(Closed) Brother went to jail last night…my fault?

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 47
3789 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State


I’m so terribly sorry you found yourself in this situation. I can’t imagine the heartache you’re experiencing!

I have to tell you (I think you know this, but a reminder is never bad) this is NOT your fault. You did exactly what you should have done. Standing by to see how things ‘panned out’ could have been the worst mistake of your life. It was your brothers’ actions that landed him in jail, not you calling the police.

My brother went to jail for drug use a few years ago. He wasn’t in it quite as bad as your brother, but I fully believe he would have ended up completely addicted to hard drugs, stealing to support his habit and ruining his entire life. Luckily for him he was pulled over at a check-stop with his “christmas gift to himself” and was arrested for intent to sell. He was released after a night on conditions. He had a really bad “eff the law” attitude and broke those conditions, so was arrested again and was held over the weekend in a VERY packed holding block (75 people in a block meant for 40). He saw a lot of REALLY scary stuff over the weekend and finally decided that if he didn’t stop, this would become his new home and there’s no way he’d get out of there alive. He was released and thankfully turned himself completely around.

If you’d asked him 3 years ago if getting pulled over was the best thing for him, he probably would have punched you in the face. He was angry, defensive and in very deep denial. If you asked him now, he would agree 150% that was the best thing for him and his life would have NEVER been as wonderful as it is now. An addict will never understand in the moment that your actions are out of love. All they see is you separating them from what they want most. What they want is not what’s good for them, and doing what’s good for them will piss them off. But it’s a hell of a lot better than making them sicker.

I asked my brother this weekend how he was, he responded “Stoked on life”.  I truly hope that your brother can get to that place one day. I hope you can find the strength to do what’s best for him, not what makes him happy because those are 2 different things right now. He has to figure it out for himself, no one can tell him.

Sending you lots of strength, support and confirmation that you are brave to do what you did. That was the best thing for everyone, and I hope you believe it.

Post # 49
1 posts

Although I read here often, I never comment so I actually made an account specifically to comment here. As everyone else has said, you did the right thing. Moreover, you did the only thing you COULD do. In that moment, he was a danger to you, your mom and himself. I can’t imagine how terrified you must have been. 

Loving someone who has an addiction is so hard. Even though we know that their problems are their own fault, we love them and want to ease their struggling. It’s so disheartening to hear people describe people with addictions as “worthless junkies.” No, these are people with families, friends, talents, and skills. They also happen to have a life ruining problem and they need help. Sometimes jail is the help they need.

My older brother died almost three years ago after overdosing on heroin. He was never violent, but often stole money, jewelry, and electronics from us and prescription medication from my parents. My family never reported the thefts because we worried about the repurcussions of legal action. My brother bounced in and out of several programs, had long stretches of sobriety and then spiraled back into the worst of it before losing his life at 26 years old. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish that he was in jail instead of where he is now. Even if it doesn’t feel like it today, you did the right thing. 

Post # 51
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@distraughtbigsister:  No one can blame you for calling 911. You knew you could not predict his actions and that was why you called the police. Don’t beat yourself up. It is a combination of factors that led him to where he is now and none of those factors is you. You did the right thing. If you knew he was going to go to jail, you would not have called the police as quickly as you did in a desperate attempt to keep him from going there in the first place.

As for your mom, even if she saw the gun pointed at her, she would not easily want to believe that her own son will pull the trigger. You did the right thing to calm the situation down. It could have gotten much worse than this. Let’s hope he gets some help in jail or better yet, come out of it willing to change for the better. 

Keep your head up…..it will get better.  

Post # 52
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@distraughtbigsister:  So sorry you are going through this.  I didn’t read all the replies so this may have been said already, but you had no other choice but to call the police.

My husband is a recovering addict and to date has not done anything this serious, but still caused a lot of stress and anxiety in my life and I allowed it.  I now attend Nar-Anon meetings and have learned about enabling and addiction and how to have my own life.  I could not recommend these meetings more (Al-Anon also would work if you don’t have any Nar-Anon in your area).

I believe that an addict has to experience their consequences to have any hope of getting better – this is just my opinion.  But as the loved ones of addicts, we take on their consequences for them, hoping that if we could take some of their burden they would just find the strength to get better.  Then we don’t live our life, we live their life and all its craziness.  Your life was in danger and you are actually not sure that you did the right thing by calling the police – that’s addiction making you, the family member, sick as well.

