in , ,

Recovering Addict Called Out For Yelling At Mom About Fake Funeral They Had For Him In Rehab

Group therapy in rehab
Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

In America alone, there are over 21 million alcoholics. This doesn’t account for addicts of other substances.

Redditor Vegetable_Upstairs40 is the sibling of one such addict.

The Original Poster (OP) vividly remembers the days their brother was in rehab – particularly the time the family held a fake funeral for their brother.

The brother was perturbed when the family recounted their experiences, causing an argument to break out.

This led the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) for feedback.

They asked:

“AITA for telling my brother I don’t regret his fake funeral and he should be thanking our parents”

They went on to explain.

“My brother used to be an addict. Now when he was 21, he ended up in the hospital, and my parents basically forced him to go to an extreme rehab. I won’t say which to keep this anonymous.”

“…the rehab was hard. It had a you leave once we won’t let you back in, had a ton of strict rules. One of the things they did was have the family give a funeral for their kids.”

“We went in, didn’t talk to him, and he listened to us reading what we would say if he did die.”

“It was a lot, but in the end, it seems to have worked, and he has been sober for 4 years now (25 now).”

“We were at a family dinner, and the topic was brought up. He got really upset with Mom about if, and it started a rant on his end about rehab.”

“I had enough after he said she didn’t love him to do that. I told him I don’t regret his fake funeral and that he should be thanking Mom and Dad that he is alive.”

“He left after calling me a jerk, and I am unsure if I should apologize. Dad thinks he needs to hear it since none of us regret it.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:

“NTA, brother is definitely still an addict with an addict’s brain. His resentment is going to cloud his recovery for as long as he lets it happen.”

“Until he is able to let that go and realize that it was either rehab or dead, then he really isn’t any better and hopefully is still seeing an addictions counselor or has a sponsor and goes to meetings.”

“Be wary because it could just be because he’s using again, too.” – IAmTAAlways


“That funeral was good for you.”

“He’s made it clear it was not good for him. This makes you and the family wrong for your reaction.”

“There is zero evidence that the funeral is what happened. It’s a crappy therapy tool.”

“Y’all should apologize.” – OkManufacturer767

“I get that a lot of the rehab therapy might’ve been very helpful for him, and he should be grateful for that, yes…”

“…but it’s also okay for him to state that some of it was traumatic and might’ve not been helpful towards his recovery.”

“YTA for trying to invalidate that.” – goddessofcosmos


“You didn’t attend that rehab. You have no idea what went on there. Your parents may have had the best of intentions, but that doesn’t mean it was actually as helpful as you believe and not traumatic.”

“You’d be amazed how many ‘rehabs’ are, in fact, abuse centers and not based on any valid psychological methods at all.”

“Was your brother’s experience bad? Heck, if I know! He’s the only one qualified to say – not me, and definitely not you.” – conuly

“Fully expect downvotes for this, but I have to say that very idea of a fake funeral where you all ignore him sounds so f*cking dehumanizing and traumatic…”

“…that I think he would have been perfectly justified in never speaking to you again. You say it helped. Who did it help exactly?”

“Because it seems to have traumatized the person it’s intended to. YTA. 100%” – ClockWorkAlex2001


“My brother passed away almost ten years ago from heroin addiction. Yesterday would have been his 33rd birthday.”

“Addiction is hard. It’s hard for the addict, and it is hard for the family.”

“Your family may do something that does ‘force’ him to get clean, but he is still allowed to resent however negative your actions made him feel.”

“Firstly, forcing someone to do anything is going to lead to resentment, even if it is for their own good.”

“You don’t know how rehab was for him, saying it was an extreme facility, and he isn’t going to fully understand what it was like to be the family member watching him kill himself with drugs.”

“He’s alive, but that is going to be a traumatic experience for everyone involved.”

“‘We went in, didn’t talk to him and he listened to us reading what we would say if he did die.’”

“So your brother was in a difficult facility alone, and even when he did see you, the family did not speak to him. He was effectively isolated and shamed.”

“Even being effective, this STILL will cause some kind of resentment.”

“Honestly, with him being clean, he deserves some empathy for drastic measures.”

“Drug addiction is full of shame and trauma, so at the very least he might be looking for someone to even acknowledge that forcing him to go to his ‘own funeral’ was f*cked up, even if it was effective.”

“It won’t kill you to have a bit of empathy for the situation, or to at least admit that must have been hard for him?”

“TLDR; regardless of how effective it was, you all seem to be focusing on how hard it was for you and completely invalidating your brother’s feelings after the experience.”

“Have some empathy.” – Suspicious_Daffodil

“I think this is too vague to really judge.”

“Extreme rehab can mean anything. Was it a place that kidnapped you in the middle of the night to bring you there? Did they use physical restraints?”

“Or were they extreme because they were strict with an intense therapy regime?”

“Making someone attend their own funeral makes it seem like their practices were at least questionable, but honestly have no idea.”

“Perhaps your brother is dealing with actual trauma, and your family is downplaying or rationalizing what happened.”

“Perhaps he’s switched his addiction from substances to trauma or to hyper-fixating on his time there.”

“Perhaps he feels like your family credits his sobriety more on the program than on his effort to actively choose not to use. Perhaps a million other things.”

“I do think your family needs to accept that the cost of saving his life may be him hating you or saying he hates you.”

“It’s hard to tell how much of that pain and anger is actually justified.” – EmpressJainaSolo

“YTA. There’s some research out there that feeling connected to your loved ones and learning to be free of shame are good for addiction and help people heal and not relapse.”

“This ‘rehab clinic’ sounds toxic as hell, and it might have traumatized him.”

“I know addicts can hurt others, especially their family, but these things don’t happen in a vacuum…”

“…and before you and your parents put all the blame on him, y’all should take a close look at yourselves to see how you can be more empathetic and understand his perspective.” – friendlily


“If his perspective as a sober person, four years later, is that this rehab was abusive and cruel, I believe him.” – thirdtryisthecharm

“YTA. The ends do not justify the means. Your brother is clean now, and that’s fantastic, but that doesn’t mean it was ok to flat out ignore him and act as if he was dead…”

“…while you all participated in this fake funeral while he was at his rock bottom most vulnerable!”

“I find it incredibly difficult to believe that this technique is supported by any kind of evidence-based study or practice.”

“It’s cruel and demeaning and ‘works’ through shame rather than trying to support and empower people to want better for themselves.”

“I know that not everyone will agree on this issue. I know it can be a sh*t place to be when you are addict adjacent, and you care about them when they can’t seem to care about themselves.”

“I also believe that there are some lines you don’t cross in the name of helping someone, and this definitely crossed a line.” – scherre


“That ‘make them attend their own funeral’ tactic is abuse and has been proved to cause trauma.”

“It’s a disgusting way to attack someone who is already suffering and try to offload your pain onto the addict.”

“It’s similar to conversion therapy – the victim feels worse, but all you arseholes in their family might get some validation from it. It’s revolting.”

“What are you expecting: ‘Thank you for traumatizing me by play-acting how you would gurn about it if I died, that really was helpful on my journey’. That’s so f*cking self-centered and gross.”

“Maybe try actually being supportive instead of all the guilt and scare tactics that make people feel worse.” – Primary_Stretch2024

This is a difficult thread, and we hope this family continues to talk about their issues while being open and honest about their feelings.

If you or a family member are struggling with addiction, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration 24/7, 365 at 1-800-662-4357.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)