A Sister’s Perspective | My Brothers Road to Recovery
Growing up, no girl wants a little brother. You can’t do girly things with them. You can’t talk to them about boys. You can’t even go shopping with them. Maybe early on you can boss them around but eventually they get physically bigger than you and that whole scheme goes out the window. For the most part, little brothers are trouble.
However, the Viren I knew growing up was hardly trouble. He was kind. He was sweet. Most important, he was selfless. He got joy out of the little things and never asked for much. He cared less for possessions. He never acted out. He was no bully. He never decapitated my dolls or broke my things; never tried to get me in trouble for things he did. There was always a part of me growing up that envied his ability to live so carefree, even when things went awry. Why didn’t anything bother him? Why didn’t he let things get to him? He was everyone’s favorite. Nobody ever had anything bad to say about him.
While our relationship growing up had its ups and downs, we learned to love and respect each other. At the end of the day, he always had my back and I always had his.
During the years leading up to my brother’s addiction, I knew—like all of us—he was struggling to find his way in life. I knew that his journey would be different than mine and that no matter how much advice I gave him, he was going to things his way, and that was okay. Accepting this, I never knew it would take him on the road that it did. Watching my brother deal with active addiction was worse than dealing with death. It ripped our family apart to the core. A part of me, like him, lived in continual denial. Our relationship was finally in a good place and I didn’t want to revert back to being a third parent. I didn’t want to get into the middle of his issues with our parents. I didn’t want to tell him what to do, our how to live his life. I didn’t want him to hate me for not being on his side. Mostly, I didn’t want him to shut me out. The consequence? I was stuck in a ruthless game of tug of war between him and my parents, all at the mercy of his addiction. No matter what I tried to do to help, it never seemed to be enough. Everyone was hurting. I wanted to believe him when he said he wasn’t doing drugs. I wanted to believe him when he said our parents were just overreacting. I wanted so badly to believe that he would never lie to me…. Not me, not his sister. Not the one person who always had his back. Not the one person that was always in his corner—no matter how bad he screwed up. He wouldn’t lie to me…
The thing about denial though is that it eventually comes to a head. My brother was slowly becoming unrecognizable. He looked like a skeleton. His face was sunken. His eyes were empty and lifeless. Gone was the sweet kind boy. There was nothing but anger, disdain, and hatred staring back at you. He had no emotion. He couldn’t stand being around any of us. He stopped doing all the things he once enjoyed. Everything that came out of his mouth was a lie and I finally realized it. When he got caught, the lies didn’t stop – they got even more ridiculous. He became a monster.
Still, even after multiple failed interventions, I knew deep down that my brother was going to get through this. Regardless of all the pain it brought, I was going to have his back through it all. While I will never forget the misery of days leading up to bringing my brother to New Life House, I don’t regret them. Without that journey, my brother would not be the person he is today. New Life House made my little brother a man. They brought back the kind, sweet, selfless brother I always knew. They gave him purpose. They gave him strength. They showed him how to forgive, how to love, and how to forever be grateful.
Gone are the days of only receiving texts and phone calls when he needs something. I welcome the new days of random calls and messages solely to ask me how I’m doing. Life is no longer just about him. My “big” little brother talks about life and the real world. He has opinions and feelings and isn’t afraid to share them. He gives me advice (who would have thought?) He has compassion and so much love to give.
I will never truly know what my brother went through during his addiction and the even tougher road to sobriety, but I will always be grateful for it. New Life House saved my brother’s life and along with his journey through recovery, he saved all of us. Some girls may not want little brothers, but I’m not one of them
New Life House Alumni Sister,