By: Debbi T.
Hope. That is what I want to share with you today. I have been where you are. I am the sibling of an addict. It first started as an alcohol addiction and then it escalated to painkillers, marijuana and eventually heroin. But today, I am thankful to share with you that my brother is a recovering addict helping others.
The pain and hopelessness that you feel watching a family member, friend or lover battle an addiction is heavy. But, I am here to tell you that it is not hopeless. You may feel your addict has hit rock bottom and then you discover rock bottom wasn’t even close. But, still, there is hope.
The excuses, the lies and the needs of an addict are never ending. You want to just shake them and snap them out of it, but you can’t. You can’t fix your addict. Your addict must fix him or herself. That’s a hard lesson to learn. But, it’s a lesson I finally learned after many years of trying and finally figuring out what I could and could not do.
I remember thinking how can my parents refuse to let him stay in their house, a home we all shared so many good times together? How can I turn my back on my brother? But, in reality I wasn’t and my parents weren’t either. We were making him stronger to fight his own battle. And, you know what? One day, after years of frustration, he finally did.
Each member of my family played a role in convincing him to finally get help. He was in and out of rehab facilities and he was on and off drugs for periods of time. He was trying and deep down in my heart I know he wanted to get well. Unfortunately, that little demon on his shoulder kept showing up again…time after time.
It was so frustrating to watch the daily battle occur. I kept asking myself, why? Why can’t he just stop? Why can’t he follow through with a program? Why? Finally, one day I realized the answer to the question. He couldn’t do it because he didn’t want to. He was trying but his heart wasn’t in it. He was doing it for all the wrong reasons. Maybe he was trying to get well for my parents, for his siblings, for his friends who cared so dearly about him but he wasn’t doing it for himself. Then, one day he realized he needed to get well for himself or the inevitable would happen.
I will never forget that particular conversation. It was one of the countless conversations I had with him about getting professional help. But, for some reason on this day it was different. It was a brief phone call but it was one that would change his life. I was walking into the YMCA for a cardio class and my phone rang. He finally realized he couldn’t do it himself and he was reaching out for help.
We had been talking about him going to Williamsville Wellness in Virginia for addiction treatment. In fact, a recent article discusses one of the newest techniques as part of their holistic approach to addiction. A call to the facility and a heartfelt conversation about addiction inspired him and finally something in him made him realize this was a dire situation. The words were chilling. He said to me, “If I don’t get that bed I’ll be dead.” He did get that bed and Williamsville saved my brother’s life!