Trying to help my cousin

Growing up, a lot of people told me that I am very smart, like gifted or something, and they are probably right, I know that I am not stupid.

Why am I telling you this?

I am telling you this because this post is about my 17 y/o cousin, who is extremely smart and gifted, but abuses alcohol and drugs, struggles with poor mental health and bad grades in high school.

His mom compared him to me yesterday, and that I am also pretty intelligent, and that I also acted out in school and was super bored.

This all made me think.

What use is intelligence if you still make all the bad life choices like I did?

My whole family does not really know how to deal with my cousin, and I think i would be the most qualified to talk to him (btw, the most part of my family doesn’t know about my struggles). However, I don’t know how to help him. We are not that close anymore and I know he wouldn’t listen to me.

I wouldn’t even know how to start a conversation.

He’s doing muh better now, after he had a motorcycle accident he pulled himself together and takes things more seriously, but still, he needs help.

and i want to help him, but don’t know how to.

Do any of you have suggestions?

1 Like

Hey Fiji,
Good to see you here again. It sounds like you really care about your cousin and what they are doing. I think if you come from that angle, letting them know that you care about them and their actions, they might listen to what you have to say. You can relate through your experiences and how you overcame the bad life choices and got through them. Also, being open about your struggles and actively listening to your cousin gives you both a safe space to talk. I hope this helps and your cousin continues to recover from the motorcycle accident.


I think desiring to help your cousin – especially since you are so similar – is a noble desire.

I also know from experience that if you want to help them more than they want to help themselves that it will be an unsuccessful venture. I tried to help someone for a year and let them live with me, but they ended up robbing me and skipping town. What’s more important than the physical elements of losing their presence in my life was seeing them lose all of the progress I had tried to help them get in their life.

I also have a family member who I can relate to a lot of their struggles, but I don’t know if they know how to ask for help or what they need or anything like that.

Honestly, I don’t think that going in to it with the intention to “fix” them or “help them not make the same mistakes as you” is the right intention. I think love is the right intention. If you want to spend time loving on that person, befriending them, and making them feel less alone because of your presence in their life…that is a good reason to move towards them.

That requires a commitment to consistency…at least to sticking around…because relationships can be sad when they come to an end if they had promises in the beginning that were unfulfilled. So if you move towards them, maybe think about what it would be like to be in their life for a full year…to spend time once a week or so getting together or talking on the phone. Doesn’t have to be that formulaic, but the point is, I have hurt a lot of people by having good intentions and not following through as I alluded that I would.

TLDR – be motivated by love, and the best gift you can give is your consistent presence in their life


Thank you friend.
I’ll try to just start a conversation with him, not necessarily about that topic, but just to get him talking to me again.

1 Like

Thanks for your suggestions and reply.

I just want him to know that he is not alone with this and that he can talk to me because I want to help him and want to be there for him; that I’ve been through similar stuff…

1 Like