Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

That tough conversation time... or paranoia?

As many of the people on this post WELL know by know, I am undifferentiated SZ, and I live in my own place with my 17 year old kid sis as she starts college. She the youngest of the 5 of us and the only girl. Yep, four of us older brothers to deal with.

Her life is in transition and she’s a very smart cookie. I’m on back on meds that have worked for me and I can feel myself calming down a little more every time I wake up. But I am a little concerned at how drugs has sort of become a center of focus lately. First the kid sis was getting involved with a heroin user to try and save him. He’s still in hospital. She has a teacher who is IN LOVE with Timothy Leary and thinks drugs should be encouraged. (and has in fact been encouraging them) Our brother John is up and down in his fight with addiction and has actually been telling the kid sis that she should get high with him or just have a few drinks with him. He does take her around as a designated driver. (she adores our brother John and she does take his opinion into consideration) Side story: He actually told the kid if she kept staying sober, soon they would have nothing in common. That really made me angry.

Sometimes, her friends come over and I can smell the pot on them, or just the spaced out smile and the big eyes, … I’ve done enough XTC to know when someone is rolling. She’s been asking questions like, “Is it really that addictive?” then she assures me she would never, plus her job does drug test and I’ve found nothing in her room, car or anywhere else. No odd behavior, no drop in grades. But tis’ the edging in of the curiosity that is making me a bit nervous. I don’t want to come off as a paranoid, over reactionary like I have in the past. But I am getting a bit worried. She’s a strong kid, but strength can only go so far. The strongest trees do eventually bend under constant pushing from the wind.

She has seen the results, read the books, knows the stats, knows the psycho babble, but that doesn’t seem to kill the curious questions. Am I being paranoid again, or might there be something there? How does any parent go about really starting this conversation with their younger loved ones. All of us boys have been messed up in the head one way or another. Despite some of her own battles, she’s the most normal of us all. I wish there was something I could do. Our parents are very amazing and savvy people, but they are helping three out of 5 kids right now. They keep telling me they have faith in her decisions. But for as smart as she is, She is only 17.

Ideas??? Anyone??


I think you have some very valid concerns. It seems like there has been a lot of conversations regarding drugs. And I think it would be very smart to use this as a time to have a serious discussion about substance use.

Teens are constantly pressured from a wide variety of sources. And they have an innate curiosity about them. Plus, it sounds like there is a family history there too. There’s a huge genetic component to addiction.

I don’t think this should be ignored. It would be a great opportunity to have a talk with your sis. Starting off saying that there HAS been a lot of focus on the subject lately. And that you want to educate and protect her from substance use.

Use your own experiences as a point of reference. You’ve gone through a lot and have come out on the other side clean and sober. You have a lot of insight and personal experience to draw upon in discussing this with her.

I definitely DON’T think you’re being paranoid. It’s time to have that discussion, I think.



I personally think that outside influence would be the clincher. The one teacher and her brother… teachers and family are supposed to talk you out of bad behavior, not into it. When I do ask her why she is curious: Two reasons; one to better understand and help John, two, she’s tired of being a goodie-two-shoe.

I’m thinking the “goodie-two shoe” thing is coming from “friends” who aren’t really her friends. I know this conversation has to happen, and it would help if she could get away from some of the negative people. She’s a hard kid to argue with because she gets extra calm and logical. NO temper tantrums, no yelling, no pouting, just very calm I just almost wish she would throw a hissy. But that has never been her style.

That hard talk has to happen, I keep picturing sort of a “pre-intervention” I know that doesn’t exist (does it?) I could invent a new thing. The pre-intervention.

Thank you for that… I think I really am looking for that beginning dialogue, the opener.
I’ve been trying to learn boundaries for myself, I wonder if I have to set them for John as well. The kid is a savvy smart kid, but John is her blind spot. Thank you again, much to ponder and act on.

Always looking for ideas…

You can do it! The best, and most successful, interventions are done early; before damage has been done and addictive behaviors have developed.



I’ve been thinking on this all day and even if it is just for my own piece of mind, this conversation has to happen. This question isn’t really a should I as much as "how do I?"
I think I’m trying to find a way into this conversation. I KNOW it is NOT…

“Thank you for cooking dinner kid sis, by the way I don’t trust or like your druggie friends and I don’t want you to listen to our brother John until he gets his head out of his butt. I think you should skip class to stay away from that nut case teacher. Other then that, nice job on the soup.” That would be the wrong way to do it. Wouldn’t it?

