DEAR ABBY: I'm 21, and my 16-year-old sister is out of control. She told me she smokes marijuana, drinks alcohol, abuses painkillers and recently mentioned she does coke.
Abby, she is beautiful, and I don't want to see her do this to herself. She's living with me about an hour away from my parents because Dad is an alcoholic and he abuses our mother. I brought my sister here to get her away from all that because I know what it was like growing up there.
I'm having trouble giving her advice to stay away from those things because I did them, and I feel like a hypocrite. My parents can't get through to her, either. Please help. -- TRYING TO BE A BIG SIS
DEAR TRYING: You're lucky you were able to straighten out without becoming addicted to any of the substances you experimented with, but your sister may not be so lucky. Because she's out of control, you must step in and put a stop to it for her sake.
Your sister needs counseling, and if she is going to remain your responsibility, it is imperative that you assert control. Talk to her school counselor about getting her the help she needs. You may have to drug-test your sister on a random basis as a condition of her continuing to live with you. Kits are available at your pharmacy.
Stop feeling guilty, stay strong, and you may be able to steer your sister back on the right path.