestyle. Everything is hazy..
  8. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    This literally sounds exactly like what my brother is doing right now too.. Not really sure what to do about it either. It's funny how similar our situations are, I thought I was reading about my brother while reading your post.
  9. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    sounds like the lifestyle of 75% of College students ... maybe the wallet being there has a good reason? ... you have him convicted of theft without the actual facts.

    my advice is ... mind your own business.

    Unless he is some sort of "Meth Head" ... his situation will sort itself out.
  10. 184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    I agree.

    Two of my best friends/ roommates Senior year had led similar lifestyles. Two years later and they're over it.
  11. wvuwhat macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    I'd just talk to him man to man and don't be confrontational. You may be the person to talk some sense into him, as you're a close family member. See what he says.

    I know in college I had some random nights where I might've ended up with a girls purse in my backpack for a reason like, she had left it overnight and I was going to return it to her in class the next time I saw her there.

    Alcohol, in my opinion, is perfectly normal in college. I drank 3-5 nights in college at parties with friends and did perfectly fine in college.

    Per the drugs, I don't consider weed to be any worse than alcohol, but I always drew the line at anything else. As in, if I talked/hung out with anyone at college and found out they were taking bumps of Coke (happened more than 1 time to me), that'd be the end of my ties with them.

    In all honesty, I knew more people that drank and smoked weed and did well in college than the 20 or so friends I had at school that wouldn't do either. I think it's all about how motivated/smart you are.

    Don't throw your brother down the drain just yet, just sit down and talk.
  12. visim91, Jan 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012

    visim91 macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2011
    Give him a tab or two of LSD; turn him on because, clearly, someone or something (cannabis) has hit his off switch.
    If I may be scientific for a moment: his orbitofrontal cortex has been fried.
  13. visim91 macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2011
    Note: Few answers above me actually apply to your situation. Religion, long talks and tattling will only make him dig a deeper hole, to hide from the reality he's found himself in.
    Let me tell you something that may or may not surprise you: your brother is most likely a very scared individual at the moment. His substance abuse is an extension of his academic predicament.
    Again, he needs to be turned on to life and, sometimes, especially for the stubborn and far-gone, a "chemical" attempt may be most effective, and lasting.
  14. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    Some of those habits may blow over... but the whole having stolen another individuals ID, cash and credit cards... ? Yes, it's possible she left those with him for keeping, or simply forgot... but if not...

    I've known people to go through phases, theft was never one of them. Barring starvation or unusual circumstance, I don't know of anyone who "stole once" as an adult, and that was the end of things. It is one thing to be drinking, smoking and self destructive. It's another thing entirely when you prey upon others to support those habits.

    Put yourself in her shoes, do you know how much it sucks, and how disruptive it is to someone when their wallet, ID, credit cards get stolen? So if he's in the business of doing that, and you're aware of it, you have an obligation to intervene.

    All of the above is assuming those were stolen. Statement void if otherwise.
  15. wvuwhat macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    I tend to agree, if he's actually stolen some poor girls wallet, you need to tattle. But, like I said, just sit down and talk. If you're not able to talk to him man to man, there may be some family issues that may have lead him to his actions.
  16. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Some current empirical research citations for the efficacy of LSD in this situation, please.

    I'm not talking about the "research" from the 60' and 70's.

    I am not challenging the use of acid for recreational purposes - that's a discussion for another thread.

    I am not aware of current research literature supporting the use of LSD in the situation described. I am also not aware of research on cannabis "frying" the oribtofrontal (prefrontal?) cortex.

    I'm not looking for anecdotal or personal reports - I'm looking for controlled, scientific research citations.
  17. visim91 macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2011
    You and I both know there has been little to no formal research conducted in the decades following the 60's and 70's; still, a quick Google search will find that, as recent as 4 or 5 years ago, research was silently recommenced.
    Nothing conclusive just yet, but this surprising shift in thought and attitude among the scientific community - from University labs to well established, worldwide institutes - speaks volumes.

