I’m assuming you have a brother in a similar situation. If not and you’re just curious, hopefully this helps someone else.
I used to be a horrible person, brother, and son/nephew (grew up with an aunt and uncle since the time I was 5 because my parents were addicts). I started drinking and doing drugs at 13, which made me an even worse person. By the time I was 22, I was kicked out for my heroin addiction and awful temper.
I wound up in a homeless shelter and still attempted to dupe my family into taking me back, telling them I was a changed man after just one week. I had talked my aunt into allowing me back if I went to AA meetings, but once I got off the phone with her, I began having a change of heart.
For the first time in my life, I tried not to blame the world for the shitty hand I was dealt as a child and looked at the things I had done wrong. I imagined the new types of hell I’d eventually cause if I moved back to my family’s house and kept getting high. To be honest, I was incredibly tired of being addicted to drugs and crime, and being an overall shitty person who lied about everything. People may see that as living a life of “not giving a fuck”, but it’s emotionally and mentally taxing as long as you’re not a complete sociopath. I wore a different mask to everyone, which made it difficult to differentiate between my opposite personalities. I constantly had to remember which stories I told which person in my life, and near the end, I had started to lose control of the manipulation.
Long story short, I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted, I just knew that I was hurting a lot. So I made two more phone calls, one being to my aunt to tell her not to pick me up from the shelter, and the other to a rehab.
That’s when I truly began to pick myself apart and look at my own flaws. I no longer wanted to blame the world for my addiction or shitty personality, I wanted to start over with my life and become someone people and myself could understand and like. I went to rehab and paid attention on how to fix my life, how not to feel pressured by triggers, and how to make amends with the hundred or so people I had hurt in my life. At the end of rehab, I again found myself at the crossroads to go back to my aunt and uncle’s house. I realized that my journey of reconstruction wasn’t over, and I’d need more assistance in staying drug and crime free. So I went to a halfway house for three months, then moved into a sober house for about 8 months where I got a job and learned to live with constant temptation (sober houses in NY are filled with drug addicts just taking advantage of DSS).
After that initial year, though, I felt that I was ready to move on from sober living. I was the brother/son/nephew that my family needed, I was clean, and I had reentered society without a single problem. It was time to either move back to my family in NJ or go somewhere else. So I decided that NJ wasn’t really what I wanted to go back to and decided on Denver, where I’ve built up an awesome life over the past year. My family and I, although 1800 miles apart, have the best relationship we’ve ever had. Besides not being dead, it is the thing I’m most grateful for today.
Sorry for the long story, but people can change. Your brother will continue to do the things he does until he hits a breaking point. Either he gets really tired of how he’s living, he becomes dirt broke or homeless, or is forced into jail/rehab. None of those things guarantee that he will find a better path, but the rock bottom feeling is the only way I’ve seen people get better. Without it, they cling to the ideas that their lifestyle is somewhat manageable or fixable.
As someone who has been through it all, my best advice is to cut him off. Your entire family should kick him out, cut him off financially, and try to accelerate the process to rock bottom. Although it can risk complete estrangement, it has the possibility of saving his life.
Edit: Thanks for the gold, stranger. If anyone knows someone who needs help, feel free to PM me or check out any of the various recovery subreddits, they’ve helped me save my life.