We don’t have to stop loving them but we can’t do for them what they need to do for themselves.  Good luck with everything!

Post # 53
942 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@distraughtbigsister:  gosh this is so f’n sad.  I work with people like this who need help and it’s so hard when you see how good they could be, and watch them ruin everything good around them.

I’m so sad for your family bee. You did the right thing and I know how much you are re-thinking what you did, but you did it because it had to be done.  He went too far. He’s been going too far for a long time and he has to stop hurting the people who love him.

Post # 54
264 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

As long as he is addicted, he is not the same person you remember as your brother. Addicts have a COMPLETELY different brain when they’re addicted compared to when they’re clean. He should be where he is, jail/prison WILL help him. Same situation happened to my step-brother.

Post # 55
2777 posts
Sugar bee

@distraughtbigsister:  I would not feel bad for him if I were you. My youngest brother was heading down a very similar path. Got heavy into drugs, would steal anything and everything he could (even from me, single mother at the time) and would always lie about it. There were actually a few times that he admitted to stealing some things but not everything so I think that’s normal.. My brother got into lots of trouble with the law and I don’t think they ever really gave him the help he needed because he ended up killing himself 5 months ago. He would have been 18 in just a couple of weeks.


your brother loaded the gun because he was either going to shoot your mother or he wanted to scare her (just one of the many reasons I don’t think people need to have guns) he needs help and you should not feel guilty about what you did, I believe you did the right thing.

Post # 56
384 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@distraughtbigsister:  What an incredibly tough situation. Addiction is a terrible thing, and it can cause people around the addict to develop co-dependent and enabling behaviors, even if they feel like they are doing their best to help. I think you’re really brave for acting the way you did. You may have saved your brother’s life. I hope this is the wake-up call he needs, and he starts truly owning treatment. I’m thinking of you! 

Post # 57
1836 posts
Buzzing bee

@teebeenj:  I am so very sorry for your loss.

Post # 58
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Don’t feel guilty. You did the absolute right thing because apparently there is something off with your brother (to put it mildly). He was a risk to your mother and yourself. We are going through the same thing here, my younger brother is turning into an addict and it is hard to see. We offer help but nothing is taken. If he did turn violent, I know I would have to protect my family and that means calling in the law.

Post # 59
2878 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@distraughtbigsister: it is NOT your fault. Your brother has problems but he is an adult. He makes his own choices, unfortunately. 

I was taught that you NEVER point guns unless you might shoot. NEVER. So I would have called 911 if I saw a gun pointed because that’s intent. 

I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. ((hugs))

Post # 60
1604 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Its not your fault.  And he is not worthless, we are all god’s children.  But he needs help.  And I agree that you and your parents need counseling to help you deal with this.  Good luck.

Post # 61
764 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

A few words from the other side: I’m in recovery and volunteer at a women’s prison. Please don’t think that going to prison is going to get or keep him sober. People get high & drunk in jails and prisons. Sometimes the guards even bring it in (happened recently). Other people spend their time in jail planning to use when they get out. Or they don’t plan it, and it just “happens”. 

Other people do get sober in prison, and they’d tell you that, while in prison, they’re they feel the most peaceful, hopeful and loving they’ve ever been. Usually they get to that point through a 12 step program or church. The problem is that you won’t know which of these he’ll be when he gets out. I’d caution you not to read too much into the state he’s in when he gets out and, as other pps have said, get yourself to alanon. Your mother can take care of herself, and your probably just as likely to fix her as you are your brother. Be kind, loving, open, but don’t give him money, don’t let him stay with you (he’s unstable) and don’t breathe a sigh of relief that everything’s better now. No matter what happens, he has a hard road ahead of him. It will take a long time for him to get better, but he needs the “opportunity” (not “punishment”) to deal with himself and grow.

The fault belongs to his addiction, and it will take more than him just putting the drugs down. Most people in recovery come to respect and gratitude for the harsh steps their loved ones took. If you go to alanon you won’t be posting threads with this title anymore. *hugs*


my iPad hates spelling & grammar.

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