How Can I Deal With Living With My Brother's Drug Problem?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My brother was a drug addict and when he did get high he was agressive. I have 2 children and we share the same house. He acts as he is mentally ill but I think he is abusing me and our parents by playing more crazy than he is.

I am thinking of moving and leaving behind my parents to take the fight alone.

What should I do?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah for reaching out to us. May Allah make things easy for all of you.

Your situation is a very difficult one and whatever course of action is taken needs to be done with care and wisdom. There’s a lot to consider; your brother’s state and whether he will deteriorate, your parents and leaving them alone in the situation and without the grandchildren, and the welfare of your own wife and children. It is clear that no decision is going to be an easy one.

However, it does seem very clear that you and your family do need to move out. Your wife and children should not and do not need to deal with your brother’s behaviour. Perhaps having distance from your brother will also allow you to be more helpful to him rather constantly being in each other’s company. However, your parent’s situation still needs to be considered.

For this reason, consider the following options:

1. If it is possible, and with your parents’ permission, consider splitting the house so you and your family have a separate apartment.

2. Alternatively, but more difficult, consider building in a smaller house on your family’s land, further out. At least this way you haven’t ‘moved out’ as such and you parents are free to drop by.

3. If none of the above are possible, then the situation will be very difficult, as the only option will be to move out of the land altogether, which means leaving your parents to deal with your brother. The only middle ground I can see here is that you try to get a place near-by and you visit them and have them over often. At least this way they know you are near to help. Discuss this with your parents before making any decision and see what they say.

4. Do not forget to pray Istikhara whatever your decision, and remember Allah much.

Whatever you do, keep contact with your brother and be there for him in whatever scope you can, while at the same time protecting yourself and your family. I cannot comment on his behaviour, but it is obvious that he needs support and help, regardless if he is suffering from the consequences of drug abuse or he is merely acting up. Quite often young people turn to drugs because it offers them an escape and a high from something deep inside they have not dealt with, or it provides them with a temporary fulfilment for something they feel they are lacking in. Victim or abuser, at the end of the day, they all need help.

If you can encourage him to continue to see the doctor or other therapists, then do so. You may also want to consider other forms of medicine, such as homeopathy or herbal medicine. Keep him in your du’as and pray that one day he will return to his previous state before the abuse.

Du’a

Repeat the following du’a often, and if you can, get your brother to recite it often too,

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي عَبْدُكَ ابْنُ عَبْدِكَ ابْنُ أَمَتِكَ نَاصِيَتِي بِيَدِكَ ، مَاضٍ فِيَّ حُكْمُكَ ، عَدْلٌ فِيَّ قَضَاءُكَ أَسْأَلُكَ بِكُلِّ اسْمٍ هُوَ لَكَ سَمَّيْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَكَ أَوْ أَنْزَلْتَهُ فِي كِتَابِكَ ، أَوْ عَلَّمْتَهُ أَحَدًا مِنْ خَلْقِكَ أَوِ اسْتَأْثَرْتَ بِهِ فِي عِلْمِ الْغَيْبِ عِنْدَكَ ، أَنْ تَجْعَلَ الْقُرْآنَ رَبِيعَ قَلْبِي ، وَنُورَ صَدْرِي ، وَجَلاءَ حُزْنِي ، وذَهَابَ هَمِّي

O Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your handmaid, my forelock is in Your hand (i.e. You have total mastery over me), Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just.” I ask You by every name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of my heart and the light of my bosom, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety [Ahmad, Ibn Hibban]

I pray that Allah brings peace to all your lives and that you find a solution to all your worries.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

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