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My brother who lives with me has been batting depression for a while. Since living with me a year ago he has started on medication and lowered his drinking and seems to be doing a lot better. I had a big d&m with him the other night and he had a big cry about life. Tonight i got home from work to find him drunk. And he was secretly smoking aswell. He won't admit he's been drinking and I only know about the smoking because I caught him doing it. Why suddenly so much secrecy? I would never try to make him feel bad about his choices I only ever want to help him. But I don't like being left out or lied to when it's obvious it's happening?


Re: Secrets

I have a similar problem with my son. He has been going really well on his medication but I've just found out he's been secretly smoking dope again. I really don't like the secrecy because it affects our relationship.

Senior Contributor

Re: Secrets

Hi @Sister 

Welcome to the forums! You will find this a great place to connect with other like-minded people who are really caring, supportive, and just plain great!!

On reading your post, my thoughts are to look at the positives. And there are many. For example, since living with you, he has started on medication and lowered his drinking and seems to be doing a lot better. So even though you found him drunk the other night, he has been going well for a year now, and that's someting positive.

Another positive is he had a big cry the other night. Crying can often be a way to unload all our emotional 'garbage', and perhaps this is what he was doing. This could have been a real release for him to 'let go' of some of the things in the past that have been troubling him.

The next positive thing is that he felt comfortable enough around you to 'let down his guard' and have a cry. This shows that you must be a very caring person, and he obviously sees that in you. 

In regards to the smoking, and for the reason just above, perhaps he does not want to disappoint you. 

Maybe you could consider sitting down with him and explaining the positives as I have written above (and I'm sure you would know a lot more!!) and let him know that you love him and just don't want to see him hurt himself. Remind him of how far he has come and how proud you are of him. Tell him how much you would like to have a open relationship with him.

And see how that goes @Sister  - and keep posting. You have friends here!! @Alessandra1992 @kato @PeppiPatty @olmate would all agree with me!!



Re: Secrets

Thanks for your reply. I agree i should definitely recognise how far he has come. I am really proud of him for that. I do however believe he has a problem with alcohol. I hate who he is when he is drunk and it makes me scared to leave him alone and live my own life. My family member took me aside this morning to tell me she has noticed a lot of her expensive alcohol going missing and she definitely suspects my brother and so do I. I noticed a bottle of my own vodka disappear aswell, I don't want to blame him right of the bat. And we don't even care about the alcohol it's just the secrecy of it. We both just want to help him. How do I bring this up to him without sounding accusatory. Does anyone have any experience dealing with people dependant on drugs or alcohol? I'm really just a bit lost with how to help him

Re: Secrets

Dear @Sister,

How are you this morning ? Thank you for posting. It's a real situation with boundaries when it comes to family members.......

I've been on Sane forums for a little while now getting support and trying to give .......
I think that the best thing that you can do. With the other family member is to say to yourselves / to each other ...... The most important thing here is me. I need to take care of myself.
When drinks my alcohol it makes me feel ............ And I don't like it.
This ........ Emotion is going to grow and I don't like that.

Then you and other family member make decisions on the rest of the story. If that feeling grows on his secrecy ..... What would happen ?
You have the power to both put very strong boundaries down that may your brother in the long term .....
Am I on the right track ?
I'm just another 47 year old with my own dramas but without any professional background ...... This has helped me the most.
Don't feel guilty on thinking of yourself. I'm a little happy that your doing something early on in the journey , something I wish I knew with some friends that could have saved me a few years of angst.

Looking dorward to hearing from you again :0)


Re: Secrets

Hi @Sister 

how have things progressed with your brother? Any more thoughts on how to handle the situation?

What I sense from your post is how much you care for your brother...I always encourage people to have conversations with their loved one, much in the same way as you have to us here on the forums.


'I'm really proud of you...'

'I'm scared that...'

'I'm worried that you are hiding things from me, I would never judge you.'

What I'm talking about here is 'I' messages, and the power this style of communication can have. The blurb below might help in understanding this concept if it is new to you;


I-messages are a way of communicating in conflict that is more likely to be helpful and less likely to escalate the conflict than alternative approaches (such as "you-messages.")


Anyone involved in a conflict where they can communicate directly to the other side.


One of the easiest ways to defuse an interpersonal conflict is to avoid accusatory or escalatory language. One way to do this is by using statements about yourself and your feelings (called "I-messages" because they start with "I feel" or "I felt") instead of "you messages" which start with an accusation --"you did this [bad thing]" or "you are [another bad thing]."

The Upside of I-Messages

In other words, if you say "I felt let down," rather than "You broke your promise," you will convey the same information. But you will do so in a way that is less likely to provoke a defensive or hostile reaction from your opponent.

You-messages suggest blame, and encourage the recipient to deny wrong-doing or to blame you back. For example, if you say "you broke your promise," the answer is likely to be "no, I didn't," which sets you up for a lengthy argument, or "well, you did too" which also continues the conflict.

I-messages simply state a problem, without blaming someone for it. This makes it easier for the other side to help solve the problem, without having to admit they were wrong (see, also, saving face). (Burgess, H. 2013)


Alternatively, if you still feel the issue is more about drug and alcohol use, and you would like some further support check out;


it is a directory of drug and alcohol services by state across Australia.

Keep us updated Smiley Wink





Re: Secrets

I asked my brother if he had been drinking the alcohol. he said he hadnt. A few weeks later he asked me to get him something out of his cupboard and i saw all the empty bottles.

when this happened i think i just said i was upset that he didnt tell the truth about it.  i think he said sorry and just brushed the whole thing off

we had a big fight the other day, about a whole lot of things and he said some really awful stuff that i was really offended by. A few days passed and then yesterday after a few solid days of ignoring him, i told him i was still really sad and he told me he didnt realise i was upset and that he was sorry for what he had said and done and i forgave him.

We agreed to try not to fight anymore and to be more respectful of eachother. I found out today that directly after we had that conversation he stole my bank card to buy cigarettes and this morning he used it again to buy alcohol.

when i confronted him about it he admitted it but said "it was only 30 dollars' like stealing from me was no big deal. 

This whole thing is affecting me really bad. im worrying all the time. im not a happy person anymore and he makes me feel like im being crazy and over emotional whenever i get sad about his behaviour or whenever i try to talk to him. I feel like i need to tell my family about what he did but im afraid that once he really loses their trust he might not have a place to live anymore

Im driving myself into depression worrying about him and hes hardly even trying to help himself. he doesnt realise how much any of this is hurting me, or maybe he does and he just doesnt care?

Please help


Re: Secrets

Hey @Sister My father is an alcoholic and it can really take a toll on loved ones. It can be so painful, but try to remember that alcohol is an addiction and it's unlikely that your brother is deliberately trying to hurt you or that he doesn't care about your feelings. 

I think it's really, really important that you take care of yourself and find support. Maybe you could talk to your GP or your therapist if you have one or even look into Al-Anon.  




Re: Secrets

Hey @Sister

This must be so difficult for you right now..I am wondering if perhaps you can tap into some family support yourself? You have written you don't want to let family know because then he may not have a place to live anymore...
What about if you go and stay with family for a night or two..give yourself a break from tour environment and be with people who care for you..or, if your brother is close to other family members, strongly encourage him to go away for a weekend so you can give each other a break...
Al-anon is fantastic..there are also groups like Grow Better Together and carer courses run by organisations like SHARC, which runs ARC Action Recovery Course for family and carers..
Addictions are hard on everyone as @Peppermint pointed out...
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