Wedding Party

Brother is an addict, how to include him in the wedding party?

Hello again,

Yesterday I posted a topic here about some bridesmaid drama I was having, and received good advice on how to see the situation from her point of view and how to remedy the bad feelings brewing. So I figured I would come to you all once again with another issue I'm facing concerning my wedding party.

My brother is four years older than I am, and he's struggled with drug addiction for almost six years now (heroin, meth, etc...the hard stuff). He's been in and out of rehab, and had his ups and downs over the years. When FI and I were picking out our wedding party, I figured that we would naturally include both his sister as a bridesmaid and my brother as a groomsman. The problem is that when we decided this, my brother was in one of his "up" moments (staying clean, holding down a job, had his own place). But then during the holidays, he started using drugs heavily again, lost his job, and had to move back in with my parents.

It was hard, but I sat down with him around a month ago and had a heart-to-heart with him. I let him know that if he couldn't stay clean, then he couldn't be in my wedding. Because when he's using drugs, he's an absolute zombie and is completely incoherent. He couldn't even get up off the couch on Christmas to open presents with us. And he said he understood where I was coming from, and that he was going to be sober now...honestly, all things I've heard from him in the past. It's very hard to believe him and believe that he's staying clean, because he is a world-class liar.

I broached the topic again at lunch with my mom today, because so far there hasn't been much positive change in my brother's life since we had our talk.  We're not sure if he's still using or not, but all signs point to it. My mom wants him to go back to rehab but he's refusing to go. In the past, going to rehab has really been the only way he's gotten clean - I don't think he's ever done it on his own before.

Anyway, my mom said that we should still give it some time before we make a final decision regarding the wedding. Which is fine, but I'm both dreading it and praying that a miracle happens; that he stays clean and can be in my wedding. He's my brother and I love him.  I want him there by my side on my big day. But if he's going to be stumbling around, muttering to himself and acting high as a kite...I won't have that. I just won't.

I'm not sure if anyone else has had this happen to them or not. I know addiction is a lot more common in today's society than a lot of us realize. So I guess I'm hoping to hear some advice from anyone who has struggled with loving an addict, and if it affected your wedding/wedding planning in any way.

Thanks so much for any replies.
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Re: Brother is an addict, how to include him in the wedding party?

  • suteki325 said:
    Hello again,

    Yesterday I posted a topic here about some bridesmaid drama I was having, and received good advice on how to see the situation from her point of view and how to remedy the bad feelings brewing. So I figured I would come to you all once again with another issue I'm facing concerning my wedding party.

    My brother is four years older than I am, and he's struggled with drug addiction for almost six years now (heroin, meth, etc...the hard stuff). He's been in and out of rehab, and had his ups and downs over the years. When FI and I were picking out our wedding party, I figured that we would naturally include both his sister as a bridesmaid and my brother as a groomsman. The problem is that when we decided this, my brother was in one of his "up" moments (staying clean, holding down a job, had his own place). But then during the holidays, he started using drugs heavily again, lost his job, and had to move back in with my parents.

    It was hard, but I sat down with him around a month ago and had a heart-to-heart with him. I let him know that if he couldn't stay clean, then he couldn't be in my wedding. Because when he's using drugs, he's an absolute zombie and is completely incoherent. He couldn't even get up off the couch on Christmas to open presents with us. And he said he understood where I was coming from, and that he was going to be sober now...honestly, all things I've heard from him in the past. It's very hard to believe him and believe that he's staying clean, because he is a world-class liar.

    I broached the topic again at lunch with my mom today, because so far there hasn't been much positive change in my brother's life since we had our talk.  We're not sure if he's still using or not, but all signs point to it. My mom wants him to go back to rehab but he's refusing to go. In the past, going to rehab has really been the only way he's gotten clean - I don't think he's ever done it on his own before.

    Anyway, my mom said that we should still give it some time before we make a final decision regarding the wedding. Which is fine, but I'm both dreading it and praying that a miracle happens; that he stays clean and can be in my wedding. He's my brother and I love him.  I want him there by my side on my big day. But if he's going to be stumbling around, muttering to himself and acting high as a kite...I won't have that. I just won't.