    Cannabis cannibalizes memory among other functions controlled by the frontal lobe. Short-term, intermittent use may not be suspect, but consistent, long-term usage has been linked with poor cognitive performance.
    One of many articles on the subject:


    Nothing anecdotal? Ah, well.
  18. iBlue, Jan 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012

    iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    Tricky situation, particularly if your assumptions are exaggerated. Maybe he's just having fun "finding himself" and will snap out of it on his own. Maybe he won't. Either way I suspect a confrontation wouldn't go too well. Any accusatory tone is going to be met with defensiveness. If you just can't leave it alone then tell your parents you get the feeling your brother isn't doing so well... without fully ratting him out. They're probably not as clueless about it as you think.

    It's easy to blame weed for (assumed) misbehaviour but if he's really abusing various intoxicants then that's a sign of a bigger problem. (Chicken or the egg?) I always have a difficult time believing these sorts of findings when I know so many functional weed smokers. I suspect it's all highly individual.

    As for the advice with LSD - it can bring on life-changing revelations in some people and some situations but certainly not always. Someone who (may be) so uncomfortable with himself that he (may be) stealing to support his inebriation isn't likely to go anywhere positive on a trip. Also not the most practical advice. What, is TSE going to go score some acid and tell his brother he should take this?
  19. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    if you weren't snooping, why would you have continued to rummage thru the rest of what was in his pack after you retrieved the game controller? :rolleyes:

    His life may be a mess, but it doesn't sound like you're on the best of terms with him anyway. Are you sure you aren't just playing out another round of sibling rivalry over this situation?

    Perhaps you should focus on dealing with your own issues and leave him to deal with his messy life
  20. TSE, Jan 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012

    TSE thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Me and my brother actually get along very, very well. I regularly invite him to parties where alcohol is served at my university away from home and he joined me a couple times. Last time we got in an actual fight was probably 5 or 6 years ago. Trust me. I respect him enough and wouldn't scrummage through his stuff. If I really wanted to get him in trouble, I would have already.

    I took the controller out and literally right under it was the pink wallet. I knew my brother doesn't have a pink wallet.

    I just decided to stay out of it. I asked my even older brother about it, and he said that would be the best course of action. We are thinking he will snap out of it eventually and get motivation from somewhere else. Hopefully.
  21. bmacir macrumors 6502

    Apr 2, 2009
    The first part of your first point is very good advice. I was going to post something on the same line. The other points, no offense, are bad advice and mean confrontation, which you say is to avoid in the first point.

    Weed and booze is something most college students do, I would not worry too much about it. If the fact that he is not doing well in school, bothers you, you could try opening him up. Maybe he has different interests or chose the wrong classes?

    Don't confront him or attack him though, just try to make him talk about it, without being judgmental. Better after he smoked some weed. He will be more keen to talk.

    Two important things: don't sneak up on him again and if you do don't jump to conclusions. The wallet in his backpack does not mean he is stealing.
  22. boss.king macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    I agree with Apple OC. It will sort itself out. He's not a child, so dont treat him like one.
  23. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Checked out your link. I didn't read the entire study, but the Abstract indicated an N=12. While this may be a well designed study, it is one study with a very small N. It certainly suggests further investigation and replication.

    As for anecdotal reports - while they may have value in suggesting controlled research, they are not generalizable as there is no control for experimenter bias, among other severe limitations

    I know you are aware of all this. My post was only to express concern over the suggestion to use LSD as a treatment for the situation in OP - which gives extremely limited information at best.:)
  24. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    I wouldn't worry about the booze/weed.

    It's the theft really and while I doubt you'll follow visim91's advice I don't think that's a brilliant idea either. As much value as I place on psychedelics they're not a magical "turn you into not a douchebag" drug, I love LSD but I know plenty of *******s who've taken loads of it and are still complete *******s.

    I'd confront him directly, even if he doesn't believe you about your rationale for looking in his bag he's still clearly in the wrong and if you can at all manage it I'd endeavour to get that purse to it's proper owner.

    Just on an ethical basis I wouldn't be able to let this sort of thing slide myself.
  25. Akack macrumors 6502a

    Mar 5, 2011

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