How do I get into this conversation? There are a few other hard conversations to have as well. If I can find a way to address this without my normal over reactionary tendencies.

That’s the easy part. The hard part is after I have her attention and as she sits, waiting for me to start, I don’t know where to start. So she sits and waits and I freeze up and begin to pace. She then asks if I’m Ok and then we talk about me and i don’t get to say what i want to say about some of the things I’m worried about for her.

I remember the first time my son came home high from pot. I cried. Mostly from my own fears as I used to be an addict and I didn’t want him being one too. Unfortunately he did eventually develop addiction. As you know my son also has sz. My daughter has had her own struggles with being addicted to certain things like perks. Now she is not. I know that you want to protect your sis from going through any of this and that is awesome. At the same time we can’t protect those we love from everything. It’s a big world out there. I think your sister is aware of your concerns. There is no wrong way to tell her that you are concerned. You can write it out if that makes it easier for you and just have her read it. She will understand. Not everyone gets addicted when they use drugs. Even if your sis is thinking about trying pot I don’t think that she would throw away her future for it. I’m not agreeing with her trying it. As a parent I have had to accept that sometimes our children need to learn from their own mistakes. I didn’t learn from my parent’s mistakes and my children won’t learn from mine. All I can do is talk to them and let them know what I went through and hope that it helps them to make better decisions. I think you would know if your sis came home drunk or high. For now trust her to make the right decision. :smile:

I don’t know why I didn’t think of writing it down. :thumbsup:

I don’t think she would ever come home drunk or high. I could see her crashing at John’s if she was. I hate seeing her so down on herself because of this. I can always tell when she’s been around her negative friends because she is always so down on herself when she gets home. All these little self-digs and she’ll quit trying to eat again. She starts CBT next month.

I will write it down, and I can only hope that maybe the CBT will click on a switch that will help with the esteem issues as well. It doesn’t help that our brother John is in his drug using/people using mode. That is also part of the talk that will be hard. I do want to tell her that there are times when you just have to get away from toxic people, even if they are family. Our brother Jack had to get away from me to the point of holding a funeral and burying me mentally. To him, I was dead. He let go of the old me and when both of us got better, he came back and actually introduced himself. I know she will never do that to John. She gives him money because he tells her to. I’d hate to think I was that much of a taker when I was addicted, but I’m sure I was.

I’m getting some ideas on where to go with this conversation. I would like her not let John push/boss her around. She doesn’t take it from anyone else. Mom and Dad stood firm when I was in the peak of my onset. They supported me and tried to be there for me, but they didn’t let me get away with being obnoxious. I think I"m getting an idea for some structure.
Part 1: my concerns about her type of questions and why I wish she would never go there
Part 2: I recognize that she adores our brother John, but enabling and putting up with abusive/ disrespectful behavior helps no one.
I am so thankful for this form to sort of help me run some ideas by people who aren’t directly involved. Having that outside objective really helps.
(being back in my head due to meds that work also help’s as well. It is such a relief not to be in constant panic mode.) :smile:

First off, I don’t think you are being paranoid at all. I think she is great danger of trying drugs. Sorry. But that’s what it seems like. EVERYBODY around her is pressuring her. And she’s only 17. Yes, she is mature. But she’s still a kid. And when you have older, trusted, people around you who are encouraging her. (who should know better), it’s a recipe for disaster. We live in a drug culture. Legal drugs and illegal drugs. Sad but true. I predict that if she keeps going down her current road,of having friends who do drugs and family, sooner or later, it will come down to a choice of which is easier? Taking drugs…or not taking drugs.I f someone shoves a joint under her nose, it’s going to seem almost crazy to NOT to smoke it. Unless her resolve Is strengthened now somehow. it’s really sad that her older brother is trying to corrupt her. The very person who should be telling her never to do drugs. I hope she is as strong as you say she is. It’s ironic.The person with a brain disease (I have one too obviously) is her strongest support. It’s actually very inspiring. You’re her ally. I have no solution. Just my thoughts here.


You’ve nailed it in one. I just keep thinking that the pressure from all sides like the teacher and our brother is the most worrying. The way you said it is exactly how I see it. I just keep trying to counteract the other influences in her life right now.

I keep saying even the strongest tree will eventually bow to the constant pressure from the wind. But there is nothing I can do to shield her from the wind or stop the wind.