    I'm not sure if anyone else has had this happen to them or not. I know addiction is a lot more common in today's society than a lot of us realize. So I guess I'm hoping to hear some advice from anyone who has struggled with loving an addict, and if it affected your wedding/wedding planning in any way.

    Thanks so much for any replies.

    I think your mom is right, and your parents may be able to help. I would give it until the day of the wedding - similar to the advice we give to people with pregnant BMs who are due near the wedding.

    There's no need to bring it up to him again. If he's capable of standing up with you, let him. If he totally forgets to rent a tux, he's set himself to be seated for the wedding. If he's not capable of standing up with you, hopefully you and your parents can convince him that in his present state of health it might be better for him to just sit as a guest.

    PrettyGirlLostOliveOilsMomMairePoppy
  • I agree with PP, plan to have him in but if he hasn't cleaned up his act, well, then he can just attend as a guest. If you end up with an uneven bridal party, no big deal.  You didn't mention any other people for the bridal party beside siblings. If he was the only groomsmen for now, I would probably have FI ask someone else so that he has someone by his side in case your brother can't do it. Don't push him to get clean, he has to want it for himself. And it may not be until he isn't able to stand up at your ceremony and be a groomsmen that it hits him. Try not to let this stress you out. On a side note, if he does attend your wedding, I would make sure that whatever you use for your card box, that it's secure so that envelopes can't just go disappearing. Sorry to bring it up, but most drug addicts usually end up being thieves too. And if he is still heavily using at your wedding, you may want to give a heads up to your venue so they can alert the staff should they see him going for anyones phones, purses, or any other strange behavior.
  • Pretty much all you can do is wait. You can't force him to get clean and stay that way. And you can't assume he won't be clean and sober by the time your wedding comes around. I think you should plan as if he'll be in the wedding, and then if he's not capable of renting the tux/suit or not capable of standing up with you, then he just won't. 

    mikenberger; he needs to get clean for his own sake and not for your wedding. If you're pushing him (or asking him, or whatever) to do this for your wedding day, it may send the wrong message, that your wedding day is more important than his long-term well-being (and I know you didn't say that or imply that, I'm just saying he needs to want to do this on his own and for the right reasons, ya know?) 
    image
  • I am very sorry to hear about your brother.  I agree with PPs.  Take the wedding out of the equation and focus on getting him help.  I understand how difficult it can be.  My brother has been in and out of rehab for years.  Unless he was clean I probably wouldn't have him at my wedding, however, the difference is that he steals when he isn't clean, and he has caused me physical harm before when high/drunk.  It doesn't sound like your brother has done this. Because all that is required as a groomsman is to stand up next to you/your FI during the duration of the ceremony, I would hold on to making any changes right now.  Plan your wedding as is, and if he isn't sober enough to follow the leader and stand for a few minutes, then he can attend as a guest on the day of the wedding instead.

    I know how hard it is to watch the person you love become a shell.  And I'm guessing that your whole family is exhausted too. Even though you've heard it all before a million times, at least give him your support in getting clean again.  He has to do it for himself for it to be real, but hearing that he probably won't stay clean anyways will just feed into his self-defeating/fulfilling prophecy (not saying that you said that to him, but I know how tempting it is to restrain words when there has been so many lies and so much hurt before). 


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  • Thanks all for your replies. I'll just give it some time and see how my brother is doing closer to the date of the wedding (right now it's a little under four months away). I'll do my best to support my brother and try not to use my wedding as a linchpin for him to get clean with; I know it's something that he needs to do on his own. And I do think he needs to hit rock bottom first - my parents have definitely always made it very easy on him - they never quite grasped the "tough love" concept.

    As for alerting someone in charge at the venue to keep an eye on the cardbox, gifts, etc - thank you for bringing that up, it's something I hadn't even thought of. Money does have a habit of going missing around my brother and I sadly wouldn't put it past him to steal something, if he's still actively using at that time.
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