Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Helping a Sibling Affected by Addiction Pay for College

Back in April, I wrote a blog post entitled "Of Lottery Winnings & Younger Siblings of Addicts." In a nutshell, that post talked about what I would do with the money if I ever won the lottery. And how I'd love to set up a foundation to help younger siblings of addicts.

In that post I wrote:

"Younger siblings of addicts are amazingly special people.

"Addiction is a family disease, and there's no doubt that it eats away at families in every way possible: emotionally, physically, financially. It affects everyone in the family, too: mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles. But I don't think anyone is affected as much as younger siblings are, because they are so innocent and vulnerable. They really don't know what's going on with this person who means so much to them, or why it's happening."


"Unfortunately, an older sibling's addiction also has a negative financial impact on younger siblings. While trying to help an addicted child, parents burn through money like nobody's business. They spend thousands and thousands of dollars on rehab treatment, hospitals, therapy, intensive outpatient programs, sober living houses, special medications, etc. . . . By the time the younger sibling of an addict gets to the point where they need help financially, their parents are quite frequently tapped out. And, once again, the sibling--through no fault of their own--gets moved to the back burner, at least temporarily."

Well, I've decided that I'm not going to wait until I win the lottery to help.

Even though money is incredibly tight for my family right now, I feel a need to make a difference. Yes, I am unemployed and without much income. But I have some savings. And I have decided to dip into that money to help a younger sibling of an addict pay for college.

So here's the deal:

I'm putting up $500.00 of my own money to fund a scholarship of sorts for one younger sibling of someone who has suffered from addiction. I've also started a campaign on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe so that anyone who wants to contribute to this scholarship can do so. (I'd love to get the amount of the scholarship up to $1,000.00 or $2,000.00. Or even more if at all possible.)

I'm still working out details, but my thinking is that I'll officially announce the scholarship on my blog in the spring. I will create an application for people to fill out and email to me by a specific date. That application will require an essay that discusses how the applicant's life has been affected by their older sibling's addiction. I will review all the applications and essays. I will also enlist the help of a handful of connections from the addiction/recovery community. As a group, we will vote to determine who gets the scholarship. The recipient will be posted on my blog and their scholarship check will be made out to the college or university that they are attending.

All of this might sound like a crazy idea, but I'm a little crazy and this is something I really want to do. I've seen first-hand how addiction can affect an innocent sibling's life. This is my attempt to try and make a difference.

If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you'd like to help out in any way, get in touch with me through my blog. Or leave a comment below.

Here is the direct link to the GoFundMe campaign:



"No one has ever become poor by giving." --Anne Frank


  1. Wow Dean, you are amazing! This is such a generous idea. You are so right that younger siblings feel the impact of the alcohol or drugs issues of their older brother or sister. They often miss out on their parent's attention as well as educational opportunities, because it goes to the older sibling who is struggling. This is a wonderful idea. Thank you for all that you do!!

  2. Dean this doesn't sound crazy at all, it sounds brilliant. Keep up the good you're doing, it makes a difference.

  3. Doesn't come off as "crazy" to me, in the least. Matter of fact, it's a damned creative and well-considered angle. The perspective is unique - yeah, unique. Really has me thinking, "Dang, wonder what it would be like to see the financial, emotional, etc. family expenditures in an effort to keep a sibling alive and kickin'." I mean, some would be just fine with it. Others would resent it, I suppose. Curious subject matter, Dean.

    Thanks, Man...


  4. This is a FANTASTIC idea. I work with so, so many adults who were the younger (or older) sibling affected by addiction, and the deeply hurtful, long-term impacts of that are rarely understood or treated. Thank you so much for what you are doing!