My dad does hard drugs and now he’s asking me and my brother to pay the bills. What can I do?

Dear EWC

Soooo, I know my father does hard drugs. But my brother and I learnt to live with it. I’m 17 and my brother is 19 and it’s only the three of us living in a house. Recently my brother and I got jobs but I only get paid around $200 every two weeks and he gets paid around $1k more than me. But for some reason, my father can’t afford the bills any more and is asking for us to help. I know he is spending more money on drugs now because he thinks that my brother and I will start paying bills more, but I don’t find it right that we should be paying bills now because he decided to spend more money on drugs and putting us into debt, basically forcing us to spend our earned money. So ultimately, my big questions is; what do I do? Should I confront him? He doesn’t know that we know about his drugs, but I doubt he’d stop. Should I get the police involved? Should I move in with a friend? I feel better paying someone else rent that I know isn’t spending their money on drugs. I know this is a tough one to answer but I am stumped on a decision here and some assistance will be majorly appreciated.

Lawry replies

I would be happy to answer your letter. I know from personal experience what it’s like to live with an addicted individual and it can be unpleasant and disturbing. What you describe is a very negative situation. I would agree that telling your father that you know he is doing drugs would probably not make him stop. You could try though.

I have included one of many websites dealing with drug addiction. It has a number you can call and they should be able to tell you how to approach your father: http://drugabuse.com/library/how-to-help-a-drug-addict/ . It also has some good advice.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you could try telling your father that you know and how it troubles you and you want to help. Ideally, I would do this with your brother. You want to be careful to not accuse him, as that may make him angry, which is a common reaction. If he is willing to talk about it once he knows that you know, you can talk about his getting help.

I personally believe that you have every right to leave if your father is unwilling to get help. And there is a lot of help out there for people you are addicted. I would agree with you that paying rent to someone else makes a lot of sense and would feel a whole lot better. At this point that you are enabling him to be an addict by paying for his drugs instead of helping him.

Other resources for you, if you want to talk to someone in person, would be to talk to your pastor or priest or other leader in your religious organization, if you happen to belong to one. They are good listeners and often have excellent advice and know the resources available in your community. Your family doctor is another person you might talk with. Going to the police could get ugly and I would want you to be careful in case your father tried to harm you in any way. Drugs and/or alcohol can make people act in a very negative way and addicts can’t help themselves.

Before you tell your father that you are moving out, I would have all your arrangements made, as he may just decide to throw you out. So it’s important to have a plan in place of where you are going to live and when you can move in.

My heart goes out to you. This is not an easy time for you and you are living with a man that thinks he’s keeping a secret.

I hope that this has been helpful to you, and I wish you a great deal of luck as you move forward with your life. Think positive. I am a great believer in that. I will be thinking about you.
I would love to hear how things work out.

Letter #: 407752
Category: Family

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