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by Abigail Van Buren

Widow of Drug Abuser Fears Her Brother Will Follow Suit

DEAR ABBY: I have read your column for as long as I can remember. My husband died from a drug overdose, and I am a widow at 32. He was a good man before the drugs, but he wouldn't stop and I was helpless to intervene. I am now raising our two sons alone.

My problem is my brother is headed down the same road, and I don't know how to help him. I don't have the money to send him to rehab, and he doesn't think he has a problem. He has lost his job, has no vehicle and is losing what friends he has left.

I don't want to turn my back on him or lose him the way I lost my husband. I know he needs rehab or therapy, but with the lack of funds I don't know where to turn. Furthermore, how do I explain this to my 9- and 10-year-old sons? The most influential man in their life is setting a terrible example. -- CAN'T TURN AWAY FROM MY BROTHER

DEAR CAN'T TURN AWAY: If seeing your husband die from an overdose wasn't enough to convince your brother it was time to get into a substance abuse program, then nothing you can do will. There are two things that are more important in your life than he is, and those are your two sons. A narcotics addict destroying his life is a very poor role model.

Your boys are old enough to know how dangerous drugs are and that they caused the premature death of their father. Do not permit them to be in the presence of anyone who is abusing drugs and spiraling downward, or they will grow into adolescence thinking it is normal. Your brother is the only person who can help himself get back on his feet, no matter how much you might wish it were otherwise.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Addiction | Abuse